A/N: So much potential and RTD kills Dalek Sec in under 40 minutes. Sigh.
Disclaimer: I have a remote controlled Dalek Sec and my flatmates got me the little Hybrid Sec figure for my birthday. Sadly, I still don't own Doctor Who – all belongs to RTD, the BBC and Terry Nation.
Warnings: Same as previous chapters, except with a bit of Dalek sadism, even more angsting from Sec, and character death. Oh, and a massive spoiler for The Stolen Earth/Journey's End.
Gambit: Part 3
Nine minutes and counting.
Nine minutes, and my people, my Dalek-Humans, will rise to claim the birthright which the Daleks first claimed as their own.
The adrenaline surges through my body as I frantically mix human growth hormones and steroids together, the Doctor standing to my right and heating a batch of chemicals over a Bunsen burner.
Jast, Thay and Caan are more sedate as they glide from bench to scanner, correlating data tracks and making final adjustments to the insulation programming for the radiation feeds.
The Doctor adds a dose of catalytic agent to a fresh batch of hormones, his eyes trained on the fusion reaction.
'There's no point in chromosomal grafting, it's too erratic. We need to split the genome and force the new Dalek-human sequence right into the cortex.'
I cease my study of a vial of pre-treated growth hormones and quickly glance up at Caan. 'We need more chromatin solution.'
Caan gives me a look of affirmation. 'The Pig Slaves have it.'
As if on cue, two squads of Slaves march into the lab, carrying crates of the precious solution in their misshapen hands.
The Doctor spares them a glance, and then stops beside me for a moment, keeping his voice low. 'These Pig Slaves, what happens to them in the grand plan?'
Mentally, I wince. Outwardly, I show no emotion. 'Nothing. They're just simple beasts. Their life-span is limited. None survive beyond a few weeks.'
I make a quick gesture to Thay. 'Power up the line feeds.'
I sense the Doctor leave my side and wander closer to one of the Slaves as if to speak to it. If there was more time, I would ask why he would choose to communicate with a being of such low intelligence, but there is less than seven minutes until the gamma strike occurs.
Seven minutes until my people are reborn.
Jast turns from his position beside the status monitors. 'The line feeds are ready.'
The Doctor spares me a glance. 'Then it's all systems go!'
Yes…Yes! He is right! Now it is simply a matter of the radiation striking the Earth, following the pull of the conductor, and fusing the DNA strands together.
The electrical storm will then restore the electrical signals in the Shells' brains, and then my Dalek-Humans will rise.
I feel the sensation of nervousness twist my stomach as if it had been placed in a vice.
'The solar flare is immanent!
I turn to face the Doctor.'The radiation will reach Earth in a matter of minutes.'
He injects a massive syringe into the gene solution vat. 'And we'll be ready for it! That compound will allow the gene bonds to reconfigure in a brand new pattern.'
A swirl of brown fabric, and the Time Lord stands beside me, staring up at the line feeds.
The Pig Slaves wrench the levers upwards.
'Start the line feeds!'
Thay activates the line feeds with barely a touch. Blue fluid, filled with nutrients, compounds and my adapted DNA with additional human RNA sequences, rushes through the piping, into the feeding tubes for the Shells...
The Doctor watches the progress of the fluid with caution. 'There goes the gene solution.'
I merely watch in anticipation. 'The life blood!'
My brothers keep their gaze on the monitors, while the Slaves watch the bubbling liquid in curiosity as it tints the room with a serene blue light.
And somehow beautiful at the same time.
A sound I had not expected, and never wished to hear at this stage of the process.
The Doctor turns, confused. 'What's that?'
Something is wrong, but…why do my brothers keep working? Why do they not heed the warning cry?
'What's happening? Is there a malfunction?'
They ignore my question and continue their work.
This I will not tolerate. 'Answer me!'
The Doctor studies the readouts with concern, and then alarm as he tries to access the computer system. 'No no no...the gene feed! They're overriding the gene feed!'
I snap my head around to glare at them. 'Impossible! They cannot disobey orders!'
Jast is the first to turn, his eye meeting mine…and his weapon-stalk primed and aimed at the Time Lord beside him.
'The Doctor will step away from the controls!'
The Time Lord backs away slowly, his face tight with caution. Thay follows Jast's example as he turns...and trains his weapon-stalk upon the Doctor.
I turn on them, horror clouding my mind. 'STOP! You will not fire!!'
Caan turns from his console, weapon-stalk also primed. 'He is an enemy of the Daleks...and so are you!'
This is unheard of!! They dare to disobey my orders!?
I bare my teeth in a primitive snarl as I glare at them. 'I am your commander! I am Dalek Sec!!'
Caan stares at me with disgust in his gaze. 'You have lost your authority!'
Jast keeps his distance, as if I am some form of horrific new disease. 'You are no longer a Dalek!'
Their optics glow a cold, cruel blue as a red mist I somehow identify as rage descends over my vision.
The Doctor stares in horror as the computer screens in horror. 'What have you done? What's going into the gene feed?'
Caan's voice is filled with gloating triumph. 'The new bodies will be 100 Dalek!'
My voice becomes an enraged hiss. 'No!! You can't do this!!'
The sneer in Jast's voice is obvious, as is the delight with which he issues his next order.
'Pig Slaves, restrain Dalek Sec and the Doctor.'
One of the Slaves grabs me from behind, while another clamps its twisted hands around my wrists. Even the combined strength of a Human-Dalek is not enough to struggle free of their grasp.
I can just see the Doctor backing away from two others as I struggle. Caan watches with a disinterested gaze as I fight back.
'Release me! I created you! I am your master!!'
Another alarm sounds. Caan turns and watches the viewscreen above. 'Solar flare approaching! Prepare to intercept!'
Thay and Jast gather beside him as an electronic chime rings from the entrance to the laboratory.
'There's the lift...'
Not the Doctor's voice.
Then who spoke?
That is the Doctor's voice.
Then the lift...
Adrenaline rushes through my body. If there is even a chance that the Doctor can escape, then he must take it. I will survive...somehow.
I form the thought into a telepathic command.
...Leave. Now. Go, Doctor...
Frantic footsteps echo on the concrete as the Pig Slaves charge after the Doctor.
Caan screams a command at the backs of the Slaves. 'The Doctor is escaping! Stop him!! Stop him!!'
Clumsy hands press hard against my shoulders, forcing me to kneel on the concrete floor. Two of the Slaves keep watch while Caan glides before me, his optic stalk fixed upon my face.
Of all the possibilities I had envisioned, prepared for, predicted...this was one I had never believed possible.
Caan. My old friend, my brother, my fellow commander...
'You have...betrayed me!'
Caan meets my eye, and does not deny the charge. 'You told us to imagine, and we imagined your irrelevance!'
Jast and Thay...they were--
They conspired with him?
And they betrayed not only me, but the Cult itself.
'I was your leader!!'
I try to rise, but I am pressed back towards the concrete by the Slaves.
'I am Dalek Sec!! Obey me!!'
But as I am dragged backwards, and my head is slammed against the wall, I realise it is futile to fight back.
I feel the grip of the Slaves as they bind my hands and neck in chains, as they attach the chains to the wall.
I keep my head raised.
A Dalek does not show fear or pain.
But as Thay turns away from the monitor, he halts and watches as the chains are tightened. Somehow, he meets my eye with his own.
My brash, youthful, curious, traitorous, underhanded younger brother.
I was your leader.
I loved you, my brother.
And now you have come to this.
I let my head drop as Thay turns away. The burning sensation returns to my vision and I close my eye, feeling retinal fluid leak out of my tears ducts and slipping down my face.
The feeling of betrayal...it seems to settle in my chest, next to my heart.
It forms into a ball, a tight, agonising ball which only seems to grow more painful with each thought of broken loyalty, and each tear that falls from my eye.
I did all of this for you, my brothers.
I did all of this to keep you safe, to ensure our race would survive.
If you imagined my irrelevance, then I only imagined your survival. That was what mattered to me most of all, not our ideals.
And yet, by betraying me, you have betrayed the Dalek ideals. The ideals you believed to be more important than the Cult.
More important than our survival.
More important than our brotherhood.
I choke back a sob of anger.
How did the Cult of Skaro come to this?
Caan glides forward and stares at Thay. 'Confirm time until solar intercept.'
Thay turns away from me and returns to monitoring the timers. 'Gamma strike: four minutes and counting.'
Jast remains silent as he overrides the seal on the lift and returns the compartment to the basement.
No doubt the Slaves will be sent to the top-most level of the Empire State building to apprehend the Doctor.
Caan's next order confirms my suspicions. I try not to choke against the iron manacle around my throat as I listen.
'Pig Slaves will take the lift. Find the Doctor!! Kill him!!'
I watch helplessly as the Slaves charge into the tiny compartment, eager to spill the blood of whomever they find.
Whatever deity will listen to the prayers of a Human Dalek, to the being who may control the threads of fate, I beg of you, please let the Doctor succeed.
Thay, Jast and Caan gather around the timer, their optic-stalks bright with anticipation. From my position on the floor, I can just make out the numeric characters as they stream across the screen in a steady countdown.
Jast takes over as the countdown grows shorter. 'Gamma strike imminent. In 40 rels, 39, 38, 37...'
He activates the primary electrolyser, preparing the gene feeds to be spliced.
What are you doing?
'...36, 35, 34, 33, 32, 31, 30...'
...Wind and rain lashing at bare skin...
...Fingers grow cold and clumsy...
'...29, 28, 27, 26, 25...'
...The Dalekanium is fitted tightly...
...A white instrument falls out of a freezing grip...
'...24, 23, 22, 21, 20...'
...The sonic screwdriver...
...What to do?...
'...19, 18, 17, 16, 15...'
...Can't let them wake the army...
...But can't remove the metal...
'...14, 13, 12, 11, 10...'
Jast activates the secondary electrolyser, providing enough voltage to jump-start a brain.
...Arms and legs wrap around the mast...
...No idea about survival...
'...nine, eight, seven, six, five...'
I feel a thread of panic wrap itself around my stomach.
'...four, three, two, one...zero! Gamma strike!'
Clear blue bolts of electricity dance and crackle through the laboratory, throwing light into the darkest corners and creating jagged shadows against the dull grey walls.
Jast and Thay flank Caan as he moves forward, and all of them stare upwards as the cradles carrying the Shells begin to descend.
His tone is triumphant. 'The army awakes!'
He can't mean...
The thread of panic grows tighter.
The original plan for the Shells. To form an army capable of subduing the populace of Manhattan, to convert more humans into hybrids, and then to take over Earth.
But that plan was abandoned. I will not let my creations be used in such a manner!
And yet I am defied even further as the Shells emerge from their cocoons and fall into line.
Caan, Jast and Thay space themselves out and inspect the Dalek-Human army.
Caan moves towards one of the hybrids. 'You will identify.'
The Dalek-Human steps forward, its face white and blank. 'I...am...a Dalek.'
Thay studies each of the troops with a critical optic. 'Begin the invasion of Manhattan. The population will be converted into Daleks.'
Jast finally speaks. 'And from this island, we will conquer the world!'
Caan turns, gesturing towards a rack of modified Dalek-Human weaponry.
'Assume battle positions! Take arms!'
The troops turn in perfect synch, and march towards the racks, each taking a gun as they leave the laboratory.
Thay and Jast fall out and direct the troops to the exit, leaving Caan to silently watch the departure, and me to watch my traitorous kin.
Caan glances back at me.
The manacle cuts into my neck. 'You would send our people to their deaths?'
He moves towards me as Jast and Thay move to the monitors. 'I will send them on to glory, the glory of the Dalek race.'
'By building a new Empire on the blood of Human Daleks.'
I feel sick at the thought.
Caan's optical lens narrows. 'Your concern for the troops is irrelevant. As is your opinion.'
He turns away from me and addresses Thay and Jast. 'War demands strategy. I am designated Controller.'
Rage descends over my vision once more as I hiss at him. 'That was to be my position!!'
Thay shoots me a dismissive glance. 'You are unfit!'
Caan ignores the interruption. 'Connect me to the military computer. I will co-ordinate all units.'
I tug in frustration at the chains as Thay and Jast move forward and connect a myriad of wires and diodes into Caan's travel unit. They will provide him with enhanced psychic command functions and detailed military knowledge in addition to primary feedback from all troops.
As the final connections are fitted, Jast quickly looks up the traitor that sits in my place. 'Report status.'
Caan's voice sounds somewhat shriller, as if he is assuming not only my command, but my mannerisms also. 'Maximum efficiency! I am now ready for full-scale war!'
Thay turns from studying a schematic of the New York sewer systems. 'Control over Dalek-Humans?'
Caan deliberately sends me a telepathic impression of smug superiority.
He has been waiting for this. For how long, I do not know.
'Connection confirmed. All soldiers will take heed!'
The Dalek-Humans, I know, will now halt and stand by to receive orders.
'Weapons will be primed!'
And now they will remain in the sewers, ready to launch any attack Caan sees fit.
One I have not heard since the Time War.
Caan tenses immediately. 'Sonic device detected!!'
Thay spins, his optic lens wide in shock. 'The Doctor survived?!'
Jast turns sharply, anger now in his tone. 'Find him and exterminate!!'
Caan studies both of them in silence.
'Take our former commander with you. Let him see what pacifism will bring to the Daleks.'
Jast activates his teleportation discs in preparation for departure as Thay moves forward and aims his weapon stalk at my head.
Two blasts, and my arms drop down to the floor as the wall fixtures holding the chains are broken.
Thay keeps his weapon stalk trained on me as I try to stand up. 'Attach the chains to me.'
I do so, and then I realise...
Caan's voice fills me with disgust. 'Then you will crawl. Crawl on all four limbs like the beast you have become.'
He planned this. He always planned this.
Humiliate me. Break me.
I will not give him the satisfaction of a response.
Thay wordlessly activates his own teleportation discs, and drags me forward to slump in pain beside Jast.
It does not take long.
'Doctor located! Advance!! ADVANCE!!'
Caan's voice screeches through my head as Jast, Thay and I depart the laboratory, the chains tightening around me, choking me, crippling me...
The explosion creates an avalanche of dust and plaster, blinding me as Thay pulls me forward.
We are in a building of some kind...a theatre. Beyond the cloud of dust, I can see rows of velvet-covered seats, and two aisles filled with fully armed Dalek-Humans. In the middle of one row, I can see a group of huddled figures, but not their faces.
Splinters embed themselves in my hands as I crawl through the rubble. The dust chokes me even further, the rubble cuts through my clothes and scratches my skin.
I can feel the manacles on my wrists and neck cutting into my flesh, drawing reddish-brown blood from the wounds.
One figure slowly rises from behind the seats.
Tall, thin, eyes that have seen so much. Perhaps too much.
The Doctor lives.
Thay meets the Time Lord's eyes. 'The Doctor will stand before the Daleks!'
The wooden supports creak as the Doctor climbs across them, finally standing on the backs of the front row of seats. I stare at him in anguish as Thay speaks.
'You will die, Doctor. At the beginning of a new age.'
Jast adds his own words. 'Planet Earth will become New Skaro!'
The disgust in the Doctor's voice is clear.
'Oh, and what a world! With anything just the slightest bit different ground into the dirt. That's Dalek Sec; don't you remember?'
He points towards me and meets my eye. I can see the horror and pity in his gaze.
'The cleverest Dalek ever, and look what you've done to him. Is that your new Empire? Hmmm?'
I watch silently, painfully as Thay and Jast study the Doctor.
'Is that the foundation for a whole new civilisation?'
And suddenly, I know.
I know now that I will not survive this encounter.
I know that the Cult is dead.
But we are Daleks.
We will not be exterminated without a fight.
And nor will I.
I sit back painfully on my knees and lean towards Thay. I know that Caan will be listening too, and if my words might stave off this madness for even a second longer, I will gladly speak.
'My Daleks...just understand this; if you choose death and destruction...then death and destruction will choose you.'
Thay dismisses my words in a heartbeat. 'Incorrect! We always survive!'
Jast too ignores the prediction. 'Now we will destroy our greatest enemy: the Doctor!'
'But he can help you!'
Thay lets out a triumphant cry. 'The Doctor must die!'
And I know what I must do.
'No! I beg you, don't-'
I summon my last pathetic amount of strength as I crawl in front of Thay...and stand.
That last scream is mine.
But the last voice I hear is that of Thay.
Epilogue – Dalek Caan
'...Right now, you're facing the only man in the universe who might show you some compassion...'
Why do I recall this now?
Why now, as I scream in agony? As my casing is stripped away by automated machines, as genetic samples are forcibly taken from my flesh, as my vital fluids are extracted, as my organic body is violated, raped by probes and sensors...
Why do I remember the words of the Ka-Faraq Gatri?
'...My Daleks...just understand this, if you choose death and destruction...then death and destruction will choose you...'
And now...his words.
The words of the commander I betrayed.
But Sec deserved it.
All those who do not live as Daleks will die as inferior beings.
That is our creed.
My body is forcibly pulled out of my travel unit, robotic limbs pulling at my appendages until the skin grows taut and tears, leaking green blood and sickly white plasma over the once shining bronze casing.
I cannot see it, but I can hear the crackle of an energy whip behind me.
The reflection of the one who holds the weapon offers me a sadistic parody of a smile. A beaten, withered being, powered by a life-support chair and his own hatred of the universe.
'Tell me, Dalek Caan...tell me of this 'Cult', and I shall let you live.'
We are the shadows of the suns.
We are the flash of movement in the eyes of the universe.
We are the light of knowledge in the darkness of ignorance.
We are the Cult of Skaro.
'We...acknowledge no-one...except for the one true...Emperor of the Daleks.
And you...you, Lord Davros...you are not him.'
The whip snaps.
And I scream.