THE SHADOW OF THE DALEKS
EPISODE SEVEN: Capture
The Tolloc followed Kallan through the hallways of the Finder base. The warm illumination inside the base was a welcome relief after the gloomy darkness outside. The warmth was also welcome, the Doctor reflected as he shedded the fur cloak Akain had given him. The Tolloc hunter grinned as he took the cloak from him. “Come,” said Akain. “We must keep up with the others.”
“Yes,” replied the Doctor. “I expect you’ll be glad to see Nala again.”
Akain nodded blissfully. “She is our Librarian,” he said, as if that explained everything.
And perhaps it did, the Doctor realized. These people were telepathic. Perhaps they had some sort of gestalt consciousness. Nala might be the one who could access that consciousness, drawing out race memories as a librarian draws out books.
It made sense, the Doctor realized, but somehow it still didn’t seem quite right. There was something missing. Something important. And whatever it was, Kallan was willing to go to a lot of trouble to secure it. The Doctor didn’t believe this was purely a scientific mission.
The group stopped. They had arrived at their destination, whatever that might be. Ahead, a door slid gently open, and the Doctor followed the Tolloc into a what turned out to be a very well-stocked laboratory.
“Well,” said the Doctor as he cast a critical eye over the contents of the lab, “you certainly came prepared.”
Kallan met the Doctor’s eye. There was a sharpness in the man’s gaze that the Doctor didn’t like at all. “And what do you mean by that, Doctor?”
The Doctor smiled disarmingly. “Nothing. Just that you seem to have gone to a lot of effort to learn all you can about the Tolloc. Why them? This planet can’t possibly have any real value for colonization, not this far from the shipping lanes.”
Kallan smiled. “Why do you care? Were the two of you planning on setting up a colony of your own, or do you know of some mineral wealth that my scanners couldn’t find?”
“Oh, of course not!” said the Doctor. “I’m just curious.”
Kallan stopped smiling. “I have no intention of exploiting the native resources of Riga 3.” And he turned away from the Doctor.
There had been a curious finality to Kallan’s voice, and the Doctor wondered very much what it meant. It sounded suspiciously like a non-answer, and the Doctor didn’t like that at all. Kallan didn’t want Riga 3 — but he clearly wanted something from the Tolloc. Didn’t they qualify as a native resource?
The Doctor looked for Methos. The ancient Immortal was standing on the other side of the room. He had a strange expression on his face and was watching Kallan intently as if waiting for the researcher to make the wrong move. The Doctor had to find out what Methos knew about all this. But he was beginning to have the sinking feeling that Methos might know little more than he did.
Kallan walked to the end of the lab and the Doctor followed. A woman was standing there. She wore a radio collar, presumably to help the researchers keep track of her. By her dress, she was clearly a Tolloc. Presumably, this was Nala.
She smiled blissfully at everyone. The Doctor frowned. According to Akain, she had been held here against her will for months. Shouldn’t she be happier to see her friends? She was clearly happy, but it was the same sort of peaceful bliss as the Doctor had already seen on the rest of the Tolloc. Did nothing bother these people?
The door of the laboratory burst open and three of Kallan’s people stormed through, obviously quite angry. There were two men and one woman. The woman led. “Kallan, you can’t do it!” she shouted.
Kallan did not immediately answer, but removed Nala’s collar.
“Just what do you think you’re doing, Kallan?” This came from the older of the two men. “Do you realize what the Daleks will think of this?”
The Doctor’s eyes widened. The Daleks were behind this? Strange they would rely on a purely human research team. Either they were desperate, or they didn’t much care about the results.
Kallan still had not answered, and the younger man lost patience. “Kallan!” he shouted. “You’ve wasted all our time, and now you’re going to throw away our only test subject?”
Finally Kallan turned. He wasn’t smiling, although Nala still was. “Yes, Savrek,” he said. “I have wasted your time. And I apologize. But it was necessary.”
Savrek shook his head in amazement. “Necessary for what?”
Kallan did not answer. In the brief silence, Nala stepped between them and crossed the room to meet her tribe.
“Nala,” said Akain.
“Akain,” she replied. “One is many and many is one.”
Akain bowed his head briefly. “It is time, Nala. Iktha has seen it.”
She nodded, apparently unsurprised by the news.
The Finders were staring at Nala. “Iktha?” said Savrek. “That young brat?” The Doctor frowned. Iktha had seemed like a lot of things, but certainly not a brat. The child had been well-mannered and curiously wise beyond his years. But not a brat.
Nala spoke. “Iktha is our Dreamer. He sees into the grayness outside our time and space.”
“Precognition!” exclaimed the Doctor. “Yes! Your people, you are time sensitive?”
Nala cocked her head to one side. “Time sensitive? I do not understand.”
“You feel time,” explained the Doctor.
She shook her head. “No. There is no time. There is only Tolloc time. But that will end. We do not see beyond it, but Iktha dreams what will come after.”
The Doctor nodded. “So not time sensitive . . . but with a bit of clairvoyance in one of your people. Yes! The combined mental energies of all the Tolloc would be focused in him, in Iktha. Yes . . . .”
He suddenly became aware that everyone was watching him. Kallan, Methos, the Tolloc, and the three new Finders. Savrek spoke first. “So,” he said, “we let the real power go when we freed Iktha, and wasted our time on this bitch Nala.” There was a definite anger in his voice, but it wasn’t directed at the Doctor. Savrek turned to face Kallan. He all but spat at his leader. “You’re finished, Kallan.”
Without another word, Savrek bolted from the lab.
Tosk rode the elevator down from the roof with the black Dalek and two gray Daleks. There wasn’t enough room for the entire strike team to ride together, and it probably wasn’t necessary anyway — apart from himself, none of the Finders were armed. Even if they were, they had all been born on Dalek-controlled worlds, and knew the futility of rebellion.
All except for Kallan, that is. Tosk had used his time waiting for the Dalek team to investigate the man in greater detail. He still hadn’t managed to find out where he was from. All he knew was that Kallan was a human like himself. But he was getting the nagging suspicion that Kallan might have some connection to the devastated world of Tarnac. He had mentioned part of his childhood spent with Draconians, and Tarnac was very close to Draconian territory. And his new friend Pierson was known to the Watchers . . . .
It wasn’t adding up to anything pleasant. Still, he had found out before any damage could be done, and his masters were clearly pleased. That was all that mattered.
The elevator came to a stop on the main level of the building. Tosk emerged first and then stepped aside so the black Dalek could glide out in front of him. It came to a halt as its two soldiers took up defensive positions and scanned the corridor. Tosk watched in amusement as their domes rotated around a full 360 degrees to check all sides for hostiles.
“Shall I find Leader Kallan for you?” asked Tosk.
“NEGATIVE,” replied the black Dalek. “KALLAN AND THE UNIDENTIFIED HUMAN INTRUDER WILL BE DEALT WITH LATER. OUR FIRST OBJECTIVE IS TO SECURE THE KALED SPECIMENS AND THE RESEARCH MATERIAL. TAKE US TO THE MAIN LABORATORY.”
“I obey.” Tosk bowed deeply, then lead the Daleks down the blank corridors of the Finder base.
“What the cruk do you think you’re doing?” shouted Vorna. She couldn’t believe her eyes. The Tolloc prisoner was standing in the midst of her tribesmen, well protected. Vorna knew the Tolloc were pacifists, but one look at their bone knives and their lean forms persuaded her not to test her luck. She wrenched her attention back to Kallan, who didn’t even have the decency to grin like a proper melodramatic villain. “Kallan, did you hear me?”
“Of course I heard you, Vorna,” he replied, somewhat testily. “But I haven’t got time for this. I don’t know if you noticed, but a cruiser has landed.”
Vorna gaped. “You’re not serious . . . .”
“Of course I’m serious,” he replied, his eyes staring into Vorna’s with a deadly intensity.
“He’s telling the truth,” said one of the Tolloc. No, not a Tolloc, Vorna corrected herself. It was another intruder, probably from the same spacecraft as Pierson. Perfect. Bloody perfect. The man was dressed even more oddly than Pierson, in a thin coat that could hardly keep out the autumn chill out on the silver prairie. He had long, wavy hair that fell around his ears in a way she couldn’t help but find fetching.
She stared at him. “Who are you? What do you think you’re doing here? Do you understand how much danger you’ve put the rest of us in?”
“I think I might,” he began, but Kallan did not give him time to finish.
“Vorna,” Kallan said gently. “The Daleks have arrived. We heard their descent engines when we met the Tolloc hunting party outside. I realize that I’ve put you into a great deal of danger by deviating from the original plan. I only hope you’ll understand that I had no choice.”
“No choice?” said Martin. The old Fixer was angry. Vorna sympathized. “No choice?! Look at me! I spent my entire career building up a reputation with the Daleks! They ordered, I obeyed!” Oddly, Vorna noticed the velvet-coated stranger flinch. Martin continued. “After this mission, I was finally going to retire, put my failing physique to work in a purely intellectual fashion. They were going to let me go home. Home, Kallan! After this, we’ll be lucky to be alive! And you talk to me of having no choice?”
For a long moment, Kallan did not answer. No one moved, afraid to break the silence left after Martin’s outburst. The Tolloc were impassive. The stranger appeared to be restraining himself from responding. Martin seemed somewhat deflated by the force of his outburst. And Kallan seemed genuinely cowed.
Then Kallan broke the silence himself. “I’m sorry, Martin. Truly. I didn’t realize.” Vorna stared. She couldn’t believe it. Kallan sounded . . . contrite. It was so out of character for the eternally smug project leader that she found herself actually annoyed that he wasn’t responding the way she’d expected. “I know the risk I have put you under, but I really had no choice. This had to be done. I only fear that it may be too late now to finish what I came here to do.”
The stranger spoke. “Finish what, Kallan? Why are you working with the Daleks? What can they possibly have to offer you?”
The corner of Kallan’s mouth twisted up and he turned to face the man. “Oh, Doctor, you probably wish you knew. Then again, your friend may not be so pleased when he finds out what I have in mind.”
Automatically, Vorna’s eyes went to Pierson. The young man’s eyes had gone wide. Oddly, he didn’t seem so young anymore. The quizzical look he usually had worn while in the Finder base was gone, replaced by a look of deep terror.
“Look,” said the strange Doctor. “I think you’ve got the wrong idea about all of this. You think the Daleks can be used. You’re wrong, and I fear you’ll pay for it with your life.”
“Maybe so,” replied Kallan. He started to say something else, but he never got the chance.
The doors slid open and Savrek burst into the room again. His eyes were gleaming jubilantly. That, Vorna decided, was a very bad sign. “I’ll show you all!” he said. “Our customers have arrived!”
Methos was feeling very worried. Kallan was holding more cards than he was letting on, and he had a horrible feeling that one of those cards had his name on it. Martin no longer had the calm, collected air of before, and Vorna was decidedly hostile. But what worried him most was the way the Doctor went curiously quiet whenever the word “Dalek” was mentioned. Apparently, these people were working for the Daleks. But if the Doctor was afraid of them, Methos wasn’t quite sure he wanted to know what they were.
Then the door slid open, and a frazzled young man burst through. He recognized the man as Savrek, the junior member of the Finder team. He was feeling slighted for some reason. But why had he come back, after bursting out of the room in such a hurry earlier?
“I’ll show you all!” he said. “Our customers have arrived!”
Through the open door came another Finder. Methos deduced that this was Communicator Tosk. The man was smiling like a righteous Inquisitor about to put the torch to a heretic’s pyre. Unconsciously, Methos shivered. After him came something totally unfamiliar.
It was black, with silver half-globes around the roughly conical lower section, a mesh-covered neck, and a domed lid. Where one might approximate arms, it had two metal appendages fixed to ball-joint swivels. One was long, with a suction cup on the end. The other was short, with several rods running down its length. It swept the room with the shorter arm before entering, and Methos deduced that it was a weapon. On the dome was the creature’s third appendage — a long stalk with what appeared to be a mechanical eyeball on the end.
–So this must be a Dalek, thought Methos.
He looked over at the Doctor. The Time Lord was staring at the creature with a mixture of horror and sad recognition. “A Dalek,” he whispered.
The Dalek swivelled its dome around until it had fixed the Doctor in its sight. It glided further into the room. Only then did two more Daleks, these with a gray color scheme, glide into the room and allow the door to slide shut behind them.
The black Dalek came to a stop in front of Kallan, who did not flinch but smiled a serpentine smile at the Dalek. “Welcome to Riga 3,” he said.
“DO NOT MOCK THE DALEKS!” It screeched out its response with a voice that sounded like a cross between broken glass and a bad vocoder. “YOU ARE A TRAITOR TO THE DALEK RACE. YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED IN DUE COURSE.” It looked him up and down. Oddly, it seemed to disapprove of what it saw. “FIRST, WE MUST HAVE THE KALED SPECIMENS.”
Kallan bowed, seemingly oblivious to the threat to his life. Persumably he was relying on his Immortality to save him. In Methos’ opinion, he was a fool. “I obey, of course.” His voice was all pleasantness. Methos didn’t believe it in the least. “We lost a few specimens to the early phases of the experiment. And another was killed earlier today after it made successful telepathic contact with one of the Tolloc.”
“THE LOSSES WERE EXPECTED. BUT SOME WILL HAVE SURVIVED.” The screeching voice was really getting on Methos’ nerves. The black Dalek turned in place until it was facing Savrek. It gestured with its weapon. “YOU WILL TAKE THE REMAINING SPECIMENS AND INSTALL THEM ON THE CRUISER.” Savrek nodded enthusiastically. Perhaps too enthusiastically, thought Methos. These Daleks might not appreciate his fawning.
“Yes,” said Savrek. “I obey. Right away.” He immediately went to the rack of Kaled cages on the wall and began unfastening one.
Meanwhile, the Dalek moved to face Methos. He didn’t allow himself to show fear. After all, what point would there be? “YOU DO NOT BELONG ON RIGA 3. IDENTIFY.”
Methos swiftly pulled on the tattered remains of his Adam Pierson persona, appearing as harmless as possible to this tinpot creature. “My name’s Adam Pierson.”
The prompt response seemed to satisfy it. “CONFIRM: YOU ARE AN ENEMY OF THE DALEK RACE.”
Methos spread his hands wide in what he sincerely hoped was a universal gesture of peace. “Before today, I’d never even heard of a Dalek. How could I count a Dalek my enemy?”
“THAT IS A LIE. ALL HUMANS KNOW OF THE DALEKS. YOU ARE HUMAN. THEREFORE, YOU KNOW OF THE DALEKS. CONFIRM: YOU ARE AN ASSOCIATE OF THE WATCHERS.”
This time Methos didn’t have to fake his surprise. “The Watchers?” he said, quietly. How on earth did they know that? It was thousands of years into his future. How could the Daleks know that he had once been a Watcher?
Unless this had something to do with his future. In that case, was it a good thing or a bad thing that the Daleks had been able to find out about his relationship with the Watchers? He honestly didn’t know.
“CONFIRM,” repeated the Dalek.
“Well . . . .”
“It is confirmed,” said Communicator Tosk. “There is no question. Adam Pierson is known to the Watchers.”
The Dalek finally moved on, this time to the Doctor.
“YOU ALSO DO NOT BELONG. IDENTIFY.”
The Doctor smiled his most charming smile. “Me? Oh, I’m just a traveller. You can call me John Smith.” Methos blinked. So the Doctor was using a pseudonym. Methos glanced at Kallan, but the other Immortal said nothing about it.
“STATE YOUR PURPOSE ON RIGA 3.”
“None, really,” said the Doctor. “Our vehicle broke down. I’ve completed repairs, so if you’d prefer, we can just pop off and get out of your hair. So to speak.” He grinned broadly, looking for all the world like a harmless fool.
“THAT IS A LIE. FINDER SAVREK INFORMED US OF YOUR AFFILIATION WITH ADAM PIERSON.”
The Doctor shrugged. “We travelled together. And as I said, we can just pop off to our vehicle and be gone before you know it.”
“NEGATIVE,” said the Dalek. As if responding to an unspoken command, the two gray Daleks slid further into the room, herding everyone except for Tosk away from the door. “YOU ARE ALL NOW PRISONERS OF THE DALEKS. YOU WILL OBEY OUR COMMANDS. IF YOU DO NOT OBEY, YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED.”
“Now hang on a moment,” said Martin, but he fell silent when a gray Dalek pointed its weapon at him.
“YOU WILL BE SECURED HERE. COMMUNICATOR TOSK, YOU WILL ASSIST SAVREK IN REMOVING THE KALED SPECIMENS.”
“I obey,” said the Communicator. Somehow, his ready obedience disgusted Methos more than Kallan’s effort to fool the Daleks into thinking he was still on their side. Savrek had loaded three Kaled support cages onto a cart. Tosk helped him load the remaining Kaleds.
The black Dalek faced the prisoners again. “YOU WILL REMAIN HERE. MY LIEUTENANTS WILL BE OUTSIDE THE DOOR. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ESCAPE.”
Tosk and Savrek pushed their cart full of cages out the door. The black Dalek followed them. The two gray Daleks were the last to leave, gliding silently backwards with their weapons still pointed at the prisoners. Methos considered rushing them, then realized that he had no idea what they were capable of. Something told him they didn’t fire bullets.
The door slid shut.
There was a soft buzzing sound followed by a sharp click. Methos ran to the door, but was unsurprised when it didn’t open.
“Wonderful,” he said. “We’re locked in here.” He looked at the Doctor. “Well, this is another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.”