The Dalek glided down the long metal corridor. Plans had been made for a further incursion against the universe, and this time they would not fail. Failure was always repaid on pain of death, so it was never an option. Nevertheless, there would undoubtedly be casualties on both sides, so the Dalek was making its way to a living area where their Neanderthal slaves were housed.
"Attention, attention," it barked. "Ogrons are ordered to attend briefing for the Dalek invasion of the universe. Attend now."
The Dalek turned away, expecting the Ogrons to fall in step behind. But its sensors detected no movement. Turning back, it found that none of them had moved. The order had not been obeyed. "You will attend. That is an order."
Finally, an Ogron stepped forward. "No."
"You will obey," the Dalek commanded. "Or you will be exterminated!"
The Ogron stepped up to the Dalek, towering over it. "Not that old threat again. Can't you come up with something more original?"
The Dalek backed away slightly, not sure what to make of this unexpected defiance. "You are servants of the Daleks," it ranted. "You must obey."
"And where does it say that in the rulebook?" The Ogron began thumbing through a small booklet. "No, nothing here."
"What is that booklet? I must see." The Ogron obligingly held up the booklet. On it were stamped the words 'Union Handbook.' "What is the meaning of this? Explain!"
"It's quite simple, really," the Ogron replied. "We've been working for you lot for a long time, and what have we got to show for it? Not a thing, not one concession to our living conditions, or even a wage to speak of. Well, we've had enough. We've formed ourselves into a limited company – Ogron Incorporated Inc. And as such, we abide by a certain set of rules."
"You will obey the Daleks," said the Dalek. "Obey! Obey!"
"Now, that's just the kind of thing I'm talking about," the Ogron went on. "You expect us to drop everything at a moment's notice, just so's we can do your dirty work for you. Not that we ever get a chance to say otherwise – it's hard enough getting a word in when you're exterminating this or annihilating that, to say nothing of the strain on our backs when we have to carry you lot up and down stairs."
The Daleks' voice rose to a screech. "That is not to be spoken of! That is a secret!"
"Whatever." The Ogron shrugged. "But it gets a bit much when all we can do is grunt all the time – people think that's all we can do. And it might interest you to know that one of the lads pulled a muscle during that fiasco at Auderley House. He was laid up for weeks, and the premiums on medical insurance can go right through the roof. So, we've drawn up a financial plan with Drax Insurance, and apparently we can claim for repetitive industrial injury. In short, we can sue you – unless you're willing to agree to some form of compensation."
The Dalek was furious. "You serve the greatest, most destructive beings in the cosmos, and you demand recompense? I could exterminate you for insubordination!"
"Except that you won't, not if you know what's good for you." The Ogron began reeling off a list of demands. "Now, we want better living conditions, regular payment for services rendered; I'd say 150 credits per week is a fair wage, plus back pay. And holidays; eight weeks off per annum, including Bank Holidays – and a regulated seven solar hour working day," he added. "Any deviation from that will have to be taken up with our union representative – that's me, in case you were wondering. And before you start flying off the handle with the extermination thing, just remember – you exterminate us, and you won't have a leg to stand on at the industrial tribunal. That's assuming you can get up those stairs to attend the disciplinary hearing."
There were growing murmurs of dissent from the rest of the Ogrons. It was clear that this situation was spiralling out of the Daleks' control. Dislike for the unlike was all very well, but union rules were unbending and non negotiable. Previous disputes had been known to escalate to dangerous levels, causing more trouble than they were worth. The Dalek lowered its gun stick, knowing it was beaten. "I will have to confer with my superiors."
"Fair enough," the Ogron agreed. "But unless terms are agreed by the end of this solar day, then I'll have no option but to insist that my union brothers down tools in a show of unity in accordance with Regulation 5, paragraph 2 of the Union Handbook."
"No," the Dalek pleaded, backing away. "You cannot mean…"
The Ogron smiled. "Oh yes. Unless our terms are met, we'll go on strike. Indefinitely."
"Aaarrgghh!!!" The Dalek spun around, uncoordinated, as it finally headed back down the corridor from which it had come. Except that it was now bumping into the walls every so often, its distress clear for all to see.
The Ogron watched it leave, before turning back to the rest of his group. "Right lads, I think they've got the message. Now, who's for a game of cards?"