A/N: Daleks and Cybermen. A secret Dalek cult. Daleks with names and imaginations. How could I not do something from Sec's point of view?
Disclaimer: I own nothing. The BBC, Terry Nation, Dr. Kit Pedler and Russell T Davies own everything. Grrr.
Warning: Bloody great spoilers for Army of Ghosts and Doomsday, fairly hefty spoilers for most if not all the past Dalek serials.
Rift: Part 1
A light in the eternal darkness.
Perhaps it is Caan. He chooses to reactivate his travel unit after set periods of time to observe the area outside the ship.
He is cautious, and correctly so.
His caution has enabled us to survive the War, to evacuate from Skaro before it was consumed in the weapons-fire of the Time Lord fleet.
I activate my own travel unit, my head-piece revolving to study the actions of my brethren.
His eyepiece glimmers in the dim light.
'Alien technology detected. There are noted disturbances in the Void.'
Behind me, Thay and Jast activate their units and tighten their stance next to the Ark.
Thay, the youngest and most impulsive of the group, turns to me in excitement.
'It is logical to conclude that there are enemies outside. Enemies with compatible technology.'
Jast is calmer, more thoughtful. His ability to foresee and examine all possible outcomes of a particular course of action has served the Cult well in the years of the conflict.
He silently studies the Ark, and in turn the external monitors.
'The preferred course of action would be to wait and observe.'
Caan turns away from the external monitors.
'We do not have that luxury, Dalek Jast. What is the alternate course of action?'
Jast extends his manipulator stalk and scans the exterior of the ship.
I do not ask for a response. I have known him for the greatest period of time, a longer period than Caan or Thay. He will state his conclusions in due course.
'If we are unable to observe, we must attack. Invade and observe. I can locate no realistic threats to the Ark, Dalek Sec.'
He understands his mission. Protect the Ark above all.
Thay and Jast turn again to face me, awaiting my response. Caan turns back to the monitor, but I am aware of what he requires from me.
'Activate the sensors. Restore power to all systems. Prepare to disembark.'
Thay, Jast and Caan. All loyal, pure-bred Daleks, above the glorious Emperor himself, but none as high as myself.
Supreme Dalek Sec, of the First Garrison of the Dalek Empire.
Leader of the elite Cult of Skaro, and protector of the Genesis Ark.
One of the four surviving Daleks in this universe after the cessation of the Time War.
I am fully aware of my achievements within the Empire. In a less organised society, I would have been a target of fear, superstition, even hate. I would have been a target for the bastic-headed bullet of an assassin.
But Daleks do not feel any sense of rivalry, of competition.
I remain safe, protected with those who share my goals.
To think as the inferior races of the galaxy think.
To perceive as they perceive.
To dream as they dream.
It should be impossible.
But I feel a peculiar sense of pride in my achievements, and those of the Cult.
They have made the Dalek race all the more deadly.
I feel the ship shudder with energy as long-dormant systems overflow with power. Static crackles throughout the interior, the sparks gleaming white against bronze and black.
Thay, Jast and Caan position themselves around the Ark, activating their trans-solar disks in preparation for flight.
The graded hatch of the ship begins to glide downwards, the light…no, lights outside blazing overhead.
Metal and concrete. A bunker, perhaps a building of some form.
The scanners reactivate and transmit the most critical signals to the travel units.
The landmass… Britain.
I feel a thrill of excitement as I translate the findings and hover in the golden light of the ship. Thay, Jast and Caan follow behind me, still guarding the Ark, their eyestalks scrutinising our surroundings.
Three figures stand before the ship, staring at us in horror. Two dark-skinned males, one holding some form of blaster weaponry, and a lighter-skinned female, her gaze filled not only with fear, but…something else.
I move to land before them, the excitement building in my systems and in my withered organic body.
'Location: Earth! Lifeforms detected! Ex-ter-mi-nate! Ex-ter-mi-nate! EX-TER-MI-NATE!'
The two human males retreat in fear as we move forward.
But the female stands strong.
We halt in shock.
How does a human know of our great name? We did not identify ourselves; she could have no means of knowing that we resided inside the ship…
How does she know?
'You're called Daleks.'
I stare at her in confusion.
'I know your name.'
She removes her laboratory coat as she speaks, her movements sharp with anxiety.
'Think about it; how could I know that? A human who knows about the Daleks…and the Time War.'
The Time War…
The Time War never entered the Solar system. There was no trace of either the Time Lord or Dalek fleets.
She must be lying.
But how would she know about the War if she lies?
My eyepiece zooms in on her face as she moves towards me.
'If you wanna know, then keep us alive. That's all I'm asking. Me and my friends.'
The dark-skinned male raises his weapon and trains it on my travel unit.
I stare at him in curiosity.
His voice betrays only his uncertainty.
'Yeah, Daleks. Time War. Me too.'
The other male moves forward. 'Yeah, and me.'
I turn back to the female and study her face before reaching a conclusion.
'You will be necessary.'
She retreats slightly in relief. Irrelevant.
I turn and study the Ark, diligently guarded by Jast and Caan.
'Report. What is the status of the Genesis Ark?'
Thay turns from his scrutiny of the human computers at the order, and moves to wait beside the device.
Jast and Caan move to their respective positions surrounding the exterior of the Ark, their manipulator stalks extending and attaching to the monitoring devices.
'Commence awakening. The Genesis Ark must be protected above all else!'
I move to attach my manipulator stalk to the Ark. Thay follows my lead and activates the process.
The device thrums with power.
We retreat as one, lowering our manipulator stalks as the humans watch in confusion.
The female does not lose her expression of dread. The younger male keeps his weapon trained on the Ark and moves closer to her.
'The Daleks…you said they were all dead.'
She turns her head sharply to look at him. 'Never mind that, what the hell's a Genesis Ark?'
A secret well kept by the Cult.
But this is irrelevant at present. What gains my interest is the lack of personnel charging through the reinforced steel doors firing their pathetic weapons in a vain attempt to destroy us.
Clearly, there is something occurring within this building which has captured their attention.
Or else… it has captured them completely.
Another alien species?
It is conceivable. The lifesigns registered are human enough, but some aspect does not correlate to known human constants.
There is only one certain means of discovering the answer to this obscurity.
I glide forward and stare at the female.
'Which of you is least important?'
She looks at me, folding her arms across her body.
'What's that supposed to mean?'
'Which of you is least important?'
She glares at me now. She speaks to me as if I were a simple child.
'No, we don't work like that. None of us.'
My patience grows thin.
'Identify the least important!'
The older male steps forward, removing his spectacles. 'This is my responsibility.'
'No, don't.' The female does not stand down.
He ignores her.
'I, uh…represent the Torchwood Institute. Anything you need, you come through me. Leave these two alone.'
I study him briefly. A relatively young man, he exudes an aura of calm and scientific curiosity, emphasised by his white laboratory coat. He will be useful.
'You will kneel.'
He stares at me nervously. 'What for?'
He does so.
Caan, Jast and I move to surround him, Thay staying close to the Ark and the other humans.
'The Daleks need information about current Earth history.'
He does not look particularly concerned.
'Yeah, well, I can give you a certain amount of intelligence; nothing that'll compromise homeland security--'
Ridiculous. What this planet calls security could be broken by a half-sedated Dalek hatchling.
'Speech is not necessary. We will extract brainwaves.'
His face grows pale and his eyes widen in panic as Jast, Caan and I close in, our manipulator stalks raised in preparation.
'No, don't!…I'll tell you everything you need! Don't…!'
The last noise he makes is a scream of agony.
The female hides her face in the shoulder of the younger male.
The withered body of the former Torchwood Institute Doctor Rajesh Singh falls to the floor as our manipulator stalks retreat.
The female and male watch in disgust as the corpse disintegrates on impact, dust scattering over the polished surface.
I reflect on the information extracted from his thoughts.
'His mind spoke of a second species invading Earth, infected by the superstition of ghosts.'
Our ancestors the Kaleds once spoke of ghosts. They were supernatural apparitions, seemingly of dead individuals or groups, walking the paths in which their corporeal bodies once trod.
Stories for inferior beings.
We Daleks do not believe in such things.
The female is the first to move in anger.
'You didn't need to kill him!'
Jast turns a dismissive glance upon her.
'Neither did we need him alive.'
What is one dead human to us? There will be millions more ready to join him once the Ark is opened.
I turn to the youngest of the Cult.
'Dalek Thay, investigate outside.'
Thay turns and moves towards the nearest door.
I watch as Thay glides out of the Sphere chamber into the corridors of the Institute, emergency lighting shining overhead, blank concrete walls lining his path.
What is out there? What are the humans so afraid of?
I stare at the monitor.
'Establish visual contact. Lower communications barrier.'
The image projected from his retinal scope appears in the monitor. Thay scans the area with deliberation, searching for lifesigns and weakness in the structures surrounding him.
Metal on metal.
Metal on concrete.
But no being I have encountered produces that kind of sound.
Thay moves cautiously, rounding a corner…and two figures appear in the distance. His retinal scope sharpens as he stares at them.
Human…and yet not human.
They walk and share a similar shape to humans. But no human wears metal across their bodies.
No human wears a headpiece of that design.
No human…has such blank eyes.
Thay halts and raises his weapon-stalk.
The being to the left speaks in response.
'YOU WILL IDENTIFY FIRST.'
'State your identity!'
'YOU WILL IDENTIFY FIRST.'
I sense that this may continue for some time.
The human male speaks from behind me, failing to hide his inappropriate mirth.
'It's like Stephen Hawking meets the speaking clock.'
I ignore his statement and concentrate on the two beings standing before Thay.
'YOUR REPEATED REQUEST IS ILLOGICAL. YOU WILL MODIFY.'
'Daleks do not take orders!'
The being on the right sounds almost triumphant.
'YOU HAVE IDENTIFIED AS 'DALEKS'.'
Our advantage is lost. But no matter. Our scan of these lifeforms is now complete.
'Outline resembles the inferior species known as 'Cybermen'.'
The perspective on the monitor shifts as Thay studies the two Cyber units before him.
'You are Cybermen, created on Earth. We have identified your technology.'
The right Cyber Unit makes no movement.
'WE MERELY FOLLOWED IN THE WAKE OF YOUR SPHERE.'
They followed our ship between worlds. So…they are not of this dimension.
I study the readouts.
'Long-range scans confirm presence of crude cybernetic constructs on worldwide scale.'
Jast speaks from his position next to the Ark.
'Dalek Sec, we must not engage in warfare. We must protect the Genesis Ark!'
I silently agree. The Cybermen are of no matter or consequence to us. They are merely an obstacle.
One that Thay is more than capable of overcoming.
The Cyber unit continues to speak.
'OUR SPECIES ARE SIMILAR, THOUGH YOUR DESIGN IS INELEGANT.'
The Cyber units are provoking him, with no knowledge of the consequences, and Thay has never entirely learned how to hold his temper in check.
The only lesson these beings will learn in their death throes is never to provoke Dalek Thay.
'Daleks have no concept of elegance!'
'THIS IS OBVIOUS. BUT CONSIDER, OUR TECHNOLGIES ARE COMPATIBLE. CYBERMEN PLUS DALEKS; TOGETHER, WE COULD UPGRADE THE UNIVERSE.'
Thay studies the two units with incredulity.
'You propose an alliance?'
'THIS IS CORRECT.'
I can hear the satisfaction in his voice.
The Cyber units snap to attention, their arm-weapons aimed and primed.
'HOSTILE ELEMENTS WILL BE DELETED.'
They fire with no warning.
The shield surrounding Thay activates in a second, absorbing the energy blasts with a shimmer of scarlet.
He returns fire. Both Cyber units fall with synthesized screams.
I know that this will not go unnoticed by Cyber Control.
The monitor shimmers, and reforms into the image of the Cyber Leader, the black marking on the headpiece absorbing all light.
'DALEKS, BE WARNED. YOU HAVE DECLARED WAR UPON THE CYBERMEN.'
This is an insult to the word of war!
'This is not war. This is pest control!'
The Leader does not acknowledge the true insult.
'WE HAVE FIVE MILLION CYBERMEN; HOW MANY ARE YOU?'
'YOU WOULD DESTROY THE CYBERMEN WITH FOUR DALEKS?'
If I was not aware that the Cybermen had removed all of their emotions, I would state that there is humour in that voice.
'We would destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek! You are superior in only one respect.'
'WHAT IS THAT?'
'You are better at dying.'
I do not give the Leader time to respond.
'Raise communications barrier.'
The monitor fills with static.
How infinitely satisfying.
Caan suddenly speaks. 'Wait! Rewind image by nine rels.'
The monitor flickers as the recording of the previous conversation is rewound. The Cyber Leader appears once again, but this time I notice the male standing behind the Leader, holding a crude communications device to his ear.
I do not recognise him, but something about that male sparks…anxiety in my systems.
Caan does not notice my silent musings.
'Identify grid 7 gamma flame.'
The image increases in size, focussing on the male.
'This man registers as enemy!'
My sensors alert me – something has happened to the female!
I turn and study her. She is smiling at the image on the monitor, her adrenaline count and heart-rate increasing to disturbing levels.
What could be so encouraging about that male?
'The female's heartbeat has increased!'
The human male stands beside her and smiles also.
'Yeah, tell me about it.'
I ignore him and focus on her.
Her smile disappears, but the aura of newfound confidence remains.
'All right then. You really want to know? That's the Doctor.'
I recoil in horror.
Of all the Time Lords that could have survived the Time War, it had to be him.
The Bringer of Darkness.
The Destroyer of Worlds.
The Ka-Faraq Gatri.
He should have died with his people. Instead, he changes his face as freely as he interferes in the affairs of the Dalek Empire, with no consequences or regrets.
But if he can allow his own people to perish so easily, what will he do to us?
The female smirks as she sees our reactions.
'Five million Cybermen: easy.'
She raises an eyebrow as she glances at the monitor.
'One Doctor? Now you're scared.'