AN: Ack, here come the slow updates again. . Here is probably the most angsty chapter I have ever tried writing. Or, more accurately, a part of it. Caan's just not having any luck in this story...
Both the Doctor and Martha left the console room and headed for Caan's cell. The information from the camera had been very poor and as they entered the room they realised just how bad the situation was. The Doctor's eyes widened in shock as he realised that both the travel unit and the life support had failed on Caan. His weak confined cries could barely be heard through the machine's thick metal armour.
What made it worse was that without power it was going to be extremely hard to get Caan out of his casing in order to help him. Despite knowing this he tried to use the sonic screwdriver to open the shoulders anyway, but without power the machine refused to open that way.
"What do you reckon?" Martha asked him unhelpfully.
The Doctor did not answer, instead he walked over to the Dalek unit and felt under the dome for a catch.
"There should be some kind of latch under the dome for manual entry," he said, "but it's really difficult to find."
Caan's screaming continued like a muffled alarm clock.
"How long do you think he's been trapped like this?" Martha ambled over and attempted to help him locate the latch. "God! His screams are annoying." She tapped on the dome and yelled into it, "will you shut up! We're here now and we're trying to get you out. So will you give us some peace to work?"
The Doctor shook his head. "There's no point, Martha. The Daleks have poor hearing and eyesight. He won't know we're here."
"Well despite that, they've got some set of lungs on them." Martha said disdainfully.
He ignored her comment and continued to pry around the machine's head for the latch and eventually found it. Carefully, he pushed it up and lifted the dome off its hinges.
"You found it!" Martha exclaimed, relief edging into her voice.
"Yep. But now we've got to remove all this junk before we can get to him." He indicated to the mass of wires and circuitry that had been placed just below the dome. "In the past this is where the mutants were kept. Not the flipping computer."
He sighed and used the sonic screwdriver in a more traditional way. Unscrewing. There were a ridiculous number of screws and chipboards and in the end he didn't know what to do with them all. Were they even needed? He asked himself. The image of a green squid-like creature strangling him to death because he had cannibalised parts of his unit came to mind and prevented him from even trying to lose a single screw.
Caan's shrieks were becoming sharper and much more irritating now. The Doctor was hoping that he might just get a sore throat from all the yelling and finally stop. But the Dalek did no such thing.
They removed the last layer of circuitry and found that despite the racket Caan was making, he was not thrashing around like the Doctor half expected him to be doing. He was just curled up and shivering on the platform he sat on, tentacles wrapped around each other as if he was cold. His breathing was terribly laboured.
"What now?" Martha asked. Her arms were folded indignantly; she had not had any part in the proceedings yet and was probably waiting for an instruction.
The Doctor shrugged before reaching inside the machine. He paused just as his fingers were centimetres from touching Caan's flesh and considered how fast he should be. He knew the creature was awake, scared and very likely to bite. Bite was probably an understatement. But on the other hand Caan was not exactly well enough to put up much of a fight.
Finally making his mind up, he grabbed the Dalek by the scruff and hoisted him up so his sharp teeth could not reach his arm, or any other part of his body for that matter. To the Doctor's amazement Caan went completely limp and silent as if allowing him to remove him from the safety of his armour.
He lifted the near-lifeless form from the machine. He could feel Caan's weight was probably a little lighter then what should probably be normal, but his weight wasn't the highest priority at the moment.
Long cables and tubes jutted out from the mutant's spine and trailed their way back inside the dead machine. It was rather disgusting to view them, boring deep into the creature. This was not how life was supposed to live – attached to life support and seeing through a virtual environment.
He repositioned his grip on him, trying to find one that would be easier to work. Caan then, oddly enough, tried to bury his head in the Doctor's suit as if he was seeking the warmth, or the dark, and hopefully not something to bite, scratch or maul.
The Doctor turned to Martha. "Take them out," he said, indicating the ugly tubes and wires protruding from the Dalek's back with a brief flick of his head.
Martha hesitated. "What are you going to do with him?" she asked.
"Take him to the infirmary," he said simply. "He won't survive otherwise. He needs radiation, I'm sure something in there will work on him."
"Why don't you-" She started, but the Doctor interrupted her, sensing her question.
"He's beyond the travel unit's current capabilities of healing him. It's why he's been rejected. There's no point in trying to fix it at the moment; he needs treatment now, after that then I'll re-configure this beast." His head jerked towards the empty shell.
Martha sighed and examined the tubes. "It goes really deep from the looks of it." She placed her hands carefully on one of the tubes and tugged gently. Caan squirmed and yelped uncomfortably. The Doctor had to tighten his grasp on his neck to stop him from struggling.
A small pained gasp from Caan indicated that Martha had removed the first of the cables. The Doctor had not expected it to hurt so much and looked down at Martha's handiwork. Of all the things he expected to see, he did not think he would find an inflamed pus-filled wound. Caan groaned further as the next cable was removed, spraying both Martha and the Doctor with filthy green blood. Each removal brought a more aggravated noise from him each time and revealed an even worse infection.
All the tubes had been removed, leaving his back looking like a battlefield of torn skin, metallic implants, pus, blood and to add to that, the smell of decay. Even Martha, who was relatively used to seeing horrible wounds, looked utterly revolted.
"Doctor, he's really sick." She said, eyeing the Dalek's ravaged spine. "I don't think he'd survive even if you tried to save him. You'd only prolong death. And it would be a painful one."
The Doctor was startled by her words and gaped. Caan had passed out and was deathly limp in his arms. The rise and fall of his crudely shaped torso was irregular and shallow as he struggled to breathe.
Despite hating the creature, he could not help but feel guilty. There was many a time when he might have had the chance to change the Dalek race, or to destroy them; Caan might have been born differently if only he had not failed.
Just touch these two strands together…
His hand closed around Caan's neck. Martha watched him with a non-judgemental expression. Oh how this paralleled with his chance to destroy them at their point of creation. He could almost hear Sarah Jane's words calling out to him, supporting him with his task.
And the Daleks are finished…
He increased the pressure in his fingers. Just slightly. It was fair, wasn't it? He was ill. He did not have much to live for, at least, not in his own opinion anyway. Caan probably thought differently.
To break his neck or not?
To finish off the last of an intelligent species.
To commit murder.
The end of the Time War was mere seconds from becoming a reality again. He had the advantage. All of those years of suffering could end in one brief movement. But would not a different pain arise if he did end the last Dalek's life?
Have I that right?
Sometimes he understood why the Daleks had removed the ability to feel guilt. His hand slackened.
"I can't." He said weakly. And stroked the top of Caan's fragile head gently with a single finger. He glanced at Martha and looked her in the eyes, "I can't do it. I can't. I'm not a killer. I don't want to be one."
Martha smiled softly at him. "That's OK. I wouldn't have been able to do it either. Maybe there's a chance for him. I mean he's not human, I can't really judge." He couldn't really tell but there seemed to be a glint in her eyes that suggested she was glad with his decision.
Her eyes started to trail over Caan's dilapidated form, analysing every little detail. She placed her palm on his head and a confused look spread over her face, but she shook it off and looked back at the Doctor.
"So is my patient going to get a bed then?" she asked.
The Doctor smirked slightly, "follow me, Martha Jones." He turned and left the room, almost tripping over Caan's long tentacles.
"So what are you doing now?" Martha asked the Doctor curiously, her eyes following him around the room.
He was running around with an IV bag in his mouth whilst he played around with some dangerous chemicals, looking highly ridiculous in the process.
"I'm unna oo ome aioioope n a if ing," he mumbled.
Martha blinked. She knew the first words were, 'I'm gunna' but as for the rest she was a little unsure. "What?" she finally asked.
The Doctor rolled his eyes and took the bag out of his mouth. "I'm gunna put some radioisotopes in the IV thing." He said it like it was the most obvious thing in the world. It was now Martha's turn to roll her eyes. The Doctor really could be so condescending at times.
She returned her attention back to Caan. They had laid him on bubble wrap in an attempt to keep him warm but he still felt a little bit cold to the touch. He did not wake as she started to clean away the worst of the dirt, which she was glad about; she didn't want to break her record for having not received a bite from a patient yet.
It was a disgusting job, and it wasn't made any easier by the Doctor barging in on her work every now and then, and injecting all sorts of toxic-looking things into the Dalek.
"What are you doing now?" Martha hissed, at the sight of the Doctor pushing the IV tube into one of Caan's tentacles. "Didn't you check for a vein?"
The Doctor looked up at her innocently. "Of course I did."
"I didn't see you," she said in an accusing voice.
"Oh, don't worry!" he said. "I'm pretty familiar with their biology. Look!" He squeezed the tip of one of Caan's other tentacles, causing it to ripple away from him. "Reaction number one. Whilst if I squeeze here…"
The Doctor then proceeded to take one of Caan's large bat-like ears and folded it inside out. Nothing happened again. The Doctor now just seemed to be fooling around. Martha slapped his hand away from the Dalek before it got a bit too adventurous over the creature's anatomy.
"I know you don't like him, and neither do I, but have a little bit of respect," she growled and returned to sterilising Caan's back.
"Haven't you ever wondered…" he started.
"Wondered what?" she asked, thinking she knew what he was going to ask but hoping he was not going to say it. He really was like a little boy sometimes. Did not he just tell her he was familiar with them?
"You know. If they have…oh, never mind."
And she tried her hardest not to remember.
Once she was happy enough with the cleanliness of Caan's infection she moved on to wrapping him up in bandages and blankets.
"You should go to bed now." The Doctor said when she had finished. "I can watch over him. I know you humans need ridiculous amounts of sleep."
Martha smirked at him. "Fine. But don't disturb him, I think he probably needs more sleep than me at the moment."
She was not sure whether or not to be irritated by his mischievous grin. That expression on his face could mean anything from doing as she asked, to completely disobeying her. Deciding to ignore his expression, she turned to leave.
"Don't forget Falazi." The Doctor called out cheerfully.
Martha gave a small grin as soon as she realised that he was talking of the book. "Of course not."
Humans really were boring when they were tired. And they got grouchy too. He didn't have any company for tonight except a lifeless squid-like creature, who really shouldn't have had to sleep so much in the past few days.
Caan was worse then Martha, he observed. He felt like prodding him awake just to amuse himself but thought the better of it. It had been him that suggested in helping the Dalek after all, and preventing him from sleeping and recovering did not seem like the place to start.
The Doctor gazed around the room looking for something to do. There were very few entertaining things to do in an infirmary. Even the walls emitted a sense of boredom with their dull, but hygienic, white colour. Maybe he should have redecorated in here as well when he last changed the design of the console room.
What he really wanted to do was go to Tressta and eat some of its lovely ice cream. Unfortunately, that was not an option at the moment and so he was forced to look somewhere else to entertain himself rather then go off on a wander.
He found some entertainment hiding in the far corner of the room. A radio. He couldn't remember why it was there but he had a sneaking suspicion it was to do with an experiment he had tried on a couple of metal-loving flowers a few years back. The Doctor wandered over and took a last look around the room before turning it on. Soft music started to play and he drummed his fingers on the table. But this didn't fit the mood he was in and he turned the dial, browsing for something more energetic or classical.
Five minutes later and he was mouthing the words to a popular song in the Shapley-Ames 5 Galaxy. It was like a cross between a few bands on Earth, and title was translated as 'The Holy Horse'. The more primitive worlds called it 'a mess', whilst the older civilisations called it 'noise pollution'. The in-between races, which tended to be located nearer the centre of the universe, seemed to have a more open-minded look on things and actually liked that type of music. They called it 'a realistic interpretation of life in general'. The Doctor still didn't quite understand what the central races meant by this, but either way, he liked it. He had heard much worse after all.
Ten minutes later and he was practically bellowing the words into the end of a discarded stethoscope. He was not only singing, but dancing as well. Or at least he was trying to dance; he had never learnt any of the moves to individual songs, and his one attempt at the 'moonwalk' had gone so wrong he swore never to attempt it again.
When the song ended he found his foot was on one of the chairs and his arms were up in the air. He slowly lowered his arms and blushed for no particular reason. He was glad no one had seen that. He would have made such a fool of himself, especially when he almost tripped over a set of stray cables running along the ground.
The Doctor put the stethoscope back in the drawers and sat down in order to recover both physically and mentally from all the exercise he had done in the past 24 hours.
On the edge of his vision a pair of amber eyes blinked at him. He blinked back. Someone had seen him making a fool of himself. The Doctor felt his face go very hot. Caan must have woken up with the amount of noise he was making.
How embarrassed should he be? He thought to himself. Caan was only a Dalek; it was not like he would find any amusement in his actions. Although, he mused, Caan could hold his antics against him.
Caan's face contorted into something very nasty. The Doctor was surprised he even had the capacity to look any uglier then what he already did and his eyes widened in horror.
It was only after Caan had rolled over onto his side to go back to sleep that the Doctor realised that the Dalek had been grinning at him, or rather, sneering.
Which possibly meant that Caan did find his awful singing and dancing amusing after all.
Either that or he was so intoxicated with drugs that it was beginning to affect him in unusual ways.
He didn't particularly care what Caan thought but his face reddened even further anyway.
In the first chapter of the Falazi series Martha learned quite a lot, or possibly lost a lot. In fact, the first page gave up a lot of information, so much information it pushed away quite a bit of her knowledge.
Co-ordinates were hard things to understand, at least when travelling in space they were. The longitude and latitude on Earth was relatively difficult, and that was only one planet. What happened when a solar system was added? And then a galaxy? And then the relative position in the universe? Not only that but things moved; the universe expanded, planets spun and galaxies danced around each other. How exactly were you supposed to give your position?
And what if you were a time traveller? The 3-Dimensional world was complicated enough never mind adding a date to it as well.
All in all, Martha had gone from having a rough idea of where she was in the universe, to having no idea at all. She blinked at the next page. Which only had one line on it. Well, ok. It spanned a few lines, but it still all seemed to belong in the same sentence.
Although sentence probably was not the right word to use, a small footnote at the bottom of the page told her that the garbled mess of numbers, symbols and letters was without a doubt the most stupid co-ordinate ever given. And due to nobody being able to understand it they decided the place did not exist and hence marked it outside the universe.
Martha snapped the book shut, thinking that she should just stick to medicine. She would leave navigation up to the Doctor, although sometimes she had sneaking suspicions that even he did not know where they were going at times.
Oh well, she thought, they seemed to manage fine nonetheless. She switched the bedside light off and gazed up into the darkness. There were no windows and her eyes never got used to the dark, and she was never sure whether that was a good thing or not.
Somewhere on the edge of the twisting galaxy, something rotated. Shifted. Its unbelievably complex systems were contained within a mere few meters cubed and it gazed at its target with ancient sensors that operated satisfactory despite all the fire it had to survive through.
Its target hovered between the small mechanical planet and the large wornhole-like occurrence, commonly known as 'the time vortex'. The ship waited for its target, its aged engines purred unwearyingly. It would not be long now before its master was satisfied…
Dalek Avion – The flu… evil grin maybe it is. And maybe it's not. Most likely not. :P And to answer your question. Yes I am. It looks like you've found me there though. :)