Chapter 4, Last of the Daleks

The climb down the scaffolding was even more difficult than the ascent, Rose found. The freezing rain and the howling wind, not to mention their close call with the lightning, were not exactly helpful.

At long last, she and the Doctor were safely back on the top floor. Rose swatted the Doctor's hand away with a smile as he tried ineffectually to pull the sonic screwdriver from her jeans pocket.

The smile disappeared from her face, however, when she saw that Lazlo had gone. "Lazlo?" she called.

Just as she spotted him further in the room, the Doctor said, "the lift."

To her horror, Rose saw that the doors had somehow closed. She glanced to the counter as they ran to Lazlo, noticing it was climbing up past floor eighty-five.

"Stay back, both of you," Lazlo gasped as they neared. "If they send pig slaves, they're trained to kill."

"Lazlo--" the Doctor tried, but Lazlo cut him off.

"You said it yourself, Doctor. You can't undo what the Daleks have done." To them or to Lazlo, thought Rose. He'd heard. "They're savages," he went on. "I should know. They're trained to slit your throat with their bare teeth."

Despite the chill wind from the storm outside, Rose could see Lazlo sweating, straining to stay upright.

The lift bell dinged. "Get back," Lazlo told them once more, leveling his Dalek-made weapon at the doors.

Before Rose could argue, the Doctor pulled her around behind the pillar.

It seemed Lazlo had been right about the Daleks sending pig-men. Their squeals quickly turned to screams as Lazlo fired.

Almost as soon as the battle had begun, it seemed it was over. The three of them were still alive, as silence fell.

But into that silence, a cold voice spoke.

"The Doc-tor and the wo-man will stand be-fore the Da-leks."

So, not just pig slaves, thought Rose.

She couldn't help a bit of cheek as she summoned her courage and stepped forward beside the Doctor. "It's not 'the woman', it's 'Rose', thanks," she said.

Two Daleks appeared, gliding out of the lift, driving Dalek Sec before them, chained and walking on all fours.

The Dalek on the right looked at her and said, "The Rose will be si-lent." Well, at least they listen. "You both will die," it continued. "It is the be-gin-ning of a new age."

"Pla-net earth will be-come New Ska-ro," the Dalek on the left declared.

"Oh, and what a world," the Doctor replied. "With anything just the slightest bit different ground into the dirt," he practically spat. He pointed at the hybrid Dalek on the floor in front of them. "That's Dalek Sec," he said. "Don't you remember? The cleverest Dalek ever, and look what you've done to him. Is that your new empire? Hmm? Is that the foundation for a whole new civilization?"

Sec himself kneeled upright, addressing his captors. "My Daleks, just understand this. If you choose death and destruction, then death and destruction will choose you."

"In-cor-rect," said the first Dalek. "We will al-ways sur-vive."

"Now," the second Dalek announced, "we will de-stroy our great-est en-e-my, the Doc-tor."

Rose glanced at the Doctor, grasping his hand. She looked quickly to Lazlo. He still held the gun, but they and Sec were between Lazlo and the Daleks.

Sec pleaded with the Daleks. "But he can help you."

"The Doc-tor must die," the first Dalek agreed, as both aimed their weapons at him.

"No, I beg you, don't," said Sec.

He stood, just as the second Dalek cried, "Ex-ter-min-ate!"

Sec fell dead at their feet.

"Your own leader!" the Doctor chastised them, taking the opportunity to pull Rose back a few paces. "The only creature who might have led you out of the darkness and you destroyed him."

Rose watched them re-train their weapons on him, ignoring his protests. "Ex-term--" began the first Dalek, but then it suddenly exploded.

The Doctor had pulled Rose back far enough to give Lazlo a clear shot.

As the second Dalek swiveled to face Lazlo, it too was destroyed.

The Doctor moved quickly forward to Sec, but hung his head as soon as he touched him.

Rose stepped over to Lazlo, who let his gun fall to his side. "Only two of the Daleks have been destroyed," Lazlo said as she stooped beside him. "One of the Dalek masters must still be alive."

The Doctor stood, but didn't turn towards them as he replied, "Oh, yes. In the whole universe, just one."

Rose watched the Doctor until he snapped out of his thoughts and moved over to her and Lazlo.

"How're you doing?" the Doctor asked him.

"We're alive," Lazlo said.

Rose nodded. "Thanks to you, again." She turned to the Doctor. "But he's still burnin' up," she said.

The Doctor hesitated just a moment, before reaching out to help pull Lazlo to his feet. "First things first," he said, leading the way to the lift. "Going down."

--

The Doctor thought things over from a thousand different angles as the lift descended. Rose's eyes didn't leave him, but he was grateful that she kept silent.

One part of his mind rejoiced over the thought, two more down, one to go. The last of the Daleks. The real end of the Time War.

But he'd thought so before.

Still, what choice did he have? The others weren't convinced, even by Dalek Sec.

He looked briefly at the gun, now slung over Rose's shoulder as she supported Lazlo.

The last of the Daleks. The last of its kind, just as the Doctor was the last of his own.

As the lift came to a halt, he met Rose's eyes. She made to unsling the gun, but he shook his head. He turned as the lift doors opened, and strode out into the basement cavern.

He had to give it a chance.

--

Rose helped Lazlo discretely follow the Doctor. When they caught up to him, keeping hidden behind the machinery, Rose saw an all too familiar sight. The Doctor was standing, unarmed, before a Dalek with its weapon aimed at him.

"Dalek Caan," she heard the Doctor saying. "Your entire species has been wiped out. And now the Cult of Skaro has been eradicated. Leaving only you. Right now you're facing the only man in the universe who might show you some compassion."

Rose couldn't help the mental comparison between this Doctor and the one in the underground alien museum . . . how long ago, now?

"'Cause I've just stopped one attempted genocide," he continued. "I won't cause another. Caan…let me help you. What do you say?

Its only response was, "E-mer-gen-cy Tem-por-al Shift!" as it disappeared from sight.

Before Rose could say a word to the Doctor, Lazlo collapsed against her side. She helped him down to the floor. "Doctor!" she called, noticing Lazlo's rapid, shallow breathing. His eyes were closed tightly as if he were in pain.

The Doctor came quickly to her side, reaching out a hand to Lazlo's neck. "Pulse is racing," he said.

"It's time," Lazlo managed between wheezing breaths. "None of the slaves . . . survive for long," he panted. "I was lucky. Held on . . . for Tallulah. But now . . . she's safe."

Rose shook her head. "You're not dyin'," she told him. "Not now, after all this." She looked up at the Doctor, hoping he could prove her right. He was staring, unseeing at Lazlo. "Doctor, can't you do somethin'?" she asked.

He seemed to snap back to the present, and stood, taking off his overcoat. "Oh, Rose, just you watch me. What do I need? Oh, I don't know. How about a great big genetic laboratory? Oh look, I've got one," he said, looking around at the equipment.

"Lazlo, just you hold on," he said, as he began to run about the lab, already mixing up a solution. "There've been too many deaths today," he said as he worked. "Way too many people have died. Brand new creatures and age-old enemies. And I'm tellin' you, I'm tellin' you right now, I am not having one more death! Got that? Not one!"

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a stethoscope.

"The Doctor is in."

--

For probably the first time since she had begun her internship, Martha Jones was glad of the ridiculously long hours she'd had to pull in the hospital. It was dawn, and she was only just now finishing up with the last of the less seriously injured Hooverville residents.

As she tied the bandage around the man's hand, she could hear some sort of commotion from outside the tent. Suddenly, Tallulah's head appeared at the entrance.

"They're here!" Tallulah said. "The Doctor's back!"

She vanished as quickly as she'd come.

Martha followed her patient out of the tent, and then looked around to see where Tallulah had gone. She joined her beside the fire, watching as the Doctor, Rose, and a third individual in an overcoat and hat approached.

"Lazlo?" Tallulah breathed. Then, with a shouted, "Lazlo!" she ran forward and embraced the man beside the Doctor.

Martha smiled, but instead of running up to greet the newcomers, she sat heavily on a crate and waited for them.

--

Solomon shook Lazlo's hand, welcoming him to Hooverville. "We'll give you a home, Lazlo," Solomon told him. "I mean, don't imagine people ain't gonna stare," he added, but Lazlo just chuckled. "I can't promise you'll be at peace but, in the end, that is what Hooverville is for, people who ain't got nowhere else."

"Thank you," Lazlo told him, his arm around Tallulah's waist. "I--I can't thank you enough."

He turned to Martha, Rose, and the Doctor.

"And thank you," Lazlo told them. "We'll never forget you."

--

Rose and the Doctor filled Martha in on all that had happened with the Daleks in her absence as they took the ferry back to Liberty Island.

"I'm sorry," Martha said, as the ferry landed and they stepped ashore.

"What for?" asked the Doctor.

"That the Dalek got away," she said. "I know what that means to you."

He just shrugged as they walked towards the TARDIS.

They stopped to get one last look at the Manhattan skyline. Martha asked, "Do you reckon it's gonna work, those two? Lazlo an' Tallulah?" The Doctor had explained how he'd only managed to extend Lazlo's life, but that the half-pig transformation was permanent.

"I don't know," he answered, lightly. "Anywhere else in the universe, I might worry about them, but New York, that's what this city's good at," he said, gesturing towards the city with his and Rose's joined hands. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, and maybe the odd pig-slave-Dalek-mutant-hybrid too."

They all laughed.

"Pig-slave-Dalek-mutant-hybrid, huh?" asked Rose.

"The pig and the showgirl," Martha mused.

"The pig and the showgirl," the Doctor replied, smiling.

Those two are just too cute, Martha thought, watching him and Rose standing in the ocean breeze, gently swinging their hands between them, their pretend wedding rings glinting in the sun. "Just proves it, I suppose" she offered. "There's someone for everyone."

"Maybe," the Doctor answered, leading them back to the TARDIS with a grin.

--

The end.

More to come in "The Lazarus Experiment".