Title: Life Story
Spoilers: The Long Game, Bad Wolf
Summary: It's a life story, but certainly not a story of life. Genetically engineered and 'installed' when she was five, the named 'Controller' remembers her years of existing as her Masters close in.
Written for tangledwood as part of the Minor Characters Ficathon on LJ.
I was asked to write about the Controller from Bad Wolf, and had to include back-story.
As requested, there is no sex, and no rabid space monkeys. Although the second one was tempting.
The tall, pale young woman backed up against the bulkhead as the metal pepper pot shapes of her Masters closed in. She could not see them, but she knew they were there. Perhaps it was the way she herself had been programmed: just as she had been engineered to never speak her Masters' names, she had been engineered to recognise them when they stood before her, even if her eyes were useless - eyes that had gone so unused for so long, so that now she only saw programming; endless streams of binary code and countdowns. The numbers never stopped streaming, and she had been looking at them for so long; oh, so very long.
Even in the midst of her triumph over her Masters, there was a feeling of - well, what was it? Regret, perhaps? Regret over all she had not had, had not experienced? She was engineered after all; she had not been born. She had known no life, she had never seen all of those things that the contestants in her games had seen. She had never looked at a sky, or heard any of Beethoven's symphonies, nor had she ever loved or been loved. She had no family; the closest she had was her Masters, and they were not, she knew, what a family should have been. She had no father; she had no mother…
"We must cre-ate a con-du-it," the Dalek scientist pronounced in it's tinny, monotonous voice. "The pro-gramme can-not func-tion as com-pu-ter al-one. There must be a hum-an in-ter-face!"
The other Dalek scientists conferred in agreement.
"An al-tered hu-man will not su-ffice; we must cr-eate the life from new, in the name of our God!" Another Dalek proclaimed. "We are cap-a-ble, we have the tech-no-lo-gy."
There was another exclamation of agreement from the metal Masters.
The Daleks had long possessed knowledge of genetic engineering. After mastering the wonders of time travel and, once upon a time, the Dalek empire being one spanning intergalactically, genetic engineering was a mere trifle. Creating a human being capable of what they needed it to do was going to be tricky, but not impossible.
The first attempts failed, and failed miserably at that. Many Daleks were killed by the Emperor for their incompetence, a surprising move considering the trouble they were going to to create more Daleks and increase their numbers. The Jagrafess had been removed almost a decade ago, and it was necessary for them to move forward quickly: they wanted to invade Earth within a hundred and fifty years. The Daleks were a patient race – speed was not an issue, but only once their conduit was in place.
"This is not acc-ept-able!" The Dalek Emperor screamed at his team of Dalek scientists, fresh from executing the head of the department. "You will create a conduit which will be able to contain the energy of the station! You will create a conduit which will not age! You will create a conduit which will keep our secret and YOU WILL NOT FAIL ME!"
The newly appointed leader of the Dalek science team replied with an agreement and swept out of the Emperor's main chamber, it's team behind him. Their problems so far had been their relatively limited knowledge of the human genome, but as they reached their laboratories, the Head Scientist struck upon the solution.
It turned to the other Dalek scientists. "We must cre-ate a new hu-man from a ge-ne-tic do-nor." It swept over to a non-descript Dalek in it's team. "You will trans-port a fe-male of suff-ici-ent fer-til-ity to this lab-or-a-tor-y!"
"I o-bey!" The Dalek replied immediately, gliding almost effortlessly over to a computer console, it's sink-plunger-like attachment linking up to it efficiently. There was a pulse and a flash of lightening within the lab – though not a single Dalek moved or flinched as any human would have – and a young girl, not even twenty, appeared in the middle of the room. Her hair was a light, near white blond, and her eyes were a contrasting green-brown colour. She wasn't particularly pretty, but nor was she wholly unattractive. Anyone looking would have considered her good looking, but no one would ever see her again anyway.
She turned shakily on the spot – the transmat beam not being the easiest of travel methods - and let out a scream when she saw her captors. "What do you want? Where…" She glanced around her. "Where am I?"
"You will ser-ve the Da-leks in cre-at-ing new life! Then you will be ex-ter-min-ated!"
The girl began to laugh. "What are you, a practical joke? C'mon, who put you up to this – Andy, is that you in there?" The Daleks did not move, and the girl began to understand. "What do you mean, 'exterminated'?"
"Your DNA will be harn-essed to cre-ate new life and you will then be made into one of us!"
The girl snorted, showing surprising courage in the face of her own demise. "What, like a kid? I don't think so – I'm only seventeen. As for being 'made into one of you' – you goin' to melt me down or something?"
"ENOUGH!" One of the Daleks screamed, and fired his weapon at her. She immediately slumped to the floor in an ungraceful, unconscious heap.
"That was un-ne-ce-ssary!" The Head Scientist intoned.
The Dalek in question's head swivelled so that the eyestalks of the two Daleks met. "She does not need to know what is to ha-ppen to her off-spring. She will be ass-im-i-la-ted in-to the Da-lek race once she has served her use-ful-ness!"
The Head Scientist rolled off without a word, and only once he was at his station in the laboratory did he give his peers an order – "Begin DNA ex-trac-tion!"
When she'd sat up off the floor, she had recognised her Masters immediately. Success - she had brought about their destruction. The Doctor would succeed, her Masters would fall. She had no reason to be sad – and yet she was. All the people she worked with, the people who took her word as law the way she took her engineering as such; they all had so much that she did not. Even so, she did not envy them for it. Quite the contrary, she felt that they deserved thanks. She could see what she was missing as a tool for her Masters' plan. She could see, through them, that the life she led was not one that she should have been born to.
For a start, she hadn't been born.
"The pro-cess is com-plete," the Dalek scientist informed the Emperor. "We a-wait your app-ro-val be-fore we be-gin the life cy-cle all-ow-ing the hu-man cells to di-vide and mul-ti-ply."
The Dalek Emperor's one eye blinked, and the self-proclaimed God cackled. "Then be-gin. This will be the last step to take be-fore our in-va-sion to cre-ate our E-den."
The eyestalk of the Dalek scientist quivered a little and swivelled, it's body turning with it as it removed itself respectably from the presence of it's Lord. He reached the laboratory. "It will be-gin."
Within moments, various things happened. Two Daleks used a control panel to levitate and move the body of the seventeen year old DNA donator, the mother of the Dalek's creation. She would be kept in a cell until the human child was surely fit to live and act as their organic hardware component. 'And at that time,' the Dalek scientist thought ominously and yet without emotion, 'She will be-come one of us, a Da-lek in the ser-vice of our Emp-er-or and God.'
There was a pulsing transmitter lowered above what could only be described as an incubator. The static electricity began to build up in the air, and the Daleks appeared to feast on it, and they began to levitate a few feet above the deck. Finally, the transmitter discharged a bright stream of energy which surrounded the incubator in creamy golden light.
The following scene could equate to a twentieth century horror film. Once the beam broke off, and thing began to calm within the lab, everything appeared still. In fact, it almost appeared like nothing had happened at all.
Within the incubator, something akin to a runner bean began to shiver. Where it had come from at this point was anyone's guess, and yet the Daleks stood by and watched with emotionless fascination. The runner bean began to expand, and the horrific creation was in place. It was, very obviously, a human embryo. Barely defined arms stretched out, growing at incredible speed. A skull was created and grown, settling in place and exhibiting a baby's head.
Six weeks of human pregnancy had occurred in an artificial environment within mere minutes.
Legs extended and solidified, bones were in place. Beneath the harsh light of the incubator, the baby's organs were clearly visible. Liver, kidneys, lungs.
It grew and grew, visibly female, and finally there was a beep; not unlike the beep of a microwave oven. The baby was complete, please remove it from the chamber, the beep said. The ghastly process was complete. And the human child had grown and lived further than any of the other experiments had.
"It is a suc-cess!" The Head Scientist exclaimed, seeing the baby kick and gurgle within the chamber.
Her genetic programming allowed her to remember her first months of life, in the way that normal humans rarely can. Of course, those months were short – her aging was quickened, just as her birth had been. She grew to the equivalent of a five year old in the space of two and a half months. She doesn't know how she knows that with certainty – genetic memory? – but once she was the tender age of five, she was taken from the ship. She can remember that day too, with surprising clarity.
"You will take her to the Game Sta-tion," one of the Masters before her ordered towards the door. She blinked and craned her neck around the Master to try and see whom he was talking to.
"Who are you talking to?" She asked quietly. Her Masters ignored her.
"You will in-stall her. She is not to in-ter-act with oth-ers!"
The Master in front of her moved, rolling off to the side, allowing her to see who was going to remove her from this room. This one room she had been kept in for… for always. It was a man! He seemed so tall compared to her, and he stood higher than her Masters by a good few feet. He was terribly pale – practically white – and his eyes were an intense blue. How she knew how to describe him, she couldn't tell. The words just appeared in her head, and she was able to understand them – to know with certainty that the man was these things.
"Yes, sirs," the man said, walking forward. He looked at her blankly, hardly even showing that he knew she was there until he held his hand out for her to take. She looked up at him, and without really thinking about it at all, she took his hand and was led out of the lab.
She watched her Masters pass in the hallways as the new man – was she one of him? He wasn't one of her Masters, and she knew she wasn't like her Masters – led her through the halls.
Was he the Doctor? No, she thought, her Masters feared the Doctor, they would not bring him to their ship. Her Masters did not want the Doctor to discover her, to discover them.
Her Masters feared the Doctor.
As she was sedated, installed and continued life as a conduit for the Dalek's plans, she held that one thought close. 'My Masters fear the Doctor'.
As she grew quickly, the hardware connecting her body and brain to the system had to be changed to allow for the inches she continually gained in height. And every time she was disconnected to allow for this hardware change, she clung to the thought: 'my Masters fear the Doctor'.
When her tenth solar flare occurred, she was twelve years old, and in those minutes she could sort through the few thoughts she could pick up from her link to her Masters' ships.
She could see, hear, remember what it was they were trying to do.
But as yet, she couldn't understand it.
When another solar flare occurred four years later, she was old enough. She understood. Her race – even though she'd never truly been a part of Humanity – was being harvested to create more of her Masters.
And she, of all people, was instrumental in helping them! She was damning these people - this innocent and misinformed collective – to being squished, squeezed and pulped and i mashed /i to further a race of maddened mutants!
And just as her work continued, she set about her plans. Her Masters would not continue to use the human race this way, and, she remembered, her Masters feared the Doctor.
Since her Masters feared very little, she knew, knew without a doubt – she had to get the Doctor here.
Her Masters never watched the programmes she broadcast, they merely profited from them. But it would take time to get him, to hide him, to protect him long enough to allow him to fight for her, for them all.
It took another three years to perfect – and oh, how her Masters would be proud of how she subverted them! She would bring about their destruction, and they would pay for how they had used such a promising race for their twisted religion.
One thousand and ninety six point seven five days.
Twenty six thousand, two hundred and ninety eight hours.
One million, five hundred and seventy seven thousand, eight hundred and eighty long, long minutes.
And in the end?
"Oh, my Masters! You can kill me; for I have brought your destruction," she whispered to the Dalek's triumphantly. She had served her purpose; not to the Daleks, and indeed not the purpose for which she was designed - she had fulfilled her part in Destiny's plan to finally rid the Universe, Time and Space of the Dalek menace.
She had existed, but she had not lived until that moment.
And all too soon, she was no more.