Doctor Who_ The Dalek Factor Part 14
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'You mean to say that you intend to re-engineer the cosmos and all its life forms so that everything both animate and inanimate fulfils the Dalek creed.'
'We are not so much conquerors, Doctor. That is a redundant phrase. Consider us conservers... protectors... guardians of both life and the very fabric of the universe.' As it speaks, the metallic arteries that feed the giant Dalek pulse so brightly that I find it hard to keep my eyes open. It's like gazing into the dazzling glare of a mid-day sun. 'Doctor. It is not so much the Daleks needing the universe, as the universe needing us.'
'So you're going to save all of creation? How noble. How altruistic.' The Doctor's laugh is bitter. 'The sad thing is that not only do you believe that nonsense, you can't really stop yourself, can you? Your only goal is re-make the entire universe everything: planets, comets, stars, galaxies, and all the life that inhabits them. You find yourself compelled to transform it all into a Dalek.'
'Doctor, this is a conversation that we have enjoyed many times before.'
'Oh, I daresay, and many times in the future, too. Sad old things, aren't we? Locked in our private little argument. You declaiming that the Daleks are soooo misunderstood poor darling things. That you are fundamentally good at heart; that you want only to save us and protect the worlds we live on. And then there's me, your highness, the contemptible wanderer who flits from planet to planet stirring up trouble. Who questions your plan to turn the universe into what would be one vast Dalek... because if the whole universe was essentially Dalek, then there would be nothing for you to hate any more... But wait a moment... That's your reason to live, isn't it? Without anything to hate, you would have no reason to exist.'
The Dalek Emperor's voice rises like the scream of hurricane: 'Doctor, it is you who is the disease. We create. You destroy. Why?''Because evolution is supposed to be spontaneous. Biological development is in response to environment; it is not to be dictated by a single intelligence. That's why I will fight you, that's why I will smash your evil machines. Believe me, I will do so until my dying breath.'
'Hmm... Do not tempt me, Doctor.''Yes, I'm vulnerable to your weapons. But have you considered this: is time running out for you, oh self-important one?'
'There is nothing you can do that will harm me or delay my work.'
'Hah!' The Doctor grins. 'I cannot destroy you?'
'Never say, never, sir.' I realise that, incredibly, the Doctor is enjoying this. He's grasped some truth that eludes the Dalek Emperor. 'Now, let me explain something.' The Doctor speaks out, addressing both the Daleks and me. 'You understand now, Jomi. A Dalek squad abducted you and your platoon years ago. You never arrived here today by shuttle. The Daleks implanted that memory in your mind. During all this time, they've been working on you in their laboratory; they've re-engineered your brain, embedding the Dalek psyche beneath your conscious mind. It's a sleeper device, like a time bomb, waiting to be activated when the time is right.
'Today they released you and your platoon onto the planet's surface to assess how well you managed every crisis they threw in your way. Your friends failed the test, Jomi, because the Daleks captured them. You, however, were a success.' Dark laughter escapes his lips. 'Did you hear that, Daleks? Your creation here is a success! Now he is superior to you! He has the capacity to be your nemesis.' He waves a hand toward me. 'Hear me, Daleks! For I give you your destroyer!'
A ripple of movement runs through the Daleks. The tubes that feed the Emperor Dalek flush a ferocious red. The Doctor has hit a nerve. Their mania for victory has compelled them to create the instrument of their defeat.
Before they fire on me, I put my arm around Kye. I pitch us both forward so that we fall toward the floor. Not that there is any protection there from the dozens of fireballs that will rain down.
But then I have my training, don't I? I have my Thal instinct for survival. I possess something more as well. Coiled beneath my conscious mind, with all the lethal promise of a venomous snake, is the embedded Dalek mind. Individually, each component of my psyche is formidable. Collectively, their power cannot be contained. So, here it is: time for the ultimate test of my prowess.
The Doctor recoils backward to avoid the concentrated fire power of the Daleks. (They do not target him, so he is safe for now.) I swing my weapon round as I fall. For a split second, its sight frames the Emperor Dalek, then the muzzle of the weapon swings down to point at the area of floor that I plunge toward, with my arm tightly round Kye's waist. Cool, focused, calm, I squeeze the trigger.
Torrents of pure energy blast a hole in the floor. In the split-second before it can reseal itself, Kye and... and whatever I am becoming becoming... fall through into absolute darkness.
THE JOURNEY HOLDS NO FEAR FOR US. NEW SENSES HAVE BEEN awakened in Kye, too. The Daleks have been thorough; they have improved the performance of both our minds and our bodies to unimagined degree. We weave through this dark, subterranean hinterland into which we have fallen; one that lies beneath the Dalek city. Many of the Daleks' failed experiments have been abandoned down here. Some alive. Some bone. We fear none of them. Nothing dare hinder our progress.
Soon we emerge from a cavern at the base of the cliff on which the cuboid fortress stands. Kye looks at me. For a moment her face is grimly serious, but then an irrepressible smile lights it up. Whatever lies hereafter will be our dominion.
She holds up her hand, fingers outstretched. I reach out, press my palm against hers, and our fingers curl inward until we grasp hands so tightly that it seems that no other living force can separate them. True, Kye failed the Daleks' test. My reasons for saving her are, perhaps, entirely selfish. If, unwittingly, the Daleks have made me king of this world, then every king deserves his queen... and mother to his heirs.
Hand in hand, we run into the jungle. No longer is it a threatening place. Its parasitic insects and venomous reptiles cannot harm us. They are our friends and allies. Enjoying this headlong dash through barbed creepers and across mosses that were once toxic to us, we eventually reach the area of crushed vegetation where I fell from the grey aerial tube. Quickly, we locate the bank of monitors that the Doctor found beneath their blanket of vines. Smiling at one another, flushed with exhilaration, we sweep the vines away from the twenty or so monitors. They still function. Each one reveals the Doctor. Rather than retreating in fear from the massed Daleks, he defiantly addresses them. I run my hand across the surface of the screen, activating an array of touchsensitive controls... For I know how to operate this system, now that I have complete access to my memory. My fingertip brushes the sound bar. Suddenly we hear what the Doctor is telling the Emperor Dalek... The tubes that feed it appear congested, purple clots moving through them in sluggish pulses.
'Ah, your experiment has taken its toll of your home.' The Doctor stamps his foot, cracking the floor like thin ice; fracture lines radiate outwards. 'Your old warhorse has brittle bones now. This morning she could repair the walls and floors that you made vanish for your little game, just like that.' He clicks his fingers. 'This evening the fortress is exhausted; she's given you everything she had, and still you suck what's left of the life-blood out of her. Not that you soulless creatures would care.' The Doctor looks round. 'But I guess there's some life left in the old place yet. Although she'll need plenty of rest and recuperation. Hmm? This will mean a pause in your machinations for a little while, anyway. So... What now? You could kill me. Or you could simply let me go. I have found the key to the TARDIS. You could watch me disappear back into time and space. Nevertheless, from whatever vantage point I find myself, I can witness you and you and you...' he points to individual Daleks massed there in the hall, then aims a finger at the Dalek Emperor 'and you I can witness every single Dalek, being remorselessly exterminated by the very beings you created.' I can witness every single Dalek, being remorselessly exterminated by the very beings you created.'
There's a pause. The Dalek Emperor surveys the Doctor standing there. A lone, small figure against so much evil and hatred. Its eye scans the man coldly.
The Doctor stands his ground. Defiant. Then the Dalek replies with a harsh, nitric whisper: 'That is precisely why, Doctor, you are so valuable to us...' It pauses as if the following admission causes it pain. 'In truth,
Doctor, you are our only hope.' our only hope.'
The screen suddenly goes blank. I look at Kye. Seeing her face as if for the first time.
We are not Thals. We are not Daleks. We are something quite different.Now, this is the time to make our way to the outside world where our future, and our destiny, await us.
IN THE MIDDLE OF A FEATURELESS CORRIDOR IS AN ARMCHAIR. In the chair sits a man with a book on his lap. He is dressed simply in black trousers and a white shirt. He speaks to a soldier in uniform who stands beside him. The man's voice is bitter; his eyes flash with anger.
'Jomi. I've told you everything I know. The Daleks captured me and brought me here. Just like you. Unlike in your case, however, they did not implant their mind into mine. Dalek high command's overall plan is to re-engineer the psyche of captured Thals, then covertly return them to their home worlds where they will sire young, who in turn will contain the Dalek mind that sleeps within their own. At a given time, when there are enough of these... these Dalek-hearted Thals, Dalek high command will remotely trigger the dormant mind. Thals infected with that mindset will suddenly start to think and act like Daleks. Their loyalties will be transfigured, too. Trojan horse, turncoat, Fifth Columnist, there are many names for similar forms of infiltrator. The aim is to invade and conquer before the adversaries know they are even being attacked. How long before this quiet invasion occurs? I don't know. A century? A millennia? Once it has, then the Daleks will journey to their newlyconquered worlds and be re-united with their...' he searches for a suitable word '...their children. At least that is... was their plan. Now they fear you more than anything else in the universe.'
He looks up at the soldier. 'As for me, Jomi? What do the Daleks plan for me in my jail here? Are they exploiting me? Am I the serendipitous element? The catalyst thrown into the melting pot that will, when I interact with their creations, somehow elicit from them some exotic ability that cannot be knowingly manufactured? Or create some method of exercising absolute control over them? Perhaps I'm Ingredient X that will result in the creation of their perfect being? Or maybe, at the bottom of it all, the Daleks: aim is merely to torment me for all time... for all the difficulty and setbacks I have caused them? Who knows, Jomi.' He pauses, tilting his head to one side as he hears a sound, and looks toward the bend in the corridor. 'What was that, Jomi?'
The seated man turns his head to look back at the one he calls Jomi. With a gentle hiss, the soldier dissolves into a cloud of insects that fly toward the complex's entrance.
For a moment, the man rests his head back against the armchair. 'No,' he murmurs, his face grim. 'You won't rob me of my past again. I remember everything. I am the Doctor. I remember how you tortured the Thal platoon.' A bitter fury drives his voice. 'I remember how you defeated me and made me your prisoner! I am the Doctor! I will remember...' remember how you defeated me and made me your prisoner! I am the Doctor! I will remember...'
There is a sudden rhythmic throbbing sound in the air. A monotone pulsing. Briefly, the Doctor's eyes close, as if falling asleep; yet a moment later, they open again. 'Remember what? Hmm?' Then he shrugs, as if what he was trying to bring to mind is unimportant. He turns a page in his book and continues reading.
Presently, figures appear to stand alongside him as he sits in his armchair, engrossed in the volume. They are a squad of young Thal rangers. They are edgy. They hold their weapons at the ready.
A woman gripping a sidearm steps forward to speak to him. 'Sir.'He's not surprised by her appearance. Instead, he smiles. A bland, almost drowsy smile.
'Hello.' He speaks softly. 'And to think I wasn't expecting anyone new.'
'Sir.' Her manner is authoritative. 'I am Commander Yalen. This is my platoon.'
'Really?''We need to establish that you do not pose a threat to the Thal nation. Sir, are you able to verify your identity?'
'Good question. A very good question.' He gazes into space as he tries to remember. 'Yes... Who am I?'
THE DALEK FACTOR IS THE LAST OF TELOS PUBLISHING LTD'S range of original Doctor Who N Doctor Who Novellas. BBC Worldwide Ltd, who oversee the commercial exploitation of Doctor Who, have declined to renew our licence to publish these books, and so, after two and a half years and fifteen titles, we regrettably have no option but to discontinue the range at this point. have declined to renew our licence to publish these books, and so, after two and a half years and fifteen titles, we regrettably have no option but to discontinue the range at this point.
We are grateful to all our readers and particularly those who have been with us from the start for all the support they have shown us. Trying a new range of books is always a gamble, for the customer as well as for the publisher, and we hope that we have repaid whatever faith you have placed in us, whether through advance ordering of the titles, subscribing, getting your local shop to order them, or just by picking them up as you saw them on the shelves.
Our aim with the Novellas has always been to present some top-rate fiction by some of the best genre talents working today. We are pleased and honoured to have worked with well-established and highlyrespected authors of the calibre of Kim Newman, Tom Arden, Louise Cooper, Mark Chadbourn, Paul McAuley and Simon Clark, none of whom had any previous direct involvement with the world of Doctor Who fiction, but all of whom relished the prospect of taking the Doctor out for some adventures of their own devising. We are also delighted to have had the opportunity to allow some perhaps more familiar names from the world of Doctor Who another chance to contribute in their own unique and distinctive styles. Dave Stone, Keith Topping, Andrew Cartmel, Daniel O'Mahony, Jonathan Blum and Kate Orman, Tara Samms and Mike Tucker and Robert Perry have all managed to defy expectations with their Novellas. Finally, we are pleased to have given some relatively new, and up and coming, authors a further chance to show what they can do. Simon A Forward and lain McLaughlin rose to the challenge admirably.
It has also been a great pleasure for us to have worked with all the highly-accomplished artists and distinguished foreword writers who have lent their talents to the Novellas range. Some of the foreword writers might well have gone on to write Doctor Who Novellas of their own, had we not been obliged to end the range at this point an opportunity now sadly lost and all have been very generous in the time they have taken to offer us their thoughts and feelings about the books on which they have been commenting, and on Doctor Who itself. itself.
We are gratified to note that the Novellas have won a very positive response from readers and reviewers alike, and a somewhat wider and more mainstream coverage than has traditionally been the case for Doctor Who ficti Doctor Who fiction including in a BBC television news report and in British national newspapers such as the Sunday Express, The Times a Sunday Express, The Times and the Sunday Times. We Sunday Times. We have even picked up some awards along the way, winning a D have even picked up some awards along the way, winning a Doctor Who Magazine poll for our debut title and a prestigious publishing industry award for the production quality of the Novellas (with an equivalent award for one of our printers). Magazine poll for our debut title and a prestigious publishing industry award for the production quality of the Novellas (with an equivalent award for one of our printers).
All this has served to help us achieve a secondary objective that we set ourselves: specifically, to try to get Doctor Who fiction read more widely than by people who were already fans of D fiction read more widely than by people who were already fans of Doctor Who to start with. Judging from our postbag, and from the orders we have received for the books worldwide, we believe we have succeeded in getting genre readers to think about D to start with. Judging from our postbag, and from the orders we have received for the books worldwide, we believe we have succeeded in getting genre readers to think about Doctor Who books in a different light, and in introducing some previous sceptics to a range that has, we hope, constantly challenged, entertained and intrigued its readership. books in a different light, and in introducing some previous sceptics to a range that has, we hope, constantly challenged, entertained and intrigued its readership.
We have tried through the Novellas to show that Doctor Who fiction affords enormous potential for diversity in style, tone and content, and even a degree of literary experimentation something that is, perhaps, more difficult to achieve in a full-length novel. We believe that the basic fiction affords enormous potential for diversity in style, tone and content, and even a degree of literary experimentation something that is, perhaps, more difficult to achieve in a full-length novel. We believe that the basic Doctor Who f Doctor Who format remains as strong, vibrant, flexible and fertile today as it as ever been. And long may it continue to be so.
We will continue to take a close interest in Doctor Who, in all its many and varied forms. For the moment, though, it is time for us to leave the Doctor as an amnesiac Dalek captive, and for Telos Publishing Ltd to move onwards and upwards with other projects. We hope that you, the readers, will continue to support us in all our future endeavours.
David J Howe Stephen James Walker Telos Publishing Ltd
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
BORN ON THE 20TH APRIL, 1958, SIMON CLARK SOLD HIS FIRST ghost story 'A Trip Out for Mr Harrison' to a radio station while in his teens, and before becoming a full time writer, he held a variety of jobs, including strawberry picker, supermarket shelf stacker, office worker and scriptwriter for promotional videos.
His first novel, Nailed by the Heart was published in 1995, and since then he has published ten further horror novels: Bl published in 1995, and since then he has published ten further horror novels: Blood Crazy, Darker, King Blood, Vampyrrhic, The Fall, Judas Tree, The Night of the Triffids, Vampyrrhic Rites, Darkness Demands and Stranger. His Stranger. His next novel, In next novel, In This Skin, is sc This Skin, is scheduled for publication in 2004. His short stories have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, including SFX, The Year's Best Horror, Best New Horror a SFX, The Year's Best Horror, Best New Horror and Dark Voices and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Selected stories have been collected in Salt Snake & Other Bloody Cuts a Salt Snake & Other Bloody Cuts and Blood and Grit. He has also written crime shorts, appeared on BBC Television and has written prose material for the rock band U2. has also written crime shorts, appeared on BBC Television and has written prose material for the rock band U2.
He lives with his wife and two children in mystical territory that lies on the border of Robin Hood country in England.
Doctor Who_ The Dalek Factor Part 14
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