Unfinished Business, Doctor Who, Dr. Who, Chris Eccleston, Christopher Eccleston, Doctor who Fiction

Sukie was feeling proud of herself. She had won her first race in a real car, the Ginetta Junior race at Rockingham, part of a series of races that represented her very swift transition from carts to cars. The trophy was a very big one. She was wondering where it was going to go in her bedroom.

“Put it in the living room, where mum can see it,” Davie said as he piloted the TARDIS through the time vortex from the early twenty-first century where they competed to the twenty-third where they lived. “It’s time she got used to the idea that you’re going to be a racing driver like me.”

“She hasn’t got used to YOU being a racing driver, yet,” Sukie pointed out. They laughed together, a private joke between brother and sister. Earl Gregory, Sukie’s sometimes boyfriend, watched them, trying not to feel slightly outside of it all. Sukie had looked up to her brothers for a long time, especially Davie with whom she had so much in common. He couldn’t help feeling like an interloper in that relationship.

“Earl,” Davie said, looking up from the navigation controls. “What do you think about a girlfriend who takes her life into her hands behind the wheel of a car?”

“I think she’s terrific,” he answered. Sukie beamed at him. That was the right thing to say. “I’m proud of her.”

“And so is mum, deep down,” Davie added. “She just worries about all of us.”

“She needs another baby to look after then she won’t bother about us so much. It worked with Vicki. Once her mum had the twins she didn’t watch her so much.”

“Doesn’t mean she doesn’t worry about her,” Davie pointed out. “Mum’s are meant to worry. We’re meant to give them cause to worry. We’re doing our job well.”

They laughed again. This time Earl joined in. He could appreciate the joke this time. He had given his parents quite a bit of worry since he got his time car and started exploring the history he had loved studying most of his life. But if Davie, who was older and wiser than he was thought that it was all right, it must be.

“Uohoh!” Davie murmured, the laughter turning to seriousness the moment the insistent sound began to emit from the communications console. “That’s a distress call. Stand by to drop out of the vortex.”

Earl and Sukie both grabbed handholds. They knew that ‘drop’ was the operative word. It was like being in a lift with the brakes failing, except that the inertial dampeners stopped the bone-crunching fatal crash at the end.

They emerged into normal space.

At least it used to be normal space before some kind of battle took place there. Now it was a cloud of toxic dust with debris from any number of destroyed ships floating in it. The image on the viewscreen gave a very poor indication of the size of the devastated area.

“There’s a planet in the middle of it all,” Earl noted, looking at the density monitor. “About the size of Venus. Right in the middle of this dust and debris is a planet.”

“It’s where the distress signal is coming from,” Davie noted.

“You mean, somebody could be alive inside all of this?” Sukie asked.

“Not necessarily,” her brother answered. “It could have been an automatic signal that has been repeating itself for years, decades, even, with nobody left to turn it off. This hasn’t just happened. It was a very long and very bitter war. It’s possible the inhabitants of the planet were completely annihilated.”

Sukie looked at Davie curiously. There was something so matter of fact about the way he said that. It was almost cold. And that wasn’t like him.

“I’m trying to be emotionally detached about it,” he said, reaching for a switch and flipping off the data-screen. “That’s why I haven’t checked to see what the planet is. If I’ve heard of it, if I’ve ever visited it before, then seeing it like this....”

That was more like Davie. He cared, just like her great-grandfather, The Doctor, who had taught all of them what it meant to be one of the new generation of Time Lords who did more than just passively observe the universe.

“So we’re going to cut through all this and land on the planet without even knowing what it is or what sort of people might be living there.”

“It usually worked for granddad,” Davie pointed out.

“Yeah, it did!” Again, the siblings shared a joke that Earl wasn’t a part of. But he knew there was no point in being jealous. It was something he had to learn to live with if he wanted to travel with Sukie like this.

There was no visual evidence of the planet, at all. The dust and debris was too dense. But the TARDIS didn’t need to see to fix a co-ordinate on the surface. It materialised on a rocky and desolate plain. The three travellers viewed it critically on the wall-mounted viewscreen.

“Well, I’m not getting off here,” Sukie said. “It looks toxic. Look at that sky.”

The sky was a yellow the colour of very old mustard. Davie could have pointed out that Gallifrey had a yellow sky, but he knew very well there was a difference. This sky was that colour because of the radiation and pollution of a dirty war. The surface of the planet was very little better. The TARDIS’s environmental monitor told them that the plain stretched for at least three hundred miles, but they could see, at best, two miles of it through the same sickly haze. The ground itself, which the same monitor identified as a type of granite rock, was covered in a creeping fog of thick yellow-black vapour. It hardly needed saying that there was no vegetation of any sort growing on that surface, and no life, even the smallest microbe.

Then against the odds the monitor registered lifeforms. On the screen four figures dressed in hazmat suits solidified. They must have used some kind of transmat technology. But where had they come from, and what could they possibly want out there?

It became clear that what they wanted was the TARDIS. They seemed to be aware that something had landed on the surface. They were looking for it. Earl and Sukie looked at each other anxiously, but Davie was confident that the TARDIS was disguised in such a way that they would never find it, even if they came right up to it.

Which they did.

Sukie stepped back away from the screen as a masked face pressed against it. She thought she could see humanoid eyes through the thick tinted glass and the tubes that came from the nose part and went over the shoulder to a heavy-looking tank on the figure’s back. But even though she knew there was probably just an ordinary man inside the protective suit that allowed him to walk in that toxic atmosphere outside there was something slightly terrifying about his appearance in that setting.

“He can’t see us, can he?” she asked, even though she knew that was utterly impossible.

“No,” Davie assured her. “He’s standing right beside the external camera, but it will be completely disguised. He can’t possibly know that we’re in here. Even if he had any kind of lifesigns scanner we’re shielded inside the TARDIS. We’ll just wait.”

“Are they hostile?” Earl asked. “They might not be. Obviously they have to wear those suits and that makes them look sinister, but they might be friendly.”

“We’ll find that out,” Davie said. “But on our own terms. I’m not going out there to shake hands with them. Apart from anything else, I can’t be bothered digging the pressurised suits out of the cupboard.”

Sukie was sure that wasn’t the real reason, but she was glad, really. She wasn’t sure she wanted to go out onto this planet’s surface even in a pressurised suit, and she didn’t really want to meet these people just yet, either.

The group outside seemed satisfied that whatever disguise the TARDIS had chosen posed no threat to them. They moved away. They stood tightly together and waited for the transmat to take them back to wherever they came from.

“They didn’t go up to a ship or anything,” Earl noted with excitement. “I think they went down under the surface of the planet.”

“That stands to reason,” Davie agreed. “If anyone is living here, it has to be below ground. There is no way anything lives on the surface.”

“So are we going below ground?” Sukie asked.

“Just as soon as I can fix a co-ordinate,” her brother answered. “The environmental monitor isn’t reading anything below the rock surface. The scanners are bouncing off some kind of impermeable layer. I can’t take a risk of materialising within solid rock.”

“Can’t the TARDIS do that?” Earl asked. “I always thought it could.”

“Theoretically, yes,” Davie said. “In practice, there’s a fifty-fifty chance of the dimension field collapsing and crushing us all to atoms.”

“Let’s not do that, then,” Sukie told him. “What about this impermeable layer, then?”

“Still impermeable,” Davie replied. “I’ve tried every kind of scanning filter I know.”

Earl grinned. He had thought of something Davie hadn’t. Sukie felt his telepathic message to her and grinned, too. Davie looked at them both.


“Ion residue from the transmat. They used it twice in a very short time. Follow it.”

Davie’s face broke into a grin, too.

“I should have thought of that,” he admitted.

“You did,” Earl answered. “I read your notes on using ion traces when my dad was teaching me to pilot a TARDIS. This is probably where you got the idea from.”

Davie’s grin widened. He called out some instructions to Earl and Sukie and the time rotor glowed. There was a whining noise from the engines and the vibration in the floor felt different, but everything was within safe parameters as they dematerialised and headed into the unknown, with the possible risk of being crushed to atoms adding a thrill to the mission.

They weren’t crushed. The TARDIS materialised in a corridor. Not merely a tunnel carved from the rock, but a tunnel with rectangular walls, ceiling and floor and doors leading off from it at regular intervals.

“Dismal looking place,” Sukie commented. “All the walls are bare and grey. No pictures or anything nice, and the floor is just grey, too.”

“I’m not sure this place is built with aesthetics in mind,” Davie told her. “But what sort of a place is it?”

“We’re going to have to go outside to find out,” Earl pointed out. “There’s air. Something like it, anyway. Thirty per cent oxygen, sixty-nine per cent nitrogen, various inert gases."

“Higher oxygen content than we’re used to on Earth, but not harmful. I don’t want to go out and introduce myself to the natives until I know what they’re like, though. We’re going to wear perception filters.” Davie ducked under the console and opened a cupboard. He pulled out three metal bracelets that he had designed himself. They were made to fit snuggly to any size of wrist. Sukie put one on and giggled as she looked at her brother and boyfriend. They both looked fuzzy, as if they had been rubbed out at the edges.

“We can talk, but we shouldn’t raise our voices,” Davie said. “And it’s a good idea not to deliberately bump into anyone. As long as they don’t expect us to be there they won’t see us. If we draw attention to ourselves we’ll be visible.”

“Have you ever thought of designing a real invisibility cloak that doesn’t depend on fooling people’s minds?” Earl asked as they stepped out of the TARDIS.

“It’s not possible,” Davie answered. “Not for organic beings. The TARDIS can project an invisibility field that bends light around itself, but it doesn’t work for people.”

And if Davie Campbell said so, it had to be true, Earl thought. He was the greatest scientist of his generation, the man who had reverse engineered TARDIS technology as well as all sorts of other amazing scientific developments.

“Well, not yet,” he said, catching Earl’s thoughts. “So far I’ve just built a couple of time cars and my solar panel project. But it’s reassuring to know I’m going to do much more in the future.”

The TARDIS had disguised itself as a firmly locked door with a discreet ying/yang symbol etched into it for identification. The corridor presented two identical options in either direction. Davie turned left for no special reason. Sukie and Earl followed behind. They didn’t talk out loud but they chatted telepathically. That is to say Sukie talked and Earl listened. The ‘conversation’ was mostly about racing.

“It was Simon Rowe, the owner of the karting track, who suggested I get into the Ginetta Juniors. He thought I had already gone as far as I could in karts. So he said he’d be my manager because Davie has enough to do with his BTCC team and the Endurance Circuits. And it was great. The first time I got behind the wheel of the car it felt right, just like the first time I navigated a TARDIS. I loved it, the power of a real car. Simon told me not to expect too much in my first competitive race, but I knew I could win as soon as I crossed the start line. They’re all saying I was amazing, winning on my debut race, and a girl, too. Mind you, that bit’s rather patronising. There’s no reason why a girl can’t do well in motorsport. And plenty of them do compete in Ginetta….”

“Sukie, just because you don’t have to breathe between sentences when you talk telepathically doesn’t mean you can’t pause now and again,” Davie told her. Sukie did the telepathic equivalent of sticking out her tongue at him.

“Maybe we ought to be quiet,” Earl pointed out. “We don’t know if the people here ARE telepathic. We might be announcing ourselves loud and clear.”

“Well, they will be thoroughly puzzled by Sukie’s monologue, if they are,” Davie answered. “You have a good point, though. Let’s keep quiet until we know what we’re dealing with.”

The corridor came to a T junction. Again Davie turned left, though he decided to change that policy next time or they would be heading back where they started.

As it happened, he didn’t have to decide. Two men in white laboratory coats that said ‘scientist’ in any language emerged from a room on the right and walked ahead of them. They were deep in a conversation that was very close to being a dispute.

“I really don’t like where the project is going,” one of the men said. “We all know the history of this place….”

“Ancient history, Barik,” the other man answered him. “Sovard has assured us it will be different this time. He can control the army. Their DNA matrix will be fixed so that they obey his every command.”

“HIS command!” Barik’s voice was filled with concern. “And nobody imagines there’s a problem with that? Kavrin, think about that for a minute. I think we need to call a policy meeting before this goes any further.”

“I think you’re worrying too much,” Kavrin insisted. “You know that we’re losing the war with the Myrr Ordinance. We need his creations – the super army that will crush our enemies once and for all.”

“I don’t like the sound of that at all,” Earl said. “Super army, DNA matrix…. Who are these people?”

“Might have been a mistake not finding out what planet this is, brother dear,” Sukie told Davie. “That might have been a clue.”

“I’ve never heard of the Myrr Ordinance,” he replied. “These people are humanoid, more or less like us. I don’t think they’re telepathic. They were talking too loud about seriously confidential matters for people who can talk discreetly.”

“Unless telepathy is monitored,” Earl suggested.

“In which case, somebody would be looking for us by now.”

“To find out what sort of weapon a Ginetta might be,” Sukie added.

Barik and Kavrin turned into a large room that looked like it must be some kind of central communications area. Davie, Sukie and Earl slipped through before the sliding door closed.

“Barik, Sovard wants to see you in the incubator room,” said one of the men at the bank of computer screens that gave the windowless room an unnatural glow. These men, they noticed immediately, were wearing all in one outfits that had a military look to them, dark blue with horizontal bands of black across the torso that seemed to denote rank according to the number of bands.

“Yes, Commander Errax,” Barik said with a weary sigh as if the task was an onerous one. He turned and stalked back outside, narrowly missing a collision with Sukie who stepped quickly out of his way.

“I’m going to follow him,” Davie decided. “I want to know what an incubator room is to these people. You two poke around here and see what you can find out. In particular, who sent out an emergency signal, if it wasn’t this lot?”

Sukie was alarmed at being left in a room full of strangers who talked about war so readily.

“I’m here,” Earl reminded her.

“Yes, you are,” she conceded. Then both gave their attention to what Commander Errax was saying to Kavrin. They moved as close as they dared to the console where Errax was pointing out an area of interference on the planet’s surface.

“I sent a team out to look but they came back reporting nothing but a lump of meteor that they think landed during the night. But I think the dullards got lost in the fog and went to the wrong co-ordinate. Look at this. There is clearly something there causing that dead area on the scanner. A cloaking device of some kind.”

“The meteor probably contains some form of metal ore that blocks the sonar waves. The rocks over our head do the same, after all. It’s nothing. You’re becoming paranoid. Ever since the prisoner managed to send out that signal….”

“It should never have been able to do that. We should have de-activated it.”

“Sovard wants it conscious for further study of its psychology,” Kavrin replied. “Do you dispute the Director’s orders?”

“Not at all,” Errax answered. “But my first priority is the security of this complex, of this planet. If the Myrr Ordinance picked up that signal, then the fate of Bajuin is sealed. We need the army we’re building here on Skaro to defeat them. Sovard believed that the debris surrounding the planet meant that these underground bunkers would never be discovered. But….”

“Skaro?” Earl and Sukie both stifled gasps as they heard the name of the planet they were on. “This is Skaro?”

The very name of the planet was legendary to them both, in a dark, nightmarish way.

“I thought it was destroyed in the Time War,” Sukie said.

“Not destroyed, just rendered inhabitable, it seems,” Earl responded. “I think we ought to find that prisoner.”

“Davie told us to hang around here.”

“He didn’t say how long we had to hang around here for,” Earl pointed out. “And after all, we came here to find who sent that emergency signal. Besides, I don’t really like this lot, and I don’t like the sound of them keeping a prisoner to experiment on. Let’s do something to help.”


Commander Errax and his men were too busy to notice the door slide back for no apparent reason. Kavrin did notice but decided to ignore it. Self opening doors went along with the strange sensation he had that somebody was looking over his shoulder just now. They were irrelevant irritations he didn’t need.

Davie kept close behind Barik as he made his way down the corridor and into a lift. He stood beside the man as they descended into the deep bowels of the underground complex. Barik emerged at last and walked along an identical corridor until he came to a door with a security lock on it. It opened using both his handprint and a retinal scan. Davie kept very close, knowing the door would lock again immediately. He was surprised to note that he stepped into an airlock where Barik was subjected to a disinfecting ion shower. Davie got the shower, too. He didn’t like it very much and he wasn’t too happy about the effect it might have on his perception filter, but he was confident he was still unknown to his quarry when the inner door finally opened and Barik stepped through.

“What kept you?” demanded a man who wore another white laboratory coat but with silver cuffs that in some peculiar way seemed to denote him as a figure of authority.

“Nothing kept me,” Barik protested. “I came as soon as I had your message, Director Sovard. What is the problem?”

“A batch of the organic components have died,” Sovard replied.

“Died, how?” Barik asked.

“The power to the incubators failed. They froze. It is intolerable that this project is neglected in such a way. My valuable time and resources have been wasted. The completion of the prototypes has been set back. I want you to arrange around the clock supervision of the incubators. This must not happen again.”

“Yes, sir, I will see to it personally,” Barik replied.

“See that you do,” Sovard snapped. Then he swept past him and entered the airlock. Barik watched until he had gone through the outer door and then turned and walked down the aisle between incubators full of green liquid in which Davie could just see something that moved of its own volition. It was a shapeless amoeba of a creature that pulsated with strange unnatural life. Clearly these were the result of some kind of genetic experiment, but the purpose of it wasn’t immediately obvious.

Barik’s purpose was perfectly obvious, though. He went to the end of the row where there was a computerised panel. He tapped quickly at the keys. Davie watched what he was doing and realised that he was altering the protein mix in the green liquid, reducing it drastically.

He was starving the creatures.


Davie decided it was time to find out. He slipped the perception filter off his wrist and tapped Barik on the shoulder. The man almost jumped out of his skin in shock, but there was no other way of attracting his attention.

“Shut up, don’t scream,” he said, “Just tell me why you just did that, and why you cut the power supply to the batch that died. It was you, I suppose?”

Barik looked at him. He was dressed in his usual leather jacket, slacks and sweatshirt. He didn’t look anything like any member of this curious community. He could see the man making a decision in his head.

“Because Sovard is mad, that’s why. This super army he is building is monstrous. It is a collection of unnatural abominations against all reason. As if history wasn’t warning enough. What happened here thousands of years ago….”

“What DID happen thousands of years ago?” Davie asked.

“The society that lived here was wiped out by the ‘super army’ they created. Sovard found their technology, the blueprints, in a bunker, and began recreating the experiments. He sees it as the ultimate solution to….”

“To your war with the Myrr Ordinance, yes, I heard. They would be another planet, another planetary system. And you’re….”

“We are the Bajui. We have fought against the Ordinance for a hundred years. Our people were decimated by war and famine. We have come close to complete annihilation many times. That is why our expedition came here to Skaro, to find the home of the Kaleds, who developed a fearsome weapon. But Sovard’s plans go beyond fighting a war. He wants nothing short of the destruction of the Ordinance. I always believed we would one day make peace with them….”

Davie had stopped listening. He had heard only three words.




Skaro was a planet he, Davie Campbell, knew of only by reputation. But his great-grandfather, The Doctor, knew it only too well. The soul of him that he had once received by Rite of Mori stirred within his own soul and it was sounding a warning to him.

Kaled was the name of one of the humanoid races of Skaro. They had given their name to the weapon that was developed for their war with their fellow citizens of Skaro, the Thals.

Dalek – an anagram of Kaled that struck fear into the hearts of all beings in the known galaxies. There was hardly a place their evil hadn’t touched, and those it hadn’t had at least heard the stories.

His whole family for three generations knew about Daleks. His paternal grandfather, father and he, himself, had fought them. His great-grandfather on his mother’s side had defeated them time and time again throughout his life.

They had been the instigators of the Time War. They had been the reason the Time Lords fought with such desperation that they themselves were destroyed along with that dreadful enemy.

The Daleks were gone, now. That was the one thing that could be said. They would never blight the lives of his children or their children. They were gone.

Or so he thought.

“Sovard….” Something nagged him about that name, too, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Never mind. That could wait. He looked at the creatures in the tank.

“Starving them is too slow,” he said. “You were right the first time. Destroy them quickly.”

“But Sovard found out about the power failure. This way I can destroy the whole batch and he won’t know until it’s too late. It will take him months to grow new cells to the stage these are at, and by then the numbers of us who are uneasy about the work will have grown. We may be able to get the project abandoned.”

“All right,” Davie conceded. “Does he have any new cells? Is there a cryogenic freezer here?”

“No,” Barik answered. “He gets the cells from the prisoner.”

“What prisoner?” Davie’s eyes narrowed in hatred of Sovard’s utterly unethical practices. “Where?”

“It’s in the vault. But I can’t take you there. You’d never get past the security.”

“Don’t you worry about that,” Davie told him, slipping his bracelet back on. “Do you have access to the vault?”

“Only with Sovard’s permission. But… I have a pass he signed yesterday. It is still valid for another three hours.”

“Right, let’s go.”

Sukie and Earl had found the vault more or less by chance. They had guessed that a prisoner was likely to be kept in the most secure part of the complex, and that would be the very lowest. The lift went down to the second lowest level. After that a key was needed.

Or a sonic screwdriver, anyway. Sukie’s slimline sonic made short work of the security and the lift descended one more level. They stepped out and walked straight past the two surprised guards who looked at the empty lift. They heard one of them murmur about the ghosts of the Kaleds still haunting the corridors. Sukie giggled despite the seriousness of the situation. Earl elbowed her in the ribs.

The place where the prisoner was kept was obvious. It was the door made of tempered steel with two more guards outside armed with bastic rifles.

“We can’t just open that door,” Earl pointed out. “They’ll notice.”

Sukie waved her sonic screwdriver with a mischievous grin. She walked on to the end of the corridor and turned right into an identical one. Then she used her sonic to cause a junction box to spark and fizz and give off plumes of blue-black smoke. Earl slipped his bracelet off and looked around the corner.

“Hey, you guards,” he shouted. “Come here and help with this fire, unless you want to choke to death standing at your post.”

There were a few seconds when it didn’t look as if that was going to work then the guards came running. Before they rounded the corner Earl had put his bracelet again and slipped past them in the opposite direction. The steel door and its security lock proved no obstacle to the sonic screwdriver. They stepped inside the cell and stared at the prisoner.

“It’s a Dalek,” Sukie said. “At least… part of one. I never saw one without the top on.”

“How many Daleks have you seen?” Earl asked. “I’ve never seen any.”

“One in real life,” Sukie admitted. “Not in books and stories. When me and Vicki were kids, we met one. It was our friend. It died, saving us.”

Earl looked at his girlfriend sceptically. That didn’t sound anything like the definition of a Dalek he understood, the reason why Skaro was such a dark and terrible name.

“I’ll explain later,” she said. “But look, this one isn’t going to harm us, either. It doesn’t have any weapons and it’s obviously hurt.”

She took off her bracelet and stepped closer to the amorphous creature of tentacles and grey-pink-blue flesh that sat within a broken Dalek shell. A jagged section was missing from the top part of the ‘pepperpot’ just above where the ray gun and deadly suction cup had been removed from the sockets. The ‘eyestalk’ hung limply and blind.

Sukie hesitated briefly before reaching inside the casing and touching the strange flesh.

“Wow!” she exclaimed pulling her hand back quickly. “I felt something…. Like electricity… only… not a shock… more like….”

“D…N…A… ass….im…ila…ted,” said a staccato voice very slowly as if it had only just found the means to speak. “Ti..ss…ue re…pair… in…it…ia…ting. Hib…ern…at…ion mo…de… ent…ered….”

It went quiet and still. Sukie touched it again but it didn’t respond and this time she didn’t feel any electricity.

But she did feel something else.

“Sukie, what have you done?” Earl asked. “That’s a Dalek…. the things that destroyed Gallifrey and murdered half the population of Earth in your father’s time.”

“This one won’t harm me,” she said with absolute confidence. “Didn’t you hear what it said? It assimilated my DNA to repair itself. That means it’s got a part of me in it, now. It can’t hurt me.”

“I don’t believe it,” Earl replied. “It could be lying.”

“It probably is,” Davie said. Sukie turned around and saw him at the open door along with Barik the Bajui. “Don’t worry about the guards. I stunned them. They’ll be sleeping it off for a while. But this… is a Dalek. Sukie, surely you understand….”

“The only one I’ve ever seen tried to help us,” she argued. “It was my friend.”

Davie had heard that story, of course. Sukie and Vicki had both told him about their unusual friend and its selfless actions.

“But Sukie, that Dalek was on its own for a long time and broke its programming.”

“So has this one, even longer. I felt how lonely it was. For thousands and thousands of years, left alone down here, the last one… left behind because its casing was faulty. And then they came… the Bajui… and they broke it apart, kept it alive to use for cells to grow into new Daleks.”

“We’ve put a stop to that,” Davie said. “The embryos Sovard is attempting to grow will fail. This foul plan is over.”

“Nooooo!” A manic scream filled the air and Barik cried out as he was hit by a bastic bullet that ripped through his shoulder from back to front. As he fell to his knees, groaning in agony, Davie turned and cursed himself for not covering the door while they wasted time discussing Dalek emotions.

He moved quickly enough now, raising his sonic screwdriver and flicking it to laser mode. He hit Director Sovard on the wrist of his gun arm, severing the hand and instantly cauterising the stump. Earl moved fast, too, overpowering the man and bringing him to the ground as Sukie grabbed the pistol from the lifeless hand on the floor.

“Traitors,” Sovard cried out. “You will die for this.”

“I don’t think we will,” Davie answered. “We’ll leave the same way we came in, unnoticed. But first I intend to finish your experiment off altogether. I’m destroying that thing and then I’m going to destroy you.”

“No,” Sukie protested. “You can’t harm it. I won’t let you.”

“Sukie, help Barik. He needs your Healing. The Dalek isn’t your problem.”

Having been reminded of her duty Sukie did as he said. She knelt and put her hands over Barik’s shoulder, willing the damaged tissue to mend. Davie, meanwhile, dragged Sovard to his feet, keeping his arms pinned behind him while Earl kept his own sonic screwdriver trained on him.

“Wait a minute,” Earl said. He looked closely at his sonic, which had actually been in analysis mode not anything lethal. “He’s not one of them.”

“One of what?”

“A Bajui. His DNA is different to them.” For good measure he aimed his sonic at Barik as Sukie continued healing him. “Yes, I’m right. He’s a different species entirely.”

Davie adjusted his own sonic screwdriver and made a careful scan of his prisoner. What he found astonished him.

“You’re a Kaled.” He said. “One of the people who lived on Skaro before it was devastated in the Time War.”

“Oh!” Earl exclaimed. “Davie. I think I get it. Don’t you?”

“I’m getting there. Kaled… Dalek. Sovard… Davros. You’re… Sweet Mother of Chaos, no!”

“He’s cloned from Davros’s genes… the creator of the Daleks.” Earl surmised.

“No!” Davie groaned. “As if the Followers of The Master weren’t bad enough. Don’t tell me some misguided fools ‘followed’ Davros, preserving his genes to raise a new monster in his image!”

“I don’t… understand,” Barik said slowly. “I thought… He came to our government and proposed the expedition to Skaro. He said… it was for the triumph of the Bajui.”

“Fools!” Sovard snarled. “Your petty feud with that other insignificant race was just the means to the end. Yours will be the second race my new Daleks exterminate, after the Ordinance. And then they will conquer the universe as the one whose DNA is in the fibre of my being dreamt, as I was taught all my life by the Adherents who raised me from infancy.”

Davie groaned again. It was exactly what he had guessed.

“There’s just one thing wrong,” he said. “Your use of the future tense. You have no future. Your Daleks will never be created.”

“Who will stop me? A puny humanoid?”

Then Sovard wrenched his hands free with a strength Davie had not expected. He span around and lunged at Davie’s throat. He dodged and hit back at him, but even one-handed Sovard was strong and agile and he fought hard.

“Keep back, Earl,” Davie called out. “Protect Sukie and Barik.”

The fight spilled out onto the corridor as Sovard had the upper hand for a moment and pushed Davie against the wall, his long-fingered hand fixing around his neck. But Davie fought him off and brought him to the floor again. He hit him across the face twice then quickly twisted Sovard’s head and snapped his neck. It was something he had learnt to do when he was fighting the Dominators, only their necks were much harder to break.

He left the limp body and went back into the cell. Barik was struggling to his feet, weak from blood loss but with a functioning shoulder. Davie grabbed the pistol and aimed it at the Dalek.

“No!” Sukie screamed. “No, Davie, please don’t.”

“Pl…ease….” The Dalek moved once again. The body pulsated. The eyestalk lit up blue and swivelled to look directly at him. But what stayed his hand from the trigger was the voice that pleaded with him. Yes, it was a Dalek voice, mechanical, coming through a speaker grille in the side of the casing.

But the voice sounded like Sukie. It was higher pitched than usual for a Dalek and it had her cadence.

“How much of your DNA did it absorb?” he asked.

“Just a few skin cells,” she replied. “But it assimilated them and used them to repair its body where they had hurt it.”

“I can’t kill it,” Davie said. “It’s… you… I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it really is a part of you, Sukie. And I can’t….”

“Then you can’t leave it here for them to pick up the pieces of his horrible experiment and carry on, either.”

“No, I can’t,” he agreed. “Earl, put your perception filter back on. Give me your sonic.”

Earl did as he was told on both counts. Davie took a co-ordinate for the cell with the sonic and gave it back to Earl.

“Run like our lives depend on it, to the TARDIS. Do a wide materialisation at this location. Go, quickly.”

Earl ran. He ran past a cohort of guards who were coming, rather belatedly, it had to be said, to find out what was happening in the vault. Davie looked at the bastic pistol then threw it down. He kept the sonic screwdriver in stun mode and zapped all comers, defending the door to the cell where Sukie defended the still groggy Barik and ‘her’ Dalek with her own slender body, intending that the guards would have to go through her to get to them. The fact that it would have been an easy challenge mattered little to her. Barik and the Dalek were both helpless in different ways. Her instinct was to protect them.

Davie wondered how much longer she would have to do so. What if Earl was caught, even with a perception filter? What if he took a bullet himself while he defended his position?

Then he heard a familiar noise and a familiar console room materialised around them, Dalek included. Earl immediately hit the fast return switch taking them back to the transmat station. Davie manoeuvred the TARDIS from there to the surface of the planet using the ion trail and then into a safe orbit above the debris and dust left over from Skaro’s part in the Time War before he turned and looked at his passengers.

“Davie,” Sukie said, running to hug him. “Thanks for bringing him… the Dalek. But.…” There were tears in her eyes. “You… killed that man… with your bare hands. I know you had to do that a lot when you fought the Dominators. I understand that. But… it’s the first time I’ve SEEN you fight to the death. It… was….”

It was a shock to her. He had always been her hero for lots of reasons and this jolted her perception of him a little.

“He would have killed me and all of you if I hadn’t,” he said. “But… in any case… he should never have been allowed to live. He was created by deluded people with the purpose of causing devastation across the galaxies. I had to kill him.”

‘Should never have been allowed to live.’ That was a decision men were not supposed to make, only gods. Davie didn’t aspire to such heights, but he took on the responsibility, believing he knew the difference between right and wrong and could make the decision wisely.

“Do you understand, sweetheart?” he asked his sister.

“Yes, I do,” she told him. “But I wish I hadn’t had to see it.”

“So do I. I’m sorry about that. Am I still your favourite big brother, after all that?”

“Yes,” she told him. “Though it’s a close call.”

“Good enough.” He held onto her still as he turned and looked at Barik.

“I take full responsibility for Sovard’s death as far as my conscience is concerned. But it’s likely your people will think you did it. Your colleague Kavrin will certainly testify that you disagreed with his work. I dare say others might, too. If I take you away with me now, will anyone miss you badly enough?”

“No,” he answered. “I have no family. The war….”

“Ok, then I know a place where you can find peace from all of that.”

“Thank you. I accept the offer gladly. But… my people… now Sovard is dead and the embryo project doomed…. We put all our hopes in the ‘super army’.”

“I can’t make any promises, but there are a couple of really smart diplomats in my family, and we’re not without connections elsewhere. I intend to find out about this war you’ve all been fighting, how it started and the grievances on both sides. I think it’s time there was some attempt at arbitration. Leave it with me.”

Barik looked at the young man who had come into his life so suddenly and fully believed his words.

“Thank you,” he said with feeling.

Davie nodded in acknowledgement and turned to look at the Dalek. It had said nothing at all since it arrived in the TARDIS, although he could see its eye watching them all keenly. Sukie broke away from him and ran to stand in front of it defensively.

“I’m not going to kill it. I promise. But it can’t come home with us,” Davie told her. “How do you think dad and granddad Robert would feel about you having a Dalek to tea?”

“He wouldn’t come to tea, don’t be silly.”

“I know, but you’re still the only one of our family who doesn’t regard Daleks as the ultimate evil, to be feared and hated.”

“Then doesn’t that make me better than everyone else?” she challenged him. “Fear and hate are destructive emotions.”

She had a point, but his still stood. For a brief moment he had actually imagined it staying in his workshop where he might mend the broken casing and fit some kind of useful tools instead of weapons in those empty sockets. But it would be as much a prisoner there as it was in the vault and it would still be upsetting to any member of his family who came in there.

No, he had a far better idea for both of his refugees from Skaro.

The TARDIS landed in Welcome Plaza in the city of Santuario on the planetoid known as Ceres to Earth astronomers. Almost as soon as Davie stepped out he was greeted by a group of Chris’s students from Earth who were spending time there studying the asteroid belt. The peaceful Cessalians who were the permanent citizens looked at the new arrivals and then went on with their poetry and painting. They were of no concern to them.

Another greeting came from the little robot called Aga who was one of the oldest residents of Santuario.

“By complete accident I became governor of this colony a year or two ago,” Davie explained to his guests. “This little guy is, believe it or not, my deputy when I’m not around. He’ll find you a place to stay, Barik, and assign you some useful work to do. Our other friend, we’ll take down to the engineering department. Aga’s robot brothers are experts at repairing technology. They’ll fix him up, and find some useful work for him to do, too. He can live freely, as one of the refugees who live in sanctuary here. And yes, Sukie, you can come and visit him whenever you want. Is that a deal?”

“You called him ‘him’, not ‘it’,” she said. “Davie, I love you.”

“I should think so,” he replied. “Come on, then. Let’s get all that organised. You and Earl are meant to be having tea with mum later. We can’t hang around here too long.”

“Yes, we can,” Sukie pointed out. “We have a TARDIS. We can stay here as long as we like and still be in time for tea.”