By Jeff Stone

And such was the pride of Icarus that he soared ever upwards into the firmament, and lo did the sun burn him and rob him of his wings...
-- The Legend of Icarus and Daedalus

The Atlantic Ocean - May 5, 1937

The moon cast its baleful light upon the cloud obscuring the Earth, as if it were searching for a gap through which to pour its cold illumination.

A stately albatross, wings spread powerfully, soared through the still night air, the ghostly satellite its only companion on its long journey to the breeding grounds. Then, with the abruptness of a curtain closing, the bird found itself in darkness. Albatross are extremely intelligent animals, and it was no puzzle to this particular specimen as to what had happened; something large was passing in front of the Sky Light. What it did not know was what the offending object was. Unconcerned, the proud bird flew on.

The Sky Light's obscurer was an enormous and incredibly beautiful object. Two hundred metres long from end to end, it sailed almost noiselessly through the sky under the power of six mighty piston engines. Constructed of steel, duralumin alloy and fabric, this Leviathan was held aloft by some sixty-three million litres of volatile hydrogen gas. It was the largest aircraft ever built; it was a marvel of technology. Unfortunately, it was also the symbol of a barbaric and evil dictatorship. Swastikas adorned its tail fins.

It was an airship; its name was ‘Hindenburg’.

Like the truly staggering giant that it was, the massive airship dwarfed all around it - the moon, birds, the occasional airplane and the like. Thus, the size of the missile plunging towards it from space was indeed insignificant. Whistling softly as it came, the tiny object hit the silvered hull of the Hindenburg and punched straight through. Like the albatross, the airship flew on, undamaged and unconcerned.

Inside, the object struck a girder and crashed to a stop. It lay on one of the ship's catwalk gangways for a time, then miniscule articulated claws extended from its body and it raised itself off the floor. Landing had been achieved, it noted, as it scuttled away into the shadows of the airship's interior.

Feeding could now commence...

Darren ‘DJ’ Johnson ran an anxious hand over his teeth, making sure that he had not lost any in the crash-landing the TARDIS had just made. He sighed with relief as he discovered all of his filling-free pearly-whites were intact. The young skateboarder looker around at the scene of disarray that met his eyes in the TARDIS Console Room.

‘What was it you said, Doc?’ he enquired of a heap of clothes covered with books that was heaped in a corner. ‘This landing wouldn't ripple the skin on a custard? Well, it wouldn't if it was frozen solid.’

The mound of clothes stirred and a very annoyed Doctor (now in his eighth incarnation) rose up from where the coatstand and a bookcase had fallen on him. He scowled, frown lines creasing his rich dark skin.

‘Alright, alright! So I was wrong! It's not my fault the stabilizer cones decided to fail just as we were landing! Honestly, sometimes I don't know why I ever left Gallifrey...’

Sensing that the Doctor was about to launch into one of his ‘Oh ye of little faith’ speeches, DJ quickly joined him at the console and activated the scanner. ‘Cheer up, Doc; we landed in the right place anyway, no harm d... where the hell are we?’ The boy's face fell.

‘Well, it certainly isn't Florana,’ the Time Lord mused. Instead of Florana's lush vegetation and sandy beaches, the scanner screen showed a dim picture of criss-crossing metal girders and pipes. DJ sighed - they'd goofed again.

Some time later, the double doors of the TARDIS cracked open and the two travellers stepped out to examine their surroundings. As usual, the Doctor gazed around with all the curious wonder that seven hundred years of exploration gave one. DJ, by contrast, was shifting his weight from foot to foot impatiently, longing to be off and away again.

It seemed to the duo that they had landed in a gigantic enclosed amphitheatre; an intricate network of steel girders and wire struts radiated out around them, ending in a vast curved wall of soft-looking material. They were standing on a broad gangway that ran for scores of metres in both directions - southwards, the chamber tapered gradually; northwards, it widened. At the two ends of the gangway, billowing fabric gas cells formed walls. What little light there was appeared to be seeping through the near-opaque walls; the only noise was a steady background hum.

A look of wonder suddenly emblazoned itself across the Doctor's face. ‘Good grief, DJ,’ he breathed. ‘Incredible - we're inside an airship.’

‘Really?’ DJ was genuinely impressed as he looked around more closely and saw it was true. ‘Heck! I thought you couldn't land the TARDIS inside a moving object. Bit of a record, eh, Doc?’ he smiled.

The Time Lord nodded modestly. ‘It's very difficult, yes. Mind you, we landed here by accident, so that's even more amazing.’ A sudden thought made him pause for a moment; he frowned. ‘Oh dear.’

‘What's wrong?’

‘A little history test here, DJ,’ the Doctor said by way of an answer. ‘Airships this big were used during the 1930s. What were they filled with, hmmm?’

DJ thought for a second. ‘Umm, I did an essay on airships at high school... um, yeah, hydrogen! They used to fill ‘em with hydrogen.’

‘Which is why they kept exploding,’ the Doctor informed.

DJ's new sense of cheer faded abruptly as he realised what the Doctor was getting at. ‘Sheesus, we don't want to be on this thing if it decides to do the big firework! Let's go!’

For once, the Time Lord let his young friend lead the way back to the TARDIS. They were just at its doors when a loud click made them whirl around.

‘Who in the name of God are you two, and what are you doing in this pressure hull?’ demanded the man that faced them. The stranger was formally dressed in a German Kreigsmarine naval uniform and was holding a revolver. His steel-grey eyes seemed to burrow into the Doctor as he struggled for a sensible answer. None was forthcoming, so the naval officer nodded.

‘As I thought; stowaways,’ he said derisively. ‘And a Negro one at that.’

Incensed by this, DJ spoke up. ‘Don't you call the Doctor a Negro, you bas-’

He was halted by the Doctor's hand on his shoulder. The boy turned around. ‘It's not worth it, DJ,’ the Time Lord said softly.

The man spoke again. ‘Doctor, eh? Very well, Doctor; walk in front of me. I'm sure that Captain Lehmann will be overjoyed to meet you... and your young medical student.’ The officer laughed. ‘Now, march! Rauss! Rauss!’

The Kreigsmarine officer, whose name (according to his uniform badge) was Spengler, frogmarched them up to the north gas cell and opened a hatchway in the floor. Stepping down, the time travellers were greeted with a scene of decadent splendour that was 1930s Germany.

A long promenade hall stretched before them, lined with comfortable chairs and exquisitely laid tables. Rich-looking carpet cushioned their feet, and a baby grand piano in the corner tinkled melodiously. Dotted around were the airship's passengers, well-to-do men and women from all four corners of the globe. DJ, in his psychedelically-coloured skating clothes, and the Doctor in his casual leather jacket, sweatshirt and stonewash jeans, felt lost at sea amidst the smoking jackets and pearl necklaces.

As they were pushed towards the far end of the lounge, DJ peered out of the louvre-shuttered windows that made up most of the room's left wall, at the late-evening sea rolling past far below. It was a beautiful sight, and DJ immediately understood why men had fallen in love with the airship.

But the Time Lord's attention was more drawn to the huge painting on the other wall - a giant swastika flag soaring through the clouds, underneath of which there flew a much smaller airship. The painting's caption read:

S.S. Hindenburg - Pride Of Germany!
Long Live National Socialism! Long Live The Fuhrer!

‘You've got about seven or eight years left,’ the Doctor whispered to the Nazi regime that surrounded them. ‘Make the most of them, you monsters.’

The Time Lord and his young companion were escorted by Spengler along the entire length of the Hindenburg's passenger gondola to the control cabin in the forward section of the airship. In contrast to the relaxed atmosphere of the passenger area, the ‘bridge’ of this flying Titanic was a hive of activity. DJ boggled at the airship's steering wheel, which was exactly like that of an ocean-going vessel. At this throwback from the days of sails was a tall, erect man of middle age. Spengler got his attention.

‘Captain! I caught these stowaways in the pressure cell, trying to break into a strange box. What would you have me do with them?’

Captain Ernst Lehmann of the Reichsluftfahrtministerium Zeppelinbau (Reich Air Ministry, Airship Division) turned around to inspect the nervous duo. Unlike Spengler, his expression was quite friendly, unhardened by the empire he belonged to. ‘Stowaways?’ he enquired, a wry smile on his lips. ‘Now that is rare. What are their names?’

Spengler opened his mouth to answer, but the Doctor stepped forward and shook Lehmann by the hand vigorously. ‘Hello! I'm the Doctor, and this is my friend DJ.’

DJ ventured a ‘How's it going, man?’ to which the Captain nodded in reply.

‘Charmed, I'm sure.’ Lehmann's face grew stern. ‘Now, if I was to follow procedure, I'd have both of you locked in the brig until we reach New Jersey. But you may be able to help us and make yourselves useful.’

‘Oh? How?’ the Doctor enquired helpfully. Being shut in the brig was not something the Time Lord wanted to have happen if he could avoid it.

Lehmann looked concerned as he said: ‘You are really a doctor, aren't you?’ A nod. ‘Good. We have need of another physician. One of my crew has fallen ill, and Dr Henkel is at a loss as to what is wrong with him. Perhaps the two of you can work together..?’ Lehmann waited for the Doctor's assent, which he got, then turned to Spengler.

‘Take the Doctor to the sick-bay. The boy will stay here.’ DJ's protest died on his lips when he saw the Doctor nod solemnly at him; he knew better than to ignore such a signal. Spengler led the Gallifreyan out of the bridge, leaving DJ to gaze at the airship's controls. Lehmann, who was a kindly man at heart, explained some of the Hindenburg's workings to the boy, and then allowed him to fly the airship for a while. At the mighty craft's wheel DJ grinned broadly; this was turning out to be a lot of fun!

In the darkness, the creature stirred. Its sensors indicated another target was approaching. Tensing its tiny servomotors, the being waited until its prey was within range. Five metres, three... it leapt onto the back of the large life-form that had strayed within range, then inserted its probe into its fleshy back.

It was interesting how quickly they stopped struggling after that happened, the creature noted...

Doctor William Henkel scowled at the back of the Time Lord as he examined the ill crewman. He found it insulting to be replaced as top medical authority on the Hindenburg by a stowaway; and a nigger stowaway, at that! Nevertheless, Henkel sighed, he did seem to know what he was doing...

‘He's been poisoned. Hmm, yes, there's no doubt,’ the Doctor announced at length. On the bed, the crewman lay virtually comatose. Cold sweat streamed down the wretch's face, and his entire body was shuddering convulsively. It didn't take a doctor to realise that the poor individual was not long for this world. Henkel sniffed arrogantly.

‘I had arrived at that conclusion myself,’ he informed the Time Lord. ‘What I am stumped about is why someone would want to poison him... and how. It can't have been the food - we've all eaten the same thing.’

The Doctor nodded in agreement and directed the German's attention to a small puncture-wound on the crewman's shoulder. It was very small, and only just visible.

‘How, my dear Henkel?’ the Doctor replied. ‘This poor man was injected with whatever is causing this - some kind of cyanide, I shouldn't wonder. Why? I have absolutely no idea. Personal vendetta, maybe?’

Henkel considered this. ‘Hmm, perhaps. This man is a Nazi Party member, like myself and most of the crew. But a few crewmen are not Party. Maybe one of them is trying to strike a blow against the Reich?’ The little doctor shook his head sadly. ‘Gerber was a good man...’

The Doctor would have nothing of fatalistic talk. ‘He's not dead yet, old chap!’ The Time Lord clicked his fingers impatiently. ‘C'mon, c'mon! You want to save this man? Then get me some sterilised instruments!’ As the Doctor rolled up his sleeves, ready to begin a proper medical examination, Henkel left in search of instruments. He was seething - now I'm a bloody errand-boy! he fumed.

‘And she's buy-hi-hi-ying a stairway to hea-ven...’

The passengers of the Hindenburg clapped joyously as DJ finished his impromptu piano recital on the baby grand. Silently thanking his aunt for all those lessons years ago, the boy got up and accepted an offered drink.

‘Just marvellous, young fellow!’ the man who had bought him the drink enthused. He sat down with DJ at a table and lit a pipe. ‘Did you write that?’

DJ grinned slyly to himself as he sipped his screwdriver. ‘Uhh... yeah. But I had a lot of help from a... umm... jazz band named after this airship. Led Zepplin. Heard of them?’

The man, of course, had not, and merely shook DJ's hand again. ‘The name's Oscar. Oscar Renfield. And you are..?’

‘Darren Johnson. My friends call me DJ.’

Oscar considered this for a moment. ‘DJ, eh? Hmm, quite catchy.’ He turned his attention to another topic. ‘So, what brings a young lad like you to a place like this? Are you travelling alone?’

DJ was about to reply when a heart-rending scream shattered the calm of the promenade lounge. DJ immediately got to his feet and followed the second cry. Oscar, miffed at being abandoned, raced after him.

‘Wait for me!’ he puffed. Damn youngsters these days...

DJ and Oscar burst into the sickbay to find the Doctor, Captain Lehmann and Dr Henkel trying to restrain the crewman, who was convulsing violently. Lehmann glanced up at the newcomers. ‘Out of here... now!’

‘But...’ DJ began. Lehmann, not willing to argue, opened his mouth to yell at the stubborn stowaway when a hideous liquid ripping noise erupted from the crewman. All eyes turned to him; DJ's stomach nearly ejected itself out of his mouth at the sight all present now saw.

The crewman's head had just split apart, spattering blood and brain tissue all over the walls. And crawling out of the grisly morass that remained of the man's head came a metal spider-like creature roughly the size of an orange. Its articulated claws tested the air for a moment before it leapt out of the corpse's ‘head’ and disappeared out the door.

‘Jeeeeesus h. CARHRIST!’ spluttered DJ, who was the only one who could speak at that moment. Lehmann and the Doctor just stared; Oscar gagged for breath. Dr Henkel wept openly.

Oscar and DJ sat with the Doctor at one of the tables in the lounge as the clock struck midnight, May sixth. Tired of the silence that had endured for some minutes, DJ spoke up, indignantly.

‘OK, Doc. Just what in the name of God is going on? What was that thing?’

The Doctor grimaced. ‘I'm thinking, DJ. Don't bother me.’

DJ banged the table with his fist. ‘WHAT WAS IT?!’ he repeated.

Taken aback somewhat by DJ's anger, the Doctor sighed heavily. He crossed his arms and stared at the wall for a moment, then said: ‘It was a Tekron Bioborg, DJ.’

The name meant nothing to Oscar, but it spoke volumes to DJ. The Tekrons, powerful and utterly ruthless robot creatures, were no stranger to either time-traveller. Tekrons had killed DJ's father; they had also been responsible for the Doctor's seventh regeneration. They had caused more death, misery and suffering than any other alien race before them. Now, it seemed, they were here.

‘Tekron? You mean there are Tekrons on board?’

The Doctor shook his head. ‘No; the Bioborgs are sent ahead as a kind of advance scout group, to create chaos and death before the main invasion force lands. They're also used as information gathering probes.’

Oscar raised his eyebrows in utter bafflement. ‘This sounds like something out of one of Mr Wells' science romances! Is this all true?’

‘Every word of it, Oscar.’ The Doctor resumed. ‘The thing that burst out of that poor man was injected into him by the main Borg-unit, which must be somewhere on board. Each Bioborg is made of living metal; once inside a host body, it grows to a preset size, using the body's nutrients as raw material.’ DJ grimaced with revulsion at this. ‘Once the size is reached, it escapes - any way it can. It then injects someone else, and so on.’

‘Y-you mean,’ Oscar spluttered, ‘that these things multiply?’

The Time Lord nodded. ‘By noon, this airship will be crawling with Bioborgs. Unless we find the main Borg-unit! Come on!’ He got up and raced out, followed by a frantic Oscar and DJ. Time was of the essence...

The crew unaware of any danger (Lehmann had hushed it up, thankfully) the giant airship sailed onwards towards its landfall in New Jersey. The wireless operator transmitted the six-hourly message to America: all well on board. proceeding on schedule. hindenburg out.

It was the last message the Hindenburg would ever send.

‘I've made sure that none of the passengers leave their cabins in the morning, Doctor,’ Lehmann informed the Time Lord, as the small group of people on board who were privy to the Bioborg menace conferred. The Doctor, glad that his stowaway status was being ignored for the time being, nodded.

‘Now, our Number One objective is to find the main Borg-unit. If we eliminate it, all the other Bioborgs that may be on board will expire and die.’ A glance at Henkel. ‘Where was the crewman found, old chap?’

Henkel, visibly shaken by the horror he had just witnessed, mopped his forehead with a handkerchief before replying. ‘In... in the p-pressure hull.’

Everyone's spirits fell even lower - finding a small thing like the Borg in the dark pressure hull would be like finding the proverbial needle. Except this needle was homicidal and totally evil.

‘Well,’ the Time Lord sighed, ‘that is where we shall look for it, then.’ He looked up as Spengler entered the room, holding his head. His mind racing, Lehmann approached his second-in-command for a report.

‘Any luck with finding that thing in the galley, Spengler?’ he asked.

Spengler gazed at his Captain blearily. ‘I... Captain... I...’ Suddenly, he let out a splitting scream.

‘GET AWAY FROM HIM!’ the Doctor yelled in terror.

Just as Lehmann stepped back, Spengler's head burst apart, and another Bioborg emerged. It poised to leap at Lehmann, but Oscar was quicker than the hideous metal abomination. Grabbing a rifle off the table, the Englishman brought the butt down on the Bioborg. The still-pliable metal that covered the creature's body cracked under the blow, and it flopped to the floor, wriggling gruesomely. A few more hits finally ‘killed’ it.

After the initial shock passed, the Doctor picked up the smashed Bioborg and examined it carefully. ‘Gentlemen,’ he began, ‘Spengler did not die in vain. I have an idea...’

Crewman Erich Dalgast mopped his brow with an oily rag as he prepared to enter one of the Hindenburg's six engine gondolas. Separated on long struts from the pressure hull, the powerful V-12 engines were Dalgast's ‘children’. As Chief Engineer, it was his job - no, honour - to take care of all six of the airship's motors, and it was into Engine Pod 5 that Dalgast stepped.

At once, he froze in shock - tiny metal spiders were crawling all over his beloved engine! And further, they seemed to be eating it! Indignation at this was replaced with terror as the spiders jumped at him and attached themselves to his face...

‘It's finished,’ the Doctor declared proudly, holding up the Bioborg that had killed Spengler for all to see. It was fully repaired, and looked brand new, thanks to the Time Lord's sonic screwdriver and some parts cannibalised from the bridge controls. The notion of actually fixing the hateful object puzzled everyone, most of all DJ.

‘Umm... great, Doc. Now tell us why you've done it.’

A smile. ‘Of course, my dear DJ.’ He tapped the metal spider. ‘At the moment, it's inactive; all I need to do to reanimate it is to connect this wire.’ The Doctor indicated a small wire poking out from the shiny shell.

‘But why do that?’ asked Lehmann. Oscar nodded in agreement.

‘I was about to tell you!’ the Time Lord replied angrily. Humans... ‘I've repaired our friend's motivator units, but most of the rest is smashed beyond fixing. As soon as I reconnect the power, it will scuttle off - hopefully - to its mother, as it were, where it can be properly repaired.’ He peered at the metal monster. ‘They take care of each other, the little devils.’

DJ clicked his fingers. ‘It'll find the main unit for us!’

‘Ten points, DJ. Shall we do it, then?’

‘We haven't much choice, Doctor,’ observed Lehmann. Nodding, the Time Lord reconnected the final wire. At once, the small killer hopped out of the Doctor's hand and raced across the floor, beeping softly. The group, led by the Gallifreyan, ran after it, trying to keep it in sight as it shot up the ladder into the pressure hull.

‘Follow that Bioborg!’ DJ said, a smile on his lips.

Dante would have had a hard time trying to match the scene of horror ensuing in the rear section of the airship. Feeding directly off the Hindenburg's support girders (thus requiring no host body; any substance would do for raw materials, if a body was unavailable, as long as there was a certain metal content) a swarm of almost fifty Bioborgs had cornered the terror-stricken engineering crew. It was a losing battle to ward them off; the circle around the cornered men grew tighter every second.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and his group were in pursuit of the fleeing Bioborg. Thankfully, its constant distress call made it easy to locate. Finally, the little robot ducked in under a girder and the beeping abruptly ceased. The group halted in pregnant silence.

‘The main Borg-unit is behind that bulkhead,’ the Doctor said, indicating a large bulkhead that formed one of the corners of the cell the forward gas cell sat in. ‘All that remains is for us to destroy it.’

‘With what?’ Henkel demanded. ‘We can't use guns - we might ignite the hydrogen with a stray shot.’ But the slight smile on the Doctor's face told all that he had thought of everything.

‘Of course not; I shall use this.’ He produced his sonic screwdriver. Paying a debt of gratitude to himself for finding Romana's one a while ago, he said: ‘I'll set this to a frequency that will shatter the Borg-unit's internal mechanism.’ With a few adjustments to the device's controls, the screwdriver became a sonic lance. ‘Wish me luck!’

Before anyone could move, the Doctor had ducked around the bulkhead. The sight that met his eyes was terrifying, even to a seasoned traveller like himself.

In his trusty 500-year diary, the Doctor kept full details of every creature he encountered in his travels. Bioborgs (just before Cybermats, on page 4678) he had noted, were ‘approximately eighty centimetres in length, and about half that wide.’ The Bioborg that faced him was as big as a bear.

The enormous metal spider sat gorged on the metal it had consumed, glaring at the Time Lord with two video eyes the size of basketballs. A rhythmic pulsing emanated from its burnished carapace. It was a creation only the Tekrons could have devised.

Fighting back his urge to run, the Doctor depressed the sonic screwdriver's actuator button. It emitted a loud buzzing tone at the Borg-unit.

Apart from that, nothing else happened.

‘Not close enough,’ the Time Lord muttered and darted in closer to the evil monster. As he did so, whip-like lines of coiled steel lashed out at the Doctor and ensnared him. Totally helpless, the Doctor was pulled off his feet and dragged towards the Unit. He noticed that its injector probe was as thick as a baseball bat. Oh dear, he thought...

‘Doctor!’ DJ screamed, bursting around the corner to face the Unit. Unable to let the Doctor face the creature alone, he had decided to help his 967-year-old friend. Help was needed badly.

‘The screwdriver!’ yelled the Doctor, struggling to break free. It was no use; the Borg-unit had a firm grip on him.

DJ espied the sonic screwdriver, dropped by the Gallifreyan as the Borg-unit had grabbed him, and snatched it up. ‘Got it, Doc!’ the boy yelled desperately.

‘Use it on the Borg... now!’ came the rejoinder.

Complying, DJ activated the device. Again, no effect. ‘It doesn't work!’ the skater cried.

‘Get... closer!’ gasped the imperiled Doctor. He had been drawn up to the Borg-unit and was now being lifted up to its injector probe. DJ moved closer, then felt a sharp pain in his neck. A Bioborg had attached itself to him and had injected the Borg-probe! The young traveller stumbled forward into a haze of pain, then blackness...

‘DJ!’ cried the Doctor in despair. Seeing his friend collapse against the Borg-unit, the Time Lord gave up and awaited the end.

But, strangely, it never came.

As if it had been switched off, the Borg-unit released its grip on the Doctor and fell silent. As the amazed traveller watched, every Bioborg in the Unit's ‘lair’ stopped moving also. It had worked; the Borgs were dead!

His eyes alight with joy, the Doctor realised what had happened - as DJ had fallen against the Unit, his thumb had hit the screwdriver's actuator. Only at close range - very close range - did it work.

‘Congratulations, DJ,’ the Doctor said happily as he helped the still woozy skateboarder to his feet. With the death of the Unit, the probe within DJ's body had also died. Unaware of this, the boy frowned.

‘Congratulations? For what?’ he asked.

‘You saved the Hindenburg. You also saved the world. I think that merits congratulation.’ The Time Lord beamed as his friend realised what he had done.

‘We did it?’ he asked excitedly.

‘Yes, DJ,’ the Doctor was near tears. ‘We did it.’

Some time later, the duo were aboard the TARDIS, en route to another destination. After disposing of all the Bioborgs save the Borg-unit (which was too bulky to move until the airship reached America) they had made their goodbyes and left a few hours before landfall.

DJ played with a dagger he'd found in an old chest as he watched the Doctor at work at the console. ‘Where to now, Doc?’ he asked.

‘I wish you wouldn't call me that!’ the Time Lord complained huffily, as he programmed the flight computer. ‘For your information-’ and here he turned and grinned ‘-I'm determined to get to Florana.’

DJ punched the air in happiness. ‘Alright! I forgot where we were heading before all this started.’ A thought then struck the young skateboard fanatic. ‘Hey, Doc?’

‘Hmm?’ came the absent reply.

‘I've just realised - we didn't make Lehmann and the others promise not to say anything about the Borgs when they arrive in America. We don't want that sort of thing to happen - could cause all sorts of problems.’

The Doctor nodded worriedly. ‘Yes, that's true. But I doubt anyone will believe them even if they do tell people about it. Mind you, those deaths will be looked into.’ The Doctor brushed away the idea suddenly with a wave of his hand. ‘Oh, I think things will work out. I mean, not many people in 1937 would belie- oh, good grief.’

DJ's heart jumped - the Doctor had gone white as a sheet abruptly. He got up to assist the suddenly horror-stricken Time Lord. ‘What's wrong, Doctor? What is it?’

The Doctor's face was totally grim as he said: ‘On the evening of May sixth, 1937, as it was coming in to land at Lakehurst, New Jersey, the Hindenburg inexplicably burst into flames and exploded. Nearly all the people on board died.’

The Time Lord was weeping now; weeping tears of anguish. ‘I don't think that people finding out about the Borgs is a problem any more, DJ,’ he whispered.

The Borg-unit aboard the Hindenburg lay silent, ready to be smuggled off the airship by Lehmann and the crew once they had landed. It was inactive, but not dead in every sense of the word. Its self-destruct unit, primed at the moment of critical damage, was still operative.

And, at about 7:30pm on May 6, 1937, as the Hindenburg approached the mooring mast at Lakehurst, the destruct unit's timer ran out.

Lehmann, Oscar, Henkel and the rest who had faced the Bioborg menace were silenced forever in a flash of exploding hydrogen. None of the few survivors knew anything of the desperate war that had been fought in the sky.

The Tekron invasion never happened, which in a way was a pity. For it remained the knowledge of just two people, two travellers, lost in space and time, that Humanity had been saved from extinction - and that the Hindenburg had not died for nothing.

This story is respectfully dedicated to those killed in the explosion of the airship Hindenburg on May 6, 1937.

This item appeared in Timestreams 4 (April 1992).

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