Judgement of the Daleks
With a blast from its landing rockets, the sleek black space ship descended onto the landing bay. From the observation lounge window Takis watched as the ship finally came to rest. The vessel did not feature the Presidential markings so he knew it was the unscheduled craft he was expecting.
‘Perfect timing,’ he smiled.
The two Daleks escorted the Doctor straight to Davros's chamber. He took in the scene that greeted him as he entered: the Grand Knight of Oberon seated in a chair, exposed circuitry sparking from the remains of his left leg. The body of a woman lay crumpled near him. The smaller man who had been with the Knight was slumped in a corner (either dead or unconscious) and several guards stood at attention, their weapons drawn. In the centre of the room was a shattered glass dome inside which he could see the remains of something. And, as he had suspected, Davros.
‘I see that you have been busy,’ the Doctor observed.
Davros put Kara's bomb on the table next to Orcini, and turned to face the Time Lord. ‘Whereas you have been stupid, Doctor.’
‘The prerogative of a Time Lord,’ sniffed the Doctor. ‘What have you done with Peri?’
‘She is safe - for the time being.’
The Doctor breathed a heavy sigh of relief. He walked over to Davros. ‘I must say, I am surprised to see you. The last time we met your ship blew up and, I thought, with you in it.’
‘Not when there is a life-pod to be had,’ explained Davros.
‘And a lift by transporter to this planet?’ suggested the Time Lord.
Davros laughed. ‘There I was fortunate.’
‘Oh, I liked the statue by the way,’ the Doctor admitted. ‘A very good likeness. Though you shouldn't have bothered.’
‘As with the news of Stengos's death, it was all part of my scheme to lure you here.’ Davros went on to explain the rest of his complex trap and how various clues, such as the statue in the Garden of Fond Memories, had all been presented to arouse the Doctor's curiosity. Davros admitted that the final clue would have been Stengos himself - his horrific remains encased in a Dalek shell being an indication of what would ultimately happen to the Doctor. However, as Davros explained, thanks to the interference of two intruders, that part of the trap had unfortunately been destroyed prematurely.
‘All very clever,’ the Doctor breathed in admiration. It certainly was an intricate trap - and all for me! he mused.
He went over and knelt beside Kara's body. ‘Apart from a little grave-robbing, what else have you been up to?’ He felt for a pulse, but there was nothing.
‘You cannot steal that which has already been abandoned,’ replied Davros. ‘Nobody is interested in the people here.’
The Doctor stood up. ‘That's not what I've heard.’
‘As your grave-robbing friends have been exterminated, you will not hear that complaint again!’
Grave-robbing friends? The Doctor shut his eyes. Natasha and Grigory? ‘Do you never anything but kill?’
‘There you are mistaken, Doctor. I am known as the Great Healer. A somewhat flippant title at that. But not without foundation.’
The Doctor noticed that Orcini was trying to attract his attention. He saw the lethal blade jutting from the knight's sleeve. The Doctor realised that it was Orcini who had killed the woman. The knight quickly pointed to the bomb on the table beside him. The Doctor nodded in understanding.
‘I have conquered the diseases,’ continued Davros, the Great Healer, ‘that have brought their victims here. In every way I have complied with the wishes of those who came in anticipation of one day being returned to life.’
The Doctor was beginning to understand what the mutant had been trying to tell him. ‘But never in their worst nightmares did any of them expect to come back -’ he looked at the shrivelled head in the shattered dome ‘- as Daleks.’
Davros cackled. ‘All the resting ones that I have used are people of status, ambition. They will understand. Especially as I have given them the opportunity to become masters of the Universe!’
‘And with you as their Emperor?’
‘But what of the lesser intellects?’ asked the Doctor. ‘Or will they be left to rot?’
‘Oh, you should know me better than that, Doctor. I never waste a valuable commodity. The humanoid form makes an excellent concentrated protein!’
Everyone in the room - including Davros's human guards - were visibly shocked by this revelation. All eyes were on the Great Healer. Orcini took his chance to snatch up the bomb and hide it beneath the table.
‘This part of the galaxy,’ Davros continued, ‘is developing quickly. Famine was one of its major problems.’
‘You've turned them into food?’ the Doctor frowned.
Davros chuckled. ‘A scheme that has earned me great acclaim.’
‘But did you bother to tell anyone that they might be eating their own relatives?’
‘Certainly not!’ exploded Davros. His voice calmed again. ‘That would have created, what I believe is termed, "consumer resistance". They were grateful for the food - it allowed them to go on living.’
‘So you could emerge with your Daleks and take over their planets.’
Takis pulled himself to attention (and nudged Lilt to do the same) as the airlock door slid open. They waited expectantly for the new arrivals to emerge.
Although he had seen the Great Healer's white Daleks many times before, Takis felt a chill run down his spine when the black Daleks glided onto the concourse.
He stepped forward. ‘Welcome. I am Takis.’
A black Dalek with silver studs around its middle - clearly the leader - glided forward. ‘You-sent-for-us?’
‘I-I-I'll take you to him. But first, can we discuss our deal?’
‘You-will-obey-my-will! You-will-take-us-to-Davros. Now!’
Takis looked at Lilt and gulped. ‘Of course.’
Two guards picked up Kara's body. They had been instructed to take it to her own factory, and throw it into the processing machines. Her desire to feed the whole galaxy was now taking on a whole new meaning.
A Dalek glided into the chamber. The Doctor smiled when he saw that Peri was with it. She rushed to him, and gave him a hug. ‘Are you alright?’ she asked.
‘Yes. And you?’
She nodded. The Doctor could see that she had been crying.
‘I'm sorry about the DJ,’ he said. The death count was getting too high.
Davros glided over to them. ‘Now, Doctor. Prepare to witness the greatest rebirth ever.’ He pressed a button on the chair's control panel.
‘You may be disappointed at the response,’ the Doctor said, hoping that Natasha and Grigory had succeeded in destroying the incubation room before they were murdered.
(Unseen behind them, Bostock was slowly recovering. He pulled himself towards the archway. Reaching the first step, he stopped and waited.)
‘Even if your friends had succeeded, they will have done very little damage,’ stated Davros. ‘The room they were attempting to destroy was one used for experimentation only. My main taskforce of Daleks is well hidden.’
The Doctor noticed that Davros had subconsciously gestured towards the far wall as he spoke.
Bostock seized this opportunity and raised his weapon. Taking careful aim, he fired.
Davros screamed as his hand was severed at the wrist. A green pus-like fluid squirted out. The hand itself fell twitching to the floor.
Orcini lashed out with his one remaining foot and kicked the edge of Davros's chair. The chair shot across the room and thudded against a nearby console.
The nearest Dalek fired. The beam hit Bostock full in the chest. His lifeless body dropped.
The Doctor rushed over to the little man, but there was nothing he could do. Another death.
‘Doctor. Look out!’ warned Peri.
Two guards descended upon the Time Lord and violently pulled him away from Bostock's body. He struggled and delivered them each a blow to the stomach with his elbow. The two men staggered back under the blows, and released their hold.
‘Stay-where-you-are!’ grated a Dalek.
The Doctor raised his hands in surrender and backed away. As he did so, he kicked Bostock's fallen gun across the floor towards Orcini. The Grand Master scooped it up and hid it under the table next to Kara's bomb.
The service elevator door opened. As Takis stepped aside to allow the Daleks to emerge, the sound of gun-shots echoed down the dark tunnel. He frowned at Lilt, but his companion simply shrugged.
The Dalek behind him gave Takis a savage push. Puzzled about what was happening up ahead, Takis lead the black Daleks into the gloom...
Davros's body was shaking as a guard bound his wrist with a bandage.
‘Prepare the first countermeasure,’ Davros instructed him.
The guard tied the final knot, saluted, and left.
Davros turned to face the Doctor. ‘Such a foolish waste of energy, Doctor.’
‘No ‘arm in trying,’ joked the Time Lord.
Davros hissed at him. ‘When you become a Dalek, you will suffer for every indignity that you ever caused me.’
Takis brought his party to a stop. The entrance to Davros's domain was only a few yards away. There were two white Dalek sentries at the threshold.
One of the black Daleks moved into the corridor.
‘Exterminate!’ cried a white Dalek, on seeing the advancing enemy. It had been programmed to recognise all non-white Daleks as hostile.
Takis and Lilt dove for cover as energy beams flashed between the two Dalek factions.
The battle was soon over. Both white Daleks were destroyed, and only one black Dalek was damaged. The remaining black Daleks continued down the passage.
The sounds of the battle came echoing into Davros's chamber.
‘What is happening?’ screamed Davros. ‘Activate my Daleks!’ he ordered.
A guard moved to a nearby console. As he passed him, Orcini whipped out Bostock's gun and blasted the man down.
Davros spun to face the knight and, like the mechanical head in the dome before, a bolt of energy flashed from his electronic eye, and smashed the weapon from Orcini's hand.
At that moment, the black Daleks swarmed into the chamber with Takis and Lilt close behind.
The black Dalek leader positioned itself in front of Davros. The Doctor could clearly see that Davros was shocked to see them.
‘How did you find me?’ croaked the evil scientist. Ever since he came to Necros, Davros feared being discovered by these Daleks, the ones who survived the Movellan war and retreated back home to Skaro. Davros considered these Daleks to be renegades because they rejected his will, and answered only to the Dalek Supreme - a title Davros wanted for himself.
Takis stepped forward. ‘I sent for them.’
The black Dalek leader spoke. ‘You-are-to-be-taken-back-to-Skaro-to-stand-trial-for-crimes-against-the-Daleks!’
‘This used to be a good place before you came here,’ explained Takis. ‘I enjoyed working here. Once you have gone, it will be a good place once again.’
The Doctor shook his head. ‘I shouldn't be too certain of that. You'd be lucky to be alive at the end of this.’
Takis frowned. ‘But they're going to destroy Davros's Daleks. That was our deal.’
The black Dalek turned to Takis. ‘They-will-not-be-destroyed. They-will-be-reconditioned-to-obey-the-will-of-the-Supreme-Dalek!’ It turned back to Davros. ‘You-will-come-with-us.’
Davros faced the grinning Doctor. ‘No! Take him. He is the sworn enemy of the Daleks! He is the Doctor!’
The Doctor stepped back. ‘Doctor? Who, me? No, no, no.’
The black Dalek leader studied the face of the man whom Davros called the Doctor. It searched its memory files for confirmation, but the stocky, curly-haired man did not register. ‘His-image-does-not-compute-with-the-known-appearances-of-the-Doctor.’
‘He's regenerated, you fool!’
But the Doctor just gave Davros a sickly smile. He knew that he was safe for now. He could keep the pretence up for a while, but only until the Daleks had proof of his identity.
But the black Dalek didn't want to take the risk. ‘He-will-be-held-prisoner-until-we-can-verify-if-you-are-correct! Now-move-or-you-will-be-exterminated-here!’
Davros looked up at the smug face of the Doctor. The Doctor had won this time, but their paths were sure to cross again. ‘You have not heard the last of me,’ promised Davros. ‘I shall return.’
‘And I shall be waiting for you.’ The Doctor reached out to shake Davros's hand. Davros growled, then glided from the chamber followed by the black Daleks. One remained in position by the door.
Orcini looked at Takis. ‘You trusted them?’
Takis shrugged. ‘I thought it would do some good.’
The Doctor smiled. ‘It might yet. We must act fast before Davros's Daleks are reactivated.’
Orcini nodded at their lone guard. ‘But first we have to get rid of that.’
Although he loathed guns, the Doctor picked up Bostock's weapon from the floor.
‘Will that be effective?’ asked Peri.
Orcini nodded. ‘If we take out its eyepiece.’
‘What we need is a grenade,’ observed the Doctor.
Orcini pulled himself from the chair, and hopped over to Bostock's body. ‘I'll look in his pockets.’
The Doctor gestured everyone else closer. They huddled together like a sports team receiving a pep-talk from their coach. ‘Now, listen to me...’ he said, and he outlined his plan...
Davros could not accept that the Daleks had found him again. He had been able to work in secret all these years developing his new breed of Daleks, ones that would be more powerful than ever before. Daleks with which he would seize control of the human colonies, and ultimately the galaxy. He had even given them a name: the Imperials. But now, with the intervention of Takis, his plans for conquest had been dashed.
The black Daleks escorted him to the service lift. ‘I created you!’ bellowed Davros. ‘I am your master.’
‘We-serve-only-the-Supreme-Dalek,’ came the reply.
‘That upstart! I could make you all Supreme. I have the power. You must obey me!’
But the Daleks ignored him.
They arrived at the elevator doors, and soon they were being carried towards the rocket pad...
Orcini had found a packet of plastic explosives on Bostock's body. With this, the Doctor's plan would have a chance of working. Everyone had their moves memorised and they moved into position. The Doctor stressed the importance of everyone keeping calm. They couldn't afford to have anything to go wrong. They wouldn't get another chance.
Takis took his position by the door. The others hid behind the consoles.
‘Hey, you out there,’ he called.
The Dalek moved closer. ‘You-will-remain-in-the-laboratory!’
‘We have a message for you from your master.’ He pointed at the console hiding the others.
Logical to the end, the Dalek glided into the room. It had been instructed to guard the prisoners and await for confirmation from the leader that the man in the long-coat was indeed the enemy of the Daleks known as the Doctor. It had orders to kill him if the ident proved positive.
The Doctor leapt from hiding and fired Bostock's gun at the Dalek's eye-stalk. The shaft shattered.
‘My-vision-is-impaired! I-cannot-see! Emergency! I-cannot-see! Emergency!’ it screeched.
It was Peri's turn to move next. Ducking from the Dalek's rays as they flew across the room, she dashed up to the Dalek, attached the plastic explosive charge to the Dalek's neck section and pressed the timer. A bolt flew over her head as she ran for cover.
The timer clicked to zero - and with an almighty explosion, the Dalek disintegrated.
The Doctor rushed over to the door to check that no other Daleks were outside. Seeing that the way was clear, he rushed back into the lab and went over to study the scorched features of the head inside the smashed dome.
‘What now?’ asked Peri.
The Doctor rubbed his chin. ‘There's something I want to have a look at.’
He crossed over to the far wall of the chamber. Davros had gestured to this section earlier. The Doctor had an idea he knew what was beyond the wall. He felt around the edge of the statue that rested in an alcove. When he twisted the figurine the wall slid across revealing a hidden room.
‘Stay here,’ he ordered, and he entered the dark interior.
Inside, he found a small control room. At the centre, facing a wall covered in monitor screens, was a complex panel. The Doctor guessed that Davros's chair fitted into it, and it was from there that he had controlled his puppet in the dome outside.
The Doctor flicked a switch at random on the console and a screen lit up. A bird's eye view of the outer room appeared. No doubt every corridor and chamber in Tranquil Repose could be accessed from here, he surmised.
A faint glow caught his eye. It was coming from a window set into the back wall of the secret lab. He crossed to it and peered through the glass. He stared in astonishment at the sight that greeted him. Beyond was an enormous cavern lined with row upon row of catwalks. On the catwalks were hundreds of white Daleks, all in frozen suspension. It reminded the Doctor of something similar he had seen on the planet Spiridon. Davros's army was ready, and awaiting the final signal to emerge.
Peri noticed the Doctor's concerned expression as he emerged from the recess. ‘We need a bomb. Davros's Daleks are in there, in hibernation.’
‘No. You can't destroy this place!’ cried Takis.
Lilt agreed. ‘He's right.’
‘Tranquil Repose has ceased to have any practical function,’ explained the Time Lord. ‘Its cryogenic chambers are empty. Davros has used the contents and turned them into Daleks - or synthetic protein.’
Takis looked at Lilt in astonishment. He was aware that Davros experimented on some of the bodies in storage, but he had no idea they were also being turned into food.
‘He's telling the truth,’ said Orcini. ‘After what Davros has done, you'll never restore the reputation of this place.’
But Lilt was still not convinced. ‘Don't trust him.’
‘You must,’ urged the Doctor. ‘I can show you a new life.’
Takis frowned. ‘How?’
The Doctor explained that since Davros had created the demand for synthetic protein, to suddenly cease fulfilling that demand would mean the deaths of those planets that needed it. He indicated the purple flower in Takis's lapel.
‘The weed plant?’ Takis didn't understand.
‘It grows almost anywhere,’ explained the Doctor, smiling. ‘When refined, it produces protein!’
Takis looked at the innocent little flower in his button-hole. He had decorated many bodies with this flower, and now he was being told that he could eat the plant. He didn't fancy the prospect, but when survival came first, he would try anything.
‘That's a great idea!’ agreed Peri, remembering the Doctor's earlier lecture.
Orcini coughed. They turned to see him standing on his good leg, holding Kara's box of tricks. ‘You must leave here. I have a bomb - and I would very much like to use it,’ he announced. ‘Not only will it destroy Davros's Daleks, it might just catch him as well.’
‘Orcini...’ started the Doctor.
‘There's no timing mechanism, Doctor. Once I press this button-’
‘I could rig one!’
‘There is no time. I want Davros dead.’
‘But you see...’ the Time Lord pleaded.
The knight wasn't going to be persuaded. ‘I won't hesitate to use this now. Go, Doctor. Go now!’
‘Why are you throwing your life away?’ cried Peri.
Orcini smiled at her. ‘I have always wanted an honourable kill, and Davros will be it.’ His smile faded. ‘Go now. The catacombs are deep. You must find a safe place.’
The Doctor turned to Peri and the others. ‘Go. I'll join you later.’
Peri hesitated, but trusted that the Doctor knew what he was doing. She followed the others out.
Orcini hopped over to and sat beside Bostock's body. He cradled his faithful squire's head in his lap.
‘Is there anything I can do?’ asked the Doctor.
Orcini removed the medal from his jacket and handed it to the Time Lord. ‘Return this to my Order. Tell them how we died.’
‘No more words,’ said the Grand Master of the Order of Oberon. ‘Go!’
The Doctor took one final look at the selfless knight, and left the laboratory.
Peri, Takis and Lilt ran into the main Hall. Peri stopped at the doorway leading to the freezing units to see if the Doctor was following.
Takis shouted at the Attendants who were moving around, oblivious of what was happening. ‘I want everyone to clear this room immediately!’
The Attendants fled in panic.
‘Do you think we're safe enough?’ asked Peri.
But Takis's attention was on the communication console scanner. On it, he could see the Dalek saucer preparing to lift off.
‘It's too late,’ she cried. ‘They got away!’
‘Let's get out of here!’ screamed Lilt.
‘No. We must wait for the Doctor!’
Takis grabbed her shoulders and started to guide her towards the service lifts to the sub-levels, but she pulled herself free and ran back to the door leading to the catacombs.
Takis sighed heavily, and went after her...
So it is true, thought Orcini. When you are about to die, your life does flash before your eyes. He smiled as he saw himself riding into battle on his steed, with Bostock at his side. Their battles had been many and victorious. An honourable death was all they asked for; and that was what they would have.
Orcini smiled down at the still face of his companion. For you, Bostock...
...and he pressed the final button...
The Dalek ship rose from the landing port. It fired its orbit-rockets and shot off into the sky. Seconds later, the ground beneath it exploded into a huge fireball. The landing port was blown apart.
In the catacombs far below, Davros's frozen Dalek army was crushed beneath tons of earth.
The blast of the explosion knocked the Doctor against the wall of the passage he was in. He staggered to his feet and continued down the corridor. He could hear Peri calling out to him, and he headed for the sound.
‘Doctor!’ called Peri. She peered down the dark tunnel. She could see something moving...
‘He's had it,’ said Takis, as he came to her side. He grabbed her arm. ‘Come on, let's get to the lower sections.’
The roof above them collapsed, and Takis pulled Peri away.
At the end of the tunnel a figure appeared, coughing.
‘Wait!’ she cried, and the Doctor emerged from the dust-filled passage.
‘Are you okay?’ she asked, relieved.
The Doctor nodded. ‘Did Davros get away?’
‘Yes,’ she said sadly. ‘Do you think they'll execute him?’
The Doctor shook his head. He really didn't know. Davros said that their paths would cross again, and the Doctor knew that that was probably true. He doubted that the Daleks would kill their creator. They would find some use for him. Probably make him their Emperor, he mused.
‘I'd hate to think that Orcini died for nothing,’ continued Peri.
‘He didn't. He achieved a kill greater than he thought possible. He destroyed Davros's new direction of Daleks.’
Takis was worried about the damage done to the complex. Further sections of ceiling crashed to the ground around them. ‘Come on you two. This is no time to chat. Hurry! This way!’
‘What are we going to do now?’ Peri asked the Doctor.
‘Find the TARDIS, then make sure that Takis and Lilt get this place sorted out.’
He took her arm and they followed Takis into the service lift. Just as the doors closed, the ceiling collapsed onto the exact spot where they had been standing...
The once peaceful Tranquil Repose was now nothing more than a shattered ruin. One of the pyramids had collapsed in on itself, and the Garden of Fond Memories was now just a memory.
The surviving Attendants emerged from their shelter. Bodies of unfortunate Attendants and guards lay crushed beneath support beams, and President Vargos's wife was buried under a pile of broken rubble.
That morning, Jobel had remarked that the day would go down in history. He had been correct, but at what price? Takis wondered as he surveyed the damage in the main Hall. Their once happy workplace was destroyed. What were they going to do now?
Then Lilt reminded him: ‘What's all this about us becoming farmers?’
‘Don't you start!’ snapped Takis.
‘Well it's true,’ said Lilt. ‘All you know about is flowers.’
Takis smiled. ‘Mind you, that plot used for Perpetual Instatement would make excellent growing ground.’
The Doctor entered the Hall, and caught Takis's remark. ‘This place is called Tranquil Repose,’ he said. ‘I think we should leave the dead in peace, don't you?’
Takis shrugged, and went off to help with the injured.
Peri sighed. It had been a very long day. ‘When we finish here can we take a real holiday?’
The Doctor agreed. The day's events had indeed been tiring. ‘I know a place,’ he said, ‘that is truly tranquil... peaceful... restful. A panacea for the cares of mind.’
He hadn't been to Florana for ages, he mused. The last time he'd tried to get there, he ended up on the planet Exxilon - fighting Daleks!
Peri disliked the Doctor's habit of trying to talk her into going off to some remote planet looking for peace and quiet. Places like the Eye Of Orion and Argolis all sounded so boring, she thought.
‘Can't we go somewhere fun?’ she asked.
‘Fun?’ he winced. ‘Oh well, I suppose anywhere will be peaceful after Necros.’
But where could they go? The Universe had an infinite number of things to offer them. Excitement, mystery and... fun. What they really needed was a place with no crowds, no Daleks and no danger. A place that was safe...
The Doctor smiled. He had the perfect idea.
‘I know,’ he said finally. ‘I'll take you to Blackpool!’