A/N: And so comes the final part of Dalek Sec's tale…so far.
Disclaimer: The Cult of Skaro and Doctor Who are the property of Terry Nation, the BBC, and Russell T Davies. I own the Knights Tempus and my own original character. That's about it.
Warning: Utterly HUGE spoilers for AoG/Doomsday, possibly some for The Runaway Bride, and me taking a few massive liberties with the fate of the Cult…
Rift: Part 3
'Oh now, hold on, wait a minute!'
I turn my eye-stalk to stare at the figure approaching the group, and the chill takes hold of my limbs once more.
I do not forget a face. Especially not one of the many faces of the Doctor.
Tall, thin and dark-haired; more youthful than his previous recorded incarnations, but no less lethal.
We must be cautious.
Thay notices the lean Time Lord and reacts instinctively.
I move forward to intercept.
'You are the Doctor!'
Jast, ever practical, states the most critical piece of information required at this point in time.
'Sensors report he is unarmed!'
The Doctor merely smiles in confirmation.
'Yep. That's me, always.'
I sneer in satisfaction.
'Then you are powerless.'
He does not change expression.
'Ohh, not me, never!'
He turns to Rose and offers her a wider smile.
She laughs. Whether out of relief or out of tension, I cannot tell.
'Ooooh, same old, you know?'
He smiles and turns to face the male. His smile grows more confident.
'Good. And Mickey de-Mick Mickey! Nice to see you!'
They both raise their right fists and touch knuckles. Bizarre. The male…Mickey, smiles, although it is smaller than that of Rose.
'And you boss.'
Caan has been watching this conversation with increasing agitation. His patience is already wearing thin.
'Social interaction will cease!'
I move forward to scrutinise the Time Lord before me. My curiosity is overwhelming, I must know…
'How did you survive the Time War?'
He faces me, his expression censored but his eyes shadowed with pain.
'By fighting. On the front line. I was there at the Fall of Arcadia.'
Rose and Mickey both stare at him, their faces both filled with ambivalent curiosity. Clearly they have heard him speak few times, of at all, of his role in the War.
His voice drops in pitch, in subtle pain. 'Someday I might even come to terms with that.'
Just as my people will one day come to terms with the destruction of Skaro? I think not, Doctor.
We shall never forget. And nor will you, for that is the curse of the Time Lords. You will go on, forever, alone.
We observed what immortality brought to your race. Sterility, bureaucracy and stagnation, and finally obliteration.
The Daleks…we never sought immortality. The extermination of all weaker lifeforms and the triumph of the Dalek Empire, but never the life eternal.
For we are unafraid of death.
We fear only the Ka-Faraq Gatri, who leaves not simply the peaceful release of death, but life-changing devastation in his wake.
We fear only you, Doctor.
A bright smile covers his face. His eyes are mocking, hiding all of his pain and fear.
'But you lot…ran away!'
I snarl instinctively. 'We had to survive!'
He stares around the room, not meeting my gaze. 'The last four Daleks in existence. So what's so special about you?'
Rose interrupts before I am able to continue. 'Doctor, they've got names. I mean, Daleks don't have names, do they?'
Correct. However, we do have names.
'But one of them said…'
And I feel it is time to introduce ourselves.
Thay moves forward.
'I am Dalek Thay.'
Thay, the celebrated warrior of Kaled legend.
Now it is my turn. 'Dalek Sec.'
Sec, the lord of the gods, all-knowing and invincible.
Jast, the philosopher of old, wise and loyal.
Caan, the healer and teacher of the gods.
The Time Lord looks at us, his curiosity warring with hatred and admiration. 'So that's it…at last! The Cult of Skaro. I though you were just a legend.'
Rose stares at him, inquisitiveness in her eyes. 'Who are they?'
He gazes at me. 'A secret order.'
His gaze moves to Thay as he walks around the Ark. 'Above and beyond the Emperor himself.'
Caan glares at him as he passes. 'Their job was to imagine. Think as the enemy thinks. Even dared to have names.'
Jast turns to stare as he approaches. 'All to find new ways of killing.'
Mickey is more cautious as he watches the Doctor. 'But that thing, they said it was yours. I mean, Time Lords, they built it, what does it do?'
The Time Lord shakes his head. 'I don't know. Never seen it before.'
Rose now stares at him with incredulity. 'But it's…Time Lord.' The emphasis on the last two words is obvious.
So. Little or nothing survives of either the Time Lords or Gallifrey bar the murderous specimen before me, and his aging TARDIS. I feel a glimmer of satisfaction at the thought.
He shakes his head again. 'Both sides had secrets.'
You have no idea, Doctor. None at all.
He turns his gaze back to me. 'What is it, what have you done?'
I stay completely still as I meet the stare of the Time Lord before me. 'Time Lord science will restore Dalek supremacy.'
He looks askance. His frustration is clear in his voice. 'What does that mean? What sort of 'Time Lord science'? What do you mean?'
Rose interrupts before I am able to answer.
'They said one touch from a time traveller will wake it up.'
The Doctor sighs and stares into my eyestalk, his eyes cold.
'Technology using the one thing a Dalek can't do. Touch.'
He leans in, his voice hard and low, and his eyes now dark with hate.
'Sealed inside your casing, not feeling anything, ever. From birth to death, locked inside a cold metal cage, completely alone.'
His voice drops even further.
'And that explains your voice…no wonder you scream.'
We are alone because of you.
Not because we wish it, but because we must tolerate it.
You believe that you know loneliness, Doctor? You have never suffered as we have. You have never been without those whom you love, even now. You can recall with contentment the security that only a touch can bring.
There was a time on Skaro, so many millennia ago, that we were not alone. The Kaleds were not bred by the cloning processes used in the hatcheries; they were born naturally into clans. Sharing of the same blood, but born of the union of a male and female, and conceived from desire, not from military commands.
From that, the Kaleds knew of family, of the strength of the clan, of the strength of a touch.
No Dalek was ever born into a clan. But the race memory of family, of unity, of contact is too strong to fight. We remember the calm, the concord, even the love.
We remain alone, locked within our travel units because we cannot bear to remember what we were made to lose for victory.
I glare at him, hate filling my body. 'The Doctor will open the Ark!'
He guffaws loudly and strides away. 'The Doctor will not.'
'You have no way of resisting.'
He nods. 'Well, you got me there. Although…'
One hand disappears into his jacket and emerges clutching a small cylindrical device.
'There is always this.'
I stare at the device with scepticism. 'A sonic probe.'
He looks almost insulted. 'That's screwdriver.'
I do hope he can hear the derision in my vocal unit. 'It is harmless.'
'Oh yes. Harmless is just the word. That's why I like it. Doesn't kill, doesn't wound, doesn't maim.'
He pauses. 'But I'll tell you what it does do. It is very good…at opening doors.'
A blue flash…
And explosions rock the building.
The doors crumple like paper as they are blown into the Sphere Chamber, plaster and concrete littering the floor.
I turn and watch in disbelief as Cybermen spill through the doorways, led by a number of black-clad humans. The tallest of them, a male levels a projectile weapon at Dalek Thay and fires without warning.
Thay screams in distress as the bolt hits his travel unit.
'Alert! Alert! Casing impaired!'
Whatever that energy was…it can pierce through Dalek shields. Perhaps even lethally.
I take aim and fire at the advancing Cyber troops, my anger and fear growing with every second.
'Firepower insufficient! Firepower insufficient!'
'DALEKS WILL BE DELETED. DELETE. DELETE.'
I will not lose Thay! I will not witness any more of my people perish at the hands of the Time Lords and their worthless allies!
My moment of panic ends as the Cyber troops begin to fall. Jast surveys the situation and prepares for a counter-strike.
'Adapt to weaponry!'
I feel the power flowing through my travel unit as I fire.
The troops fall. The humans somehow manage to avoid the weapons discharge, all staying close to ground level, the Doctor, Rose and Mickey disappearing into the clouds of smoke.
A flash of grey attracts my attention. One Cyberman lunges at Mickey as he attempts to flee, causing him to overbalance and fall.
His hand makes contact with the surface of the Ark.
His expression is one of pain as the surface burns, absorbing the artron radiation within his DNA. He rips his hand away from the Ark and flees, following the Doctor, Rose, and the motley collection of humans as they escape the chaos of the chamber.
Jast stares after the retreating humans, led by the Doctor as they sprint out of the Sphere Chamber. 'Cybermen primary target! EX-TER-MI-NATE!!'
A thick cloud of steam and nitrogen gushes from the base of the Ark, the surface glowing, the long dormant technology now crackling with life and power.
The Ark is awake.
The four of us encircle the ancient vessel in triumph.
I cannot repress the cry of triumph which emerges from my vocal unit.
'Cybermen have been exterminated! Daleks are supreme!'
Jast is no less content in confirming the status of the Ark. 'The Genesis Ark is primed!'
Soon it will be war.
I do hope that the Cybermen and the humans are ready for war.
A strange sensation thrills my limbs within my travel unit. A feeling of contentment, of humour.
Unnecessary in a Dalek. But curiously pleasant.
The Cybermen and humans will never be ready for what we intend to bring forth from the Ark.
But it will be most gratifying to watch.
I study the doorways and correlate my calculations with the downloaded schematics of the Torchwood Tower.
'The Ark needs area of thirty square miles. Move.'
My brethren fall into rank and file alongside the Ark as it slowly propels itself towards the door, the movement oddly similar to a Dalek in itself. A more simplistic brother of sorts, but no less lethal.
Thay does not attempt to hold his delight in check. 'Genesis Ark mobile!'
The fortieth floor of Torchwood One is filled with Cybermen and human personnel, all armed with weaponry both human and alien in origin, and all of it aimed at us.
Behind them lies the bastardized remains of a Jathaar Sunglider, the sleek form raped and pillaged for reasons unknown.
This is not the time to question human motivations, however.
I move forward, the Ark behind me, my shield absorbing the combined weapons discharge of both the humans and the Cybermen.
We move slowly, deliberately. They can do no harm to us now.
Thay keeps his focus on the troops, firing indiscriminately and watching them fall with an air of excitement.
Jast and Caan both choose to study the surroundings of the floor, firing their weapon-stalks accurately, but in a state comparable to boredom.
I am not surprised. This is nothing compared to the glorious battles they have participated with in the past. These feeble creatures are barely worth the energy discharge.
But if they will continue to fire upon us…
The Ark moves forward, following my lead. To my immediate right, I hear the monotonous voice of the Cyber Leader as it raises its arm to its vocaliser.
'EMERGENCY. ALL UNITS WILL CONVERGE ON THE TORCHWOOD TOWER. REPEAT, ALL CYBERMEN TO TORCHWOOD.'
So they are summoning the troops. Our efforts here are not completely in vain.
No matter. It will do them no good even if the troops do succeed in converging on the base.
I turn and stare at the ceiling panels above us, a thrill of excitement filling my body.
'Override roof mechanism!'
The grey panels begin to part, the light of Sol pouring through the increasing gap and filling the room with a sudden brilliance.
My trans-solar discs activate with only a thought.
I rise above the clouds of smoke, the sounds of screams, the burn of weapon-fire, the Genesis Ark soaring with me into the sky.
Thay, Jast and Caan continue their actions, unhindered now by the need to protect the Ark.
More Cybermen fall as I rise.
My brethren do the Emperor, and myself, proud with their will to fight. If the Emperor had lived to see this moment…
A flicker of anger, tinged with an emotion I cannot identify, makes my limbs shiver.
The female destroyed him. Vanquished him as if he were naught but a Terran fly.
This shall be his vengeance now, through his most powerful servant.
My travel unit soars above London, leading the Genesis Ark to its release point. Observing the grounds below, I cast my gaze over the River Thames as I halt above the area known as Canary Wharf, the Ark beside me, waiting for commands.
'The Genesis Ark will open!'
The hatchway on the northern side of the Ark slowly opens, revealing the valuable cargo within.
I recognise him immediately.
The Garrison Leader of the Sixth Order of Skaro, declared MIA with the rest of his Order over the planet Necros.
The Ark spins.
The garrison members soar out of their prison, into the skies above London. Hundreds, no; thousands of Daleks are spat out of the Ark, as if the gods of hell and war had attempted to consume them, and flung them back to the mortal realm in horror.
Time Lord science.
The Ark is dimensionally transcendental, yes. But cleverer, more subtle, was the use of Time Lord science to pollute the technology of the Daleks.
The improvements which were made to our travel units during the War were done so with the intention that we would absorb the background artron radiation from the Time Vortex, and utilize it as a power source. The nature of the War provided more than enough opportunities for our race to travel within the Vortex, and thus absorb the necessary radiation.
But the individual Dalek soldiers; they did not possess the necessary technology to travel through time independently. If damaged or forced to remain dormant for extended periods, they would require the living DNA of a time-traveler to regenerate their travel units.
A minor flaw, yes. But a critical one. One which the Cult was somewhat lax in realising.
The Time Lords, courtesy of their own militia the Knights Tempus, pillaged our technology and incorporated it into the design of their prison ships, using the one action a Dalek cannot do.
They were indeed cunning.
And now that cunning will serve the Daleks, and aid our return to power, to glory, to our ultimate victory.
The light of Sol falls upon the golden travel units in the sky, and the dull silver of the Cyber units below.
The garrisons fall into rank and file, the garrison leaders on point and scanning the area for possible threats.
I hover next to the rapidly emptying Ark and study the formation before me as bolts of shimmering red laserfire soar towards us.
For my people, there is only one order they require now.
'Exterminate all lifeforms below! EX-TER-MI-NATE!!'
The sizzle of Dalek weapons fire echoes within my audio receivers, as pleasant to me as any music ever could be.
Below me, on the ground, humans and Cybermen fall to the might of my people, their bodies glowing white as the weapons fire rearranges their internal organs within the space of a second.
I spare a curious glance at the windows of the Torchwood Tower.
A building of grey and white, the glass reflecting the jet of my travel unit and the dull golden glow of the Ark. Steel and stone placed together to create a pleasant appearance to something so functional.
Is that what the Cybermen referred to as elegance?
If so, it is somewhat unusual. There is some strange…impression I feel as I stare a little longer. Almost a feeling, an admiration. The artistry, the precision need to create such a building.
But in that admiration, there is something of a dislike.
The building is sterile, and physically as cold as the blood of my people. And the reflection of the light in glass - a tactical error. Perhaps something more metallic, sturdier. More sweeping, and yet grand, befitting of strength…
I dismiss the thought as rapidly as it arises.
My delight at the carnage below is tempered only by the knowledge of one rogue element.
He lives still.
And given his past, present and future association with Earth, and his insane fondness for the Earthlings, there is no doubt that he will attempt to stop us.
But what can he do?
He is but one Time Lord, with one TARDIS which was scrap when he first stole it from his people.
No President Romanadvoratrelundar to guide his actions.
No Lady Rani to give him orders.
No Lady Kalitharian to hold his whims in check.
He is unpredictable.
And that makes him more deadly than ever.
My suspicions are confirmed as my systems alert me to activity within Torchwood One.
He cannot do this!!
The panic floods my systems before I can gain control of it. 'Breach active! It is the Doctor! EX-TER-MI-NATE HIM!!'
Members of the Fourth Garrison swoop down towards the top floor of the Tower, above the rift which led us back to this universe.
They will do their duty, I have no doubt.
And then I feel it.
The radiation within my body calls to the rift, pulling me down, pulling me towards it.
I see the Fourth Garrison being sucked through the windows of Torchwood One, their screams of fear echoing in my audio receivers.
The weapons-fire of the Cybermen stops. They halt, and then disappear in flickers of silver. Sucked through the cracks of reality into the Void.
The screams of my fellow Daleks as they are plucked from the skies and dragged by the unseen vortex…where are the others?
Where are Thay, Jast and Caan?
Where is the Cult?
Where are my brothers?!
I cannot see them, I cannot sense them…and that fills me with more dread than any Time Lord ever could.
I can only give the order and hope they will hear it.
'Emergency temporal shift!!'
The last image I see as my teleportation systems engage is that of the Ark shuddering, and then being pulled violently towards Torchwood One…
Where am I…?
A sense of inertia sweeps through my systems as my optic sensors engage.
A laboratory. Where and when I cannot ascertain, but it is almost comforting in a way.
I attempt to maneuver my travel unit with no response. Either disabled or damaged.
Panic once again takes hold of my limbs as my memory banks come back online. The Daleks, my people - gone. Lost in the Void.
And my brothers…
Grief now settles into my thoughts as my organic eye closes in pain.
I cannot feel their presence on the edge of my mind, as I have done throughout the years in exile. They were my people, my companions, my comrades.
Jast and Caan, they were my brothers in the sense of camaraderie, of unity.
Impulsive, brash, youthful Thay.
It took a chance medical treatment during the final stages of the War to discover the information. Raw Dalek DNA had been required for experimentation to save Thay from a viral form of gangrenous necrosis, the closer to his own genetic pattern the better. All of us willingly gave of our DNA in the attempt to save our brother.
The material from Caan and Jast alone would have been sufficient. But the genetic material that Thay and I had been cloned from was identical. No alterations barring the age of the material. Cloned and the resulting embryos hatched at different times, yes. I was precisely nine solar cycles in age when Thay was hatched.
He was my younger brother.
It did not affect my emotions, or my treatment of him. Indeed, he gave no indication that our genetic bond was either a help or a hindrance to him.
I have failed them.
I have failed my comrades, my companions.
But most painful of all…
I have failed my brother.
A sudden tap on my travel unit distracts me from my grief.
A voice speaks, the weariness in it tempered by apprehension.
'You better not have died in there. Took me forever dragging your shiny metal ass in here.'
I wearily raise my eye-stalk to better study the being…and freeze.
A petite female figure clothed in military fatigues stands before me, hands on hips as she bends slightly to stare into my eye-stalk. Dark hair falls around a thin, heart-shaped face; dark eyes scrutinising me with caution and recognition.
The flash of the snake-dragon tattoo on the right forearm confirms my initial suspicions.
I know this being. I knew her and her commander before her.
She raises her left hand and taps a metal finger against my ID plate below my eye-stalk, studying the characters imprinted on the metal of my head-piece.
'I would say it's good to see you again, Dalek Sec, but we both know that'd be an utter lie.'
My limbs twitch in nervousness…and curiously, relief.
She stands up and arches her back before moving across to a control panel and tapping some form of alpha-numeric sequence into it.
'Don't even try moving. Your motor functions are disabled, along with your weaponry. State of temporal grace inside a TARDIS and all.'
'I am aware of the temporal laws. You will not be harmed.'
'Like I would trust a Dalek's promise. And on that basis, I also disabled your battle computer.'
If she dies, her TARDIS dies with her. And she will not take her chances with any Dalek, not after the death of the Rani.
It was a great pity that the head of the Knights Tempus died so easily. The Emperor was foolish to execute her before we had the opportunity of downloading her brainwaves. But no matter.
She finishes her work, and then grabbing a chair, she turns it so that the back-rest faces me and straddles it, folding her arms across the top as she studies me with a calculating gaze.
'So…how did you survive the Time War?'
'We had to survive. We hid in the Void. We waited for the time to return.'
'The Void? But that's impossible, you'd need serious technology behind that…' She stops and narrows her eyes.
'Technology you managed to perfect, am I right?'
'So where's the ship?'
'Earth. In the year 2007. The Torchwood Institute.'
She waves a dismissive hand. 'Never heard of them.'
'We emerged there. Thay, Jast, Caan and myself. We faced the Cybermen-'
Her face grows taut and pale as she clutches her left arm.
I halt for barely a second to study her arm. A metal prosthetic, well-designed with reinforced steel. I can only make an assumption as to how she lost the original with the reaction she displays.
She shakes her head and blinks. 'Go on.'
'We faced the Cybermen. And we faced the Doctor.'
Her eyes widen in shock.
Unsurprising, considering their history. But something is not right. I would have expected a somewhat more violent reaction from her. Not this.
This is too restrained a reaction.
She knew this already.
'He's…still alive? He was alive when you saw him last?'
'Uncertain. But of all who could survive, it will be him.'
She smirks once more and stands, pulling a small metal device from the pocket of her battered military trousers.
'Congratulations. You all just earned a reprieve.'
The device whirrs and beeps as my battle computer and communication circuits reboot. My manipulator stalk and weapon-stalk twitch as I suddenly regain the ability to move.
I stare at her in bewilderment. 'All?'
And then I feel them.
Their thoughts, their emotions…
I turn and study the three beings before me, their travel units scratched and battered, but intact.
Jast is the first to speak, raising his manipulator stalk in a sign of greeting.
'We heard the order, as you intended.'
Caan raises his manipulator stalk to touch that of Jast. My own manipulator stalk touches that of Caan, forming three sides of a square, shaking in relief as I move.
'We survived, as you wanted.'
The last manipulator stalk touches mine, scarred and scratched. Thay stares at me, determination in his gaze.
'We cannot be killed. We will live on to fulfill your orders, Dalek Sec.'
The strength returns to my limbs as I return the gaze of Thay.
My brother lives on. Unharmed and whole, in spite of the actions of the Ka-Faraq Gatri.
The Bringer of Darkness did not take him this day. And he will never gain another chance to do so.
My head-piece turns and I exchange a look with the young Time Lord behind me, watching the reunion with mild curiosity.
I will find out her intentions in due course. But for now…
We will wait. Rebuild and make our plans.
We will face the Doctor once again, that is a certainty.
But this time, we shall have the victory.
This time…we shall have our revenge.