Chapter 4

The Garden of Fond Memories

Dressed in splendid blue tunics, their made-up faces painted with intricate blue patterns, the Attendants stood at attention in the main Hall receiving a final briefing from Jobel in preparation for the President's visit.

‘Now this is a big day at Tranquil Repose, and I don't want anything to go wrong.’ (Jobel's reputation was on the line - and he knew it!) ‘The key word is respect,’ he continued. ‘To you, the President's wife is a stiff. But to him, she is a loved one who has passed on to pastures finer and lusher than those she knew in life.’ He marched up and down the Hall gazing at the Attendants as if he were an army sergeant inspecting the troops. The Attendants all stood to attention, not even daring to breathe in case they were given a harsh reprimand.

‘Now, although the President has yet to arrive, the utmost decorum is to be shown from this moment on. Black cotton gloves are to be worn at all times, and there will be no smoking, swearing, or drinking of herbal mixtures in the presence of the deceased.’

The body of the President's wife still lay in all her splendour, painted gold, covered with carefully arranged flowers, on the marble table on the dais behind Jobel.

‘Are you picking your nose?!’ he shouted at one Attendant whom he saw in the corner of his eye scratching his nostril. The Attendant dropped his hand to his side and vigorously shook his head. Two female Attendants giggled. Jobel shot them a warning glance and leered at the male Attendant. ‘I should hope not.’

He resumed his pep-talk: ‘All necessary conversation will be conducted in a whisper, and anyone who breaks these rules - inadvertently or deliberately - between now and the President's departure will find themselves scrubbing out the preparation room for the next month with a toothbrush!’ He stopped his pacing and faced the group. ‘Understood?’ The Attendants all nodded in agreement. Satisfied, Jobel dismissed them.

He sighed. It was going to be a difficult afternoon, he declared. He headed for the outer door. He just had to get some fresh air...

Meanwhile at her factory, Kara and Orcini were making last minute arrangements. Kara handed Orcini a bulky black box. He studied the device which had a series of coloured buttons on the front.

‘Nice, isn't it?’ she droned.

‘Incredibly compact,’ agreed Vogel.

‘Our engineers do such wonderful work,’ she continued.

Bostock leaned over to his master. ‘They're like a double-act!’ he whispered.

‘What does the box do?’ asked Orcini, his curiosity on edge.

‘It's a one-way transmitter,’ replied Kara.

Orcini raised an eyebrow. ‘That big?’ He had used similar devices before but they were usually compact enough to hide in one's pocket.

‘It is fitted with a built-in booster,’ explained Vogel. ‘Davros's laboratories are buried deep within the catacombs. Like the speelsnape, he buries his head beneath rocks and pretends that nothing can see him.’

Bostock took the box from Orcini's hand and studied the controls. ‘Will this help us find Davros - or are you wanting us to give you a running commentary as we go?’ he said sarcastically.

‘Even with Davros dead, he is not without his followers,’ pointed out Kara. ‘And like the disciples of any fanatic, they will not give up without a struggle.’

She pointed to the box. ‘As you can see, the device has a series of buttons. I will give you a simple five digit sequence which will activate the transmitter. That you must do the moment you enter Davros's laboratory. The moment you strike the final button, a pre-recorded signal will be transmitted to me and I will mobilise my forces to eliminate Davros's agents here and take over his entire base.’

‘No message - no rebellion,’ interjected Vogel, ‘and madam will remain safe.’

Orcini was sceptical. ‘And what if the transmitter is captured?’

‘If the transmitter is tampered with in any way,’ replied Vogel, ‘the message contained within the circuitry will simply melt away.’

‘Our engineers have thought of everything,’ smiled Kara with satisfaction.

Bostock felt uneasy. ‘I don't like it; too many safe-guards. It's as if we're expected to get caught.’

But it was Orcini who dismissed Bostock's apprehension. ‘He is a born pessimist,’ he sighed. ‘A doubter of other people's motives. As a rule, his instincts are infallible. The only time I didn't listen to him, I received this...’ He struck his artificial left leg with his cane. A dull metallic thud sounded.

Kara stood. ‘My dear Orcini. If we'd any doubts concerning yourself, do you really think we'd be having this conversation? Your reputation is legendary. It's said that you only have to breathe on a victim and he is dead.’

‘Oh, I never listen to the foolish things people say about me,’ laughed the Grand Master. ‘I'm fully aware of my own mortality -’ his smile faded, ‘- as you should be of yours.’

Kara could sense the hint of a threat. ‘Of course, of course,’ she said. ‘But you must appreciate that the safety features of the box are but a mere precaution. Nobody expects you to fail - I should have too much to lose if you did.’

Bostock could see the reasoning in her statement. ‘That makes sense,’ he said, nodding.

‘Yes - but understand one thing,’ Orcini said threateningly. ‘If at any time I smell treachery, the ‘skill’ I will use against Davros will be turned against you!’ To demonstrate that this was no idle threat, he held his hand palm upwards and snapped his fingers. A long thin blade flashed from out of his sleeve into his hand.

She pulled back from the deadly weapon. ‘Of c-c-course,’ she stammered.

‘Good,’ he said, and replaced the knife back inside his sleeve. ‘I'm not interested in your political ambitions. I undertake this mission for one reason only: the honour of killing Davros.’

‘We shall need maps showing his precise location,’ pointed out Bostock.

Vogel handed him a small leather satchel. ‘They are all prepared.’

‘And transport?’

‘Also arranged,’ replied the little secretary. ‘But for obvious reasons, it can only take you to the edge of Davros's camp.’

Bostock's face fell as he heard this. He did not like the idea of moving in on an enemy without proper cover. Besides which, he would have to carry all the equipment.

‘The walk will do us good,’ Orcini said. ‘You will not hear from us again - except as a signal from this.’ He held up the transmitter.

‘Which we will await with eager anticipation,’ purred Kara.

The Grand Master clicked his heels together in salute and made for the door.

‘Orcini!’ Kara called. ‘I have not yet given you the coded sequence.’

‘Of course,’ he laughed, and he handed her back the transmitter.

Tasambeker was escorted into Davros's chamber by a Dalek. Having received Jobel's message that the Great Healer had requested an audience with her, she decided to change into her best uniform and funerary makeup first. She had never met the Great Healer before and wanted to make a good impression.

The Great Healer was always isolated from the general staff at Tranquil Repose. Only select employees such as Jobel and Takis had had the privilege of a meeting with the brilliant scientist. This was the first time that she had even seen the Great Healer face to face, and the sight of the figure in the protective glass dome was something of a shock to her.

‘You sent for me?’ she said, her voice quivering. Davros turned to face her.

‘Yes, child. I have been watching your progress these last few months and I am pleased with what I have seen.’

‘Thank you, Great Healer.’ There was fear in her voice.

‘You have a good attitude for your work,’ he continued. ‘And you have a pleasing personality.’ Tasambeker smiled. This was the first time anyone had paid her such a compliment. Such respect from the Great Healer was an honour indeed.

‘Who is the head of your department?’ he enquired.

‘Mr Jobel.’

‘Of course. I shall speak with him.’ The Great Healer turned away from her. ‘Tell him - if you are agreeable, of course - that I shall like you transferred to my personal staff.’

‘I shall be delighted - and honoured,’ she smiled, causing her makeup to crack.

‘Good. You will find the work very different from that you have been used to but I am sure you will find it rewarding.’

‘Thank you.’ Confidence was returning to her voice. The head of Tranquil Repose turned to face her again. His eyes, though sightless, bore right into her. She shivered.

‘Please me and I can offer you the Universe!’ The Great Healer turned away from her once more and fell silent. Tasambeker was unsure what to do. She decided that the Great Healer was finished with her, and turned to leave.

‘Stay with me,’ the Great Healer called out. ‘Stay, and see what goes on down here. I will tell Jobel where you are.’

‘Thank you,’ she squeaked. She always wondered what the Great Healer did to be so great. And she was about to find out...

Not only did the catacombs beneath Tranquil Repose serve as Davros's laboratories, they also made excellent prison-cells. Natasha and Grigory were shackled by their wrists to the walls in one of the cells. For the last half hour they had been interrogated by Takis and Lilt. But their captors refused to listen to their story. As with any interrogation, the interrogators wanted the prisoners to say what they wanted to hear, regardless of whether it was the truth or not.

‘Why do you keep going on and on about body snatching? He was my father!’ screamed Natasha. Her face was bruised and cut. Dried blood marked her lips and cheeks.

Takis and Lilt were more interested in their reasons, and not their excuses. ‘Why didn't you apply legally for his body?’ asked Takis.

‘Do you think I didn't try!’ she burst. ‘The law is against you. It's impossible to get a body back from here!’

‘So you decided to steal it,’ sneered Lilt.

Takis was becoming bored with hearing the same things over and over again. ‘Let's not go over that again.’

Grigory raised his aching head. ‘Agreed,’ he croaked, his voice weak from the beating he had received. His fear of dying in agony was becoming a horrible reality for him. ‘It is all rather a waste of time.’

‘Shut your face!’ bellowed Lilt, grabbing Grigory by the chin and slamming his head against the wall of the cell.

But Takis was beginning to feel that the two prisoners were telling the truth; they didn't know anything. ‘I've had enough of this. Tell them.’

Grigory nodded. Despite all the beatings, it was all becoming perfectly clear to him. ‘There's no need to. It's suddenly become obvious. You can't get a body back from here because those who make the laws don't want you to.’

‘He's right,’ said Lilt, a little surprised. ‘For a drunk, he's not so stupid.’

But Natasha was still in the dark. ‘I don't understand.’

Takis took up the story. ‘There isn't room for all the bodies. The idea of this place just doesn't work. The galaxy can barely support the people alive now.’

‘And not only that,’ cut in Lilt, ‘there are a lot of people - important people - in here. Just imagine what would happen if they all went home. They'd be in direct competition with those now holding power.’

Grigory nodded in understanding. ‘Those who presently make the law.’

‘But that isn't fair!’ screamed Natasha. It was all too horrible to comprehend.

‘Neither is the fact that you'll still be hanged for body-snatching,’ pointed out Lilt. ‘It is a capital offence on Necros.’

Grigory was astonished. ‘But when there isn't even a body? Attempting to steal a mannequin can hardly carry a death penalty.’

Lilt smiled at Takis. ‘This one has finally woken up.’

‘But there will be a body,’ continued Takis.

‘But in how many pieces?’ Grigory realised that they were as good as dead. Their trial - if it even got as far as a trial - would be a farce. They would simply become an example to others not to try and steal from Tranquil Repose. ‘You know as well as I do that the only part of Stengos that exists is his head!’

Takis frowned. What was this idiot babbling about?

‘The remains that you produce for the court will have to be manufactured,’ continued Grigory.

‘That will be difficult to prove,’ pointed out Takis.

Grigory thought for a moment. ‘That is assuming there will be a trial.’

‘The due process of the law will be seen to be done,’ said Takis.

‘Oh, yeah? I'm delighted,’ Grigory said sarcastically. ‘Though I am somewhat amazed to hear it.’

Lilt was beginning to get edgy. He pulled Takis to one side. ‘We must maintain our credibility,’ he whispered. Takis nodded in agreement.

He turned back to the prisoners. ‘Enough! What we want to know are the names of your accomplices.’

Grigory was fed up. ‘Oh, really!’

Lilt grabbed him by the hair again and pushed him against the wall, hard. ‘You were saying?’

‘Don't tell them!’ shouted Natasha.

‘Soften him up a bit, Lilt,’ said Takis. ‘I'm going for a walk. Let me know when he decides to talk.’ With that, he left the cell.

Lilt grinned, and leered at Grigory. Without Takis's supervision, he could now do what he liked to the prisoners. He seized the silver flask hanging around Grigory's neck, opened it and sniffed at the contents. He recognised the harsh vapours of voxnix. He once more grabbed Grigory by the hair, and forced his head backwards. Lilt then poured the entire contents of the flask down Grigory's throat. The surgeon coughed and spluttered as the burning liquid flowed into him.

‘No! You'll kill him,’ pleaded Natasha. But Lilt ignored her.

Takis was deep in thought. He had a lot to think about. He also needed some fresh air; the dampness of the cells made him feel ill.

He thought over the events of the last few hours. Firstly there were the deaths of two Attendants and the guard. The culprits had been apprehended but their story of missing bodies made him worried. Secondly, the fact there were Daleks on patrol in the upper levels meant that the Great Healer was feeling threatened. It was after all the Great Healer who informed him and Lilt about the ‘body-snatchers' in the first place. What - or who - did the Great Healer have to fear? In these moods, the Great Healer was unpredictable. He had shown that he was not a force to be reckoned with.

Takis reflected back to the time before the Great Healer had come. Tranquil Repose had been doing rather well for itself despite business falling somewhat. And then he arrived. Everyone bowed to his every command. In no time at all he had taken over the running of the complex while remaining hidden away in his laboratory and never leaving its protection. It was a few years later that the Daleks appeared. His personal body guards, the Great Healer had called them. But Takis knew precisely what the Daleks were. His family had been killed during an unprovoked Dalek attack on a cruise-liner travelling between Earth and Draconia.

Takis was aware that there were other Daleks searching for their creator; he had been with the Great Healer when surveillance picked up a passing ship which the Great Healer feared may have been the Supreme Dalek's cruiser. Takis had never seen the Great Healer so frightened before.

Frightened? Takis pondered on this last thought for a while. Fear seemed to be the only weapon that could be used against the Great Healer. He made a decision, one that he knew he could regret. But there was really no alternative. He headed for the communications room.

At a distance, the pyramids of Tranquil Repose had been impressive. But close up, they were even more so, thought Peri.

They had now reached the main entrance - a ramp which lead underground. Peri stopped and gazed at the huge complex in wonder. The Doctor, well ahead of her, was striding purposefully down the brightly lit ramp-way. Peri quickened her pace to catch up to him. A movement in the corner of her eye made her stop and turn. She caught a glimpse of something white behind them, moving between the statues that bordered the path.

‘Doctor!’ she shouted.

The Time Lord appeared at her side. ‘What is it?’

‘I don't know. Some kind of machinery.’

The Doctor looked around, but he couldn't see anything. ‘Well, whatever it was it's gone.’

Peri looked across to where there was a group of tall monuments arranged around a long narrow pond running perpendicular to the pathway. The Doctor was right, she thought, there's nothing there now, but...

The monument at the head of the pond caught her eye. There was something strangely familiar about it. ‘Then I suggest you take a look over there,’ she pointed.

At first he didn't see what it was she was pointing at, but when he did, his face broke out into a worried frown. ‘I don't believe it!’ he shouted. Without another word, he dashed towards the statue...

The DJ was watching the Doctor and Peri. He noticed the look of concern on the Doctor's face. ‘Hey, guys,’ he drawled. ‘What's going on here? This guy looks like the walking dead.’ He raised his eyebrows. ‘Hey, which one of you guys is out of your casket?’

The Doctor looked up at the monolith. The sightless eyes of the face carved from the marble seemed to peer down at him. It was a face he knew very well. Its noble brow, the cat-like eyes. He had studied this face on many occasions in the mirror on board the TARDIS.

The face was his own.

‘No, no, no!’ he cried.

‘Well, don't you like it?’ asked Peri. ‘It's not a bad likeness.’

‘This is dreadful!’ he exclaimed.

‘Is it?’ she said, misunderstanding him. She thought the sculptor had captured the Doctor's features perfectly.

‘This place,’ he said, indicating the pond and field of statues, ‘is the Garden of Fond Memories. I've somehow managed to arrive after my own death.’

Peri frowned. ‘But that's not possible.’

‘With the TARDIS it is. This statue is of me as I am now. I shall never again regenerate.’

‘It must be a joke. Someone's having you on,’ she suggested.

‘No, no,’ he dismissed. ‘I've arrived in the future - and I'm dead!’

She shook her head in disbelief. ‘But it can't be.’

He turned to her. ‘Look at it this way,’ he explained. ‘If I were to take you to Earth after you had died, it would be possible for you to see your own gravestone.’

She now realised the seriousness of the situation. At some near point in his own personal future, the Doctor would return to Necros, but in the planet's recent past. He would die, and be buried here in the Garden of Fond Memories.

‘It's a gag,’ she offered.

‘Gag?! Gag?!’ he burst. ‘Do you realise how much a thing like this would cost? Far too much for someone to play fun and games.’ Once again he looked at the frozen image of his face. ‘And I thought I was good for a few more regenerations.’

The Doctor had already regenerated five times, and had a further seven regenerations before his body burnt itself out. But the statue's presence meant that he would die in this current form. The cause of death must have been extreme if it meant that regeneration had not been possible. This was his favourite of the six forms that he had worn so far, but even the Doctor wouldn't be that vain to choose death in preference to giving up his favourite body..?

Peri was familiar with the Doctor's ability to regenerate. In fact, she had even witnessed the miraculous metamorphosis. A while back, the Doctor had been infected with spectrox whilst on the planet Androzani Minor. He collapsed in the TARDIS and changed before her eyes. She had once been very attracted to the young fair-haired Time Lord whom she first met on Lanzarote, but the new version, she felt, was less appealing.

She had even met a much earlier incarnation of the Doctor. The other Doctor had been taken prisoner by aliens known as Sontarans and her Doctor went to his rescue. She liked the little man, and still found it hard to accept that he would become the person that she now travelled with.

She looked up at the lifeless face, immortalised in stone. ‘If you're going to die, then what's going to happen to me? I can't fly the TARDIS.’ Then it struck her. ‘Unless there's a statue of me somewhere?’

She walked away, the thoughts weighing heavily on her mind. The Doctor returns to this planet and dies, but do I die also? ...but I'm too young to die... maybe I'm still alive, and alone on this planet... will I meet myself here..?

The Doctor hadn't notice that she had left his side. ‘I never thought the precogniscence of my own death would be so disturbing,’ he mused.

Peri's search for her grave was thankfully proving fruitless. She was now at the opposite end of the pond. She looked back to see the Doctor still standing before his own gravestone. The still, white features sent a cold shiver down her spine.

Then she blinked. Had the statue moved? No, surely not. Probably just the reflection of the sun in the pond. But as she looked again, she could see that the tall stone was moving... it was tipping over - and the Doctor was standing right in its path!

‘Doctor! Look out - the statue!’ she shouted.

Her cries brought the Time Lord back to reality. He looked up to see his stone twin looming over him like an angel of death. He held up his hands to protect himself, but it was too late.

With a loud crash, the stone doppelganger claimed its victim...

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