Doctor Who: CyHard

by Mark Phippen

The story so far…

The Fourth Doctor, heading back to Earth for the UNIT Christmas party, is intrigued by reports of sightings of giant metal men in South Wales. Suspecting his old adversaries the Cybermen, the Doctor tracks down energy emissions emanating from a warehouse in Port Talbot.

But as he enters the warehouse, the Doctor is surrounded by the cyberfoes, and as we join him, they are closing in for the kill…

The Doctor stuck out his bottom lip in dismay as the Cybermen approached, backing up against the wall behind him. But was it a wall? The Doctor could feel it vibrating, like there were moving parts behind it. Realization struck - it was lift. He was backed up against the doors of a lift! Fumbling behind his back, the Doctor tried to find the button the call the lift to the ground floor, as the Cybermen approached him, the semicircle of cyborgs shrinking swiftly.

Success! He found the button and pressed it. Immediately the gears began to move, and the lift started its descent.

'You know, I'd love to stop and chat,' the Doctor apologized, 'but time's pressing on. And you know, time waits for no man, not even me!'

The Doctor gasped as the Cybermen raised their guns in unison, preparing to fire. Then, with a ping, the doors behind him opened, and the Doctor toppled backwards into the lift. A salvo of laser blasts flew over his head, as he scrambled for the control panel. He selected a floor, and the doors glided shut. He could hear the bangs as the Cybermen hammered on them.

As the lift ascended, the Doctor leaned against its wall, considering his options. They were depressingly few. Resourceful as he was, a factory full of Cybermen presented something of a problem, and even he couldn't hope to take them all on himself. Better to concentrate on what they were doing here, eliminate the new threat. Whatever that was.

Lost in his reverie, the Doctor failed to notice that the lift had reached its destination, and the doors were now opening.

To reveal a Cyberman aiming a gun right inside.

If it were at all possible, the Doctor could have sworn that the Cyberman was more surprised that he. Presumably there were sentries at each level, guarding the lift, and the cyborg had clearly not been expecting to see an unfamiliar figure emerge from the lift during what should have been a standard shift.

It was this split second of surprise that saved the Doctor's life, as he took advantage of the Cyberman's momentary indecision to throw his hat over his enemy's head. The Cyberman staggered back two steps, before grabbing the hat and throwing it to the ground. But in this short time, the Doctor had found a weapon; a fire extinguisher mounted to the wall next to the lift doors.

Aiming the hose at the Cyberman's chest plate, the Doctor pulled the lever, and held it in place as the chemicals pumped into the metal man's respiratory system. The Cyberman sunk to its knees, clutching at its throat as it fought for air. The chemicals from the fire extinguisher began to spill out of its mouth as it gurgled and choked. Eventually, it fell silent, collapsing to the floor with a loud thud.

The Doctor looked forlornly down at the body of his foe. 'Sorry about that, but you were about to fire at me.'

'HALT!'

The Doctor spun around. Another Cyberman was approaching down the corridor. 'You lot get everywhere, don't you?' he said, and, pausing only to scoop up his fallen hat, dashed in the opposite direction, laser bolts flying around him.

As he ran, the Doctor pulled on the doors along the corridor. All were locked, bar one, which, ironically, was the only one marked 'NO ENTRY'. The Doctor noted that the lock had been blasted clean away, presumably by the Cybermen. Wrenching open the door, he dashed inside.

Knowing he wouldn't have much time before the Cyberman reached the room, the Doctor quickly scanned his new surroundings. It was the power room, and aside from the equipment, the room was not empty; slumped in a plastic chair, leaning across a console, was the body of an engineer. His neck had been broken, and his face was fixed in a look of surprise. The unlucky soul had presumably been working late when the Cybermen moved in, from the look of the exposed wires in the open panel in front of him.

Outside the room, the pursuing Cyberman was nearing the door, which the Doctor had closed behind him. Knowing that the Doctor had shut himself into a dead end, the Cyberman confidently reached out for the handle. And began to rattle violently as the electricity in the metal door cursed through its body. The metal giant screamed as smoke began to pour from its joints, and its metal casing began to twist and blacken.

Inside the room, the Doctor let go of the two wires he was holding together, and stepped down from the plastic chair. Peering out of the room, he saw the twisted remains of the Cyberman lying on the floor. 'Must have been a bit of a shock,' he muttered.

'You will come with me!'

The Doctor couldn't believe it. Another Cyberman was approaching from the opposite direction.

'You lot just won't give a Time Lord a break, will you,' he said, taking to his heels once again.

The other end of the corridor ended in a t-junction, and the Doctor flung himself around the bend.

His back flat to the wall around the corner, the Doctor paused for a second to take in his surroundings. He was on a long, metal balcony, overlooking the main workshop. The heat from the pumping machinery below rose to the Doctor's level, like a wall along the length of the protective railing that ran along the balcony, and the Doctor removed his coat and scarf in an effort to remain cool.

It was as he stood there, scarf in hand, that he had an idea. 'The old ones are the best,' he said to himself.

Crouching down the Doctor looped the scarf into a loose knot, noting, with some relief, that, across the opening of the corridor, someone had conveniently placed a lever at ground level. The only tricky thing now, of course, was to time his action correctly. That and hitting his target first time. It's times like this, he thought, that I could really do with a companion.

He could hear the metal against metal clang of the approaching Cyberman's footsteps, and he braced himself as they drew nearer. It was tempting to throw the scarf, but to do so too soon would mean the Cyberman would have time to react.

He waited until he could see the tip of one of the metal boots coming into view, and threw the scarf at the lever.

It missed.

The Doctor's hearts skipped a beat as the Cyberman came into view. It had not noticed the scarf being thrown, and was still facing forwards as it walked onto the balcony. The scarf, though it had missed the lever, had still made it past the Cyberman's legs, and now lay draped across its feet. Seeing his only chance, the Doctor leaped behind the Cyberman and, still keeping hold of his end of the scarf, made a grab for the other end, pulling with all his might on both.

The Cyberman, taken by surprise, toppled forward, and in an action that belied its human roots, instinctively dropped its gun, holding its arms out as it fell against the railings. With the Cyberman now off balance, the Doctor took hold of its legs and heaved them upwards, pushing forwards. The Cyberman slid forward, hanging out over the workshop, its arms flailing as it tried to get a grip on the railings. But as the Doctor pushed forward more, the Cyberman's balance was now totally tipped over the balcony, and as the Doctor let go, the cyborg fell forwards with a scream that sounded, to the Doctor, all to human.

The Doctor reached the railings in time to see the Cyberman hit the floor of the workshop, where it lay still, in a mangled heap.

Sighing, the Doctor turned back towards the corridor. To see two more Cyberman heading towards him. As the one in front raised its weapon, the Doctor dived to one side. The shot missed him by a couple of inches, and he landed face down on the gridded metal floor of the balcony. Through the holes in the grid, he could see more Cybermen below, near the body of their fallen comrade. They were looking up, towards the balcony, bringing their guns to bear.

'This is not the time for a lie down,' the Doctor told himself, picking himself up. He ducked as another shot narrowly missed him, from below this time, and set off along the balcony.

As the Doctor ran, laser bolts exploding against the wall and railings around him, he realized that he was going to run out of balcony pretty soon. He noted, however, that another balcony, running along the same wall above him, could be reached by a small, metal ladder, which was fixed to the wall at the end of the balcony.

As he reached the ladder, the Doctor gave a quick glance to the two Cybermen following him. They were some way back, but by standing still, the Doctor had made himself a sitting target. The shots from below were also getting closer. Taking the chance, however, he removed his sonic screwdriver and, directing it at the bolts holding the ladder in place, activated it. The bolts began to rattle and loosen, and before long, the Doctor had removed all but one of the bolts, near the top. As he clambered onto the next balcony, he removed that last bolt, and kicked the ladder away from the wall, watching as it, like the Cyberman before it, fell in a mangled heap on the floor of the workshop.

Peering down at the two Cybermen on the balcony below, he gave a cheery wave, quickly withdrawing his hand when a bolt nearly hit it. He noticed that the balcony he was on now had a firmer, sturdier feel to it, and he was thankful that the floor was not gridded like the one below. This did not, however, stop the Cybermen from trying to blast through the floor. And, of course, there were still those on the ground.

Quickly ducking through a door, which he closed behind him, the Doctor paused for breath as the laser blasts became more distant. Then he noticed the room. It was filled with computer equipment and operating consoles, a mixture, he noted, of human and cyber technology. This must be the command base, he thought, which would mean...

The Doctor was grabbed by the shoulders from behind by two metal hands like pincers, which pushed him to the floor, forcing him to his knees. The deep voice of their owner boomed.

'You are even more foolish than you look, Doctor,' the Cyberman intoned, 'your attempt to escape us has brought you right into the centre of our operations. Straight to me.'

The Doctor was in agony, he was sure that the Cyberman was going to crush the bones in his shoulder. But, to his surprise, he was released, the Cyberman dropping him to the floor. Rubbing his shoulders, the Doctor turned to see his attacker. The black pipes on the side of its head confirming what he has expected; the Cyberleader.

'Well,' said the Doctor, attempting a casual air through gritted teeth, 'I though I'd drop in. It's been some time, you know'

'Too long, Doctor,' the Cyberleader stood, hands on hips, towering above the Time Lord, 'I have waited centuries to exact my revenge on you.'

'Revenge?' replied the Doctor, 'An emotion, surely?'

'I have learnt that some emotions can be...' The Cyberleader paused, as if searching for the right word, 'useful.'

'You don't use emotions! You feel them. It's what makes you what you are!"

'Enough of this!' The Cyberleader bellowed. The Doctor noted, with some interest, that he had managed to anger him. 'I have no time for a debate. You have joined us at an opportune moment. We are about to complete the construction of our new weapon. You might very well recognise it, Doctor.' The metal man indicated the display panel of a nearby console.

The Doctor's eyes widened as he took in the diagram. 'An Omega Starkiller!' the Doctor couldn't believe what he was seeing. 'How in the heavens did you manage to build one of those?'

'We acquired the plans from a Time Lord colleague of yours who was stupid enough to awaken us from our sleep on Telos.' The Cyberleader explain. 'He was only too pleased to share his knowledge in return for his own life.'

'A Time Lord? So where is he now?'

'We killed him. He became...' the Cyberleader paused again, considering, 'tiresome.'

'But you let your emotions get in the way, didn't you? You killed him before he had finished the job!'

'That is correct. Which is why your visit here is most opportune. You will finish the device for us.' The Cyberleader poked his giant metal finger into the Doctor's chest.

'And why would I do that?'

'Because, Doctor, if the device is not completed, its range will be severely limited,' the Cyberleader explained, 'and we will be forced to try it out on the nearest star. The one that this planet orbits.'

'That,' said the Doctor, 'is a very good reason. OK, where do I start.'

The Cyberleader handed the Doctor a set of plans, and the Time Lord began to pour over the intricate instructions. Muttering the odd 'hmm' and 'aha!' the Doctor used his sonic screwdriver to make adjustments to the settings of the main control console. He twisted dials, tapped in sequences of numbers into a keyboard, and swapped circuits around. And when he was done, he stood proudly back, and said 'Finished!'

'The device is ready for activation?' the Cyberleader asked.

'That's what I said, all ready to go.'

'Excellent! Our first subject will be a sun in the constellation of Kasterborous.'

'You don't mean…' the Doctor tailed off.

'Precisely, Doctor, our first sunkill will be the star around which your home planet, Gallifrey, orbits.' The Doctor was sure he could detect a heavy dose of malice in the Cyberleader's words. He began backing towards the door.

'No!' he shouted, 'you can't do that! Don't press that button!'

'You are in no position to stop me, Doctor. Thank you for your assistance.'

'I mean it, don't press that button!'

The Cyberleader turned his back on the Time Lord, and, with relish, jabbed his finger down on the firing button.

The effect was immediate, if not what the metal man had expected. The console exploded, throwing the Cyberleader across the room, where he landed at the Doctor's feet.

'Oops!' said the Doctor, and exaggerated frown on his face, 'I must have reversed the polarity. It's such a long time since I did that!'

The Cyberleader was picking himself up. 'You sabotaged the device! But the energy will feed back into the weapon. It will explode, and we will all be destroyed. You will be destroyed. It is not logical.'

'Well, I'm not a very logical fellow, you know. Now, I really must dash, before that thing explodes. Bye bye!' Doffing his hat, the Doctor stepped out of the room.

Negotiating the complex was easier this time. The Cybermen were more concerned with the exploding equipment around them to stop the escaping Time Lord, and, as he reached the ground level, the Doctor was beginning to find more dead Cybermen than living, as the machinery began to reign down around him.

Somehow, he reached the main doors, throwing them open. He ran into the car park, were a single parked car sat. Pulling the engineer's keys from his pocket, the Doctor opened the car, jumped in, and started the engine. He put his foot down as he approached the barrier across the entrance, and the car smashed its way through.

When he was far enough away, the Doctor slammed on the brakes, and turned to watch as the factory behind him exploded in a giant fireball.

'Well, that was fun,' he said.

Author's note:

This story started life as part of an experiment by Charles Daniels, in which several people were instructed to write part of an overall story, of which they knew only their part. Unfortunately, this particular experiment fell through when several parts of the story failed to materialise.

Having already written what was to be the conclusion, I felt it was a shame to waste it, so I added the 'story so far' as a substitute for the proceeding parts and picked up the story from where I picked up the experiment – with the Doctor surrounded by Cybermen.

The story is, of course, very traditional, and came as a bit of light relief for me after the heavier, more introspective and meaningful, stories I've been writing of late. Basically, it's just a bit of fun. I just hope it's fun to read!

The title is, of course, a play on 'Die Hard' – the lone hero trapped in a building with a bunch of villains.

Comments welcome!

Archive info:

Title: CyHard

Doctor: Fourth

Villains: The Cybermen

In a nutshell: The Doctor finds himself up against a warehouse full of Cybermen with just his scarf and his wits as weapons.

© 2000 Mark Phippen