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Reckoning of the Daleks (3/3)

Title: Reckoning of the Daleks
Fandom: Doctor Who
Series: Doctor Who/TOC Files
Characters: Six, Peri, OC
Word Count: 7792
Rating: G (I believe)
Notes: This is the third installment in my planned series to have Alan Kelly meet all of the Doctor's incarnations. It was decided that I should keep with the ongoing trend of Dalek titles, hence "Reckoning". I have started taking notes for the upcoming stories so keep looking.
Disclaimer The Doctor, Peri, and the TARDIS belong to the BBC. Alan and Ryan Kelly, Eric Rader and Shannon Flynn are mine.



Part One
Part Two


Reckoning of the Daleks




Shandris finished reading the book of fairy tales and yawned. She wondered what time it was. She was hoping the others would have returned by the time she had finished. She snuggled deeper into the chair, shut her eyes, and wished this dream would never end. She was with people who cared for her and free of that thing in her head.

Shandris opened her eyes and found herself in the console room. Her hands hovering over the controls. She didn't remember leaving the library. The last thing she remembered was the movie flickering before her eyes. A movie about a pig and a spider. Then, nothing. It was alive. It had brought her to the console room. Console Room. Where did she hear that word? The Doctor? Peri? No. It knew the Doctor's ship.

"No! I won't hurt them anymore!" She backed away from the console until she bumped into the cool TARDIS wall. She sank to the floor, pulled her knees up to her chin, wrapped her arms about her legs and began to rock back and forth.

"Shandris? Can you hear me, sweetheart? It's Peri."

Shandris blinked slowly a few times then Peri's face came into focus. She reached out to touch the woman's face. Peri was really there. She threw herself into Peri's arms. "Please, don't leave me alone again!"

********************************************************

Grinning, Shannon pushed Morin towards the inner door of the TARDIS, enjoying every minute. He stopped short and Shannon saw his gaze rest on Shandris sitting on the floor by Peri, Eric, and Ryan. "Your plan didn't go quite the way you wanted, did it? Just look at her; she's terrified of you but she was still willing to tell us where you were. She just wants a normal life, something you and her father stole from her. I don't think a jury would have a hard time convicting."

Morin pulled his eyes from Shandris and looked at Shannon. "You didn't say anything about a trial."

"It's not really up to me... I'd sooner just shoot you."

Yow. I've never seen Shane so bloodthirsty.

{I know. Shandris really did a number on her.}

{Dude, if I wanted you to read that I would have sent it to you.}

{Then don't think so loudly.}

{You think Shannon heard?}

{Nah. Shane's still pushing off a hangover. Take a peek. I bet everything's blurry...}

{That's a small relief.}

Following the Doctor's directions, she escorted him to the room that would act as his cell during his time on the TARDIS. She retraced her steps and found the others still in the console room. "Well, he's locked up. Who gets to be the one to question him?"

"For what he's done to Shandris, I'd like to do more than question him," declared Eric.

"You'll have to stand in line. I get first crack at him."

The Doctor put a restraining hand on Alan's shoulder. "There will no cracking of the witness. I will, however, take great pleasure out of breaking him."

"In your capacity of Investigator, of course," said Peri.

"Of course." He straightened his jacket. "I'll see if I can get him to remove that as soon as possible. We don't need a repeat of what happened." He left to see to Morin.

"What's he talking about? What happened?"

"The implant is still active. It almost drove her to work the TARDIS controls. What its intentions were is anybody's guess."

"Oh, I can guess. The Dalek time tunnel technology is functional but hardly deft. They would love to get their greedy little protuberances on Gallifreyan technology. Of course, she's more than that. What you see before you, ladies and gentlemen, is a work of art." The Doctor smiled and patted the console. "This is the finest ship a Time Lord ever could have. Type Forty craftsmanship. I should know since I rebuilt her piece by piece. You might say that I re-invented her. Think of her as my Mona Lisa."

Peri let her jaw drop.

"Right. Mona Lisa. Are you all right, now Shandris?"

"I'm okay."

"You're tired. Let's get you to bed."

"I'm scared to sleep."

Eric looked at Peri. "I'm sure the Doctor has something to help with that."

The American nodded. "Sure, I'll go track it down."

Shandris swayed a little on her feet and Ryan picked her up. "C'mon, love."

Shannon followed Ryan. {I'm right behind you.}

{Why's that}

{In case they switch her on again, I'll switch her off...temporarily.}

{Shane, you've got to let this go.}

{I'm doing my active best.}

{That's what frightens me. }

*********************************************************

The Doctor walked into the "cell", closing the door behind him. Morin stood nervously as if awaiting final judgment. Without saying a word, the Doctor motioned him to resume his seat. The Doctor pulled up a chair and sat directly across from the "prisoner". Guilt and nerves were already taking a toll.

"We have all the technology that was in your warehouse. Quite an amount too. Now, you must have known what it was in order for you to implant it in that young child. And in knowing that, you must have known what created it." He stared at Morin, trying to read his face.

"I don't know who made it. Yes, I know where it came from and I know what it does, but I swear I don't know who made it."

"Let me tell you then: the Daleks." He saw the fear cross his face. "Since you know of the Daleks, you know their main goal-other than domination of the universe-is to wipe out humanity. And you helped them with that when you put alien technology in that poor girl's head. It suppressed all her emotions. We thought we had fixed that problem, but it is still active. If we don't remove it soon, she will either go mad or die. That would make you a murderer. Not something a doctor wants."

"In case you hadn't noticed, I'm not a doctor, I work in shipping."

The Doctor knew he was onto something and continued. "But you were. You became a doctor to help people and save lives. What you've done goes against all your ideals. I know you wanted to help the people of Doflair, but using Dalek leftovers?"

"There were journals and manuals describing how they worked on the human brain. I followed procedure."

"Did you do any simulations, experiments, using this technology? These pieces have been sitting around for decades. Anything could have happened."

"We couldn't wait any longer. Arcto said that we had to act on his plan as soon as possible. I did the operation and then we began conditioning her."

"Arcto being the man we left in your closet."

Morin nodded. "And her father."

"What was he paying you to abandon your morals?"

"It wasn't for money. I'm from Doflair too. I was away at school when everything happened and I couldn't go back. I've done what I could to help the cause. When Arcto approached me, I couldn't say no."

"Can you remove it?"

"Not without the risk of permanent brain damage."

I might know someone who can do that. Now let's see if I have him softened up enough to tell me where he found it. "Was it one of your pilots that located the technology or was it through another source that you learned about it?"

"There's a big black market out there for Dalek items in any way, shape, or form. There were rumors flying about that this place used to be a Dalek outpost so I went with my most-trusted crew and we collected the technology."

"Did you get everything?"

"The site was expansive. As it is a protected and monitored planet, we only had a limited window before the area was scanned again."

The Doctor leaned forward, his face inches away from Morin's. "You must give me the coordinates to this planet. We have to destroy all of it before someone less scrupulous than yourself finds it."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"C'mon, you guys must've heard something!" The others merely shrugged. "A protected planet that was once under Dalek control?"

"Why would they be aware of something you're not?" Peri asked him.

"Eric here was once a mercenary equally feared and respected. Ryan has had a number of shady pasts, most of them having do to with arms dealing. I'm the good one"

"And they're now considered among the Alliance's most upright citizens?"

"You know the old saying 'It takes a thief to catch a thief'? Well, it works for almost any profession. I was hoping they would have heard something in their past dealings."

"It's not like it's Atlantis or El Dorado," said Ryan.

"I have heard that there are those who would pay a ton for any Dalek relic. I could check some contacts..."

"That won't be necessary." The Doctor strode into the room and headed directly to the console, pushing everyone else out of the way.

"Do you know where we're going?" Peri asked as he began to punch a number of buttons on the panels in front of him.

"No, Peri, I'm just setting random coordinates. Use your head."

Shannon could tell there was no malice in the Doctor's comment. It seemed to be more of a soft chiding, a reminder to think before speaking. She could even see her foxy Doctor speaking in such away. Oooo. And that was only with one drink.

"Eric, you should relieve Alan."

"Feeling a little more charitable toward, Shandris. Hmmmn?"

"A little Doctor, but not as much as you might hope."

"A little goes a long way. Especially when referring to kindness."

The column in the center console shuddered to a stop. "Looks like we've arrived," commented Eric.

"Don't have too much fun, now," said Ryan before he headed into the inner recesses of the TARDIS.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The Doctor switched on the scanner to show nothing--or a dark something. Alan peered closer to attempt to discern shape from shadow. "Care to shed a little light, Doctor?"

"Your fondness for cats has gone to your head, Doctor." Peri smiled. "Or do you have some Time Lord super-power that allows you to see in the dark?"

"Oh, very droll, Peri. Ten out of ten." The Doctor flipped a switch and a beam of light shot down the tunnel, disappearing in the distance.

"I don't mind a little mystery, but with the Daleks involved, I do like to know where I stand."

"It looks like we're standing in a corridor, not a tunnel," said Eric. "It's all metal and the doors are place at specific intervals."

"Just the right size for a Dalek. Peri, get some torches from the cupboard. I'll go get Morin."

"We're taking him along?"

"Peri, he knows where he got the technology. Otherwise, we'd be wandering through identical corridors until we get horribly lost."

"Like that's never happened before," muttered Peri on her way to the closet.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Shannon entered the console room and looked at the scanner. "Ryan said we had landed. So, that's where we are; a dingy underground corridor. Looks really appealing."

"I've seen better," remarked Eric.

"And I've seen worse." The Doctor switched off the scanner.

"Sure you don't want an escort with Morin?" asked Alan. "One of us will go with you."

"No, I think I can handle him myself." He turned to Shannon. "How is Shandris?"

"Still sleeping peacefully as peacefully as a little would-be murderer can. Ryan shouldn't have a problem."

Peri tested the torches and shone one in the Doctor's eyes. "That one works." She switched it off.

"Was that quite necessary?" asked the Doctor, blinking.

"I'm sorry. I didn't realize it would hit you in the face."

From the look on Peri's face, Alan knew it was just the opposite. "OK, we'll be here waiting for you, Doctor."

After the Doctor left, Alan checked his ammunition. Everything was in order. There had been no need for it so far, but knowing his luck, there was still time. He looked over to see Shannon and Eric doing the same.

"Do you really think that's necessary?" Peri asked. "It's abandoned after all."

"We've studied the Daleks as part of our Military training," said Eric. "They've been known to booby trap places they left to keep others from getting their hands on their technology."

"If that's the case, how did Morin get it? He would have said if it was booby trapped."

"Not if he didn't go where they were," put in Shannon. "This place is probably riddled with corridors and tunnels."

"We'll keep an eye on him anyway. I'll take point. Shannon, you stay with Morin. Eric, you take the rear."

"But the Doctor--"

"Likes to lead, I know. I'll just try to keep a few steps ahead of him."

The Doctor returned with Morin. "Everyone ready?" He switched the lever that operated the main TARDIS doors. "Let's explore."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~**~*~*~*~*

Alan made a point of getting to the door before the Doctor, and stepped out cautiously, gun at the ready. The Doctor followed as if he were strolling in the park. Alan didn't care as long as his team did their job. "Where to, Morin?"

Morin turned in a slow circle, getting his bearings. "This way," he said, pointing down the lit hallway.

After following Morin's directions for almost half an hour, Alan felt horribly lost. {You were right about the corridors, Shane. I don't believe he can know where he's going in all this after only one visit.}

{The glimpses I've been getting of his face make me believe he has something planned.}

{OK, try to let Eric know without letting Morin know we're onto him.}

{What of the Doctor and Peri}

{Kinda hard when he's right here.}

They stopped when the hall divided. "I can't remember which way."

"You came all this way on memory. Why have you forgotten now?"

"I lost count of the turns, OK?"

"I, on the other hand, kept track, and if we follow the pattern, we go left." The Doctor moved ahead of Alan.

The light from Peri's torch barely penetrated the darkness. The three of them walked forward slowly. Alan felt a change in the floor as it became more uneven and gritty. He also could sense a change in the acoustics as if the room was widening somehow. "Doctor, we had better wait until we get a stronger light."

"Nonsense. These torches are just fine. There's nothing to wor--" His sentence was cut off by a fading yell.

Alan, too close to stop in time, felt the floor disappear from beneath him as he fell into a gaping pit. The next thing he knew, a light was shining in his face. "Pupils are responding normally," came the Doctor's voice.

Alan pushed the light away. "I'm sure there are better places to point that thing than my face."

"When you fell, you whacked your head," Peri told him. "You were out for something like twenty minutes."

Alan jumped to his feet, his headache forgotten over his concern for his friends. {Shane} There was no response but he could tell she was conscious. They had to move. Twenty minutes was too long. "Grab hold." The Doctor and Peri each took a hold of an arm and he zeroed in on Shannon's machine.

They found her lying on the ground, just coming to. "Alan, you're ok." She sat up slowly.

"Nothing that a bottle of aspirin won't cure. What about you? What happened?"

"I heard you fall and came running up. Morin was waiting and conked me out with a rock or something-I couldn't really see. He must've forced Eric to take him to the TARDIS."

"Then that's where we're going." Alan helped Shannon stand.

"But why would they head back to the TARDIS? Why not just go to Acheron?"

"Peri, the whole point of this excursion was to prevent anyone from using existing Dalek technology."

"So?"

"So where is the Dalek technology?" the Doctor prompted.

"In the TARDIS along with Shandris."

*********************************************************

Ryan sat in the chair vacated by Shannon and tried to get comfortable. He wished he could be out indulging in a little action but he knew Alan felt he was best for the job. If only he had something to do. He should have stopped at the TARDIS library first to pick up something first. He didn't want to leave in case Shandris woke up and found herself alone. He knew first hand how tough abandonment issues were.

Over on the desk he saw a few pages written in a very simple print. Curious and bored, he reached over and picked them up. He smiled as he realized how Shannon kept herself busy. He settled in for his watch.

A pounding on the TARDIS pulled him out of his doze. Great. What trouble have we gotten into now? He walked to the console room and used the switch to open the doors. Eric came in followed closely by Morin--who had a gun to him. "Eric, how nice. You brought company."

"Close the doors!" commanded Morin. "Then I want you to take me to the technology you stole from me."

"The Doctor put them somewhere," Eric said. "We have to wait for him."

"Where exactly is he?"

"He led us right into a trap," Eric said with a nod at Morin. "The Doctor, Alan, and Peri fell into some deep pit. He then knocked out Shannon, grabbed my gun and forced me to come here."

"Enough!" Ryan could see Morin twist Eric's arm, the one twisted behind his back. "I want that technology!"

Eric's eyes looked past him and Ryan turned to see Shandris enter the room, wiping her tired eyes. "Shandris, why don't you go back to your room? I'll be there as soon as I can."

"What's going on? Dr. Reyus, why do you have a gun to Eric?"

"I'm here to help you, Shandris. These people have weakened you. We can go back to your father and continue to work for a free Doflair."

"I don't want to go back."

"But what of all those who died for the cause? What of Chai? Do you want her death to be for nothing?"

"If I continue to go on the way you want me to, Chai's death would be in vain. She wanted things to be normal. I've found her journals and letters. She wanted the people of Doflair to live a free life how they wanted. If you put more of these things into other people, they never will be free."

"Well said." Ryan would have clapped under other circumstances.

Morin pushed Eric aside and headed towards Shandris. "How dare you speak to me like that? I saved you--and your father! If not for me, he would have been executed for treason!"

"Stop! Don't come any closer! I'm warning you!" Shandris closed her eyes and balled her fists at her sides. Morin stopped in his tracks and his face went slack.

Dammit! She's doing a number on him. "Shandris, stop what you're doing. We need him to testify. He needs to stand trial."

Eric went to her side. "Shandris, I know he hurt you, but we need others to learn what he's done."

Shandris opened her eyes and stared, horrified, as Ryan caught Morin's body as it fell to the ground. "What have I done?"

"You were being threatened and lashed out in self-defense." Eric took her in a hug. "It'll be OK."

At that moment, Alan arrived with Shannon, the Doctor, and Peri. "You guys all right?"

"Yeah, thanks to Shandris. She worked a little magic on him and now he's an extra for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

The Doctor knelt beside Morin and checked his pulse. "He's stable. I think he's just in a coma. We won't know the full effects until he wakes-if he wakes."

"I didn't mean to... I... Please, help me."

"I can only offer you my best, Shandris, but my best is risky. What I'm going to ask you now, should not be considered lightly. Do you accept the risk?"

"I'll do anything to make this thing dead."

"Very well then. I'll set the co-ordinates."

"What do we do with Morin?" asked Eric. "You must have something that passes for a sick bay here."

"Ah, yes. We had better get him down there and hooked up to some monitors. I only wish I remember where I left that wheelchair." The Doctor looked at Eric. "Why don't you take his legs. I'll take his head and shoulders. They lifted the dead weight of the unconscious Morin and struggled with him towards the door.

Ryan and Alan stepped out of the way. "You have it under control?" Ryan called as they walked away down the hall. "OK, we'll just wait here then!" He then turned to the others. "Anyone got a deck of cards?"

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Eric followed the Doctor's directions and the soon stopped at an open door. The room looked like the majority of others he had seen along the way: white and sparse. As he walked in, he noticed the instruments recessed into the wall by the bed.

They placed Morin on the bed and the Doctor immediately hooked him up to the machinery. "That should keep him stable. Thankfully, he's able to breathe on his own."

As they walked back to the console room, Eric felt he needed confirmation on what they had done. "So, once we take Shandris to Karn, this'll be over?"

"Well, it's obvious that Morin can't do anything right now. Perhaps you can notify the proper authorities about her father when you get back and hopefully stop him from doing something rash and foolhardy."

"And the Daleks themselves?"

The Doctor smiled knowingly. "I don't think they'll bother the Earth for, oh, another two or three hundred years."

They entered the console room and saw the others on the floor playing cards. "Who's winning?"

Shandris looked up at them and gave a genuine smile. "I've won the last three games!"

"Yeah," said Ryan. "Who'd've thought she'd be a natural?"

After setting the coordinates for Karn, the Doctor gave them a history lesson. "The Sisterhood is a group of women who have dedicated their lives to guarding the Sacred Flame which, in turn, produces the Elixir of Life."

"That certainly sounds...mystical," said Ryan.

"Mystical! Mystical! Young man, I do not know why you persist in adding extra forces to the universe when it has all the fascinating, myriad forces it needs!"

"Look, all I said was"

"And you wish you hadn't, isn't that right, Ryan?"

He looked at Shane.

"Yes. I mispoke."

"Mispake."

{Gods, I'll be happy when this guy regenerates}

"Mispake, Doctor."

"Good. Now where was I? The Elixir is simply brought about by the condensation of certain gases"

"Does how it's created pertain to this plot?" interrupted Alan.

"Not to this part of the story, no." He continued. "Each member of the Sisterhood has great mental powers-some stronger than others. When they combine their powers, they can teleport people or even force ships to crash."

"Are you sure we should leave Shandris with them?" questioned Peri. "That doesn't sound like a very nurturing environment to me."

"They were charged with guarding the Flame and, at the time I last saw them, it was in danger of going out. If that happened, there would be no more Elixir."

"So what does this Elixir do?" Shannon leaned forward in her seat.

"The Elixir has regenerative properties. The sisters periodically take ritual sips from the cup. Maren, the High Priestess, told me she had been guarding the Flame for centuries."

"It prolongs life by regenerating dying tissue," stated Alan. He looked at the Doctor. "So it's highly likely that there will be sisters here that remember you from before."

"I might have to convince them it's me. After all, it was a couple of regenerations ago."

"Hey, I thought you said that the Flame was dying when you were here before and that there wouldn't be any more Elixir," put in Ryan.

"As I said before, the Flame and Elixir are both brought about by gases rising from deep within Karn itself. I merely cleared the rubble that blocked them."

"Thus ensuring that the Sisterhood could continue," commented Eric. "Well done."

"The Elixir has also helped a number of Time Lords during difficult regenerations. That's why they thought I was there: to steal it for the High Council."

The TARDIS gave a slight shudder to announce their arrival. "Thus endeth the lesson," said the Doctor. He then looked straight at her. "Are you ready, Shandris?"

She nodded, afraid her voice would break if she spoke.

"All right, then." The Doctor led the way back to the console room. "Peri, if you would?"

Peri used the lever to open the main TARDIS doors.

"What of Morin?" asked Shannon.

"He's out of it, Shane," Eric told her. "I doubt he'll be coming 'round any time soon."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

They all exited the TARDIS and Shandris found herself between Alan and Ryan as they stood on a rocky ledge. The area matched what the Doctor had described: isolated and rocky. There were a few bits of scrub peeking out from between the rocks and a few sported brilliantly colored flowers.

"Hm, I thought we landed a little closer than this," the Doctor mumbled. "I guess we'll have to walk it." He looked up at the sky. "At least it's not raining. Last time there was a terrible storm."

Shandris then felt hands lift her up and place her on Alan's shoulders. "Now, just sit there, lean a bit more forward, OK, that's it." She looked down from her new height and saw Ryan standing back. "Comfy?"

She smiled down at him. "This is wonderful! What's it called?"

"Riding piggyback," replied Alan, and he took a light hold of her legs. "If you feel yourself slipping, tell me."

"OK."

"Hey, Doctor, what's that?" asked Shannon.

In the distance was the crumbling wreck of what must have once been a large mansion. "It looks like something out of a Hammer Horror."

The Doctor walked over beside her. "You wouldn't be far off. I can't believe it's still standing." His thoughts and memories seemed to travel back to his last visit.

"So?" Peri prodded.

"Hm? Oh, well, it all started with a megalomaniac named Morbius..."

Shandris enjoyed her "ride" and was upset when they arrived at the temple. It was a large stone building that almost looked like a castle including the large front doors with huge metal fixtures. She saw the Doctor yank on the bell-pull and only short moments later it opened slowly and a young woman in saffron robes greeted them silently. She bowed her head and motioned for them to enter.

If Shandris had been alone, she would have been scared to death as the walked the stone corridor lit only by torches in the wall sconces. It was like how she had pictured the castles from the fairy tales in the book Shannon had showed her.

Two more doors awaited them and she knew this was where the rest of the Sisterhood were waiting for their arrival. The doors opened slowly and she could feel all their eyes on her. Seeming to realize the solemnity of the occasion, Alan knelt, allowing her to slide down his back and onto the floor. She then stood between the brothers and slipped her hand into Alan's. This was where the Doctor wanted to leave her? It seemed so cold, none of them were smiling. She tightened her hold on Alan and he gave her a comforting squeeze. She then knew that they wouldn't leave her here if they felt it was wrong.

The Doctor walked forward to the older woman sitting on the throne on the dais. Her face was lined with age, but could she really have lived for centuries? He then bowed which was not something she would have associated with him.

"What can we do for you, Time Lord?" she asked in a soft voice. "It has been some time since one of your kind has visited."

The Doctor straightened, peering at the face. "Ohica? I should have realized you would still be here."

She beckoned him closer. "If you are indeed who I believe you to be, how did you restore the Sacred Flame?"

"A firecracker."

A smiled cracked Ohica's lined face. "Why have you returned to Karn, Doctor?"

"This young girl has been infected with Dalek technology. It's enmeshed within her brain. Your mental powers once teleported the TARDIS to your place of worship."

"The answer is yes, Doctor. We can remove the technology from the child's brain, and yes, we an share the elixir of life to heal the damage that has already been done." Ohica smiled. "Never do you ask anything for yourself, Doctor, and so we are only to ready to grant such requests. But you child, I sense you have nowhere to go."

"No. I don't."

"Sisters are never alone." She smiled. "Come, and let us discuss your new life."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

So what now, Doctor?"

"We continue what we were doing, Peri." He looked at the members of the TOC. "I guess that means we should take you back to Elysion."

"Probably would be a good thing," said Ryan. "We'll need to make a report. Make sure everyone realizes that there is no threat."

"Yes, if there's one thing this universe doesn't need, it's another war."

"Speaking of which, we'd better get Morin to a hospital, preferably one with a decent neurological department," commented Eric.

"Instead of searching all over for one that fits the bill, why don't we just take him to the one on Elysion as well?" said Peri. "When you give your report, you can tell your superiors that he was the one behind it."

"True," put in Shannon. "It would be a nice touch of irony as well, him being treated at the same hospital as the bombing victims."

"I guess that's that, then," said the Doctor as he unlocked the TARDIS. "All aboard."

Once inside, the Doctor set the coordinates for Elysion. Once the rotor began its slow rise and fall, everyone went their own way to relax. Peri made her way to the conservatory where she was surrounded by all types of wondrous flora. She took a deep breath, loving the scent of damp earth mingled with that of the flowers. It always seemed to put her at peace. Maybe that was why she took up botany. She pulled out her sketchpad that she kept in a cabinet should the mood strike her. She wandered about, trying to find a bloom that she hadn't done before. There, a brilliant vermilion bud on the verge of opening. She settled down and just as she set charcoal to paper, the TARDIS gave a great lurch, causing her to fall on her side. "Damn!" She stood and rushed to the console room as fast as she could as the TARDIS continued to pitch and shudder like a ship tossing on a violent sea.

She arrived just after Alan. "What the hell is going on?" he demanded.

"I-I'm not exactly sure," answered the Doctor as he rushed about the console gathering readings and pushing buttons.

"Give us an idea then," said Peri. "You must have an idea!"

The others staggered into the room in time to hear the Doctor's theory. "I think we're being forced down, out of the vortex."

"Who the hell can do that?" questioned Shannon. "I thought the TARDIS was practically indestructible."

"Emphasis on practically," muttered Ryan.

"Would somebody swat that gnat near my ear while I attempt to do something useful and extricate the TARDIS from this-this death-grip."

"Ouch! Shane, he was joking."

"You've had that coming a long time."

The TARDIS stabilized and materialized. "Any idea where we are?" asked Eric.

"No, the readings aren't consistent. The last time this happened"

"What? This happened before and you said you didn't know what was going on!"

"Alan, take it easy, let him explain," said Shannon.

"Well, it wasn't exactly like this, just similar. Usually it's caused by two ships-for lack of a better word-trying to materialize in the exact same space and time. We had gotten caught in the middle of a time corridor and had to travel to the beginning in order to break free."

"And this time?"

"I don't think it was because of anything I did." He flicked the lever that opened the outer doors.

"What are you doing?" asked Peri. "You don't know what could be waiting out there."

"I know. I have to find out."

"You're not going out there alone and unarmed." Alan patted his holster and moved to go with him.

Following their commanding officer and friend, the other members of the TOC also moved towards the door.

"And don't think I'm going to stay behind." Peri stared at him defiantly.

"Let's just stick together." The Doctor led the way out of the TARDIS.

Just as they were about 200 yards from the TARDIS, Peri heard something that made her skin crawl.

"STAY WHERE YOU ARE, DOCTOR!"

Trundling out from behind the rocks were four Daleks. Somehow, she should have known that they would make an appearance since their technology was involved.
"I wasn't planning on moving. Though I should warn you, things have changed since you last saw me. I am no longer the prodigal son, but the President of Gallifrey, and should you exterminate me now, you would have the full might of the Time Lords hunting you down." He smiled like a well-fed cat. "Now you wouldn't want that, would you?"

"YOUR CHANGE IN STATUS IS KNOWN TO THE DALEKS, DOCTOR. WE MEAN YO--UWE MEAN YOU NO HARM."

"There now. Was that difficult?"

"WE WANT THE YOUNG HUMAN. SHE IS DALEK PROPERTY."

"Ah, because she's a hybrid of human and your technology. Is that how you see it?"

"WE HAVE THE RIGHT"

"Oh, I agree, but I'm afraid that you are out of luck. She can't come with you. Your technology drove her mad. She tried to strangle Shannon, and my companion struck her on the skull."

Dalek probes telescoped out of their suction-cup appendages. They pointed them at Shannon and the Doctor.

"THE DOCTOR TELLS THE TRUTH. SKIN TEMPERATURE AND HEARTS BEAT RATE CONSISTENT WITH NORMAL TIME LORD PHYSIOLOGY."

"SKIN BRUISING DETECTED ON HUMAN FEMALE. TRUTH CORROBORATED."

"WHERE IS THE BODY? WE WILL REMOVE THE DALEK TECHNOLOGY."

"Can't help you there either. The body isn't here, and your technology no longer functions properly. That happens when the builders happen to be genocidal maniacs."

"THE DOCTOR SPEAKS THE TRUTH. INSULT TO THE DALEKS NOTED. YOU WILL SUFFER FOR THIS INSULT, DOCTOR."

"But not today?"

"AGREED. SITUATION IS NOW SATISFACTORY TO THE DALEK EMPIRE."

"WE WILL LEAVE."

"Cheery-bye!" The Doctor waved to the retreating Daleks. Peri noticed that they didn't once turn their backs to him. They watched the Dalek ship rise from the ground and jet through the air. Soon, they saw it not at all.

"You have stones, Doctor."

"Oh, outwitting parochial pepper-pots is a trifle. Anybody for tea?" He unlocked the TARDIS and ushered them inside.

So, those were Daleks." Alan was surprised at the actual appearance of the aliens. They looked almost comical yet it knew they had been, and, according to the Doctor, would be the most ruthless creatures in the known universe. It also appeared that the Doctor was their worst nightmare, their sworn enemy, yet he handled them like they were bullies in a playground. As Peri had commented, the Doctor certainly had cajones.

"Yes, that was the Daleks. Only a small retrieval team, of course. Not nearly as menacing as a full-blown military contingent." The Doctor checked to coordinates to make sure they were still reading for Elysion.

"I found them plenty menacing, thank you very much," remarked Peri.

"So Shandris is safe now?" asked Shannon. "Those...things won't bother her anymore?"

"No. Even if they found out where she was, the moment they attempt to approach Karn, the Sisterhood would be aware of it and crash the ship. I don't think we need to worry about the Daleks anymore...for now."

"That's a relief, not having to be looking over our shoulders waiting for them to show up." Ryan stretched. "God, just think, after all this, we have to go on another mission. Why is it our holidays never seem to be relaxing?"

"OK, so we know Morin has received a bit of poetic justice, kinda like Frankenstein being destroyed by the Monster. But what about her father?" asked Eric.
"We ought to try and bring him back or something."

"Why don't we just go back to the warehouse and get him?" volunteered Peri.

"He won't be there," said Alan. "Now that we know of it, he'll be as far away as he can. He'll probably find some other outpost from where he can direct the Doflair fight for freedom."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

They returned to Elysion, the TARDIS materializing just outside the ER. They rushed Morin inside on the gurney. Needless to say, the team handling the incoming patients was a little overwhelmed at seeing four members of the TOC as well as two known Investigators.

Alan was singled out as the one to answer all the required questions. "What happened to him?" asked the examining physician.

"A psychic attack," Alan replied. "She really didn't like him."

"I'm not getting any response," the doctor continued after examining his pupils. "How long has he been like this?"

Alan shrugged. "I'm not sure, but definitely no more than two hours." He looked at the others for confirmation and received nods of affirmation.

"You should have gotten him here right away."

"Believe me, doctor, we were kinda busy. We hooked him up to all the proper equipment and came here as soon as we could."

"I understand, Colonel, but I may have been able to do something."

"I don't think time would have made any difference," put in the Doctor. "I believe it was a very thorough job."

"I believe we have a bed for him for a few days. After that a special home will be needed."

"I'm sure something can be arranged." Alan then pulled the doctor off to the side away from the nurses. "I plan to say something to hospital security, but you need to know as well. He's the one responsible for the bombing."

The doctor looked over his shoulder at the virtual vegetable, trying to reconcile what he saw to what he was being told. "So he did it?"

"Not exactly, no, but he made it happen."

"So odds are he'll be moved to an Alliance facility."

"Most probably."

"I'll try to keep it mum, Colonel, and I'll put on his chart that he needs to be checked frequently."

"Thank you, doctor. I'll leave it in your hands."

Outside the TARDIS, Eric volunteered to go notify Security. "Goodbye, Doctor, Peri. It was...interesting meeting you."

"You as well, Eric," said the Doctor.

Peri waved goodbye as he walked down the hall.

"Well, that's that-again," said Ryan. "We saved the damsel in distress, and caught the bad guy. Not bad for a couple days' work."

"We didn't destroy the Dalek technology and her father is still out there."

Ryan looked at his brother. "I don't know why everyone thinks you're the positive one. Concentrate on what we did do."

"He's right. If it hadn't been for us, Shandris would be insane-a tool of the Daleks-and Morin would be creating an army of them," added Shannon.

"Not everything can be sewn up as neatly as a Christie novel," remarked Peri. "Considering the time constraints, I think we did great."

Alan had no idea why he felt this way. Yes, they had done well, but there was something nagging him, as if they could have done more. He didn't want to hear what he already knew, so he only agreed with them. He took a covert glance at the Time Lord in front of him. He could see some of the first Doctor he had met--I wonder which one he was?--but very little of the last one, Number Eight. Lord only knew where they would meet again, and which one it would be.

"Doctor, look. I got on your nerves, and I didn't mean to do that. I'm sorry. I can't say that I'm going to miss you though," Ryan said.

"That is the first intelligent thing you've said since we've met. Good-bye, Ryan. "

"Bye, Peri. You know, if you want to leave this guy behind, we could always use another member."

Peri laughed at his attempt. "I don't think you want two 1980s girls on your hands, but thanks for the offer."

"Couldn't hurt to try."

"You and I could keep them in line, though," Shannon said. "And it would be fun to have someone with the same cultural reference points. Hey, if you're feeling homesick and the Doctor is having 'trouble' with the directional...thingy, maybe we can go for a little shopping excursion circa 1987."

"Yeah, that would be fun, if we could ever figure out how to get in touch with you."

"Thank you for the offer, Shane, but I believe I can manage to get her home," stated the Doctor, somewhat affronted by Shannon's comment.

Peri rolled her eyes but only Alan could see. He smiled. "Is there something amusing about that, Colonel?"

"Oh, not at all, Doctor. I'm sure you can manage to get her home." {Just how many tries will it take}

{She will have aged ten years and no one would recognize her} joked Shannon.

Alan held out his hand. "Thanks again, Doctor. I doubt we would have gotten all this done without your help."

"You would have found another way. At least now I know I make it to eight and will visit Jamaica. Unless the memory goes at some point."

Alan turned to Peri. "You be good and don't lead him into trouble," he scolded teasingly.

"Yes, sir!" She saluted.

"OK, guys. We'd better get Eric then head to Varuna. I don't want to be stuck here answering questions when the real Investigators arrive."

With waves and goodbyes, the fellow travelers parted ways. The Doctor and Peri entered the TARDIS. Not long after, a strained mechanical roar reverberated through the enclosed space, a few wheezes and groans thrown in. He wasn't kidding when he said it was an older model. The police box then faded from sight.

"Good God, does it do that every time?" asked Shannon.

"I think so. I doubt with all his traveling, the Doctor's had a chance to take it in for a tune-up."

"Not really made for stealth, is it? I mean, he might as well send out copies of his itinerary."

"Ryan."

Alan's brother was just warming up. "No, wait, maybe it's to warn people to avert their eyes to save them from having their retinas burned out by that outfit."

"I know," agreed Shannon as they started down the hall. "At least the other had a more elegant yet understated taste in clothes."

Alan smiled. At least the next one can only be an improvement. I wonder what they would have made of the other guy's scarf.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

It's about time they left. I was wondering if I'd ever get the chance. He knew his window of opportunity was small before someone came around to check on Morin again. He couldn't wait until he was taken upstairs because then there would be hospital security to deal with. Right now, it was only nurses and doctors. Doctors! He had had enough of those. Morin had probably taken the TOC to the planet where they had located the Dalek technology. Well, he's not gonna get the chance to tell anyone else.

He looked down at the slumbering body of his former compatriot. Shandris did this to you, eh? I guess she was more powerful than you thought. I should probably thank her as she made what I have to do so much easier. He removed a syringe from his pocket and took off the protective cap. Didn't think I was paying attention, did you? When you're involved in a revolution, you need to know silent means of death as well as the more violent ones. He then injected the contents of the syringe into the IV tubing before slipping out of the ER and the hospital proper.

His ship, the Escudo, manned by loyal Doflairians, awaited him at the edge of the spaceport. "Gentlemen, our destiny as the liberators of Doflair awaits us. Are we prepared?"

"Yes, sir. The ship is refueled and we re-stocked provisions," answered his second-in-command.

"Very well. Initiate take-off."

Once away from Elysion, Arcto had them set the flight coordinates for the abandoned Dalek planet. They would salvage all the technology possible before returning to the new home base where Dalek scholars would interpret the plans and manuals. From the translations, engineers would adapt the technology for human use. There were also doctors who would implant more of those devices into his soldiers allowing them to communicate amongst each other without fear of radio signals being intercepted.

He could just picture his victorious welcome home. There would be a large parade through the streets of Edous Nobh where he would be hailed as the Savior of Doflair. There would be statues of him in every city, town, and village. He would then be unanimously declared the new President.

"Sir," called his communications officer. "We have an incoming call. It's quite insistent."

"Put it on the forward screen."

A picture appeared on the screen and Arcto knew that at that moment he would never see his dreams come to fruition. The crew seemed to realize this as well.
"HUMANS, YOUR SHIP HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED AS ONE THAT LANDED ON AVERNUS, ONCE A STRONGHOLD OF THE DALEKS. YOU HAVE STOLEN FROM THE DALEKS AND WILL BE DESTROYED."

That mechanical voice filled him with dread and he tried to plead for his life. "I was not aware that you still had interest in that planet. I only wish to free my world from cruel oppressors. When I become leader, I will support the Dalek cause and assist in your return to power in this part of the galaxy." He held his breath and waited while the Dalek on screen appeared to be communicating with the others.

"THE GREAT MIGHT OF THE DALEKS IS NEEDED ELSEWHERE. YOU WILL NO LONGER BE ALIVE WHEN WE RETURN. YOUR OFFER HOLDS NO VALUE. YOU WILL BE DESTROYED."

"Noooooooooooooooooo!"

"EXTERMINATE!"


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