Hegemony of the Daleks

By Craig Young

‘Daleks... We foresee a time, when they will have destroyed all other lifeforms and become the dominant creature in the universe.’ - Time Lord, ‘Genesis of the Daleks’.

The Doctor lay dying.

Blood pumped from the wound in his side and soaked his shirt and jacket. He had stopped feeling the pain from his broken leg several minutes ago, and his dual heartbeats were becoming more and more erratic.

He tried to focus on the corner of the corridor where the Dalek softly crossed the corridor and the hexagonal grid of its eyes focused on him.

The Doctor wondered how death would finally come. The diamond filament whipwire? The blaster? The pincer and barbs of its manipulator arm?

The Dalek did not speak. Instead, it remained there, watching. The Doctor realised that it must be relaying the scene of his death to the base on New Skaro.

He thought back, to a happier time.

Years ago.

The crowds on Mars were a range of colour and species, befitting the oldest Terran colony world. The Doctor and Ace had come here for a vacation - a real one, this time.

They had viewed the massive lake in the crater of Nix Olympia and the monument to those who had died during the terraforming.

His last memory of Ace would always be her form silhouetted against the pyramid of Asteroid Mining and Exploitation Equity. The wind stirred her hair as she laughed at a forgotten joke.

A second later, the warships had appeared, sleek black monoliths. Then slits opened and the source of the attack had become clear. Daleks.

But not as he had previously known them. These were sleeker and harsher entities of a totally different design, more deadly and effective.

It had become obvious how much more when Ace's form was abruptly subjected to a pulse of chromatic light.

(The Doctor paused, in his nightmare present, as tears came to his eyes. He hadn't even had time to hold her, to tell the girl-woman how much pain he felt at losing her this way.)

He instinctively headed for the corridor, and the Kartz-Riemann device on his wrist activated the TARDIS autopilot. All around him, he could see evidence of the chilling effectiveness of the new Daleks. They could accelerate across any terrain, and in addition to the range of the blaster, there was also a whipwire. The intensity of the EMP from the passionless sentients seared and buckled the volcanic rock that he hid behind, as the TARDIS firmed into solidity.

He hurried onboard, the blue sphere of the force screen withstanding a barrage of pulses before the craft centred within it became transparent and then absent from the mounting carnage and massacre that surrounded it.

It was a minute later when he realised. That was not a recorded Dalek offensive.

He hesitated for a moment before asking for synchronic comparative analysis from the console, dreading what he would find. When the evidence came, it was incontrovertible. They had appeared from nowhere and mounted concurrent successful offensives on all of the Galactic Federation's charter member worlds and their dependencies.

There was only one option left - Gallifrey.

Subjectively, it seemed an eternity before the TARDIS sensors picked up the comforting mottled azure globe and the carefully contoured outlines of its controlled weather.

It symbolised security, peace, tranquility. If Ace's sudden death hadn't traumatised him so much, he would have reflected on the irony. Those had been the reasons he had left in the first place.

He finally let himself smile, and then lost it as a cloud of black Dalek warships appeared against the red of the primary.

He shook his head - no, this couldn't be happening. The Continuum Guard were supposed to keep Gallifrey's own timestream discrete and inviolate.

And then, over the limb of Gallifrey, rose a smaller, eye-aching globe of blue. The ancient Sentinel of Rassilon had maintained the orbit for millennia - it provided the point for the planetary force screen and defended Gallifrey from... he realised what, as the Hand of Omega appeared in the visual display of the screen before him.

It was impossible. The Daleks could not have secured the device.

There was only one thing that he could do - prevent the oblivion of his people now. But he found the controls locked. Of course.

There was a remaining option and he took it.

From a different vantage point, Gallifrey still looked immaculate as it had done for the millennia of its administration of the timestream.

And then, the nova came.

His world died. The Daleks had won this time, on a scale beyond imagination.

How had it happened? How?

Somehow, numbed by what he had just witnessed, the Doctor had activated the auxiliary chronon resonance drive and cut the TARDIS link with the Eye of Harmony.

The craft fled outward, disinherited in a hostile universe.

(And after that had come the years of resistance and bitter conflict. Ace had only been the first to die. Other faces surfaced to haunt his memory - Turlough, contorted in a ball, his face caught in a snarl of defiance. Nyssa, lying face down, a welt of red across her back...)

Unholy alliances were made as the Daleks swept all in their path. The Doctor and his former adversaries the Cybermen fought side by side at the Battle of Telos.

As the years wore on, the war escalated and so did the losses. Finally, there came a time when the Doctor stood alone in his craft, its final reserves of energy exhausted. He had sabotaged the console room, but that had proven inadequate for his implacable pursuers.

He had been subjected to the fire that had crippled him, and was now killing him - the side-effects of the entropy weapons that had eliminated the Cybermen in their last stand on Telos had deprived him of any further capacity to regenerate.

His memories ended as he noticed the Dalek remained, a voyeur that denied him even the privacy of death or a quick demise.

‘Answer me one question,’ he croaked, ‘What happened? Why?’

‘We assume that you mean the preconditions of the Dalek Victory, Doctor. You cannot deduce it?’

‘Your design refinements...’

‘No, it was not Davros. We also destroyed him - his insanity and treacherous desire for personal power made him a liability.’

‘My congratulations on your final triumph. It is not what I wanted.’

‘You made a fatal error, Doctor.’

‘I began this?’

‘Earth, 2194.’

‘You had murdered my grand-daughter and denied her adopted world any chance of survival after your intense exploitation. It suddenly made it very personal.’

‘You talk about murder. What about genocide? You destroyed Skaro's planetary system.’

‘You would have done so to Earth.’

‘To us, you are a criminal and mass murderer.’

‘The victors always write the history books. I don't suppose I'll even appear in them.’

‘You are wrong. Remember our genesis on Skaro?’

The Doctor listened to the sound of his fourth incarnation's voice as it recounted the millennia of prospective Dalek defeat.

‘I destroyed that record...’

‘Alternate probability retrieval provided us with a parallel equivalent with no distinguishable differences. It enabled us to engage in a major redesign of our species.

‘We sat silently and waited. Then we struck. One final question - why did you resist us?’

‘Where there's life, there's hope.’

The Doctor began to laugh, but began to violently cough blood and then choke. Obscenely, the Dalek continued to watch.

In an undamaged part of the TARDIS, a transcendental calculus chronon carrier beam activated. It carried the data back into the past, through the wavefront of the Daleks' newfound hegemony.

The Fourth Doctor blinked. As he realised there was no other way, he took the two wires and touched them together.

This item appeared in Timestreams 2 (April 1991).

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