Turning Point

By Michael Norrish

PROLOGUE

The Dalek Battle Cruiser hovered in space. Its occupants were preparing for the oncoming invasion of the solar system before them.

In the main control room, the Captain of the Dalek ship prepared the computer for the final countdown.

Suddenly an alarm started to buzz loudly.

‘Incoming vessel detected,’ called a technician from the side of the room.

‘Intentions designated hostile.’

The communications screen at the front of the room came to life, showing a silver face with blanks for eyes, a slit where the mouth should have been, and a lamp-like projection in the middle of its forehead. Instead of ears, the face had a pair of handle-like projections.

The face of a Cyberman.

‘You are trespassing in Cyber-space,’ said the face on the scanner. ‘I order you to leave the area at once.’

‘The area is to become Dalek territory. You will depart, or be destroyed,’ ordered the Dalek Captain.

‘This is the last system in Cyber power. We will fight for it. If it requires war, then that is how it shall be.’

CHAPTER ONE - THE SEVEN DOCTORS

Space. The final frontier.

These are the voyages of the starship -

‘What on Earth was that?!’ screamed Uhura, as a British Police Box shot past the main viewer.

Instantly, the ship's guidance systems seized, sending the Enterprise flying straight into a nearby asteroid.

The interior of the Police Box was not what was to be expected of something so antiquated. Inside was a room that was probably just a bit bigger that your average-sized double-plan classroom.

Six walls sloped outward for about two feet, before curving inward, and terminating in a dome-shaped roof. Set into one wall was an alcove, in which there were a pair of doors. On the opposite wall was built a Matter Transporter. The walls themselves were covered in regularly placed, glowing round panels.

In the centre of the room was a six-sided control console, covered in a complex array of switches and dials. In the centre of the console was a glass column, in which was contained a complicated mass of navigational aids. To one side was a tall column, on which, amongst other things, was a viewer screen.

Beside the console stood a man, and a girl.

‘Whoops! That wasn't supposed to happen!’ cried the man, as the two of them watched the Enterprise crash into the asteroid, and explode. ‘Computer, identify space craft.’

‘Space craft is - was - USS Enterprise, United Federation of Planets,’ answered a voice that seemed to come from all around them.

‘Great bit of flying, Doc,’ observed the girl, ‘just another five hundred humans less in the Universe.’

An object vaguely resembling Captain Kirk's head floated past the scanner.

‘It's hardly my fault, Ace,’ protested the Doctor. ‘The TARDIS is still getting over its remodelling. It's bound to have some bugs in its guidance systems.’

‘Yeah, well I still think it's a massive waste of time,’ replied Ace, ‘especially this Transmat system.’

She pressed a switch on the console. Instantly, the Transmat pad started to hum, and an eery glow shone from behind its panels. The Doctor stared at the transmat. ‘Which switch did you press?’ he demanded.

The shapes of six humanoid forms started to form on the pad, finally becoming the bodies of six Time Lords - six incarnations of the Doctor.

CHAPTER TWO - ONE POLITICIAN TOO MANY

The Cyber warfleet advanced across the system towards a tiny moon orbiting one of the system's twelve planets.

‘Computers indicate that Dalek base is situated on third moon of Tlobdahs Mit.’

‘Excellent,’ said the Cyber Leader. ‘Tell the Technicians to ready the destructor beams.’

As the hum of the transporter died down, the Doctors stepped uncertainly off the pad.

The Doctor glared at Ace. ‘Well,’ he said resignedly, ‘at least we know it works.’

The First Doctor stepped forward. ‘Who are you? Why have you brought us here?’ he demanded angrily.

‘You should know me - I'm you,’ replied the Doctor. ‘The Transmat pad's just been built in, complete with Time Stream search and retrieve - my companion's got a rebellious streak.’

‘So it's her fault, then,’ the Sixth Doctor, an incredibly arrogant fool with no dress sense, said angrily.

‘Shut up, you,’ retorted Doctor number Two.

The group remained silent for a few seconds, then the silence was broken by an alarm going off. The Doctor rushed to the console. ‘According to the data readout, there's a Time-Ram Vortex Generator situated on the third moon of Tlobdahs Mit, Reglob Mij system - a system inhabited and enslaved by the Cybermen. Use of the Time-Ram could take a sizable chunk out of the Galaxy - the TARDIS is already plotting a course to the moon, Tegdub. Incidentally, don't you think the author's going a bit over the top with his names?’

A map of the Reglob system appeared on the scanner, including names like ‘Nosdrahctir Htur’, ‘Rehctaht Teragram’ and ‘Sretep Notsniw’.

‘Freaky,’ remarked number Four, ‘considering no Humans have ever travelled this far.’

‘Definitely the Parliament of the Galaxy,’ remarked Ace. The Time Rotor in the centre of the console marked the journey of the TARDIS...

The Black Dalek, Supreme leader of the Daleks, second only to the great Dalek Emperor, supervised the construction of the Time-Ram cannon. All the Daleks knew of the Cyber Menace, but only Daleks of very high rank knew the function of the Time-Ram. None of the lower castes knew that with the Time-Ram, when completed, they could destroy the Cyber race, leaving only one obstacle in the Daleks' quest for power - the Time Lord known as the Doctor.

The TARDIS drew near to Tlobdahs Mit, noting in its memory banks the strange cloud formations that looked for all the world like a huge toothy grin.

Moments later, the tiny ship landed on the surface of Tegdub (that's Budget, for those of you who still haven't worked it out). Inside, Ace was still trying to comprehend what a Time-Ram was.

‘So when the Time-Ram hits its target,’ explained the Doctor, ‘all the target's molecules dematerialise, and then materialise in exactly the same point in space and time, which can't happen, so it ceases to exist as a solid matter.’

‘Yeah, well I s'pose that sounds feasible,’ replied Ace, ‘but how did they get here?’ She pointed to the six Doctors.

‘Didn't we just go over this a few minutes ago?’ inquired Doctor Four.

‘Yeah,’ replied Ace, ‘but they weren't here at the time.’ She pointed to the wall that for some reason, no-one ever sees.

‘Now, Ace,’ said the Doctor despairingly, ‘what's the Golden Rule of Doctor Who?’

‘I know,’ answered Ace, resignedly. ‘Keep it as complicated and confusing as possible, and never tell the viewers anything.’

Suddenly, a blast rocked the ship. The Doctor activated the viewscreen, revealing the cliffhanger for episode one - a Dalek moving towards the TARDIS at high speed, firing its gun like a homicidal maniac...

CHAPTER THREE - THE WALK OF DEATH

Another blast caused the TARDIS to tip. The Doctor tried to steady himself, but instead fell on the scanner column.

‘Any more bright ideas?’ inquired the Third Doctor, sarcastically.

The Fourth Doctor rushed to the console, switched on the audio circuit, and broadcast a simple but possibly life-saving message to the Dalek outside:

‘Go away! I am NOT the TARDIS. I am an ordinary phone box.’

‘Rubbish,’ came the Dalek's reply.

‘Well,’ said the Fourth Doctor, sheepishly, ‘anything's worth a try.’

The TARDIS rocked again, causing the sixth Doctor to fall on the console, triggering the door mechanism, and allowing the Dalek access.

‘Skilled,’ said Ace.

The Doctor glared at the Dalek with a look of utter contempt. ‘You can't fire that in here,’ he said, ‘your weapon was neutralised as soon as you came through the door.’

The Dalek fired its gun at a wall, revealing several printed circuit boards.

‘Might I advise that after this is over, you read the manual,’ suggested the Fifth Doctor, quietly.

At this point, the author puts down his pencil. ‘This is probably a good time to explain about the Daleks, and the Cybermen,’ he says. He listens to the tape of the Moody Blues playing quietly (HA!) in the background for a second, glances at the water colour painting of the Dalek hanging on his wardrobe door, and resumes work...

On the planet Skaro in the seventh galaxy, there were two races of intelligent life forms, the Kaleds, and the Thals. Both were humanoid, both were technologically advanced.

As well as that, they were at war with each other. Nuclear war. Whole generations of Kaleds and Thals spent their lives hurling nuclear missiles at each other.

Not surprisingly, this caused some hideous mutations.

Not the least hideous was the Kaled scientist Davros. Despite his mutation, Davros continued to work for the good of his people, until one day his laboratory was hit by a Thal missile. His body was mutilated beyond recognition, but although he lived, he had been driven completely mad.

In the years that followed, Davros worked to improve the Kaled body, for combat. When eventually he created what he thought to be the perfect creature, he placed it inside a metal shell, similar in function and appearance to a tank.

This, he called a Dalek.

Davros, with his army of Daleks, then destroyed what was left of the Thal race, and moved on to try and conquer the rest of the universe.

Elsewhere in the cosmos was the solar system known as Sol. This system contained two identical planets; Earth and Mondas, both evolving at the same rate. Somehow, however, the Mondasians' evolution started to speed up, and eventually its inhabitants equipped the planet with a star drive, allowing them to roam the universe without leaving the comforts of home.

Gradually, the Mondasians became diseased, and to survive, they were forced to start replacing their limbs with robotic parts. Eventually their entire bodies, even their brains, had been replaced by metal and plastic. These were the Cybermen.

Like the Daleks, the Cybermen's goal was power, but the Cybermen didn't do quite so well. Eventually they were confined to one system - Reglob.

Anyway, back to the present...

‘You will leave your ship,’ ordered the Dalek. The TARDIS crew complied without question.

‘Seal the entrance.’

The Doctor did so.

‘Follow.’

The Dalek led them across the rocky terrain, towards the Dalek base.

Suddenly, the Dalek was struck by a laser bolt, causing it to burst into flame.

CHAPTER FOUR - MARCH OF THE CYBERMEN

The Dalek's limbs thrashed about for a second, and then it was still.

Two Cybermen stepped out from behind a dune.

‘Doctors - we require your help,’ said one of the Cybermen, gravely.

‘For years we have fought against each other, but now there is a danger that threatens both of us,’ added the other.

‘Yes, we know,’ replied Doctor One.

‘The Time-Ram,’ continued Doctor Three.

‘You will accompany us to Cyber Control, where you will be briefed on your mission.’

‘Very well,’ replied the Doctor.

The Cybermen led them behind a dune, to where there was a small shuttlecraft. They climbed aboard, and the shuttlecraft took off.

The Emperor stood in its chamber. It was not like the other Daleks. It had no gun turret, or grille. In their place was a dome, the same as the domes on the other Daleks, but enlarged to three times the size. Where the eyestalk was on the other Daleks, the Emperor had a small hexagonal panel, illuminated by some light source inside the dome.

It watched the communications screen, as the Black Dalek made its report.

‘The scout has been eliminated, and the prisoners have escaped,’ it grated.

The Emperor was understandably upset.

‘They must be recovered!’ it screeched. ‘The Doctor is the only one capable of defeating us. If he falls into enemy hands, then we will be doomed!’

‘He will be recaptured, my lord.’

The shuttlecraft landed in the hangar bay of the Cyber base on Tlobdahs Mit.

The party was greeted by a Cyber Lieutenant. ‘You will follow me to the briefing room,’ he stated.

The time travellers followed the Lieutenant, until they came to a door marked as above. They followed the Lieutenant inside.

Inside the room were the remaining leaders of the Cyber race - a Cyber Neo-Morph, such as the ones the TARDIS crew had seen so far; a Cyber Mondasian, an early Cyberman with a face that, although robotic, still bore some of the features of a Human face; a Cyber Telosian, a Cyber Fascist, and a Cyber Nomad.

At the head of the room stood the Cyber Controller, a creature taller than the other Cybermen, and without the handle-like projections.

This was the leader of Cyber society.

The Controller greeted the TARDIS crew as they entered the room. ‘We require your help desperately, Doctor,’ he said. ‘Our spies have notified us that the Daleks have constructed a Time-Ram cannon, with which they intend to destroy the Cyber race - and you, Doctor.’

‘We know,’ replied the Doctor. ‘We require a diversion. If the Cybermen distract the Daleks, force them to leave their base, then we could invade, and disarm the Time-Ram.’

‘Exactly what we had in mind,’ said the Mondasian Leader.

‘The Invasion of Tegdub will begin in two hours time,’ added a Neo-Morph.

Two hours later, the first bomb hit the surface of Tegdub. The Cyber ships landed, and the Daleks took the bait.

The invasion had begun.

CHAPTER FIVE - THE FALL OF AN EMPIRE

The Black Dalek stood on a ledge, overlooking the barrel of the Time-Ram cannon. The barrel was about ten feet across, hexagonal, with a whirling vortex of light and sound in its depths.

The Emperor glided onto the ledge beside the Black Dalek.

‘All is ready, My Lord,’ reported the Black Dalek.

‘Excellent,’ replied the Emperor. ‘The Doctor will be certain to try and destroy the Ram.’

The Emperor's dome cracked along the middle, and slid back, revealing a mutilated head.

‘And when he does,’ hissed Davros, ‘then victory shall be ours!’

The shuttlecraft containing the TARDIS crew shot towards the surface of Tegdub, and landed in a crevasse near the Dalek base. The face of the Cyber Controller appeared on the communication screen.

‘We wish you the best of luck, Doctors,’ he stated.

The Doctors left the crevasse, and headed towards the Dalek base.

‘How come you trust the Cybermen, Doctor?’ asked Ace (companions are only really good at one thing, and that's asking silly questions to make the Doctor look smart).

‘I don't, Ace,’ replied the Third Doctor.

‘Thing is,’ said the Fifth Doctor, ‘that for once we've got a common cause.’

The First Doctor nodded. ‘With the Time-Ram the Daleks will be unstoppable.’

‘Besides,’ said the Second Doctor, ‘the Cybermen deserve at least some space of their own.’

Ace turned to Doctor number Six. ‘You haven't said much in this story,’ she stated.

‘I've got a major speech impediment,’ he replied glumly, with perfect clarity.

‘Really, what's that?’ asked Ace.

‘The author hates me,’ he answered.

By then, the group had reached a dune, just behind the entrance to the Dalek base.

‘It doesn't seem to be guarded,’ said the Doctor, cautiously.

‘Right, let's move in,’ suggested the Fourth Doctor, determinedly.

‘Boo,’ grated the leader of the Dalek squad behind them.

‘Well, I s'pose that's one way of getting in,’ mused number Four.

‘Follow,’ ordered the Dalek leader.

The group followed the Daleks through the entrance to the Dalek base. They walked along a corridor, until they came to a heavy-looking silver door. The door opened, and the party was ushered inside.

Instantly, they were met by Davros. Each Doctor responded with a different reaction.

‘Davros!’

‘Uh-oh.’

‘Whoops!’

‘At last we meet!’

‘Why can't the author be a bit more - HUH!’

‘Anyone got an idea?’

‘Hi, Dave!’

The six of them turned to look at number Four. ‘Dave?’ they chorused.

‘Our mother told us that if we didn't have anything nice about someone, not to say anything at all.’

‘No matter,’ said Davros. ‘I have waited a long time for this, Doctor,’ he rasped. He turned to the Dalek squad that had brought the TARDIS crew in. ‘You may leave,’ he gasped. He turned back to the Doctors. ‘Prepare to meet your ultimate nemesis, Doctor,’ he hissed.

A panel in his Dalek-like casing swung back, and a small gun barrel protruded. ‘This is a particle eraser,’ he said with relish. ‘It is similar to the Time-Ram, but because of its small size, instead of destroying your entire body at once, it destroys you piece by piece. Not surprisingly, this causes a large amount of pain.’ He chuckled. ‘Goodbye, Doctor!’

He fired the weapon. A beam of multi-coloured light arched across the room, striking the Doctor on the arm. The Doctor screamed in agony, and collapsed on the ground, unconscious.

Ace lost control. ‘You're history, you mutant scum!’ she screamed. She dove behind Davros, and pushed him forward into the Time-Ram barrel.

There was a crackling sound, a scream of pain, and then - all pervading silence.

Suddenly there was a bang, and a pillar of fire shot up from inside the barrel.

‘The Time-Ram's unstable!’ cried the Second Doctor. ‘If we're not out of here in about ten minutes, we'll all be vaporised!’

Number Four picked up the Doctor, and headed towards the door.

Once outside, the Second Doctor produced a small device from his pocket. He pressed a button on the device, and a small diode began to flash. Seconds later, there was a whirring/grinding sound, and the TARDIS materialised. Ace fished a key from inside the Doctor's shoe, and opened the door. They dragged the Doctor inside, and took off.

Once inside, the Second Doctor operated the communications system.

‘This is the Doctor, calling the Cyber Controller. Do you copy?’

‘Affirmative,’ came the voice of the Cyber Controller.

‘You must leave Tegdub immediately, or your forces will be destroyed!’

‘Complying,’ came the reply.

The TARDIS left the system at top speed. Behind it, the planet of the ones that never quite made it exploded into a billion pieces...

EPILOGUE

The Doctor lay on a stretcher in the console room.

‘He won't last long with his arm like that,’ said the First Doctor.

‘Regeneration can only be an improvement,’ assured the Third Doctor, gently.

‘Then he'll be alright?’ asked Ace, hopefully.

‘Maybe - maybe not,’ answered the Fifth Doctor. ‘Nobody knows until he's changed.’

‘In the meantime,’ said the Sixth Doctor, ‘we should try and work out how to get home.’

‘I've already worked it out,’ stated number Four. ‘If we're in the Transmat system when he regenerates, then it should bounce us back to our own timestreams.’

‘Brilliant,’ said number Five. ‘I think I even remember what you're talking about.’

The First Doctor set the Transmat controls, and stepped onto the transporter pad with his fellows.

On the stretcher, the Doctor started to stir...

The Doctor's mind was a blur. A whirling vortex of light and sound seemed to hover before his eyes. He could hear voices in the background calling his name. Voices that sounded strangely familiar...

Visions of past adventures passed through his mind - amongst the confusion he recognised some of his past adversaries... The Daleks... The Axons... The Silurians... Draconians...

He heard his companions, all crying out for him to live... Then he saw - himself. Himself changing, six times, disappearing in a flood of the Time Lord hormone, Limbod. He saw his faces circling him, faster and faster, his present face split in two, half of it darkening and blurring, overtaking the other...

As Ace watched, the Doctor's body seemed to go out of focus, shining with a blue light that reached out in all directions. At the same time, the Transmat pad started to throb with energy, the six Doctors becoming transparent.

For a second the Doctor appeared on the pad. He grinned at Ace. ‘You're in charge now, Ace. Look after the TARDIS until my new persona wakes up - good luck!’

Then they'd gone, leaving Ace and the new Doctor alone...

This item appeared in Timestreams 4 (April 1992).

Index nodes: Fiction