A/N: After four months work by my long-suffering mother, I now have a proper Doctor Who scarf! This fic is a result of said scarf, a Dalek plot bunny, and a certain amount of curiosity as to what our favourite Kaled scientist got up to off-screen…
Disclaimer: The Knights Tempus are my own invention, but Doctor Who is not mine. Sigh.
Warning: Switching perspectives in time, spoilers for the new series, and the Dalek episodes of the classic series.
Metal and rock.
Mould and decay.
Insanity and death.
He observes his surroundings with a scientific gaze.
A most intriguing place, this prison.
Ironic, that such a 'superior' race should be lowered to the ranks of mortals simply by maintaining a penal colony.
Of course, the supreme beings of the universe do not need prisons. Not his creations.
A bolt of pain from a useless limb races through his decrepit body.
He idly wonders how he must appear to his…keeper, now thankfully absent.
He was handsome once, before the wars.
Whole, hale and strong, and an intelligence so keen and bright that even the stars were outshone by it.
But then…the wars. The sickness. The radiation.
His face melting.
His eyes boiling, bursting within the nuclear fires.
His body withering, burning.
His screams of agony, of betrayal.
And now to this.
A warped skeleton, burnt and blistered, kept alive and moving through a life-support chair.
Green eyes now gone and served by a cybernetic implant in his forehead.
A vocal enhancer attached to his throat, trilling a pale imitation of a once deep, dominating voice.
A mockery of life, and yet still alive.
What do the humanoids call it?
The cat with nine lives, or some such thing.
His mouth twists in a disdainful smile. Ironic, how many times he should have been killed and yet lives on.
Especially after the last escape.
He does not recall how long he had drifted in time and space, helpless and feeble, watching as the Time War raged. How the upstart, impudent Dalek Supreme had risen to become Emperor; how the War had consumed so many valuable races and assets.
The War which he had declared.
A portal through time and space which brought him to this place.
A malfunctioning guidance beam captured his escape pod and pulled him into the rusting, foul-smelling docking bay.
He remembers that first fetid breath of oxygen outside of the pod, and the disturbing click of a bazooka as it was levelled at his face.
The being which stared at him, recognition and bitterness twisting that lovely face into something from a sadistic dream.
He giggles in delight as he remembers his words.
'Something so pleasing should not look so angry.'
She had spat at him, cursed his name, his race, his genius.
He had chosen to observe and remain silent then, to learn about her, who she was.
She had activated a safety net around his travel-unit, and within an hour of his arrival on the unknown planetoid, he was incarcerated in one of the numerous dank cells running through the complex.
He had waited, and let his mind piece together what he had observed.
Dark hair, cropped in an almost militaristic style. Brown eyes that see all and trust nothing. A heart-shaped face and soft cheekbones, quite striking in a peculiar fashion.
A low body temperature. An elegant, compact frame and muscles to match.
She is a Time Lord.
Too young to have regenerated – only one heart beats in her breast.
But age among the Time Lords is never a certainty. Especially to one who bears the twin tattoos.
The snake-dragon, representative of the constellation Draco, on the right forearm. (1)
The black and white Seal of Rassilon, a black-handled scythe crossing through the image, on the left bicep. (2)
A renegade, and a member of the fabled Knights Tempus.
Rumoured to be rather less concerned with protocol and rather more with protecting their own interests, normally with fatal consequences.
He has no doubt that she will kill him without a moment's thought if the mood takes her.
She had entered his cell without a sound. And had stared at him until he had looked away in confusion.
'You killed them.'
He does not take accusations lightly. He had turned back and held her gaze.
'I am quite certain I do not know who you mean.'
Her dark eyes had narrowed in hate.
'Don't try to act innocent with me, Puppet Emperor. You and the Daleks. You killed them all. You destroyed us.'
He had giggled in delight.
'So…the mighty race of Time Lords has finally been exterminated.'
She had grabbed him by the battered collar of his bodysuit and hoisted him out of his seat, her fingers resting over the pressure point in his neck.
'That wasn't extermination. That was genocide. Pure, simple genocide.'
His cybernetic eye had glimmered in the meagre light.
'Do you know what precisely is keeping me from finishing what the Tempus started?'
He had opted to simply struggle vaguely in her grasp.
'I want to make you suffer. Suffer the same way my people did, the way my family did.'
Her breath had caught in her throat.
She had flung him away from her and turned towards the door.
'A moment, Time Lord.'
'I would prefer to know the name of my gaoler and that of my prison. I am sure your family would have taught you something approaching manners.'
The safety-net had been reactivated by the time the barred door slammed shut.
She had glared at him through the rust and grime.
'Not a chance.'
She had not killed him then.
Two years have passed, and she has not made an attempt on his life since.
He does not delude himself that she wants company of any kind.
He knows what she wants.
He sees it every time she leaves the colony on one of her bounty hunts, and every time she returns.
She wants him to be the greatest kill of her career, and that glory will come when he least expects it.
And so he must always remain alert, remain wary of the Time Lady the Kalitharian.
He knows why she chose not to reveal her identity until a short time ago.
The youngest of the Tempus, but not inexperienced. One of the more vicious assassins in the galaxy, descended from the Prydonian chapter of the Gallifreyan collegiate system, she is not someone to cross.
He commits himself instead to setting up his workstations, restoring the systems of the prison. After hostilities commenced, the Time Lords had let the colony fall into disrepair.
But then, he knows their ways of thought. Why should they imprison the degenerates of their race when they can knight them and send them off to death and glory?
And so he waits and works.
And Shada grows strong once more.
He stares at his new cybernetic hands as he delicately programmes a circuit board.
A 'gift' of sorts from his keeper's first hunt. Basic, but they perform quite well, even after the botched grafting procedure.
She had deliberately performed the grafts with only a local anaesthetic. Under the circumstances, he is certain he would have done so as well.
She never expects gratitude, and he is not one to give it.
When she is required to rest and recuperate, she will sit in the laboratory and scrutinise his work, her battle TARDIS standing behind her, one hand on her sonic disruptor and the other on an Earth-style hand-gun, constantly tempting him and reminding him of the power of her whims.
If he should so much as breathe near it, he will die.
But she knows that without him, her base will die, and her along with it.
It galls her, having to exist alongside the last of the Kaled race. But she tolerates it, purely because of the knowledge of the kill.
And what she takes from him has saved her life on more than one occasion.
He looks the other way when she steals his latest inventions. They go into the ship, and some may return, but most will see another dimension, another time.
His payment is technology. More advanced pieces of technology for him to tinker about with.
He cannibalises most of it, hoarding some of it away.
He does not deny that the little parts of metal and wire bring him insight and a strange contentment.
And so he waits in glorious anticipation of the day when she will slip and fall.
The sound of her TARDIS rematerialising causes him to glance up from his work, watching as a vague grey-blue light shimmers and forms into a curious rectangular shape.
Another successful kill; perhaps even another scavenged piece of technology to present to him in an act of sadistic pleasure.
She does not emerge.
His curiosity is roused.
He taps a communication device on his travel-unit and watches the small screen fill with static.
He stares at the TARDIS as smoke wafts from underneath the door frame.
He smells blood.
The hatchway sparks and finally cracks open, disgorging a cloud of smoke and a small-boned yet still elegant Time Lord, covered in dust and grime.
Blood trickles from a gash on her forehead. Oil streaks stain her skin and clothes. Her fire-arms are covered in a strange metallic dust.
She stares at him for barely a second.
It seems far longer.
He recoils in disgust.
He knows now what the metallic dust is. (3)
She collapses at his feet.
The left forearm is nonexistent, the elbow mangled and bloody, the remnants of tendons hanging from the bony stump.
He hesitates for a moment.
He could kill her now. She has lost more than enough blood. The loss of a limb, and the subsequent infection would be enough to cripple if not kill her, provided the shock does not do it first.
And the thought of a new incarnation, possibly a less threatening one, is most tempting.
But something inside him forces him to reach down, to lift her by the burnt collar of her jacket, and haul her onto the examination table.
He does not feel compassion.
Not the last of the Kaleds.
She nearly died twice on the table.
But he persevered.
He fought against her blood loss and infection.
Now she lies in a doped sleep as he carefully attaches neuro-transmitters into the remains of her arm.
The little inventions, the trinkets. All of his idle inventions profited her and her alone.
Now, she will profit him, and him alone.
She will be his greatest invention.
Provided of course, that his calculations and adaptations are correct.
An alarm beeps softly behind him. He turns and carefully lifts his most meticulous piece of work from the bastardised autoclave.
He studies it for a second, and gently places it next to the unconscious body before him.
The neuro-transmitters twitch and shiver before they extend and connect with their partners in the metal appendage.
The dull, gun-metal grey limb spasms slightly as it activates.
The Lady Kalitharian's eyelids flicker slightly, before they open. Dark brown eyes focus on his face, before the lids close and she tries to move.
He reaches out a hand to steady her.
Why he does this, he is not sure.
She brushes the offer of help away with her own cybernetic limb, and halts as she sees the metal for the first time.
She stares at it in horror and amazement.
Her fingers clench into a fist. Her eyes follow the gleam of the metal until it reaches her elbow.
He says nothing as she stares at him.
Her eyes say all that she cannot.
He does not know why this pleases him.
Since that day, she has been less brusque with him than before.
Her actions and words remain the same, but there is something less than there was before. Something he cannot quite place.
She does not know that he is aware of her past, of her lineage.
He has taken a blood sample from the remains of her arm and analysed it in secret.
He is now certain of who she is.
And now it is time to make her his own instrument, his toy.
She studies him with mistrust, but without malice as he repairs the minute circuitry in her artificial limb.
She knows better than to disturb him, even to ask him of why he felt the need to summon her to the lab.
He deactivates the soldering iron and pushes the light beam away from the table, watching as she flexes her arm.
Still she refuses to ask.
And his enjoyment builds.
'I have a gift for you, my Lady.'
She meets his gaze coolly, but with a hint of disgust ever present.
'Why do I have the feeling that I won't like it?'
He turns and directs his travel-unit to a panel at the back of the lab. The compartment in the wall is encoded to his DNA and voice patterns only. She knows better than to mimic him, even when her curiosity has grown so strong.
The hatch rises.
She stares in amazement.
Lights, monitors, cables.
A maturation chamber.
A heavy shadow inside the glass.
She moves forward and rests her flesh and bone hand on the surface.
Her expression softens. Her lower lip trembles.
He is suddenly struck by her face, how she must have looked before the Time War, before the deaths of those whom she loved, when she was the beloved baby of the Tempus.
He knows whom she sees within the chamber.
Dark, elegantly curled hair above a heart-shaped face with high cheekbones, full lips and dark blue eyes. A body no longer suspended in the cold darkness of space, but whole and beautiful.
The head of the Knights Tempus.
The Lady Rani.
She looks up, tears shimmering in her eyes.
She knows how this was possible.
He holds her gaze.
'Provided that you agree to a certain number of terms, she is yours to do with as you wish.'
She sneers at him.
She turns and stares once more at the clone.
'The terms being?'
'You would work exclusively for me. No outside contracts.'
She stares stonily at him.
He gestures towards a monitor, the screen criss-crossed with Kaled text. An image appears amidst the words.
A plump male face. Dark, curly hair, squashed under a peculiar straw hat. Shadowed blue eyes that seem to take in everything around them. A dark jacket covering a shirt and jumper bedecked with question marks.
She raises an eyebrow and glances back at him.
'What do you know of this man?'
'Not just a man, for a start. And I can tell you for certain that this is not his last known incarnation.'
She pulls a small handheld device from her belt and clips it into the monitor. The picture shimmers and reforms into a new face, one he does not recognise.
She taps a button on the side of the screen and watches as a holographic image forms in front of her.
Another male, dark curled hair framing a high, open face. Blue eyes, wide and inquisitive. Dark clothing, more tailored than the last. A knotted scarf tied around his neck.
He is somewhat reminded of an earlier incarnation, one with a similar penchant for scarves.
He slowly circles the image, studying the humanoid features with intense curiosity.
'The Time Lord known only as the Doctor. Eighth incarnation, genetically half-human owing to traumatic circumstances during his regeneration. Has close connections to Gallifrey's Dark Time, rumoured to be more than…'
He finishes the sentence with her: '…more than just another Time Lord.'
She pauses for a second and folds her arms across her chest.
'Known renegade, member of the Knights Tempus, believed to have turned traitor, current whereabouts unknown; presumed dead or as good as dead.'
He shakes his head, not without some pain.
'No. I do not believe that, my dear. And I know that you do not, either.'
She stares at him, eyes narrowed in silent query.
'He would not die so easily as other Time Lords. He is still alive. Him and his TARDIS both.'
She smiles. She knows what he wants.
He studies the image.
'Not yet. Bring him to me by any means necessary, but do not kill him.'
She tilts her head in query. 'And if you are wrong? If he is dead?'
'Then you shall bring his remains to me, and you will watch as I make him live once more. I have…plans for him.'
Her eyes meet his.
'Painful, I trust?'
'Bring him to me, Lady Kalitharian, and I promise you that his ultimate fate will comprise of the most exquisite agony you will ever witness.'
A hint of malice creeps into her eyes.
'I will forever be impressed on how sick your Kaled mind is.'
He moves closer to her and extends one hand, knowing that he is risking his own life with this one gesture.
'We have an agreement?'
She turns her gaze from him to the image of the Doctor, and then to the figure in the maturation chamber.
Her grip is strong as she reaches down and grasps his cold hand in hers.
'Keep her alive.'
She has been hunting now for at least seven solar years.
He does not doubt her abilities.
Nor the depth of emotion she feels for the woman inside the chamber.
He has kept his end of the bargain. The Rani is alive, and grows stronger inside a stasis pod.
It has not stopped him from making a few…alterations.
And the remains of those improvements…
He is a scientist, first and foremost.
He does not waste good genetic material.
A static whirr behind his travel-unit draws his attention back to the present, back from his musings.
He turns and studies his greatest creation.
Gold and black casing.
Enhanced weapons and manipulator-stalks.
Improved visual systems.
Grafted appendages to the organic components within.
All enhanced with the DNA of the last of the Time Lords.
The Supreme Mark Three Travel System.
'The maturation chambers are now running at 100 percent capacity. The first consignment of embryos is now ready for transport.'
And as the Supreme Dalek turns and glides into the depths of Shada, the Emperor Davros watches and waits for his quarry to return.
(1) Based on Jon Pertwee's tattoo during the Third Doctor's era, and the serpentine form the Master takes during the TV Movie.
(2) In mythology, the scythe was associated mainly with Cronus, the god of time, but also with Thanatos, the god of death. Kind of appropriate, I feel.
(3) I still think the Cybermen are alive in this universe. Just like the Daleks, you can't keep a good Who villain down.