It was quiet in the TARDIS. Worlds flew by outside, and Times and peoples came and went. Civilisations were born, rose and fell in the passing years outside the Matrix. All was relative. In the control room only one thing moved. The time rotor, rising and falling in its constant progression, showed that the Ship was moving; travelling through Time and space in its customary haphazard fashion. It never seemed to care where it was, or when it was. It didn't seem to care as the TARDIS crew came and went. All that it knew was the Doctor, and his never-ending wanderings. All that it knew was the life it seemed to live.

Slowly the door to the control room opened and a dark head peered around the frame, checking to see that the room was empty before entering. Nothing moved beyond the time rotor; nothing showed any evidence that there was anything alive anywhere on the Ship. Slowly the head became a figure, and the figure slipped into the room. It looked about, wandering along beside the console, peering at the instruments and running its hands across the controls. It did not press anything, and it did not alter anything. It just watched.

"Looking at something in particular?" The door had opened soundlessly and without warning, and the Doctor stood there, looking at the figure with an expression of customary merriment. The figure looked back at him, eyes misted and lost in thought.


"I said, are you looking for something in particular?" The Doctor frowned. "Are you feeling alright Adam? Not space-sick at all?"

"Space-sick?" The young man frowned, clearly wondering if the strange Time Lord was joking. "No, I'm fine thankyou. I was just thinking."

"Ah. Yes. Does that to you doesn't she." The tall man in the flamboyant waistcoat came closer, leaning over to give the console an affectionate pat. "Travelling through all of Time and space tends to give one over to moments of reflection. Thoughtful interludes, all that sort of thing. After all, I could unravel any historical mystery you choose. I could show you the builders of Stonehenge, reveal to you the final fate of the planet of your ancestors." He smiled. "I could get you front row tickets to see Queen at the Hammersmith Odeon."

"Yes. I - I guess it does make you think." Adam smiled, although the expression did not quite reach his eyes. There was something else in them besides humour; something that the Doctor saw but pretended he didn't. "I'm going to take a walk. See you in a little while."

"Yes. Yes of course." Standing back, the Time Lord watched as his latest companion vanished through the inner door into the long, uncharted labyrinth that made up the rest of the Ship. He frowned. Something, it seemed, was amiss in Paradise. His hand moved of its own accord to the harmonica in his breast pocket and it was at his mouth before he was even aware of his desire to play. All that would come from the instrument was a sad, reflective improvisation that drew his thoughts inward and caused his frown to deepen. Maybe it was time to have a little talk with the enigmatic Mr Harper, before whatever was wrong became a problem for them all.


"Get down!" Hurling himself forward, Colonel Henry Masson knocked the young woman flying, rolling with her down the steep incline. "Are you nuts?"

"My brother!" She was struggling in his grip, trying to force him away from her. "I saw my brother!"

"Your brother?" He sat up, using his superior strength to keep her low. "Listen lady, there's nobody over there but dead men. They're robots now, and you know that."

"He's still my brother." She was near the end of her tether, he could tell; but what was he supposed to do? Let her go running over to her brother, a virtual zombie with no recollection of who she was, so that she could be shot down without a pause? He sighed, muttering to himself under his breath. He was nuts. He could have been off-world by now, heading somewhere far away from all of this madness, and instead he found himself playing nursemaid to a bunch of civilians who didn't know enough to keep their heads down in a warzone. He started to drag the woman toward the nearby drains.

"No! Get off me! I am not going back down there!" She struggled and kicked, lashing out in all directions, and finally succeeded in tearing herself free. He made another grab for her, but she dodged aside and broke into a run, dashing back up the hill.

"Damn!" He stayed where he was for a moment, torn between the desire to go after her and the realisation that to do so would be insane. She was already dead, or she might as well have been. He had no desire to join her. He waited for just a second longer, staring after her as she vanished over the top of the hill. He heard the guns, the unmistakable sound of laser-fire that burst from unseen weaponry; then he waited no longer. He pulled open the drain cover and slid down inside, slamming the lid back down above him.

"What happened?" His second in command, Major Keach, was little more than a black form in the darkness. Masson could just make out the other man's eyes staring straight at him. He sighed.

"She's dead. Stupid woman. She just ran straight towards them. It was as if she thought it was still the old world out there; as if she just couldn't understand that it's all changed up there now." He slammed his fist against the rusted metal ladder. "Dammit!"

"It's okay, Colonel." Keach fumbled for something, eventually producing a torch that he clicked on. Light illuminated the pair, allowing them both to see each other properly. They could see the same things in each other's eyes; knowing that their own weariness and stubborn determination was mirrored on both their faces. Keach could see the harsh lights in his CO's eyes, and felt as if he knew every worry line, every crease and smudge of dirt. Masson's face might as well have been his own.

"It's not okay, Larry." Masson sighed, staring back up at the drain cover above his head. "We have to keep these people alive, or there's no hope for any of us. We have to stay alive until help comes."

"You really think it will?"

"Yeah, I really think it will. It's my job to think that way, dammit." Masson sighed, then slapped his friend on the shoulder and gestured down the tunnel. "Come on. Let's get back to the others before we lose any more." Together they headed down the drain, back to the small pocket of survivors who were relying on them so completely. Neither of them spared a thought for the woman now lost in the world above. They had no time to think of the dead. Pity would not keep any of them alive; and with the enemy that they were now facing, they had no time for anything except survival.


Suzy was lost. She knew that she had taken a right after leaving the library, and she was fairly certain that she had taken a left soon after that; but now she was utterly and irrevocably lost. She despaired of ever learning her way about the TARDIS, particularly since she was sure it was playing jokes on her. She could almost hear it giggling to itself as she opened yet another door, only to find the last thing that she had expected. How could that room be here? She was sure that she had passed it what felt like five miles back. She groaned. Great. She had probably been walking around in circles for the last half an hour. It was incredible to believe that this huge ship had once been even bigger; that the Doctor had once been forced to jettison nearly a quarter of its mass in order to escape from certain death. If she didn't know for sure (or, at least, more or for less for sure) that the Ship was just a ship, she would have considered the possibility that it had healed itself, trying to replace all that lost mass by building new bits on to itself. Maybe it stole them from other TARDISes passing through the Matrix. The thought made her smile.

She threw open another door at random, peering through it into the room beyond. It looked as though it had once been an office, although clearly it hadn't been used in a long time. There were dust sheets over several pieces of the furniture, and she could see several titles in the bookcase which the Doctor had been complaining only yesterday that he hadn't seen in years. She wandered further into the room, intrigued. There were photographs on the walls; large, framed photographs featuring people that she didn't recognise. A tall man with white curly hair shaking hands with somebody who looked strikingly familiar. She thought that he was a politician, except that he looked much older in the picture than when she had last seen him; on a news report several days before she left to join the Doctor. The tall, white-haired fellow with him featured in plenty of other pictures too, most often with much younger versions of the Brigadier and his UNIT X team. She made a circuit of the room, looking at all of the photographs. She recognised Mao Tse-Tung, although she didn't know the man shaking his hand. She recognised Errol Flynn and David Niven in one picture too, accompanied by a young man of about their own age, dressed somewhat eccentrically. She smiled. Of course; these were all previous incarnations of the Doctor. At some point in his life he must have met all of these famous people. She shuddered to think what he must have got up to with a pair like Flynn and Niven. Maybe it would be worth asking about; it must have made a great story.

"He's had a fascinating life, hasn't he?" She jumped, whirling about to find Adam standing by the door. He smiled. "Sorry. Didn't mean to make you jump."

"Yes you did." She tried to glower at him, but didn't succeed. "What are you doing this far from the console room?" It was a masked way of asking him if he had any idea of the way back. He shrugged.

"Just taking a walk. I like it out this way. You can almost hear the TARDIS talking to you."

"I don't like it. It's creepy." She looked about, listening to the rhythmical beat of the distant - mechanical? electrical? - heart that powered them. It might as well have been clockwork or steam-powered for all that she knew.

"Rubbish." He sighed and turned away. "We better be getting back."

"Fine by me." She hurried after him. "Adam, are you okay? You seem a little distant."

"Distant?" He frowned, then managed a rather vague shrug and a smile that did not seem entirely spontaneous. "I'm fine. Really."

"No you're not. That's just the sort of thing my brother used to say when there was something wrong; if he was in trouble or whatever. We all know that you're hiding something."

"What do you mean?" His eyes glittered strangely as he looked at her, and she held his gaze. She was getting used to his direct approach, the sensation that he was from a culture rather different to her own. She knew that he looked at her as an equal, which made this all so much easier. Back home, in 1958, it was very hard to challenge a man into admitting that there was anything wrong. None of them would ever open up to a woman, especially one of her age.

"You know what I mean. The first time we met you, you admitted that you were lying about your name. If you're in some kind of trouble the Doctor is the perfect person to tell about it. Trouble is his special forte."

"Yeah, I'd noticed." There was a pause before Adam finally smiled, this time clearly looking as though he meant it. "I'm sorry Suzy. Really I am. But there's nothing wrong, and even if there was... this isn't the time or the place, okay?" He quickened his pace, leading her on through the TARDIS, back towards the more familiar ground around the console room. "Everything's okay, so don't let it get to you. The Doctor promised us a holiday, and when we've all had a little time to relax and put our feet up, everything will look better. You'll see."

"I suppose so." She smiled back at him, but he had already walked on ahead and could no longer see her face. She frowned and increased her pace to keep up with him. Adam was right. They had all been a little overworked recently, and a holiday would be perfect to clear the air. If there was something bothering the strange young man from her future, the Doctor's planned destination would be the perfect place to sort it out. Her smile found its way back to her face. She was rather looking forward to a week on the beach. After all, when you were on holiday, there was nothing but relaxation and rest. Trouble was a million miles away.


"Hmm." Rubbing his chin thoughtfully, the Doctor frowned at the scanner screen, then offered the console an encouraging pat. "Hmm," he said again. It was really very odd. He had worked out the calculations quite precisely, and the TARDIS computer had confirmed that they were correct. Of course, it did have a tendency to tell him what it thought he wanted to know, but all the same... They should be on the island of Mauritius, Earth, sometime prior to the European discovery of the island, ready for a relaxing week watching the native dodos merrily ruling their roost. They should be on the beach, and from his current position, with the scanners set as they were, he should be able to see the vast blue sea stretching out before him, with its promise of midnight dives through waters still well-stocked with every imaginable kind of fish. He sighed. This was getting beyond a joke, it really was.

"Hey, Doc." Adam sounded far more cheerful than he had earlier, which was good. Always see benefit in every situation. Practising a smile before he turned around the Doctor raised his eyebrows, looked as cheerful as he could, and opened his mouth to speak. Suzy beat him to it.

"That doesn't look like the beach," she observed, striding over to the scanner screen. "And I thought you said we were going back several hundred years?"

"I did, didn't I." He turned about, smiling at her in his usual devil-may-care way. "They, er... they seem to have moved the beach."

"Really." Trying, and failing, to hide a smirk, Adam joined the pair of them at the screen. He made a big show of seriously searching. "Where have they moved it to exactly?"

The Doctor frowned, a look of vaguely hurt pride showing in his eyes. "You can't quite see it from where we are now. It's, er... a little to the right and, er... about three hundred billion light years away." He checked the dials on the console. "And maybe about a thousand years in the past." He scratched his head, staring from dials to screen and back again. "It's really most peculiar. I can't understand it."

"I can." Suzy shook her head. She was beginning to see a pattern in all of this, now that she had been with the Time Lord for some while. He had an almost unshakeable confidence, but somehow it didn't quite translate itself to his instruments. Rather than say anything she shared a brief smile with Adam. "Ah well... one place is as good as another. Shall we take a look around?"

"I can't see why not. The air is very breathable, although there are signs of industry in the area. The gravity levels are very similar to those of your own planet." He frowned. "I can't detect many life-signs about though. Odd. This looks rather like a city of some kind."

"It might be deserted." Operating the door switch Adam wandered outside, glancing up at the sky. "Weather's nice anyway."

"Of course." Joining his companion, the Doctor waited for Suzy to leave the TARDIS, then closed and locked the doors. "Forecast is sunny and dry, no rain in the next couple of weeks." He caught the look that they both gave him, and frowned. "The weather forecasting circuits work perfectly, so don't even think it."

"We should take a look around, maybe find out who's here." Suzy pointed up one nearby street. "That building up there looks as though it might be important. A town hall or something. We should probably try there first."

"Yes yes yes. Jolly good idea." The Doctor promptly wandered off in the opposite direction. "Fascinating buildings here. Architecture similar to that of Britain in the early Georgian period. Wouldn't you say Adam?"

"Yes. Definitely." The young man smiled to himself and followed the Doctor, shrugging at Suzy. He would rather explore than search out the local mayor for a guided tour, and clearly the Doctor thought likewise. The girl scowled after them both and followed on.

They walked for what seemed like miles. The streets did not change, and their desolation did not alter. There was nobody about. Some of the buildings seemed to be in a state of some disrepair, and the Doctor paused to examine a few of them. He did not speak. Adam recognised the look on the Time Lord's face; a slight frown that meant growing interest. If he had any suspicions, however, the Doctor kept them to himself and merely walked on. It was only when they reached a large, open space in the middle of the town, where long black marks scarred the tarmac, that the little group finally came to a halt. The Doctor crouched beside the marks, running his fingers lightly over them. Suzy sighed.

"Doctor, we've been walking for hours."

"Hmm?" He glanced in her direction, but quite clearly hadn't heard her. She heaved another sigh.

"I said that we've been walking for hours. I'm tired Doctor. Can't we find a - a hotel or something?"

"Hmm? Yes Suzy, definitely. It's bothering me too."

She scowled, and Adam grinned. There was really no speaking to the Doctor when he was in one of his deep-thinking moods. He crouched down beside the Time Lord and peered at the marks on the ground.

"They look like scorch marks," he commented, trying to bring his companion back down to earth so that they could at least attempt an intelligent conversation. The Doctor nodded.

"That's exactly what they are. Laser fire at a guess; and from this angle, and given the force of the blast, I'd say that it was a spaceship doing the shooting. Probably rather a large one, with something of an unpleasant crew." He rose back to his feet, hands in pockets, biting his lower lip in concentration. "I don't think that I like this place very much anymore."

"Well I never liked it. We're being watched." Suzy was glancing about like a hunted animal, staring into the shadows of the abandoned buildings. "There's someone over there who's been following us for nearly half an hour."

"Yes, I know." The Doctor gave her an encouraging smile, although he still seemed somewhat distracted. "Tall chap, dark hair. He's been following us almost since we arrived."

"Tall?" She shook her head. "I'm talking about a heavyset man with grey hair. I think he's wearing a uniform."

"Really?" He glanced about, being rather obvious in his search for this second shadow. "Well it's always nice to feel wanted. Come on." He set off in a direction chosen entirely at random, not bothering to check that the others were still with him. They exchanged a glance of some bemusement, then followed after him, hurrying at first to catch up.

"Where are we heading, Doctor?" Adam asked him, glancing back over his shoulder to see if he could spy the two tails. The Time Lord shrugged.

"Here, there, everywhere. Wherever. I want to see if I can find out what's been going on here."

"Well then shouldn't we ask the people who are following us?" It seemed a rather obvious question, and Adam hoped that it didn't make him sound too simple. The Doctor smiled at him, looking vaguely distracted.

"Back there we discovered signs of powerful laser fire. Guns on board space ships apparently being used to attack this city. Now who's to say that the people following us aren't members of the invasionary force?"

"Invasionary force?" Suzy's eyes had widened. "Hang on, just when did this become an invasion? I thought it was just an abandoned city? Suddenly we're in the middle of an invasion?!"

"Well not necessarily." He shrugged. "I'd say that it's better to be safe than sorry, though, at least until we know what we're dealing with here. I don't like this place. It's too quiet."

"So much for our holiday." There was almost an accusatory tone to Suzy's voice, as though somehow the Doctor had brought the TARDIS to its latest destination on purpose. Adam smiled to himself. He was rapidly coming to the conclusion that the Doctor rarely took his ship anywhere on purpose. It was more a question of blind chance.

"Over here!" It was a soft voice at first, kept to a low whisper as though the owner was unwilling to be heard by the very people he or she was signalling to. "Over here!"

"I beg your pardon?" Coming to an abrupt halt, the Doctor looked around, finally spotting the source of the frantic whispers. A woman, half hidden by what looked like a broken stone wall, was peering out at them from her cover, making wild gesticulations with her hands.

"Quickly!" she hissed at them, beckoning with signs that were becoming more violent and dramatic with every passing second. Adam and Suzy exchanged an amused glance.

"What do you think, Doctor?" Suzy asked, moving closer to him as though seeking his protection. He shrugged.

"I think we should introduce ourselves, don't you? Only polite." He strode off again, once more leaving them behind, and approached the strange woman with his usual sense of unshakeable confidence. He had extended one hand to shake hers before he reached her, a broad grin dancing across his distinguished features. "Good day madam. Pleasant morning, isn't it. And a most attractive town that you have here, I must say. A little light on greenery perhaps, but--"

"Shut up." Before he had reached her he was grabbed by unseen hands, which threw him against the wall he had been unceremoniously spun to face. He tried to straighten up, protesting in indignation, but a heavy hand caught him in the back, knocking some of the breath from his lungs. A second later something that felt suspiciously like a gun was rammed into his ribs. He gasped at the suddenness of the pressure, but forced himself to smile regardless.

"I say, you know I was really only trying to be polite." He tried once more to turn around, but the gun slammed once more into his side, threatening serious damage. He felt his temper beginning to rise, and swallowed it quickly.

"Leave him alone!" It was Suzy's voice, and this time he ignored the gun. He swung around, anxious to intercept her before his latest acquaintances could do her any harm. Oddly no one protested this time, and he caught hold of her as she reached the group, slowing her rush.

"Suzy, it's alright." He turned about, looking at the little group of people who appeared to have captured him. He could see three at first glance, including the tall, dark-haired man that he had seen earlier. The woman came fully out of hiding, revealing herself to be a scruffy and rumpled looking figure of about thirty, clearly rather attractive at one time, but now haggard and tired. Her face was pale and smudged with dirt, and her hands gripped a heavy gun that she clearly was unfamiliar with. She stared back at him, bothered by his close scrutiny.

"Who are you?" Her voice showed her to be close to the edge, cracked with strain and worry. "Who sent you here?"

"As I was trying to explain, dear lady." He offered her a slight bow, the very image of an old-fashioned British gentleman. "I am the Doctor, and this is my friend, Suzy." He looked towards Adam, being brought to them at gunpoint, and smiled. "And this is Adam, another friend of mine. Nobody sent us, I'm afraid. We came rather unexpectedly. Travel plans altered at the last minute, that sort of thing."

"They don't look like robots." The tall, dark-haired man holstered his gun, looking towards the grey-haired man with Adam. "What do you think, Colonel?"

"I think we can't take any chances." The other man, the Colonel, looked from one to the other of the three new arrivals and sighed. "We should kill them right here, right now."

"But you're not going to." The Doctor met the other's gaze, holding it for several seconds before continuing. "You're not a murderer, you're a soldier. And right now you're dangerously out of your depth."

"You're right." The Colonel stared back at him, meeting his gaze with the cold stare of a professional. "But don't think that I'm that far out of my depth. I'm quite capable of shooting you down where you stand."

"I don't doubt it." Without moving his eyes so much as a fraction of an inch, the Doctor smiled. "But the fact is, you can't take the risk. You can't kill us, because we just might be the only hope you have. Why else would you have contacted us? Why not just shoot us down? You've been following us for a long time now."

"True." The Colonel sighed, shaking his head slowly from side to side. He glanced towards the dark-haired man, clearly somebody that he knew well. "Was he armed, Keach?"

"No sir." Keach shook his head. "I have to say, sir, he doesn't look like one of the enemy. He sure as hell doesn't sound like one."

"Of course we're not the enemy." Angry at having been taken prisoner by a bunch of people who looked half-dead and starving, Adam pushed aside the gun that the Colonel was still pointing at him. "Look, if you want to keep this town to yourselves, we'd be happy to leave."

"We'd all be happy to leave." The final member of the group, a man in his early thirties with a few days growth of stubble on his jaw, and a perpetually shifty look in his eyes, stepped forward. He alone now still held his gun pointed at the prisoners, and it wavered between the three of them. "The last thing we wanted was to be stuck here when all of this happened."

"I'd be happy to take you somewhere else," the Doctor offered automatically, although somehow he got the impression that he would be turned down. The Colonel stared at him, clearly thinking, then finally gave a gruff smile and shook his head.

"I'm sorry," he said, suddenly looking and sounding extremely tired. "I didn't mean to be rude, and I'm sorry if you've been hurt. We had to be sure."

"Quite, quite." The Doctor's grin had come back out for an encore, and he stepped forward, ignoring the one gun that was still aimed at him. He held out his hand, once more ready for an introduction. "I'm the Doctor."

"Colonel Glenn Masson, Colonial Defence Forces." The Colonel shook the proffered hand. "I'm assuming that you're travellers of some kind? We've had a few come through here in the past, before the invasion."

"So there was an invasion?" The Doctor looked almost excited. "May I ask what's going on? Who your enemy is?" He was interrupted by a cough from Suzy, and glanced towards her as if remembering her for the first time. "Oh, er... Suzy, Adam." He frowned, realising that he had indicated the wrong companion with each name. "I mean, Adam, Suzy." He grinned. Suzy scowled and Adam smirked. Keach shook his head rather wearily.

"Pleased to meet you." Masson shook hands with both, then indicated the other members of his team. "Major Keach, Sandra Hastings, Jon Hetty." He frowned at the latter. "Put that gun away, Hetty. I think we can assume that these people aren't enemy agents."

"You don't know that." There was a mutinous sound to Hetty's voice, as though he were tired of taking the orders of the military man. He certainly had more of the look of a civilian than a soldier.

"Oh, we're not agents." The Doctor flashed him one of his most irresistible smiles. "Promise. We don't even know who the enemy is."

"You'll find out soon enough." Masson moved aside, gesturing past him. "Come on. We've got to get underground before the Cyber-squad makes a sweep of the area. They're due any minute." His eyes travelled once more over the three new faces, lingering on Suzy. Sandra had looked like that the day he had first met her, he mused. He hated to think of this young woman becoming as drawn and as prematurely aged as the other fugitives. "Once it's dark I'll help you to get back to your ship. Where is it?"

"Back a way. I'm afraid it's not terribly well hidden." The Doctor frowned. "Won't you all be coming with us?" The Colonel did not respond and Major Keach spoke up in his place, a grim smile all the answer that the Time Lord really needed.

"Thankyou. We appreciate the offer, but the fact is that we can't leave just yet. We have no idea how many other groups there might be like ours, who survived the invasion. We can't walk out on them."

"I understand." There was a look in the Doctor's eyes that suggested he wanted to stay and help with the search, but Masson waved them all on before he could speak. They followed him down an alleyway, heading into a parallel street where the damage caused by the invasion was suddenly apparent. Suzy glanced about, staring in surprise at the devastation. It seemed amazing that the road they had followed all this time had been so unscathed, whilst the evidence of the actual fate of the city had been so close by all along. Most of the buildings had suffered some damage, their brick and stone facades scorched and cracked by laser fire, and their windows smashed. Some of the houses were little more than burnt out shells.

"Down here." Hurrying them along, Masson pointed to a large storm drain, its meshed metal cover half torn off by what looked like a particularly powerful blast. He herded them all through it, himself taking up the rear, then gestured for them to move at a brisk pace down the gloomy tunnel now revealed to them. They almost ran down the tunnel, the sense of urgency pervading all. Somehow the dark storm drain seemed to ooze menace, the damp on the ground and the consuming chill making even the Doctor uneasy. He had never been entirely comfortable in tunnels.

Some way along the drain, Keach called the party to a halt, opening a small hatch cut into the side of the tunnel. It looked old and worn, the edges rusted as though it had not been opened in months if not years; but it came easily away from the wall, showing that it was part of a well used route. They climbed through the hatch, finding themselves now in a long tunnel, even darker than the first.

"Careful. The going can be hard here." Sandra put a hand on Suzy's arm, warning her to remain still, and reached for a lamp hanging beside her head. She lit it with some difficulty, the mechanism clearly protesting all the way, then held it up to illuminate the pathway. The wobbling circle of light showed a damp passage, domed and tiled, leading them on for as far as the eye could see.

"Come on." Keach switched on a torch that he had taken from his pocket, leading them all onwards. They followed in single file, Masson taking up the rear. Adam found himself walking close to Jon Hetty, the strange man who had been so clearly hostile above ground. There was still an air of mutiny about the man, and the young traveller could see him fingering the gun that was now holstered, as though he wanted to use it but could not quite summon up the courage. Adam frowned. That was all that they needed; a head case who wanted to blow them all away at the first opportunity.

"Where are we going?" the Doctor asked, his tone bright and conversational. He was barely a step behind Keach, anxious to see ahead, and equally anxious to learn all that he could on the way. "You live underground?"

"Yes. It's the only place where we can be safe. The Cyber Forces are everywhere." The Major glanced back at him, apparently gripped by a moment's doubt; then he shrugged. He had to trust the stranger now. They had gone too far to change their minds. "They have detectors; ways of knowing where we all are. Only the drains seem able to shield us from them. I think there must be lead in the walls."

"Very likely." A frown had crossed the Doctor's face, although it had not yet quite reached his eyes. "Tell me Major; the Colonel mentioned these Cyber Forces before. You mean that your enemy are cyborgs of some ilk?"

"In a manner of speaking, yes. We're unfamiliar with them, so I can't say too much, but when we managed to kill one some time ago it seemed to have organic parts; as though some pieces of it were animal in origin whilst others were entirely inorganic. Metal, circuitry, machinery of very complex design." He shook his head. "I'm sorry, Doctor. I'm no scientist. All I know for sure is that they call themselves Cybermen. I assume it's the name of their race, if that's what you can call it."

"Cybermen!" His voice sounded louder than he had intended and he stopped in his tracks, bringing the rest of the group to a sudden and unexpected halt. Masson's voice echoed to them from back along the line, telling them to keep moving, and Keach gave the Doctor a wary look.

"Come on. But when we get to our HQ, I think you'd better do some talking."

"Yes. Yes quite." His hands sunk deep into his pockets, the Doctor was staring at the floor in deepest thought. Cybermen. Clearly it looked as though he could not leave this planet just yet. If there was one thing that he could never do it was walk out on people as much in need of his help as were these. He only hoped that he was not going to be dealing with a full scale invasion, or this time he could really be in trouble.


"I take it that you know these Cybermen, Doctor?" Leaning against the wall Colonel Masson folded his arms, his eyes gleaming with the light from the lamps about the room. "If that's the case I'd be obliged if you could tell us something. Anything. Our weapons are almost useless against them."

"I think it's fair to say that I know the Cybermen." Something that could have been the ghost of a smile drifted across the Doctor's face. "We've crossed paths once or twice before." He sighed, glancing about at the room. It was a large space, presumably designed for the workmen who would have had to venture into the drainage tunnels to perform maintenance work. There were seven people sitting about on the floor as well as his own two friends, and it bothered him that there were so few. Where were the other inhabitants of this large city? And what about the rest of the planet? He hated to think of the likely answer.

"And?" prompted Keach, playing with one of the lamps to try to get a little more light on the proceedings. The Doctor hesitated.

"They were once people, rather like you. They come from a planet called Mondas, which was a long way from here. For a variety of reasons they began to alter themselves; to build upon their own bodies with robotic components of increasingly sophisticated design. Eventually they reached the stage in their evolution which they seem to be at now. Each one of them has a more or less organic core, but for the most part they are a form of robot. They have no emotions, or at least none which they show; save perhaps for anger. They're also particularly ruthless. Their own planet no longer exists and so they lead a nomadic existence, destroying and subjugating anything that they consider worth the effort." He gave the party a small, sad smile. "They would probably tell you to be honoured that they consider your planet worth attacking."

"Well aren't we the lucky ones." Hetty shook his head, beginning to pace up and down. "Great. So we find this guy wandering around, and he just happens to be an authority on these creatures that attacked us. Does anybody else see the pattern in all of this, because I sure do." He let his hand fall to his gun. "What do they want with us, Doctor? Why are they here? Because I have a feeling that you can tell us the answer to that. Can't you." His voice had dropped to an insinuating tone, his eyes glinting with a threatening light. He took a step closer to the Time Lord. "Well?"

"Shut up Jon." Sandra, the woman that they had met on the surface, put herself between antagoniser and antagonised. She smiled at the Time Lord. "I'm sorry. We're all a little on edge."

"I understand." He moved her gently out of the way, recognising the look in Hetty's eyes as something beyond mere worry and fear. "Why don't you tell me what happened? How did they take over, and what happened to the rest of your people?"

"Dead or taken over." Another of the group, a quiet-voiced man introduced so far only as Macmillan, rose to his feet. He had been sitting in the shadow since their arrival in the room, and was now revealed to be a man of about forty-five, dressed in the rumpled suggestion of an expensive business suit. He still wore the tie, although it hung rather more loosely about his neck than when he had first dressed in the outfit. It looked as though it was made from some expensive silk substitute. "We're a small colony, Doctor. We were sent here to see if the planet was worth using as a full-scale base. Three large cities, all self-funding courtesy of mining and basic exports. The first city was destroyed completely in the first wave of the attack. It was where most of our equipment was stored, most of the food reserves and the weaponry; and where the long-range communications equipment was situated. We think that a few messages were probably sent out, but there's no telling whether or not they got through. Ever since then we've been waiting, to see if our home planet is going to send anybody out to rescue us, or if we're really on our own." He gave a sad smile, his expression that of a man who was only going through the motions, and no longer had any of the certainty that his life had once been built upon. "The survivors were rounded up and robotised; at least that's what we call it. The enemy puts them through some kind of a process that makes them unquestioningly obedient and totally unaware of who they used to be. We've been attacked by our friends and families, by our colleagues. There's no way of telling who is a normal person, and who is a slave of the enemy."

"Robotised? That's hardly a trademark of the Cybermen." The Doctor shrugged. "Still, I've had some experience with the process; or at least one that sounds very like it. I'm afraid it generally proves to be more or less irreversible."

"Rather the conclusion we had come to. We had a man with us; a very respected scientist. He tried to cure one of the slaves, but ended up killing himself and the patient." Masson shook his head. "A booby-trap, at a guess. The circuitry exploded, and the Professor was killed almost instantly."

"Nasty." Beginning to pace, the Doctor rubbed his chin thoughtfully. His hands were itching to reach for his harmonica, but he did not feel that it would be terribly welcome here. Music generally helped him to think, but right now, he decided, he would have to be without it. He came a sudden halt. "Has anybody attempted to establish communications with the Cybermen?"

"You're kidding?" Sandra gaped at him. "They're killers, Doctor. They shoot anybody that they find. Why would we want to talk to them?"

"To find out what they want? To ask them what they're doing here?" He stared at her, his bright eyes luring her into his own self-confident, trusting world, and for a second she almost thought that he was right. Keach shook his head.

"They wouldn't let us get close. I'm willing to bet this is part of some bigger plan. What possible use could they have for one tiny remote little colony? But I'm certainly not planning to be the one who goes to ask them."

"You're not going, are you Doctor?" Suzy sounded momentarily panic-stricken, and he shook his head quickly, going to stand beside her.

"Don't worry Suzy. Just thinking aloud. But if we are going to find out what's happening we need to try something. Do you have any form of surveillance equipment?"

"Not exactly, no." Masson rubbed a smudge of dirt from his toe-cap by polishing it against a trouser leg. He seemed to be deep in thought, as though worried about how far they had gone beyond the point of no return, where trusting the newcomers was concerned. Finally he sighed and straightened up. "We do have one thing though. A machine belonging to the Cybermen. Above ground they're everywhere, and we think they're a form of surveillance device. We've kept it locked up in another room, in case it's still working to some degree. Sometimes it speaks; a voice comes out of it as though it's picking up radio signals from somewhere. We keep away from it."

"Perfect!" Clapping his hands together in clear delight, the Doctor practically bounced up and down with excitement. "Where is it?"

"You don't want to go anywhere near it, Doctor. We can't see how it works, and we can't figure out how to open it, to get at the equipment inside. It could be sending back details about all of us. It's best to stay away."

"I won't let it give anything away." The Doctor dug around in his pockets, finally coming up with his sonic screwdriver; or rather the Master's sonic screwdriver, which he had appropriated during his last visit to Earth. "I can adjust this to send out a signal which will confuse the device, to prevent it from detecting me. I should only need it to work for a few seconds, and then I can shut down your little device, and make it safe. I'm very familiar with most forms of the Cybermen's technology."

"Very well." Looking as though he were likely soon to regret his decision, Masson nodded. "I'll take you to it. It's this way."

"Are you nuts?" Hetty moved forward, his gun half-drawn. "I can't believe you're going to trust this man! We don't know anything about him, or his friends. For all we know he could be--"

"Mr Hetty." Stepping forward and drawing himself up to his full height, Masson pushed the other man's gun back into its holster, glaring magnificently all the while. "The Doctor may or may not be trustworthy; but he is the only man so far able to tell me anything at all about the enemy. I am in command here, and the decision is mine to take. Are we agreed?" Hetty's face showed a definite negative answer, but the younger man moved aside nonetheless. Masson nodded.

"Good." He gestured towards a door set into the wall nearby and moved aside to allow the Doctor to precede him. "It's this way."

"Thankyou Colonel." Resisting a strange urge to stick his tongue out at Hetty as he passed him, the Doctor opened the door and stepped through. He was not surprised to find Masson and Keach following him, and also Suzy and Adam. Sandra came after them as well, although she hung a little further back. So much for not taking the risk of this mysterious surveillance device seeing any of them. He suppressed a smile and walked on down a short stretch of tunnel, to a door at the far end. Masson unlocked it for him, pushing the door open to reveal a small, damp space. It was very dark, the chill air seeping out into the tunnel beyond. Suzy shivered.

"I hate it down here."

"Me too." The Doctor offered her an encouraging smile. "Now keep back for just a second." He pushed her firmly aside before she could protest, then stepped into the little room. A spider ran up the wall just above his head, but he ignored it. He had other things on his mind.

The surveillance device was behind the door, hidden from view to those outside the room. It was large, about the size of a fully grown man, and had a domed shape that suggested awkwardness and lack of manoeuvrability. Several stick-like projections protruded from the main body of the device, including one more or less at eye-level. The Doctor froze. In the darkness, an all-pervading sense of black which troubled even his excellent Gallifreyan night-vision, the details escaped him. He could see only the basic shape; could see nothing at all of the markings which covered the case. He could not see the muzzle of the drooping gun-stick, and he could not see the attentive end piece of the eye. He didn't need to. An involuntary shiver ran through his frame and he took a step back.

"Doctor? Are you alright?" It was Adam's voice, but at first he did not hear it. He took a deep breath, finally getting his panic under control. To be so close to the creature; to be so near it and so completely at its mercy was terrifying, but gradually it dawned on him that it could not see him. It was dead. He let his body gradually relax.

"Doctor, what is it?" Masson was at his side and the Doctor turned to look at him, his eyes glinting slightly in the faint light now visible to him, coming from further back down the tunnel.

"That thing," he said slowly, finding his voice at last. "It's not a surveillance device. It doesn't belong to the Cybermen."

"Then what is it?" Masson stared at the domed shape, wondering at the suggestion of panic in the other man's voice. He had seemed so unflappable up until now.

"It's trouble." The Time Lord wandered back out into the corridor beyond the room, and shut the door carefully behind him. Dead or not, he preferred to have something solid between himself and a Dalek. It made thinking easier and gave him at least a chance of being able to relax. "And it could be the end of us all."


Marching through the streets, two Cybermen came to the quiet, unblemished area of the city where the TARDIS had landed. They stared at it, mute and unmoving, then turned slightly to look at each other. The organic remains of their faces showed through the impassive eye-holes of their great, metal heads as they considered the evidence before them.

"The Doctor is here," one of them said, its voice as empty of emotion as was everything about the creature itself. Its companion gave a short, brisk nod.

"The Doctor," it responded, less by agreement than just as a statement of fact. "He must be found."

"He must be destroyed," answered the first. They stood still for several moments longer, staring at the blue box that stood as such a brazen indication of the renegade Time Lord's presence; then they turned sharply about and marched away.


"Daleks." Keach, his legs stretched out before him, was sitting on the floor of the small HQ staring up at the Doctor. Of all the people in the room only the Time Lord was on his feet, standing in the centre of a circle of faces almost as though he were on trial. "I've never heard of them."

"It's possible that your people are luckier than most." He shrugged as an answer, thinking back over all the other races, all the other planets. There were few enough people within the circles in which he travelled who had not experienced some of the might of the Daleks. "They've been expanding throughout space for a long time now. Whenever I think that they've been destroyed, whenever I think that it's the end of them, they come back. There really is no stopping them."

"And they've never worked with the Cybermen before?" Masson rubbed at his chin, thinking about how pleasant it would be to have a shave. Many more days living like this and he was going to be sporting a beard. That was frowned upon in his regiment, and as the Colonel he was expected to set a good example. He didn't like to think about the fact that there was no longer anybody left to set an example to. Of all his men; all six hundred who had been stationed at the colony, only Keach was still alive. He tried to shake the thought off. They had survived; perhaps others had too; other eclectic groups of survivors who were struggling to stay alive. Somehow though, he just couldn't bring himself to believe it. It was all so quiet out there; so dead.

"Not that I'm aware of. They'd have no reason to. Daleks are utterly without conscience or remorse. They have no emotions at all, not even as much as the Cybermen. They can't be trusted. You can't make deals with them. They're evil, in its simplest form. Even the Cybermen aren't as bad as they are."

"Then why work together. If both races are interested only in expansion and destruction, surely they'd want to destroy each other. They couldn't have any common ground." Macmillan leant forward, his earnest eyes searching the tiled floor before him, as though expecting to find all of the answers hidden in the greying damp whiteness of its length.

"I have no idea." The Doctor grinned, a sudden, bright smile that suggested a far greater confidence than he felt. "But I suggest that we find out. Come along."

"Where are we going?" Glad to hear that there was a chance to escape the dull confines of the tunnels, even if it was to run the risk of meeting up with a squad of Daleks, Adam rose to his feet. The Doctor smiled at him, eyes dancing in anticipation.

"We're going topsides. I want to take a look around, see if I can find a spaceship or two."

"They're all in the same place, just outside of town." Masson stood up. "It's too dangerous Doctor. I really don't think that I can let you go. You haven't seen their stronghold; hundreds of them, on both sides." He suppressed a smile. "To think that we thought it was just a bunch of robots and their machines."

"Yes." The Time Lord smiled back. "You weren't to know." He clapped his hands together, clearly choosing to ignore Masson's suggestion of unwillingness about the trip. "Well I'd better be off."

"We'd better be off." Suzy was at his elbow. She wanted very much to be safe back in the TARDIS, preferably flying away to some far and distant world; but if she couldn't have that, she could at least be with the Doctor. She would rather be anywhere than in the damp maintenance tunnels and drains which held her now.

"Are you sure, Suzy?" He was staring into her eyes, as though trying to look into her soul and discover her true feelings, but she disguised her misgivings with a smile.

"Of course I'm sure. We're a team aren't we?"

"We are indeed." He gave her hand a brief squeeze. "Come along then."

"Wait! You can't go up there alone, unarmed." Keach shook his head, bothered by his own actions. "You'd better let me come with you. I can show you the way."

"Me too." Sandra rose to her feet, ignoring Masson's thunderous look. "You can always use an extra pair of eyes up there. The enemy is everywhere."

"Thankyou." The Doctor bowed his head in polite acknowledgement of her offer, then glanced about the room. "I think it's best if the rest of you stay here though. There's no telling what will happen, and I can't risk you all."

"In that case you'd better take this." Macmillan drew his own gun, offering it to the Doctor. The Time Lord refused with a small smile.

"Thankyou no. I don't have a very good record with firearms. Never did like them."

"Then one of the others perhaps?" Macmillan glanced at Suzy, saw her confused expression, and decided that she was not the person to hand it to. Instead he gave it to Adam. The young man turned it over in his hands, his fingers moving with practised skill over the barrel, checking it over, examining how it worked. He sighted along it almost as if he had been spent much of his life in the company of such weapons; then caught the disapproving look in the Doctor's eyes and lowered the gun to point at the ground. He grinned.

"Thanks, but I think I'm with the Doctor on this one. Guns only cause trouble." He tossed it in the air, catching it by the barrel so that the butt was pointing at Macmillan. "You keep it."

"Well if you're sure." The older man took the weapon back, sticking it into his belt. "But if they see you they'll try and shoot you. Surely you want a chance to shoot back?"

"If they shoot at us the best thing that we can do is run. A gun like that will have no effect against a Dalek." Clapping his hands together, the Doctor herded his little party towards the door. "We'll be back as soon as we can. Don't wait up."

"Be careful." The look in Masson's eyes told them that he wanted to go along, but he dared not leave the others alone. He had already taken that chance once today, and he was not willing to try it again. He remembered too well how it had gone before, when he and Keach had left HQ, and the young woman - what had been her name? Casey? - had sworn that she had seen her brother looking for her, and had gone racing off to find him. The Colonel did not think that he could face losing any of the others; with the possible exception of Hetty.

"Oh we will be." The Doctor smiled at him, his eyes dancing in the shadowy light. He looked so confident, thought Masson; so sure of himself, so clear about everything. There was no visible fear, no worry, no uncertainty. He wasn't sure if the Doctor was a very lucky, very brave man, or if he was just a dangerous fool. Either way there did not seem to be much else that he could do save trust him. There was nobody else who could have suggested such a mission as this. He watched the little group depart, torn now between the desire to go with them and a sense of relief that he was to remain behind, where it was relatively safe. He stood where he was for several minutes, staring at the door, then glanced around at the others.

"We'd better save power," he told them, heading for the nearest lamp. None of the others objected as he began to turn the lights out, plunging them all into a hesitant darkness. They were all used to it by now, and that made him hate it all the more.

"Do you suppose they'll be alright?" Maggie Lane, a middle-aged woman who had once been a newsagent, in that far and distant real world that they had once lived in, spoke out of the darkness. She was invisible, not even as much as a vague shape in the black until his eyes became used to the light. He shrugged, knowing that the gesture was pointless when nobody could see it.

"I suppose so," was all that he could manage to say, before he settled down and closed his eyes, leaning his head back against the wall. He didn't hear a thing as Jon Hetty got to his feet and slipped from the room; and if one of the others saw him go, none of them mentioned it. Soon the man was gone, and all in the little underground room was silent.


"My my." Peering over the top of a conveniently large rock, the Doctor stared down at the fleet of ships. For the most part they were smaller assault vessels; the kind which held between twenty and thirty Cybermen and were capable of causing small scale damage over a wide area. He knew them well enough, but they hardly spoke of a full invasion. He scanned the other vessels; picking out Dalek ships by their differing designs. There were more or less an equal number of craft from each side, which bothered him all the more.

"What do you think?" Keach asked, settling down behind the rock. He had seen the ships before, and saw no reason to look again. The only change since his last visit to this forbidding place was the in number of ships; there were more now than ever before. "Why are they here?"

"I can't see that from up here." The Time Lord smiled at him, an encouraging, friendly smile that somehow lightened his spirits. "At a guess I would say that they're building a base. A big one."

"A base? Here?" Sandra peered over the rocks, staring down at the ships. She had never seen them so close to before, and she found herself becoming unwillingly fascinated by the designs and the shapes of the craft. She had been an engineer before the invasion, and her professional interest crept back out now. "Why?"

"Why not? There aren't any other inhabited planets nearby. They don't have to worry about attacks from close quarters, and any rescue party that might be coming for you will be detected a long way off. They wouldn't have a chance." He sat down, turning his back on the ships. "Tell me, Major. What exactly did the mines of your little colony specialise in?"

"Not a whole lot - and it wasn't exactly my field." Keach shrugged. "Minerals mostly, some metal ores. There's a lot of copper on the other side of the planet, but we don't have much use for that."

"Neither do the Cybermen." The Doctor shrugged. "Anything else?"

"Mostly iron. We were looking into the possibility of using this as a factory planet." Sandra shrugged. "The eco-department objected, and the plans were dropped by the government, but the facilities are here alright. Gold too. Loads of it. We need it for our delicate instrumentation, a lot of medical equipment on our home planet uses gold at least to some degree. The reserves here are huge. The stuff's two a penny."

"Gold? But why on Earth-?" He broke off, shaking his head. "It could be that they don't know, but somehow I can't imagine that..."

"Er, Doctor?" Suzy's voice interrupted him, and he waved a hand at her for silence.

"Not now Suzy. I must think."

"But Doctor, I--"

"What?" He tuned to look at her, his attention clearly elsewhere, and stared past her down towards the fleet of waiting ships. A gang of Cybermen, accompanied by what appeared to be some form of power-sled, were transporting a large, distinctive blue box towards a waiting craft. "Uh oh."

"I was trying to tell you." She glared at him. "Now what do we do?"

"Ask for it back?" He gave her a rather wan imitation of his usual smile, but was hardly surprised to see that it was not returned. "I suppose it was only a matter of time anyway..."

"Is that box important?" Keach peered at it, trying to get a better look, although the distance was too great for a detailed examination. "It doesn't look like much."

"You can say that again." Adam managed a grin, although it was getting distinctly hard to find humour in their current situation. He caught a faintly indignant look from the Doctor and swallowed any further comments. The Time Lord glared.

"That 'box' happens to be my ship," he announced, somewhat haughtily. "Without it we're just a little stranded."

"That's your ship?" Seeing that her incredulity was not improving the Doctor's mood any, Sandra tried to hide her disbelief. "Well, what I mean is, it looks a little small for the three of you."

"It's quite big enough, thankyou." Sounding rather more superior than he had meant to, the Doctor stared back down towards his beloved TARDIS, now disappearing into the interior of one of the largest ships. He scowled. He hated to think of her in enemy hands, even though there was nothing that could be done to harm her. They could not break in without his key, and the Ship itself was more or less indestructible. All the same, it galled him. He could wander without his TARDIS for days at a time, but when something happened to put it so far beyond his grasp, suddenly he would feel a overwhelming urge to be within it again, to run his hands across the controls and to settle back in the welcoming and familiar embrace of his oldest friend. His left hand curled unconsciously into a fist.

"We can try and get it back for you," Keach offered, a little uncertain whether such an offer was really a terribly good idea. The Doctor shook his head, smiling slightly.

"No thankyou. I appreciate the offer, but I won't risk your lives for my problems."

"And just what is it that you're doing for us?" Sandra looked suddenly hot and determined. "We will get it back."

"No you won't." He smiled at her, reaching out to touch her hand. "Listen. When I found out that your enemies were the Cybermen, I had to stay and help, and when I found out about the Daleks too any choice that I might still have had was gone. I have to stop them, and I can't expect you to understand that. I've been their enemy for longer than you can ever imagine. Don't worry, I'll get my ship back. I have to. But my reasons for wanting to help you can't compare to your reasons for wanting to help me."

"So what are we going to do?" Adam, turning his back on the scene now that the TARDIS was no longer visible, settled down on the dry, dusty ground to face the others. "We can't just leave it down there."

"Of course we can't." The Time Lord looked almost insulted. "I'm not going to let them get away with stealing my ship." He hesitated, as though something had occurred to him, then shrugged. "Well, more or less mine anyway. I just have to think for a bit."

"Back at HQ?" Keach sounded as though it were less of a suggestion than a blatant hint. The Doctor smiled at him.

"By all means, Major. You go ahead. You too Suzy, Adam."

"But what about you?" Suzy looked as though she had no intention of leaving him behind, but he gave her one of his firmest smiles, and shook his head.

"You'd only get in the way. I'll just be a few minutes."

"You can't go down there Doctor. Remember their surveillance equipment. It's only by staying over here that we can escape detection. If you go any closer, they'll know where you are." Sandra sounded deeply concerned, but the Doctor did not so much as shrug.

"Undoubtedly." He smiled at her. "I'll be along in a moment or two; there's just something I have to do first. I shall be fine, I promise you."

"If you're sure." One by one they slipped away, leaving him alone. He watched them go, then sat down on the ground, legs crossed. There had to be something in his pockets that would help him now. He ran through everything. Paper clips. Why did he always have an inordinate amount of paperclips in his pockets? A pair of safety pins, something that looked suspiciously like a boiled egg. He couldn't imagine where he had picked that up from. He hated eggs. He dug deeper, surprising even himself with the depth of his pockets; they weren't even of Gallifreyan design and yet they seemed to be bigger inside than normal science could ever explain. The right one presented him with a Swiss army knife, which he was fairly certain he had picked up at a White Elephant stall in Wigan sometime in 1986. There had been a funny story attached to it, he was sure. Something to do with a small Yorkshire terrier and a vicar's wife with a loose thread in the hem of her summer dress. He frowned. It would come back to him eventually. He unearthed a couple of coins as well, one a two pound piece from 1998 and the other a farthing from 1897. It was rather like looking for a needle in a haystack.

"Ah ha!" With a merry flourish, he finally pulled a small, extendable rod from one of the cavernous pockets, and waved it in the air like a flag. It was a device of some ilk, which he had cannibalised from a spaceship he had found abandoned on the edges of the galaxy some years earlier. He couldn't remember quite why he had taken it, but, as always, he was glad that he had. He turned it over in his hands. It sent out a signal, on a specific frequency, which in the right hands could jam any radio or electronic broadcast for up to a mile radius. He would have to adapt it before he could use it to block any surveillance devices in use by the Cybermen or the Daleks, but it would be better than walking into the lion's den blind. He tuned it over in his hands, experimentally sticking his sonic screwdriver against it to see the effect. It crackled at him, putting up a mild protest as he realigned several pieces of its main power system, but there was no major rebellion from the little device. He grinned at it, his eyes sparkling with childish glee.

"Nice long thing. Good device." He jabbed at it once more for luck and it chirped in response, then fell silent. One glance at the readout told him that it would serve its purpose now, but he was no longer in a celebratory mood. It intrigued him, when he actually had the time to sit back and consider it - which was hardly ever - but his new self seemed to have an odd habit of switching emotions at rapid speed. Maybe it as his age, he smirked to himself, then put the sonic screwdriver away and popped back up to have another look over the rock. There was not so much as a Dalek in sight, and he gave a small smile. It was a pity that he couldn't just relax, and be sure that this meant the danger was over for now. His rather more suspicious side told him that they were probably all hiding under the furniture, waiting to jump out at him and shout 'boo'.

"Maybe I should wait until dark." He frowned, remembering his promise to be back in a few minutes, and wondering if the others had really expected him to keep to it. He had to reluctantly conclude that they had. They were the worrying type, they really were. Suzy he could understand; after all, she was from a time where terrible events had not long relinquished their hold over the world, and where she had led a quiet and peaceful life in their aftermath, without fear of marauding cyborgs or invasions of Daleks. Adam was different though. He could hardly claim to have led a sheltered life. He lived under an assumed name, seemed to have led at least three different lives so far, and had just proved himself to be rather more familiar with a gun than the Doctor would ever have given him credit for, had he not learned very quickly not to underestimate the young human. And yet still he worried. Still he disliked leaving the Doctor alone, almost as though something in his past made him unwilling to leave others behind. As for Keach and Sandra, after dealing with an invasion of not just one but two alien races, you could be forgiven for thinking that they would be a little less anxious and a lot more aware. Maybe he was being unfair, judging others by his own standards. They weren't Time Lords after all. They weren't even Gallifreyan. He smiled to himself and edged away from the rocks. He could come back later, maybe with Adam. He would bring Suzy too, if it wasn't for her unwillingness to do anything at night. He didn't think that she was scared of the dark exactly, but she could be very strange and... well... very fifties at times.

"Going somewhere?" He recognised the voice, although it was only as he turned towards it that he knew who it belonged to. Jon Hetty, his gun in his hand, was standing nearby. He was leaning against a large boulder, his face a mask of suspicion and dislike. A hard little smile edged at the corners of his mouth, showing the pride he felt at a job that had clearly been well done.

"Hetty?" The Doctor wished that the infuriating man didn't have a name that sounded straight out of a nineteen fifties radio comedy. It made him want to smile when he would much rather be angry. "What are you doing here?"

"What we should have done back when we found you. Liquidating a threat." Hetty's eyes narrowed. "What were you doing just then? Communicating to the Cybermen?"

"Hardly." Stepping towards the other man, the Doctor held his hands away from his sides. He had been in enough awkward situations to know that the gesture could often put agitated others at their ease. "I was trying to find a way past their surveillance equipment. They have my ship, and we're going to need that if we're to defeat them."

"We don't need to defeat them. I can talk to them, I know I can. And you're going to be my way in." Hetty smirked. "I know which side you're on, Doctor, and I know that when they see me coming in with one of their spies, they'll listen to what I have to say. There has to be some kind of deal that we can come to."

"You can't make deals with Daleks." The Doctor took a step forward, anxious to speak, but Hetty's gun jerked once to remind him of its presence. He had no doubt that the man was prepared to fire. He looked just about capable of anything, standing there framed by shadow, his eyes alive with unnatural brightness.

"Daleks? You can't fool me with that rubbish. Those so-called Daleks are just what we thought them to be all along. They're just machines used by the Cybermen to check out the lie of the land. You may have fooled the others, Doctor, but you don't fool me."

"Hetty, please. You really must listen to me." He took another step forward, but this time the gun pressed into his chest, and the eyes of the other man burned into his own. The finger was already on the trigger, and it would take only the slightest pressure to fire. The Doctor clenched his teeth. This was no way to die.

"No Doctor. You must listen to me." Hetty smirked at him, his teeth glinting in the dying light. "The others think the way through this is to hide underground and hope that the problem will go away. They plan to wait here until Doomsday expecting a fleet to come to our rescue, but you and I both know that isn't going to happen. Any ship that tries to come here will be destroyed. It's up to us to find a way out of this."

"You're right." The Doctor decided to try a few platitudes. For all his burgeoning insanity and dangerous paranoia, Hetty was actually talking some real sense. "It is up to us. I don't think that the others are quite ready to accept that yet."

"Precisely." Hetty made a gesture with the gun. "Which is why it's up to me. I knew it from the start. The Cybermen came into the newsroom where I worked, and they killed everybody. Everybody. I saw it all. They missed me. They killed everybody else, but they missed me. I got away. So I knew you see." He smiled, and for a moment looked quite pleasant, quite young. "It's up to me."

"Hetty..." The Doctor tried to move, but the gun was at his chest once again. He considered trying to disarm the man, but saw no way to succeed. Lately his Venusian Aikido skills had been getting distinctly hazy, and whilst his current self tended towards action, that was just the sort of thing that was likely to get him shot right now. He froze.

"Down towards the ships." Hetty's voice was quiet, threatening. "Come on."

"You're making a big mistake here." The Doctor kept his own voice quiet. "As soon as they see us, we're dead. Both of us."

"Don't be silly. I know, you see. I know." Hetty was actually smiling at him. "It'll be alright, once I talk to them. Once I show them that we can make a deal. It'll be okay."

"You can't make a deal with Daleks." His voice rather more harsh than he had intended, the Doctor locked eyes with his stubborn opponent. "You can shoot me if you like, but I'm not going down there. Not now, not like this. They'll kill you."

"Not with you in the way they won't." Hetty's eyes were narrowing, but the Doctor, his mind made up, was as determined as was his foe. His fists clenched, returning to his sides. He was not going to hold them up for this man any longer.

"I'm not going anywhere," he said firmly, his own eyes beginning to blaze. Hetty faltered. He had not been expecting to meet with such resistance, and all of a sudden his hands felt damp with sweat. He could almost feel the gun slipping in his grasp. He licked his lips.

"You're bluffing," he countered finally. The Doctor glared at him, his eyes hot but his expression cold.

"Do I look as though I'm bluffing?"

"I - I don't--" The gun wavered, Hetty's eyes flashed with indecision. He looked from his weapon to the Doctor, and then stole a glance towards the ships below them. Something was different, his mind told him. He could not put his finger on it, and in his confusion the problem only caused his pulse to race still further. He frowned, and swallowed hard. Something was definitely wrong. "Now listen, I--"

"Look out!" Hetty was not sure what happened. He felt the gun fly from his fingertips, felt the ground rushing up to meet him; felt a heavy weight knocking him aside, and a pair of strong hands heaving him into the rocks. He gasped, startled, his mind too confused to reach a true state of fear.

"What - what's going-?"

"Shut up!" the Doctor's voice hissed in his ear, but then the Doctor himself was not there anymore. A shadowy figure was visible in the corner of Hetty's eye; a roughly Doctor-shaped figure, scrambling back over the open space to grab the fallen gun. Panic registered in Hetty's mind for a second; was the Doctor going to shoot him? Was this the last sight he was ever going to see?

"Do not move. You are surrounded." It was the voice of a Cyberman. Hetty recognised it with a sinking feeling in his stomach that confirmed all of his suspicions. They were here to meet with the Doctor, and from him would learn all about the man now hiding in the rocks so near to where they stood. He contemplated standing up, at least making a fight of it; but something told him to stay where he was. Something in the silence which had followed the Cyberman's shout, perhaps; or something that he had seen in the Doctor's eyes? He didn't know.

"You were told not to move." The Cyberman's voice came again, and this time Hetty frowned. He hadn't moved. Clearly the creature wasn't speaking to him. He peered into the growing darkness, cursing the colony's tendency to fall into blackness so quickly. Here, so close to the planet's equator, there was no real dusk. Already it was becoming too dark to see anything clearly.

"Alright, take it easy." It was the Doctor's voice, jaunty, bright, with a faint hint of insolence. "You chaps never change, do you."

"You will be silent." Hetty heard the sound of heavy metal feet on the dry ground, seeing the sudden huge, looming shape of a Cyberman as it approached the Time Lord. The Doctor gave a small bow in greeting.

"Hello Leader."

"Be silent." The Cyberman glared down at the man before it, its wheezing, hissing breath punctuating the stillness. "You are the Doctor?"

"Guilty as charged, I'm afraid." The Time Lord gave a small shrug. "So what's it to be, Leader? Extermination? Unimaginative interrogation? Or don't you get the choice? Maybe you have to bow to the will of your Dalek leaders now."

"You will be silent." The Cyberman reached out with one, mighty metal hand, grabbing the Doctor by the front of his shirt. "You will not speak."

"So you do have to wait for orders from the Daleks." The Doctor shook his head. "I'm disappointed in you, Leader. I thought that the Cybermen were made of stronger stuff."

"Search the area." Pushing the Time Lord aside, the Cyberleader stared around at his fellows, great metal shapes that remained on the periphery of Hetty's vision. The journalist's heart jumped into his mouth. Now what? They would find him for sure. Again he considered getting up, showing them that he was there. He would die, but it would be better than being found, than being dragged out of his hiding place and shot down. He remembered his gun. The Doctor had gone to retrieve it, removing it from his reach. He had left Hetty defenceless; or maybe it had been a pointed warning to remain out of the way. He tried to make himself smaller, to push himself into the shadows.

"Don't bother." Regaining his footing after the assault from the Cyberleader, the Doctor straightened his shirt and glared up at the huge silver creature before him. He was a tall man, but even so the creature towered over him, its great, empty eye holes giving him an occasional, unwanted glimpse of what little of the organic creature remained. "I'm alone. You can search all you want, but you won't find anything."

"You are never alone, Doctor." The Cyberman stared down at him, clearly thinking. It drew its gun, a huge, heavy black weapon as big as the Doctor's head. "If your friends want to save your life, they will reveal themselves now."

"No they won't." The Doctor was still looking up at the Cyberleader, but it seemed to Hetty that for one, brief second those intense blue eyes were shining in his direction, telling him to stay hidden. "There's nobody out there, Leader. Check your surveillance gear."

"You are jamming our surveillance equipment Doctor. I am not a fool." The gun was at the Time Lord's temple now, its gentle whirring an indication of the force it could unleash. It would do more than merely blow the Doctor's head off at such a range; it could atomise his entire body. He frowned.

"I'm alone, Leader. So unless you're going to pull that trigger now, I suggest we head for home."

"Do not trust the Doctor." It was a different voice, and one that Hetty vaguely remembered hearing coming at intermittent intervals over the strange domed thing back at Masson's HQ. It was harsh, pitched in a grating monotone, demanding and accusing and strangely terrifying all at once. He held his breath. What now? How could things possibly get any worse?

"Greetings, Gold Dalek." The Cyberleader's voice hissed involuntarily at the address, his natural dislike of all things gold showing clearly. "We are handling the situation."

"The Doctor is to be exterminated." The Dalek rolled forward now, visible in all its alien clarity to the cowering Hetty. He felt a burst of irrational fear as the eye-stick moved about, certain that it would see him and give the order to destroy. He could see now that these were no surveillance devices, even if that was how they had first appeared. He had a sensation that he was in the presence of something truly terrible.

"I wish to interrogate the Doctor." The Cyberleader turned to stare at the upraised eye-stick. "He is my prisoner."

"The Doctor is not to be trusted. The Doctor is the enemy of the Daleks. Enemies of the Daleks must be destroyed." There was a hint of the insane about the staccato rush of words. Hetty clenched his fists. He couldn't allow them to kill the Doctor. He had come so close to doing it himself, and yet the Time Lord had just saved his life. He wondered what he could do, but had to conclude that there was nothing. He was helpless.

"Silence." Angry at the Dalek, or perhaps just wishing to prove to the Doctor that the Cybermen were as much in control of the situation as were their allies, the Leader knocked the gun-stick aside. "The Time Lord lives. For now."

"How kind." The Doctor's voice was dry, sounding faintly tired. "Shall we go?"

"We are watching you, Doctor." The Dalek was still before him, and no matter how he tried, the Doctor could not lose the sense of apprehension that he always felt when they were near. He had faced all manner of terrors, but nothing bothered him quite like the presence of the mechanoid race from Skaro. "You will obey. You will obey or you shall be exterminated."

"My dear chap, I never expected anything less." He stared into its single eye-stick, wondering what was going on in the mind of the small, jelly-like creature behind it. He saw the gun-stick rise up to point at him, and wondered for a moment if he might have gone too far. The Daleks did not tend to welcome flippancy. He wondered if there was something that he could say to make it lower its weapon and leave him alone, but he was still wondering when the Dalek fired.

Hetty, still crouched in his hiding place, nearly shouted out when he saw the Dalek fire, and saw the Doctor fall. Panic leapt into his mind once again before he realised that the slumped shape on the ground was still breathing. He gasped in silent relief. It must have been some kind of a knock-out ray, something to keep the prisoner quiet until he was safely inside whichever ship they were taking him to. He relaxed back into the rocks, watching as the group of enemy soldiers collected up the Doctor and turned to leave, and he waited until the last of their clumping, metal footsteps had died away.

"Damn." He was angry with himself now, angry that he had done nothing to help the Doctor. He knew that there was nothing that he could have done, but somehow that did not improve the situation any. He looked around for his gun, picked it up and stuck it into his belt. A lot of good it had done him so far. He stared down towards the lines of ships, waiting for a few brief moments to see which one the Doctor was being taken to. By the looks of things it was the same one that now housed the strange blue box he had seen the Cybermen loading earlier. He nodded once, firmly, determined, then turned around and began to hurry back to HQ. He had to get some help before it was too late.


"I can't believe Masson refused to help us." Wandering along in an apparent daze, Sandra stared up towards the rocky vantage point from where, so recently, she had watched the Cybermen load the Doctor's bizarre mode of transport onto one of their ships. It seemed like a lifetime ago.

"He's the only hope the other survivors have. He had to stay behind." Macmillan shrugged. "I suppose he thought it wasn't worth the risk."

"But Keach... Keach is my friend. Or - or at least I thought he was. He didn't seem to be like Masson." Sandra shook her head. "You soon find out who your real friends are."

"Keach was being a good soldier." Adam's voice was gruff. He had been trying to justify the actions of the two soldiers since the minute that they had refused to go on the expedition to rescue the Doctor. He had nearly punched Masson, after the older man had announced that he would not risk valuable lives and resources in such a futile cause. He felt almost hopelessly grateful towards Sandra and Macmillan now. They did not need to come. Masson had given them a way out; a reason to decline and remain behind where it was safe; but neither of them had hesitated. They had only known the Doctor for a few hours, but already they were willing to risk their lives for him. Adam would have smiled at the remarkable effect that his strange friend seemed to have on so many of the people that he met; but he did not feel much like smiling right now.

"You do know which ship he's in?" he asked Hetty. The other man, leading the party along with a feverish haste, did not slow up for a moment.

"Yes." He did not look back.

"What was he doing up here? He was supposed to be right behind us, but we'd reached HQ before you came along." Sandra frowned. "And what were you doing out here anyway?"

"I wanted to talk to the Doctor. I didn't believe him, you know that." Hetty did slow down finally, and he looked back at the others, his eyes showing his guilt. "I wanted to talk to him, but we ended up arguing. I didn't even see the Cybermen, but he did, and - and he pushed me out of the way so that they wouldn't know I was there. They came out of nowhere."

"I hope he's alright." They had reached the rocks once again, and Suzy peered over them, looking down at the expanse of dark sand and dusty ground which led to the ships. "Do you suppose they're all asleep down there?"

"I doubt it." Adam put an arm around her shoulders, surprised by how cold she felt. She was not shivering, and did not seem to have noticed the drop in temperature which had come with the night. He hadn't noticed it himself until he had touched her. Perhaps it was the worry, but he still did not feel the chill. "Do you remember the last time that we met the Daleks? They killed my best friend."

"Yes I know." She smiled at him, trying to be reassuring but still looking too scared herself to be of any comfort. "It'll be alright this time. That was before you met the Doctor. He always makes everything okay."

"Yeah." He managed a smile then, thinking back over his short association with the bizarre Time Lord. The impromptu concerts in the most inopportune moments, when the harmonica found its way out of a pocket; the humming and hawing when there was the least imaginable time in which to hum and haw; the absentmindedness which had to have been of almost legendary proportions... It was a wonder that the Doctor even managed to survive his adventures, let alone wrap them up with such style.

"What now?" Macmillan asked, staring down at the ships. It had all looked so simple earlier, before he had got a glimpse of exactly what it was that they had to do. It had seemed almost like fun. A midnight sortie into enemy territory, a quick rescue mission, and maybe a little well-placed sabotage; and then, hey presto, they had not only saved the Doctor, but they had defeated the aliens and saved the planet - maybe even the galaxy. He had thought it all out in his mind as they had hurried along the darkened streets. Now suddenly his waking dreams seemed less like a grand adventure and more like a suicidal nightmare. He wondered what the others would think if he slipped away and didn't come back. "I, er... I didn't do much hand to hand combat in the bank."

"Don't worry about it. There won't be any hand to hand combat." Inching forward, Hetty managed to smile at his companion. "One blow from a Cyberman and you won't be hitting back. Ever." He pointed into the darkness. "Keep low, there's a squad of robot men over there."

"Your fellow colonists?" Adam stared towards the figures. They marched along in single file, their heads covered by metal helmets which also hid much of their faces. They had a strange, jerky motion, a manner which gave them the appearance of toy dolls or marionettes. He smiled.

"Are you thinking what I hope you're thinking?" Hetty smiled too, surprised at the ease with which this was coming to him. He had been the trouble-making coward until a few hours ago; now he was the leader of the expedition. "Think we can grab five of them?"

"We have to try." He edged forward. "I only hope the rest of the group doesn't notice."

"They only see what they're told to." Sandra sounded vaguely hurt, as though someone she knew well was now a robotised slave of the enemy. It stood to reason, Adam thought with a burst of pity. They all had to have known somebody who had met such a fate.

"Fine." He smiled at her, at Suzy, at the hesitant Macmillan who still seemed to be surprising himself with his own bravery. Adam knew the feeling. "I shall, er... well I'll be right back." He hurried away into the darkness.

"Wait!" Hetty's whisper followed him into the shadows, but he ignored it. Maybe the other man had wanted to be the first to take the risk. After all, he seemed to blame himself for the whole incident. Somehow Adam couldn't agree with him on that one. It seemed unfair to blame him for something that would probably have happened anyway; and besides, the Doctor was his friend, his travelling companion. If anybody was going to take the risk it should be him. He shook his head, trying to focus on the task at hand, but it was all too easy to keep coming back to one central thought. I should never have left him. He blinked, taking a moment to reassure himself that he had not actually spoken the words aloud. He was angry with himself for ever having walked away and left the Doctor behind. You'd have thought you'd have learned, after the last time. His conscience, apparently determined to distract him, brought new thoughts - and old memories - to the forefront of his mind, but he did his best to ignore them. This was not the time.

He had reached the line of robot men before he was really aware of it. He sidled into place behind them, his hands reaching out in the darkness. He was assuming that they were no longer human, and he could only imagine what sort of effect the process of robotisation had on its subjects. For all that he knew, his target might have vastly increased strength. Here goes nothing, he told himself; and reached out. His hands struck shoulder; warm, soft, living shoulder, which startled him for a moment. He had been thinking of them as robots, and had begun to forget that they had once been human. The man he had seized gave no reaction, and Adam dragged him backwards, his hands finding their way from shoulders to head. He gripped the heavy metal helmet, and with all his strength he pulled at it. The robot man gave a shudder; a mighty shiver that ran from head to toe, as his whole body jerked violently and almost tore free from the young man holding it. Adam clenched his teeth, pulling all the harder, his fingers searching for a better grip on the smooth metal. It seemed to be caught on something. He didn't want to think what.

With a final grating, scraping noise the helmet came away in his hands and the robot man went limp. Adam felt his own body slump in reaction to the sudden cessation of activity. He looked down at the man before him, knowing at once that he was dead. There were deep gouges in his skull where the helmet had been attached, and the sightless eyes gaped up at the heavens in empty stillness. He had been a young man, Adam saw, with a faint five o'clock shadow and an old scar across his chin. One ear was pierced, a small gold ring with a cross dangling from it. Adam felt the touch of its cold metal on his fingers.

"Sorry." The sound of his own voice, hushed though it was, startled him. He glanced about, anxious to be sure that nobody had heard it, then dragged the body into the rocks nearby and lowered the heavy metal helmet onto his own head. He felt the scratch of probes against his temples, searching for the holes that should have been there to receive them. So that was how the process of robotisation was completed. He felt vaguely sick.

"Adam?" It was Hetty's voice, coming at him out of the darkness. Adam stared up at him as the other man came over, finding it hard to keep his balance at first with the new weight on his head.

"Piece of cake," he said confidently, although he did not feel nearly so sure as he sounded. Hetty nodded.

"Come on. We have to get the others fitted up. I don't think they can manage alone."

"Sure." He stumbled after the rest of the robot men, getting the feel of the helmet now, learning to hold his head up despite its almost unmanageable bulk. His stomach protested at the idea of seizing more of the helmets; of killing more of their owners; but he told himself that the people inside them were already dead. It was the Daleks who were responsible for their deaths; not him. Nonetheless he kept seeing an image of the young man whose helmet he now wore. He saw the dark eyes staring up at the sky, and he remembered the face. He knew that he probably always would. His fingers closed up on themselves, glad of the dark to hide their movements, as he reached inside his pocket and felt something there. A gold earring. He could feel the points of the cross which hung on the hoop; could feel the sharp piece which fitted into the hole in the owner's ear. He pulled his hand away and returned his thoughts to the task at hand. There would be time for sorrow later.


The Doctor sat alone in a small, unfurnished room of typical Dalekian simplicity. It amused him how rigidly they stuck to their old designs; the room in which he sat now, regardless of the fact that it was in a spaceship on a distant human colony, could so easily have been the very same room in which he had been locked after meeting the Daleks for the first time. That day was so distant to him now. It was as though it lay, shrouded in mist, in somebody else's memory. He thought that he remembered losing Barbara in the Dalek city, and he had vague recollections of dressing Ian up in a discarded casing. He smiled to himself. So many memories, so many of them lost. Some day he was going to have to have a proper get-together with all his previous selves, so that he could try to make some sense of the holes in his past. The problem was, they probably had the holes too. They all had the same mind, after all, even if they did use it in different ways. He smiled at the thought. Eight of them, all using the same mind. It was no wonder he was always forgetting things.

He stretched, getting to his feet and completing a circle of the room. It was annoyingly small, and most unedifying. The walls were of a uniform grey, the floor almost exactly the same shade. The metallic feel had once been necessary for the Daleks' all-important static electricity, but they had long adapted past that stage in their development. Nobody had bothered to change the blue-prints, obviously. He pulled out his harmonica with a sigh, wondering if he was going to be left alone for very much longer. He had no idea how long it had been since his capture, but on awakening in his cell he had had the strangest feeling that many long hours had passed since the shooting. He wondered where Hetty was. Had he managed to escape? Had he gone back to the others to report what had happened? Not knowing what might be going on beyond the walls of his cell, beyond the boundaries of the spaceship itself, was almost as frustrating as sitting there, waiting all alone and thoroughly bored. He started to play his harmonica, choosing the notes at random at first, before order took over and he heard a recognisable tune take shape - I Want To Break Free. He smiled to himself. There were times when the warped sense of humour that his subconscious seemed to possess surprised even him.

The time passed slowly. He played for some while, alternating his music between Western rock 'n' roll and Gallifreyan mood music. Some of it leant itself rather well to the harmonica, although the complex structure of a few of the tunes quite defied him. Many Gallifreyans played and wrote music as an exercise in intelligence, with messages hidden in the mathematical formulae of the resonance and pitch. It was hardly surprising that they did not translate well to a single human musical instrument. Finally, frustrated at his inability to reproduce one particular piece that he vaguely remembered from his far-too-distant childhood, he put the instrument away and rose to his feet. Maybe he could do something about the door.

He spent a pleasant hour toying with bits and pieces, talking to the door and to his surroundings in general. He whistled as he worked, fiddling with pieces of bric-a-brac from his pockets and muttering to himself in his rarely used Gallifreyan as various incompatible items refused to connect. Something in his right hand squawked with surprising volume and he slapped at it, then blinked in astonishment. The door had risen up almost three inches.

"Eureka!" Filled with a childlike glee, he shook the whatever-it-was in his hand again, at the same time wondering for the hundredth time in nearly as many minutes just what exactly it was; and where it had come from. It squawked again, this time in a higher pitch, and he winced. It seemed determined either to alert the Daleks to his activities or to annihilate his eardrums. He wasn't quite sure which would happen first. All the same, the door had risen up even further, and now he had a good view of the corridor outside. It was empty, which clearly was a blessing. He had been expecting to find himself looking at the unyielding metal ankles of a Cyberman guard.

"Tally ho." Feeling oddly like a member of the cast of a British wartime escape film, the Doctor collected together his variety of bits and pieces and slid under the door. There was room to spare above him, but not enough for him to be unable to feel the scrape of the underside of the door as he passed it. Once out in the corridor he stretched, then patted the cell door in farewell. It slammed back down with an ear-shattering crash that caused him to leap into the air in shock. He froze. Nobody came running. He began to breathe again, and smiled in nervous excitement.

"Where to go now." He strolled to the end of the corridor and peered around the corner. He still could not see anybody, but he was spoilt for choice direction-wise. He could see three more corridors leading off from his own, and no indication as to which one he should choose. He scowled. Why was nothing ever easy? He played a quick game of Spin The Harmonica to help him decide, stared down the corridor that his rebellious musical instrument had chosen, and shook his head. There was something about the opposite way that looked much more inviting. As he hurried off down his chosen route, five robot men marched down the corridor that the harmonica had chosen, their jerky motion looking somehow stilted and uncertain. They paused at the crossroads, then headed off down the corridor the Doctor had just come from, heading towards his now empty cell. Unaware that they even existed, the Doctor ran on in his own direction. He wondered where he was heading. Far behind him, the five false robot men were wondering the same thing about themselves.


He turned corners and chose randomly at crossroads, wandering from one identical point of the ship to another. It had become patently obvious to him that he was now going in circles - the ship could not possibly be this big; could it? - but until he was able to find some point of reference; something with which to keep his meanderings in scale, he was helpless. And so he wandered on. Once or twice he heard the sound of distant Cybermen, guards no doubt completing their patrols. He caught the occasional glimpse of one or two of them, passing across in front of him at the crossroads, but by nothing short of extraordinary luck he managed not to be seen.

It was with tiring patience and a distinct feeling of entrapment that he came at last upon a large, metal door. He approached it with confidence, wondering if he was about to stroll straight onto the command deck, then shrugged to himself. Why not do just that? It might get a few of his questions answered, and he was fairly sure that they wouldn't kill him. After all, they hadn't so far.

With a lively spring to his step and a faintly arrogant lift to his head, he stepped forward and let the automatic door slide open. He looked around. A huge room awaited him, but he saw nobody within it. There were no Daleks, no Cybermen. There weren't even any robot men on guard.

"Hello?" Keeping his voice low he strolled in and glanced about. Huge control panels rose up above him, many of the buttons clearly designed for Cyber hands alone. Nobody but the Cybermen themselves could reach such controls, which surprised him in a ship that was so clearly of Dalek construction.

"Anybody home?" He went further into the room. It was taken up almost entirely with glass containers; massive tanks resembling bell jars in shape, all filled with a curious pale green liquid. There were things floating in the liquid; shapes that he could just make out as he made his way closer. Small, jelly-like forms, with short, stubby tentacles; masses of them hanging in suspension in their pale green watery home. He knew the shapes well.

"Daleks..." His voice sounded unnaturally loud in the stillness, even though he had used only the softest of whispers. He went closer to the glass, his fingers touching its cold, smooth surface as he peered into the nearest tank. They were so small; babies perhaps, juveniles certainly. "Baby Daleks..." A cold feeling ran through him, a strange sense of uncertainty. Could they see him? Could they do anything about his presence? Immature or not, they were still Daleks. All the same, they were so defenceless, so helpless. Whatever they might be related to, and whatever they might be destined to become, right now they were merely babies. He could no more have hated them than he could have hated any small child, of any race.

He tore himself away from the tank and wandered on through the room. There were four of the tanks, and it soon became clear that only two of them contained the small forms which would one day be placed within the domed metal casings of the Daleks. The other two tanks appeared to be empty at first glance, until he moved closer to them and saw faint shapes within the pale-green suspension. They were humanoid, much like the small children that he saw all the time on other planets. Their bodies were transparent, as though created by some artist who had forgotten to add the colour. He could see the circuitry within them that made them what they were; cyborgs; and he had no doubt that, just as the Dalek children would receive their casings one day, so too would these Cyber children receive the metal body parts of their Cybermen fellows. He closed his eyes, uncertain quite what he should be feeling right now. He wondered if there was something that he could do; some way of releasing the children from their tanks, to see that they never followed their parents on the warpath. Somehow he was sure that to liberate the children now would be to kill them. It certainly seemed as though they needed the green liquid to survive.

"Close your eyes my darling, well three of them at least..." he whispered to himself, smiling sadly at the out of place lullaby in such an alien nursery. He was looking at the future of his greatest enemies, and it brought back memories that he would far rather have forgotten. He remembered so long ago... his fourth self? That seemed about right. He had been presented with the chance to destroy the Daleks for good; to wipe their entire civilisation from the universe. He remembered the anguish of that decision, knowing how much better so many countless lives would have been; and yet knowing that such a decision could never truly be his to make. He leaned against the nearest tank, feeling the cold glass against his forehead. It was strange, but he had never thought before about the way in which his enemies replenished their ranks. He had never considered that either race might produce children. He wondered if they were true offspring, or merely clones. Not that it mattered.

"He's got to be here somewhere." The voice startled him so much that he jerked away from the tank and threw himself behind the nearest control console. He heard the steady march of feet, and peered out of his hiding place in time to see five robot men go past him, their heads encased in metal, their movements jerky and uncontrolled. He felt a pang of sorrow, wondering who these latest victims were, and who they had been before the process had annihilated their old selves.

"Yeah, but where?" The voice didn't sound truly robotic; almost as though some vestiges of humanity remained. The Doctor frowned. He watched the five figures staring around; saw them clearly stumped by their surroundings; and smiled.

"That must have been a cell we found back there. It was the only room that didn't open from the inside." He recognised the third speaker, and his smile became a childish grin. "But he wasn't in there. Just like the Doctor to go and escape on his own, when we've been through all this to try and rescue him. These helmets are murder."

"I don't want to think about what my hair looks like under this," a female voice added. It was a young voice, with a faint hint of its owner's native Liverpudlian.

"Never mind that. We don't have unlimited time here." Jon Hetty, his voice muffled by a particularly ill-fitting helmet, took the lead, gazing about at the contents of the huge tanks. "I hate this place. Let's just concentrate on finding the Doctor and getting out of here. It gives me the creeps."

"But where do we look? We've been through half the ship. Pretty soon the guards are going to start wondering what five of their robot slaves are doing marching in circles." Sandra shook her head, or tried to at least. Clearly it was an uncomfortable procedure in the confines of the helmet. "Where on the twin moons of Kapra is he?"

"I'm here of course." Sounding as innocent as ever, the Doctor strolled out from behind the control panel, his eyes wide in false surprise. "Where else would I be?"

"Doctor!" Dragging her helmet off, Suzy ran to him, offering him a quick hug. He reciprocated gently, smiling down at her.

"You shouldn't have come here you know."

"I know." She smiled back. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine." He looked amazed that she could have thought anything else of him. "Adam? Are you alright?"

"I'm fine too Doctor." The young human pulled off his heavy helmet and offered the Time Lord a hot and breathless grin. "Have you seen any sign of the TARDIS?"

"No." An expression of something rather akin to petulance crossed the Doctor's face. "I must say it's a bit rum. If they're going to steal her, the least they can do is put her somewhere where I've got a chance of finding her again."

"Is it important? Really?" Sandra looked from one to the other of the Doctor's companions, before turning to the Time Lord himself. "Do we really need it?"

"If you ever want to get home, yes. Certainly if Suzy and Adam here do." He frowned at her, his blue eyes taking hers and holding them fast. "I have no desire to risk your lives searching for my ship. I'm grateful for what you've done so far, and I won't ask you to do anything else. But I have to find her. I don't think that they can break in without my key, but it's a chance I'm not willing to take. The technology within that ship is safe only in the hands of the Time Lords. Daleks and Cybermen definitely aren't to be trusted with it."

"I understand." She nodded. "I suppose we'd better look for it then. This place is so much bigger than I thought it was. From outside it looks so small, and yet inside..."

"Yes, I know." He smiled at her. "It's really no bigger on the inside, though, I promise. Much of the ship is buried, and that's why it looks so small from the outside. I think they need this room here to be beneath sea level. Pressure is very important to the solution in the tanks if these control panels are anything to go by."

"I've been meaning to ask about these." Macmillan stared up at the nearest tank, where so many baby Daleks appeared to be hanging in suspended animation. "What are these weird things? They look like jellyfish with legs."

"They're Daleks." The Doctor wandered over to join him, abruptly abandoning his conversation with Sandra. She looked vaguely disappointed, Suzy thought with a smile. "All Daleks look like that inside. It's all that remains of the original life form. The Kaleds were humanoid once."

"Well I don't think much of whatever it is they are now." Hetty remembered seeing the great, domed shapes of the Daleks outside the ship, when the Doctor had been captured. It did not help knowing that inside each one was a rubbery green thing like a detached brain with tentacles. "Why are they in the tanks?"

"This is a nursery. Where baby Daleks are grown prior to encasement in their suits." The Doctor frowned at the tanks, staring at one after the other of them. "I rather think that we've stumbled on a particularly grand venture."

"Such as?" Macmillan peered through the glass, staring at the lifeless Daleks. "An invasion force?"

"Not exactly, no." The Time Lord frowned for a moment longer. "Do you remember when we talked about the mining being performed on this planet? We established that gold was a major resource here."

"I remember." Sandra smiled. "Don't tell me the Daleks and the Cybermen are after all that? They don't look much like get-rich-quick types."

"They're not." He sunk his hands into his pockets, beginning to pace up and down between the tanks. "Cybermen are allergic to gold. Fatally so. Much as some people can become dreadfully ill - can even die - when there's a hint of peanuts in the food that they eat, or the air that they breathe, Cybermen are unable to tolerate gold. It destroys their respiratory systems."

"So why come to a planet that's full of it?" Adam asked. "That doesn't make sense."

"It didn't make sense to me either at first." He stared into the nearest of the tanks, where the Cyber children hung in all their transparent stillness. "But take a look at the liquid in these tanks. There's something else in there, besides the water. Minuscule fragments of something else, held in suspension within the base formula. Gold."

"They're exposing their children to a fatal substance?" Hetty winced. "They really are mad."

"No, not mad. They're trying to make their children resistant to it; to breed a new type of Cyber-race that isn't susceptible to their age-old weakness. When these children are born, they'll be a new type of Cyberman; one that isn't allergic to gold. I suspect that there are other changes being made as well; not least this one." He pointed to where a mesh of pipes linked the four tanks together. The Dalek children are sharing resources with the Cyber-children. There's no reason to expose them to gold, unless..."

"Unless they need to become immune to it too. You think they're building a hybrid?" Adam whistled. "Daleks with elements of the Cyber-race, and no doubt Cybermen with added Dalek DNA."

"Exactly." The Doctor grinned at him like a teacher proud of a pupil. "For now it's probably something minor, but the ultimate goal will undoubtedly be a real, 50-50 Cyber/Dalek hybrid. All the strength of a Cyberman with all the resilience of a Dalek."

"Not a nice combination," Sandra observed, although the scientific tone of the conversation had escaped her for the most part.

"Oh yes." The Doctor nodded, his expression sincere. "Quite terrifying. Like - like Hitler and Stalin, or René and Renato. They have to be stopped."

"Quite." The only one amongst the group able to appreciate the Doctor's warped sense of humour, Adam smiled to himself. "As if we didn't have enough problems dealing with them as separate races."

"Exactly. I don't see why they would need to do something like this. From what I've seen the Cybermen are pretty impressive on their own." Macmillan shivered slightly. "The way they work, their practicality, their efficiency. They don't need to mix their race with another, surely?"

"Perhaps not." The Doctor shrugged. "But it's what they're doing. The Daleks have been split for years into warring factions. Some of their kind chose to follow Davros, their... their creator of sorts. Others chose to follow other leaders, or to set out on their own. It's weakened their forces, caused many of their projects to fail. Perhaps this way they hope to reunite their race, by creating a new breed of Dalek able to force the others into submission. The Cybermen are sure to be getting plenty from the deal themselves. Help to conquer their weakness towards gold for one thing. Who knows what else?"

"We have to stop them." Suzy's voice had gone very quiet. "Doctor, I remember before; the Daleks that we met on Earth. We can't let them get any stronger; let them do any more damage. We have to stop them."

"We will." He smiled at her in the most reassuring fashion that he could manage. "Just as soon as we find the TARDIS we can--"

"Doctor, look out - over there!" Hetty's voice, hushed in urgency, cut through the little group like a knife. They turned as one. In the doorway, just visible past the banks of controls, stood a squad of robot men. Suzy gasped, and the Doctor pushed her violently behind the nearest control panel.

"Ssh!" He held his hand up for silence, worried that the robotised slaves might have heard her sudden noise. "Put your helmets back on again, quickly."

"But what about-?" He hushed Suzy again, pushing her helmet into her hands. She did as she was told, pulling the heavy metal covering back over her head.

"Now what do we do?" Hetty asked, trying to keep low and out of sight.

"Hope that they don't come over here." The Doctor edged around the panel, watching the group of robot men by the door. They seemed to be looking for something, as though this room was a regular part of their patrol, and they were compelled to check for anything that might seem out of the ordinary. As he watched them they moved forward, their jerky march carrying them straight towards him. He groaned inwardly. Where was a power cut when he needed one? He knew that his five friends would never stand up under close scrutiny, and if this group of robot men tried to communicate with them they would be found out instantly. It would not be long then, before they joined the ranks of the robot slaves for real. He couldn't let that happen.

With a sudden burst of energy that took his friends by surprise, the Doctor jumped from his hiding place, crashing into the two nearest robot men and sending them flying to the ground. They lay as they had fallen, apparently unable to get up, staring at the ceiling through their masked eyes. The Doctor dashed on past them, running for the door with a remarkable speed that put the robot men to shame. They stared after him, at a loss as to what to do.

"He's running away!" Macmillan looked shocked, unable to conceive that a man such as the Doctor would do something like that. Adam shook his head.

"He's covering for us. He knows we'd never fool anybody if they stopped to talk to us. Damn!" He rose to his feet. "Maybe there's something we can do in the confusion. Keep to the shadows and look like you don't have a clue what to do. It shouldn't be difficult."

"Halt!" From across the room, the unmistakable tones of a Dalek shattered Adam's new-won confidence. He froze, staring towards the door. The Doctor had almost reached it, but even as he watched he saw a pair of the ungainly, domed creatures that he hated so much arrive in the doorway. The Time Lord's flight was cut off. He skidded to a stop, looking this way and that for any likely escape route, then slowly, the regret clear in his every movement, he raised his hands. The Daleks glided towards him, their eye-sticks moving about the room. There was a group of some ten robot men in total, all moving about in some confusion like the mindless, helpless creatures that they were. Other than that the sensors of the lead Dalek showed the room to be empty. It stared up at the Doctor.

"Escape is impossible. There can be no resistance."

"Actually I think there can be rather a lot." He held its gaze, lowering his hands to assume his usual, careless posture once again. "You realise that I can't allow you to complete your plans?"

"You cannot stop us, Doctor." The second Dalek pushed at him with its sucker arm, indicating that he should go through the door. "Enemies of the Daleks will not be tolerated."

"Naturally." He allowed it to push him through the door, and out into the corridor. There were three more Daleks outside, all with their gun-sticks ready to fire. They circled him, moving into close formation and shutting off all escape. He wanted to glance back, to be sure that his friends were still safe and were not facing imminent capture themselves, but he forced himself to keep his eyes facing front. He had no wish to attract any unwanted attention to the others. Their best chance lay in remaining as unobtrusive as possible. He felt a sucker arm press against his elbow, and a gun-stick pushed itself into the small of his back. Trying not to be too visibly tense, he allowed them to coerce him down the corridor. At least this way he was likely to be taken to the centre of it all, and might have a chance of finding his TARDIS. His mind searched for reasons to stay cheerful, but his heart was beginning to sink. All that he could do now was to trust in luck, and hope that his usual extensive reserves of it held out. Otherwise, he was willing to concede, he was in serious trouble.


"Doctor!" The Cyberleader sounded almost pleased to see him, which was, thought the Doctor, either reason to be pleasantly surprised or reason to be unpleasantly terrified. He settled on something halfway between the two, and offered his nemesis a smile.

"Hello. Well it's nice to have met you all, but I really must be going." He turned away, but the Daleks still held him in the midst of their circle, and there was nothing that he could do but follow them further into the room. Clearly this was the control centre of the entire ship, if not the whole fleet, and the banks of controls tended unblinkingly by so many of his enemies made the Doctor smiled in nervous desperation. This was going to be rather like escaping from Colditz, but without the escape committee or the collection of famous actors to help out.

"You are welcome here, Doctor," the Cyberleader told him, advancing forward with a look of its customary vacant malintent. "As you can see, we already have your ship here."

"Yes, so I see." It was a relief to see the TARDIS again, even if it was out of his reach at present. He wondered what his chances were of making a break for it, getting his key out, unlocking the Ship and sealing himself inside it before the assembly of universal evil managed to shoot him. He had to conclude that the chances weren't good; and that was putting it mildly. "May I ask what you want?"

"I wish--" The Cyberleader made a sound that might almost have been a laugh. "My allies and I, that is, wish for your assistance." As it moved forward, the circle of Daleks broke apart, allowing the Cyberleader to take the Doctor firmly by one arm and propel him forward. "You have seen our cargo."

"Yes I have. Fascinating." The Doctor frowned. "Don't tell me something's wrong with it? Gold concentration too high? Circuitry incompatible? DNA refuses to connect?"

"On the contrary." The Cyberleader's fingers were painfully tight in their grip, a constant reminder of the futility of a potential escape attempt. "Our plans are progressing at an unforeseen rate."

"And we're soon to hear the patter of tiny boots?" He acknowledged the presence of the Gold Dalek with a nod. "And wheels, naturally."

"You joke, Doctor." The fingers tightened momentarily in displeasure. "Listen, do not interrupt."

"Cease this talking." The Gold Dalek came closer, its single eye-stick staring into the Time Lord's face. "You will help us, Doctor. You will fly our army to the Dalek home fleet. Those of our forces who remained loyal to Davros must be exterminated."

"Davros is dead. They're no longer a threat to you." He frowned, wondering why he seemed to be arguing for clemency where an army of Daleks was concerned. "Besides, no offence intended, but your army isn't out of short trousers yet. Are they going to exterminate your enemies, or are they just going to get their prep checked for spelling mistakes?"

"Silence, Doctor!" The Cyberleader's free hand was at his throat, the large metal fingers touching only lightly, but the threat very clear. "Our army will mature quickly, do not fear. You will do as we tell you, and you will transport us to the Dalek home fleet. Once it is ours, we will move against the Cyber-fleet and we shall destroy them." It paused, its hand moving away from the Doctor's throat to grab instead at his shirt front, lifting him almost off his feet. "Then you will take us across the universe. We will conquer."

"We will exterminate," added the Gold Dalek. The Doctor managed to turn his head to look at it, but did not speak. "We will rule."

"Why do you need my ship? The Daleks have built Time machines before. You've built ships of remarkable endurance and speed. What good will my TARDIS do your cause?"

"It has advantages." The Cyberman lowered him back down, releasing his shirt. Its immediate rage seemed to have passed, but the Doctor was still wary. On the whole, antagonising a giant man made almost entirely of metal didn't seem to be one of his best plans. "It has unlimited space. It cannot be detected by normal surveillance methods. If we approach the fleets in our ships, we will be seen and confronted. You can take us straight to the centre of operations, and we will not be seen until it is too late."

"You've got it all worked out, haven't you." He pulled back, managing to remove his arm from the powerful metal fingers of the Cyberleader. "But then what happens, Leader? When you've taken the Dalek fleet, when you've taken the Cyber-fleet? What then? I might help you to destroy your own people. It would be against my principles, but at the end of the day it can only be for the good of the universe. I won't be your personal chauffeur so that you can tour the universe destroying all you touch. There's nothing that you can do to make me do that."

"Isn't there." The Gold Dalek moved forward. "Soon, Doctor, there will be a new race of Dalek. Soon there will be a new terror for the universe to endure. You will not stop it. You will not stand in its way."

"I think you'll find I will." Turning to face it, the Doctor clenched his fists. He felt an almost overwhelming urge to hit the large, domed alien; to use all of his strength and punch it right in its protruding eye-stick. Maybe it was the soul of his new, less prudent self, or maybe it was just the years of frustration and hatred beginning to take their toll; but quite suddenly he hated the Gold Dalek with a vehemence that he had not felt in years. He could feel his breath quicken. "I think you'll find that I shall stand in your way whatever you do, and whatever threats you make." He took a step forward, ignoring the gun-stick rising to point at his chest. "I think you'll find, at the end of the day, that I would do just about anything to ruin your plans and send the whole, rattling, tin-can, empty-headed bunch of you rolling back to Skaro!"

"Doctor!" He spun around, seeing the Cyberleader advancing towards him. His eyes narrowed. When all was said and done, the Cybermen were no better than the Daleks. He could feel the hatred festering in the back of his mind, growing with each step that the lumbering, cybernetic creature took. He could see something; a distant, vague memory-picture that momentarily filled his eyes. A boy, standing on the control deck of a cargo ship, bidding his friends farewell. A boy that should have been safely on the TARDIS, and a boy that the Doctor had never laid eyes on again. He had killed the Cyberleader responsible for that himself, with a little help from his friends. Quite suddenly he was filled with an overwhelming desire to send this one to join it. "You will stand down, Doctor."

"Will I." He smiled, his face showing all of the contempt and anger that he was beginning to lose control over. "Maybe Leader, just maybe it'll be you that stands down."

"Insolence!" It made a wild sweep with its arm, lashing out at the Time Lord. He dodged, grabbing its arm as it passed over his head, using every ounce of strength within his body to twist and to pull. The Cyberman wobbled, a strangely gurgling cry coming from somewhere deep within it. Its other arm wavered wildly, trying to regain its balance as the Doctor, leaping out of the way with more speed than finesse, sent it toppling into the Gold Dalek. There was a shrill scream as the Dalek's gun-stick snapped in half, a flash of light as it went off, and a yell of rage and something very like pain from the Cyberleader. The Doctor heard a cry going up from around the room, heard the yells and screams of rage from the other Daleks, the other Cybermen, but could do nothing about them. He stared towards the strange sight of the Cyberleader and the Dalek struggling together. The Gold Dalek was firing at random, its broken gun-stick no longer under control. Its metal casing was fusing with the Cyberleader's own metal body, and its shots radiated in increasingly wild arcs. The Doctor flung up an arm to protect his eyes just in time as, with a blinding, hot white light, the pair exploded. Their voices hung in the air for a second, a crescendo of noise amidst all of the other confusion; then there was silence. An acrid smoke filled the air, and the Doctor, shaken by the force of the explosion and half overcome by the bitter fumes, slumped backwards against the control panels. His last thought was of his own anger, and of a new, curious satisfaction. He didn't even think of the rest of his enemies, moving in closer around him.


"You're safe!" Major Keach, relief clear on his face, ran a few steps to greet Hetty and the others as they stumbled together over the rocks. "I thought I'd seen the last of you."

"No such luck." Sandra's voice was accusing. "How dare you look like you care; how dare you pretend to have been worried, when you couldn't even be bothered to come with us and help!"

"I wanted to come!" He took a step back, looking from one to another of them. "Where's the Doctor? Didn't you find him?"

"We found him." Adam's anger was clear both in his voice and in his body language. "We got into trouble and he turned himself in so that we'd all escape. There's no telling what they'll do to him now."

"I'm sorry." Keach lowered his eyes. "Look, I didn't - well I didn't want anything to happen to the Doctor. He seemed like a really nice guy. It's just that we couldn't go off after him and risk the others. Colonel Masson has responsibilities."

"Yeah, sure he does." Adam sat down on the nearest rock, shaking his head in dejection. "What a mess. Not only do we lose the Doctor - and the TARDIS - but we now know what the Daleks are up, to and we have no way of stopping them." He kicked at a loose stone near his foot and watched it spin away, leaping and bounding across the rocky ground. "They're just going to get away with it."

"Get away with what?" Masson, the last few members of his team standing behind him, emerged from the shadows nearby, the early lights of dawn framing his body like a halo. "What did you find in there?"

"They're trying to create a hybrid of their two races. The Doctor seemed to think that it would be more or less invincible - the best of both worlds." Hetty rubbed his eyes, trying unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn. He seemed to have been on the go for days without a break now, and it was all beginning to catch up with him. "They have these huge tanks, filled with their young. It was horrible."

"I see." Masson stared towards the array of ships, his eyes narrowing. "We have to stop them of course. I hope that you all understand that."

"Why do I not like the tone of your voice?" Adam rose to his feet, a warning light going off somewhere inside his brain. Suzy frowned, moving closer towards him, his concern increasing her own.

"You're planning to do something, aren't you," she asked, her eyes widening. "You're going to try to destroy the ships."

"We have to." Masson stepped towards her, one hand stretched out to touch her consolingly, but she moved aside. Adam stepped forward to block the Colonel's passage. "We've been planning it for some time, collecting the equipment that we can find, building other pieces from scraps. We think we've got more or less enough explosive material to take out half of the fleet. The chain reaction should take care of the rest."

"There's no way I'm going to let you do that." Adam's eyes were narrowed as he glared at the older man. "Quite apart from the fact that the Doctor is still in there, that--"

"The Doctor is an unfortunate casualty of war. He's a dead man already and we all know it." Masson gave a half-laugh. "Listen to me, Mister Harper. This is our world, our colony. We watched our friends and relations die here, we watched our colleagues turned into zombies, sent out into the streets to track us down. We - we few here - could be the last survivors on this whole planet. The last people left untouched by the invaders. If we decide to end this - to do what we can to strike back at the enemy - we're going to do it. Nothing you can say - or do - is going to stop us. If we had trusted you a little more; if we had been a little more certain of your reasons for being here; we might have let you in on our plans, and then none of this would ever have happened. I'm sorry that things have worked out the way that they have for you. You're welcome to stay with us. As soon as we can, we plan to leave this place and go back to our homeworld. You'll be welcomed there."

"You've had this planned all along?" Suzy turned about, staring at Sandra, at Macmillan, at Hetty. "You - all of you. You said you were our friends. You pretended to be helping us. The Doctor just turned himself over to his greatest enemies in order to help you escape - and all along you were planning this? You knew that this was going to happen?"

"I never imagined that it was going to happen now." Sandra stepped forward, taking Suzy's hand. "Really. I never thought..." Her voice trailed off as she turned to Masson. "Colonel, you can't do this. The Doctor is still in there. As far as we know he's alive, and we can't possibly--"

"It has to be know." His eyes brooked no argument, no contradictions. "I'm sorry, but it has to be. Most of the enemy are on board their ships right now. We could be sure of destroying the vast majority of their forces. They're not expecting anything decisive from us, they can't even begin to imagine that we're capable of posing a threat to them. That's what we decided - all of us. We've been talking about this since we first got together, since we first met up and formed this unit. I won't let all of our work go to waste now. Not for some alien."

"That alien is only here because he wanted to help you. We could have left here long ago." Fists clenched, Adam stepped forward, standing directly in front of the Colonel, blocking his path. "I'm not going to let you do this."

"You don't have a choice." Without warning Maggie Lane stepped forward, her heavy gun raised. She pointed it directly at the younger man's chest. "Stay back."

"No." His fists were clenching and unclenching, the anger making his voice shake. "I won't let you kill the Doctor."

"I'm sorry Adam." Macmillan stepped up behind him, and with a single blow from his gun he dropped the young man to the ground. Adam fell without a sound, and Suzy let out a cry.

"Adam!" She fell to her knees beside him, staring up at Macmillan in disbelief. "How could you!"

"I'm sorry." He put his gun away, as though wanting nothing more to do with it. "The Colonel's right. You saw those tanks, you heard what the enemy is planning. They can't be allowed to do this. I'm sure that the Doctor would understand."

"He would never understand this. Not this." She could feel Adam beginning to stir beside her, but had no idea what to do to help him. "Those things that you're planning to destroy; they're children! Babies! This - all of this - is going to make you no better than the Daleks. The Doctor would never agree with you. Never!" She could feel the tears starting to escape, and glared up at the group around her. "You're murderers, just like they are."

"I'm rather inclined to agree." Hetty, his gun in his hand, stepped forward. "Listen to me, all of you. There has to be a better way to deal with this, and if you'll give him a chance I'm willing to bet that the Doctor will find it. I don't want any part in destroying children, even if they are the children of the Cybermen and the Daleks. I certainly don't want any part in killing the Doctor. He may be a little weird, but he's saved my life twice now."

"You don't have any choice." The final member of the unit, a heavy-set man dressed in torn jeans and a sweatshirt sporting the name of a college athletic squad, already had his gun pointed at the journalist. "Don't try to get in our way, Jon. I'd rather not lose another friend."

"You've already lost me, Carne." Hetty shook his head, angry and disgusted. He sat down on the nearest rock. "Well go on then - set your bombs, blow up the ships. See where it gets you. I hope the lot of you get blown up as well."

"If the Daleks see you, you won't even get that far." Sitting up, Adam met Masson's gaze and held it. "Is this really worth dying for?"

"Yes." Masson stepped away, the conversation over. "In less than an hour there'll be nothing left of those ships but rubble and broken circuits. There's nothing that you can do to stop me."


The Doctor came to just a few minutes after passing out, his head whirling in confusion at the noise and the smoke that still surrounded him. His eyes stung, and his lungs protested against the lack of breathable air. He struggled to his feet, keeping low behind the crippled consoles that surrounded him. Somewhere on the other side of those control panels were a lot of very angry Cybermen and just as many very angry Daleks. He had no wish to tangle with any of them. His fingers went to his neck, where the key to the TARDIS hung on its chain, and he let his hand caress the design on the metal. If he could only use it; if he could only get a clear run to the Ship. Once there he would be safe.

"Exterminate the Doctor! Exterminate the Doctor!" He heard the cry going up around him, and heard the Cybermen joining in with their Dalek allies. His blood ran cold at the sound. He didn't think that he had ever met with a more unpleasant combination as this in all his life. He glanced about, looking for inspiration in the laser-scarred floor and walls, and in the fused, smoking mass that remained of the Cyberleader and his Dalek opposite number. Maybe, if he could reach the Cyberleader's gun, he would stand a chance of shooting his way out; but he didn't rate his chances too highly. It was a long way to the TARDIS, a way filled with angry enemies all baying for his blood. In the meantime, however, there did seem to be something of a stand off. They seemed to fear him enough to be keeping a certain distance. He hoped that they stayed scared long enough for him to come up with a plan. Just as long as they kept their distance he might be able to come up with something; after all, there couldn't possibly be any other danger just now.


"I feel so useless." Stretching his legs out in front of him, Hetty toyed with a few of the pebbles lying around on the ground. He shook them in his hand like dice, before flicking them across the rocks. "What's going on down there?"

"I can't see." Suzy peered over the rocks, but Masson and his people were gone from her sight. They had so far managed to avoid alerting the Daleks and the Cybermen, suggesting that they had been practising this for a long time. There seemed to be no danger of anything preventing the bombing from going ahead. "I can't believe that they're doing this."

"I can." Adam, sitting a short distance away, was hugging his knees, staring into the middle distance with a torn and lost expression on his face. "I can't believe that I was fool enough to trust them. Military men." He shook his head bitterly. "They're all the same. On every planet, in every Time, there's a jerk like Masson. I'd stake my life on it."

"But I thought you used to be in the army?" Suzy moved towards him, ignoring Maggie Lane who stood nearby, covering the threesome with her gun. "You said that--"

"I know what I said." His voice was angry, and he turned momentarily to glare at her. Finally he smiled. "I'm sorry. It's not your fault."

"Adam, maybe we should--"

"We should do nothing; except try to help the Doctor." He forced his smile to stay out, resisting the urge to sink back into anger and black rage. "Suzy, if you really want to sit down and talk my life through with me, we'll do it one day. I promise. But this is hardly the time."

"There's nothing else to do right now." Her eyes were bright and intense, and he avoided them for several seconds before answering.

"Yeah, I know." He stood up, deliberately turning his back on Lane, and gazed down at the vista of neatly arranged spaceships. He thought that he caught sight of somebody moving about from ship to ship, but it could just as easily have been a wild animal. The sun was not yet quite up, and the light was far from perfect. "We don't have much time left."

"Neither does the Doctor." Suzy stared at the ground. She could see him in her mind's eye; could remember in such perfect detail how she had first met him, when he had saved her from the Zooids on Earth. He had kidnapped her, and she had been so angry with him, but it had not taken long for him to win her over with his charm. Strangely she gave no thought to her own time. If the Doctor and the TARDIS were to be destroyed, she would never see home again. She would never return to Liverpool, 1958. She didn't care. She had found another home, and she cared more about that one than she ever had for the one she had been forced to leave.


The Daleks were growing restless. The Doctor could still hear their voices clamouring for his extermination, and whereas the Cybermen seemed content to wait to take their revenge, the Daleks were on the move. He flattened himself against the console, unsure what his next move should be. He might be able to hide, he might be able to talk his way out; he didn't feel inclined to attempt either. He closed his eyes momentarily, wondering how he managed to get himself into these messes, then smiled to himself. It was nothing really; just like Butch and Sundance facing the band of soldiers sent to kill them back on Earth. A hail of bullets - or, in this case, a steady burst of laser fire - a lot of luck and a well timed dash for cover. If they could do it, so could he. He smiled to himself, and tensed his body, trying to empty his mind of all thoughts save reaching the TARDIS. He could do this. He had to; there was no alternative save death.


"It's done?" Maggie Lane stepped forward to greet Masson and the others as they returned, her task of guarding the Doctor's companions forgotten. There was nothing that they could do now. "All of the bombs are planted?"

"It's all done." He smiled at her, his eyes alive with unnatural lights. "There's just a few minutes left."

"You make me sick." Stepping forward, ignoring the guns pointed in his direction, Adam planted a firm hand in the Colonel's chest, pushing him back. "To think that we trusted you. To think that the Doctor wanted to help you."

"Keep your hands to yourself, Mr Harper." Masson knocked the other man aside, surprised at the sudden lack of resistance. "One day you'll understand. Maybe you'll even sympathise."

"No." Adam shook his head. "I could never do that. I could never agree with any of this. I couldn't agree with it in my own Time, on my own planet; and I certainly can't agree with it now."

"Too bad." Masson smiled at him; a light, almost merry smile. "It's too late now," and he turned to point towards the ships. For a second there was a silence; almost unreal in its completeness; then with a violence that made the ground beneath them shake, the ships exploded. Soon there was nothing left but a vast plume of dust that rose up into the sky, spreading out to cover the wreckage that remained.


"It's cold." Hugging herself with nerveless fingers, Suzy stood beside what was left of the ship they had so recently been inside; the ship that the Doctor had still been in. "I'm cold, Adam."

"Yeah, I know. So am I." He wanted to hug her, to try to make her feel better, but he could do nothing. He couldn't even move. Everything felt strange and out of place. "It - it would have been quick. I promise."

"I've seen bombs before." Her voice sounded very unlike her own all of a sudden. "I was born in the thirties, Adam. I've seen explosions and I've seen what happens in them. You don't need to say anything."

"Of course not." He lowered his head. "He always told us that the TARDIS was more or less indestructible. If it was in the part of the ship that was underground..."

"You saw the chain reaction. You heard the explosions. The whole ship has been destroyed, above ground and below. Even the TARDIS couldn't have survived that." She closed her eyes, uncertain how much longer she could keep what composure she still had. "Nothing could."

"I'm sorry." They had almost forgotten Hetty, and were glad of his presence now, even though he was as helpless as were they. He came towards them, putting a tentative arm around Suzy's shoulders. "I really am sorry. Maybe, maybe we can--" He frowned. "Do you hear that?"

"Hear what?" Miserable and almost entirely unresponsive, Suzy did not so much as raise her head. Hetty frowned.

"I don't know. That noise. It's weird."

"I hear it." Adam stepped forward, searching out the noise. Almost immediately, in the place where he had just been standing, a blue, squarish shape appeared. It blinked in and out of existence, then with a groan and a shudder it solidified. "The TARDIS!"

"The--" Suzy stared at the blue box, the familiar words on the door looking back at her, as normal and as ordinary as ever. Her mouth fell open. "Doctor!"

"What?" He opened the doors, catching her in surprise as she all but fell into his arms. "Whatever's wrong with you?"

"Don't ever do that to me again." She stepped back, staring up at him for a few, brief seconds. "We thought you were dead."

"Yes, I can imagine." He strode away from his beloved ship, looking as serious as he had ever been since she had met him. "I'm sorry about that. I wasn't exactly expecting the fireworks."

"It was Masson. Some plan they've been working on for weeks apparently." Adam smiled. "I should have known it would take more than an army of Daleks and Cybermen and a blinking great bomb to finish you off."

"Naturally." They shared a grin. The Doctor's eyes alighted on Hetty, and he offered the other man his hand. "Thankyou."

"For what? Nearly getting you killed several times over?" Hetty shook the Doctor's hand with a smile which the Time Lord warmly returned.

"Thankyou for sticking with my friends. I know you didn't have any part in this. If you had, you wouldn't be here now."

"True." He sighed. "We tried to stop them - all of them. They just wouldn't listen."

"Well they'll listen to me." Glancing about, the Time Lord caught sight of the rest of the unit prowling through the rubble. One or two of them had stopped to look up, and the word was getting around that the Doctor had survived. "Excuse me."

"Certainly." Hetty stepped aside, the beginnings of a smile on his face. He watched the Doctor cover the ground between the TARDIS and the Colonel in a few long, purposeful strides. Suddenly Masson looked unsure of himself.

"Colonel." Coming to a stop just a yard from where the officer stood, the Doctor smiled an unpleasant smile.

"Doctor." Masson smiled too, a nervous look in his eyes. "Congratulations on making it out alive."

"Thankyou." The Doctor paused for just a second, apparently weighing something up in his mind. Finally his smile faded and his fists clenched. Whatever decision he was trying to come to did not take long to make, and he hesitated no longer, letting fly with a powerful right cross that sent the Colonel flying over backwards, to crash in a heap on the ground. Lane and Carne drew their guns, but the Doctor ignored them both, bending down to pull Masson to his feet. "In there," he said, his voice little more than a harsh, angry growl, "in there were two thousand children. Two thousand. They weren't the enemy, they weren't dangerous. They hadn't even been born yet. Not one of them had even got the chance to walk upon the earth or to see the morning light. Maybe they were cyborgs, maybe they didn't care about things like that; but the point is they never got the chance to find out. Are you proud of yourself? Do you think this makes you braver, or stronger, or more capable than the Daleks? than the Cybermen? Do you think this is some great victory to congratulate yourself on?"

"Take your hands off me." Speaking with difficulty through bleeding lips, Masson tried to pull free of the Doctor's grasp, but found the other man to be rather stronger than he looked. "I'm warning you."

"Oh yes, that's right. You're a mighty soldier, and I have to be afraid of you." The Doctor pushed the other man away, disgusted. "I've made some mistakes in the past, but wanting to help you was the worst one I've made in a long time. I was very mistaken when I thought I knew you; when I thought I recognised something in you. I've encountered soldiers before, and I've encountered desperate people, driven to desperate measures before. Some of them were even facing the same menaces you've been up against all this time. But I can't think of a single one of them that would have stooped to the depths that you've just fallen to."

"I think perhaps you'd better leave." Masson's voice was cold and dangerous. "There are a few Daleks left here, a few Cybermen. We'll deal with them, and then we'll take what ships we still have and return home. We don't need your help. We never did."

"Maybe not." The Doctor turned to leave, his heart heavy. "But there were two thousand children on board that ship who needed me. Don't ever forget that."

"I won't." There was something in Masson's voice that made the Doctor's sixth sense burst into life, but in his anger he ignored it, striding away back to the others. He heard a yell; heard the warning in somebody's voice; and heard a gunshot. He whirled around. Masson, his gun gripped in his hand, was sinking to his knees. There was an expression of confusion and disbelief on his face. The Doctor whirled again, turning to see Keach standing a few yards away, his own gun in his hand.

"He was going to shoot you in the back," was all that he said. There was no emotion in his voice or on his face, just emptiness. The Doctor nodded. Somehow he wasn't surprised.

"Thankyou," he said simply, wanting to feel more grateful towards the soldier. Somehow the more constructive emotions were having a hard time making an impression on his mind just now. Keach seemed to want to say something else; seemed to be trying to think of the right words, or the right way to say them; but the Doctor was not in the mood to listen, and he could not think of anything that truly needed to be said. He walked away.

"Goodbye Doctor." Hetty could have said a million things, but the Doctor was glad that he had chosen something so simple. He smiled.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. I have a duty here, and I want to go home." He shrugged. "I'm a reporter Doctor. Somebody should make sure that the truth gets told. I'll see this through."

"Thankyou." The Time Lord glanced back towards the rest of the survivors. He wanted to feel something towards Sandra and Macmillan. They had got along so well. All that he could feel was a sad emptiness. Even Keach, who had just saved his life at the cost of his own CO, was nothing but a stranger. "Good luck."

"You too." Hetty grinned, shaking hands with Suzy and Adam as well. "You're going to need it, going into space in that thing."

"That thing happens to be a very old friend." Managing a smile, the Doctor ushered his companions into the TARDIS. "Maybe we'll meet again some time. Whatever it is that you write, I'd like to read it."

"I'll keep a copy of the newspaper for you, just in case you ever turn up looking for it." Hetty stepped back, raising a hand in farewell as the TARDIS doors closed. He thought that he had got a glimpse of something rather wonderful through those doors; but it did not surprise him. Anything less would have been something of a disappointment.

"What now?" Keach asked him, coming over as the TARDIS disappeared. Hetty glared at him.

"What do you think? We've got a lot to do."

"Yeah." Keach lowered his eyes. "We've got a lot to make up for."


"Are you going to be okay Doctor?" They had been in flight for some minutes before Suzy spoke up, worried by the seriousness that still lingered in the Doctor's eyes. He smiled at her.

"I shall be just fine Suzy. I always am."

"I - I don't think that they meant to be really bad." She frowned. In all honesty she couldn't imagine what they had been thinking. She didn't want to try. He nodded.

"I'm sure you're right." Clapping his hands together he stepped away from the central console, turning towards Adam as though ready to change the subject entirely. "And how about you. You weren't exactly in the best of moods even before this mess began. How are you now?"

"I'm fine Doctor." Adam smiled at him. "Given time I think I shall be even better."

"Glad to hear it." The Doctor grinned at them both. "Which is why I've decided that we're going to take a little holiday. To, er... to recuperate after the last one."

"Which wasn't really all that much of a holiday," Suzy finished. He smiled.

"Yes, well quite. Quite."

"So where are we going?" There was a childish brightness in the young woman's eyes that matched his own, and he offered her the broadest grin that she had seen in a long time.

"London, for the coronation of Queen Victoria. It was a wonderful occasion. You'll love it." He rubbed his hands together with glee. "The parades, the parties - magnificent!"

"Uh huh." Adam nodded knowingly. "And what exactly are our chances of actually getting there?"

"Ah, well." The Doctor grinned at him, and gave the console an affectionate pat. "We shall just have to wait and see, shan't we." And in the trackless expanse of the Matrix, the TARDIS journeyed on.