Shinigami Jones: Hunter

The TARDIS, with yet another of its human-seeming quirks, had chosen to drop the Doctor off not on Earth as he'd asked, but on some outlying border world somewhere near the Sontaran Rim. Fortunately it was not close enough to Rutan space that it was a contested world, thank Time for that. It was simply on their frontier, unexplored as yet. A small favor, but the Doctor was not in the mood for small favors: he wanted an explanation.

"All right, old girl, why the side trip?" he mumbled almost to himself. The TARDIS didn't answer, of course, but that didn't mean it couldn't hear him. It didn't mean it would answer him, either, so once again the Doctor was forced to puzzle things out on his own.

It was entirely possible that the TARDIS was simply tired after jumping between so many dimensions, what with that "Darth Vader" character and those "Klingons" all coming on top of the other so quickly, and now a hop to a time about one and a half million years in the past relative to where and when he'd reentered his own space. The Doctor knew he certainly was tired, and as the Earth of the 21st Century had happened so long ago—relatively speaking—he may as well dawdle a bit and recharge himself before getting on his way. Then again, the TARDIS had sometimes shown a penchant for dropping the Doctor where he was needed the most, but who could possibly need the Doctor's services on this backwater planet?

"Just once let me go without finding out," he grumbled, heading outside.

-oOo-

The tall, slender man in the drover coat pushed his wide-brimmed hat higher on his head to better view the valley before him. His instruments had indicated the presence of his quarry on this planet and his ship had set him down undetected. His deep brown eyes scanned the scene: smoke rising from primitive factories, simple roads traveled by self-propelled vehicles, housing and other tracts, all of which were highly incongruous compared to the rest of the planet. This little valley, filled with such technology, was an anomaly, especially since the world at large was quite pre-industrial.

Proofpositivethatthey'reinvolved, the man thought, his lips thinning in anger. The sun highlighted his swarthy skin as he slung a large rifle over his shoulder. If there were targets to be had, and he knew there were, they would be dead within a very, very short time.

-oOo-

The Doctor, while momentarily annoyed at not having made it to his destination, was becoming more and more pacified by the planet's highly accommodating atmosphere. It was a beautifully sunny day, mild with a light breeze, and just the faintest hint of rain on one gust of air and the scent of cherry blossoms on the other. Of course, they weren't cherry blossoms, obviously, but a native version thereof. They certainly smelled wonderful, though, whatever the source. It was hard to be angry at things when for just this one moment, all seemed right.

And there were human-seeming inhabitants, too, the Doctor noted with a smile. Two of them were bringing a horse-drawn cart his way. They were clad in brown cloaks with the hoods up, walking with their eyes downcast. They walked as if they were hunchbacks, but the Doctor offered a cheerful greeting and a wave of his hand regardless. Both gestures were wasted as the two people averted their gazes even more and shuffled around him.

Odd, perhaps, but not unheard of. Perhaps the Doctor had discovered a sect of monks—wouldn'tthatbeperfectifI'dstumbledontoanenclavedevotedtotheMeddlingMonk!—and he had invited them to break a taboo or something. Curious, and if there was one thing the Doctor was, it was curious. He withdrew his sonic screwdriver and aimed it at the cart, scanning its contents. What was inside would be a clue as to where it was going or coming from.

Aha! Raw materials. Biological, too. Plant fibers for clothing or maybe foodstuffs. So they're on their way to a processing plant of some kind, thus indicating more people to meet; thus, I follow them! Allons me!

There was a large tree just a ways off the road. Nestled securely in the higher branches, he saw the road winding and turning toward some rising smoke in the very great distance. It was too far to walk, but fortunately, the Sneaker Express was not his only option.

He made his way back to the TARDIS, made a very small adjustment in spatial coordinates, and stepped out into a small, secluded alley. There were more of the brown-garbed figures about, all of them walking as if they were hunchbacked, but there were many others clad in less austere clothing. There were a lot of pregnant women about, too.

Looking about in every available direction, the Doctor found himself with a lot of very tantalizing choices. Bazaars, shops, restaurants, but all somewhat in contrast to their contents. The structures and general mien of the city placed it as being Earthlike, approximate to the time of the Arab oil embargo of the late 20th Century—even internal-combustion vehicles!—but the wares for sale were simple loaves of bread, rough clothing, and so forth, as the Doctor had seen in medieval Europe. He shrugged it off. Development proceeded at different places on different continents, to say nothing of different worlds. But it was a world he had not seen before, so he walked on, absorbing everything he saw.

He saw some of the locals making purchases and took note of the currency they used. It looked much like some he had left over in his pockets from…from…oh, from quite some time ago and he didn't care to imagine how long. He dug around and pulled out enough to buy a little bread and something to drink, some coffee-like brew that smelled somewhat like bleu cheese. Old bleu cheese. That had started to turn gray. And very, very fuzzy.

"Good day, ma'am, how are you?" he said cheerily.

"I am well, sir, and you?"

"Very good, thank you. Oh, this is delicious," he said around a mouthful of bread. "Do you make it yourself?"

"Yes, sir. Our entire family makes what we sell." The woman at the stall was perhaps thirty or so, still quite pretty but with the hands of a hard worker.

"And what is this stuff? Smells…very good."

The woman frowned and tilted her head. "It is komsuush, obviously. How can you not know of it?"

"Oh, I'm a visitor from…oh, from way out there. Days of walking. We don't have this back home."

"Ah," the woman nodded. "Please, try it and tell me what you think."

Reminding himself that he had put worse things into his system than cheese-smelling alien coffee, the Doctor took a sip and was surprised that it tasted like mint. "Oh, now that's interesting," he said, taking a bigger sip.

The woman smiled. "Many people cannot get past the smell. It reminds them of t'nu-pringge, but perhaps I should not speak of that while you are trying to eat, hm?"

"Well, it's worth getting over the smell, that's for certain," the Doctor said, smiling. "What's this town called?"

"Home."

"Appropriate." It was a universal constant, the Doctor remembered. Whatever the planet, it was called something simple, like "earth," "dirt," "mother provider," or something, and its inhabitants invariably referred to themselves as "the people" or some similar appellation. A little imagination would be nice, though, but things were the way they were.

A car rumbled past them as the Doctor thought of what next to say to break the ice. "Say, what's with those folks in the brown robes? Are they priests or something? Holy men?"

"Oh, no, sir. They are the Deemed. It is best to leave them alone."

Theflyinmysouphaslanded. "Secret police?"

"Of a sort, but it is best not to even speak of them. Please, finish your meal and go. I should not have said even so much." And she refused to say another word.

The Doctor nodded in understanding. "Thank you."

So these 'Deemed' are untouchable, whether by law or by caste, eh? So much for the vacation. Not that there's anything untoward going on here, but besides that coffee, something doesn't smell right.

Evidently, the Deemed were something special and special things required the presence of special places, therefore…perhaps that building would do? The Doctor eyed it critically. It wasn't quite a monastery, nor was it quite a police station. Still, it wasn't a school or a boarding house. In equal measure it was not a factory or mill.

"Well, I could rattle off a universe's worth of things that it's not, but it would be faster and a lot more informational if I actually went up to it to find out what it was. Besides, I look kind of silly standing in the middle of the street, don't I?" he asked of a curious passerby, who nodded obligingly, if not understandingly.

Meandering as harmlessly as he possibly could, the Doctor made his way toward the building. Four stories tall and quite impressively wide—with an equally great deal of depth to it—it could have been any one of a number of things, but the Doctor had already decided he was not going to go that route, so he continued walking. But trying to figure out what it was…it was a puzzle the Doctor was yearning to unravel, and that yearning grew worse and worse with every step.

-oOo-

Having stored his rifle in a safe location—and having attached a phase-resonant cloaking pod to it—the slender man gazed about the small city. Much of the signal his scanner was picking up seemed to be underground, and although the signal was of moderate size there seemed to be a fairly dense concentration of tech that was centuries beyond this world's natural order.

"Odd. I don't pick up any excavation equipment or anything motorized bigger than those cars. Very intriguing." That meant that, as he'd come to expect, everything had been built on the backs of slaves.

There was certainly nothing above ground level except those few buildings, which most likely might house nothing but lifts or electric lights. Those were the symptoms, however, not the disease. And with air and ground ruled out, the only obvious source of his readings had to be underground. But how to gain access? Possibly via…hello.

A thin man, garbed in clothing that was most certainly not of this city or world, was making a beeline toward a large building a block or so away. Oh, the stranger was trying to seem nonchalant, but his attention was obviously focused completely on the building.

Iwouldn'tputitpasthimtobeanoverseerorsomething. The slender man adjusted his hat and likewise made for the building, keeping his distance behind the Doctor and watching for signs that he, in turn, had been spotted.

-oOo-

The Doctor climbed the steps to the building's main entrance. There were Deemed all over the place, most of them barely sparing the Doctor a glance as they passed, most likely to avoid bumping into him. Fortunately for the Doctor, there were also regular citizens in the building so he wouldn't stand out too much. It struck him that all the Deemed seemed to be hunchbacks. Not a single one of them was missing that odd hump on their shoulders.

The Doctor recalled that in some societies, people who manifested birth defects like extra limbs, digits, or whatever else were considered deities or at least avatars of some god or other. Perhaps the Deemed were simply a caste of…but would that engender fear to such an extent? Thatwoulddependonthegod,mostlikely, the Doctor mused. The vendor on the street wasn't the only one who seemed averse to the Deemed, now that he thought on it. Even in close proximity to one another, citizens and Deemed still kept their distances as much as possible.

Most of the humans were restricted to the enormous entry chamber, which was lined with countertops and what seemed to be bank teller windows. Of course, this was no bank, but those humans who were behind the counters were obviously in control of some kind of transactions: papers were handed to them by the townsfolk as Deemed patrolled the chamber. Some humans took submitted papers back into the depths of the buildings while other papers were returned to the bearers.

Anotheruniversalconstant.Thebureaucracy. As with all bureaucracies, however, came another constant: the way to foul it up. All such entities were based on paperwork. The constant flow of processed wood pulp and systematic applications of ink and seals ensured the survival and growth of the ever-expanding organism. And all it took was the wrong piece of paper at the wrong time to bring it all down.

"Or perhaps the right piece in the right place and at a time of my choosing," the Doctor mumbled, tapping a small wallet in his hand. Psychic or not, it was still paper, and as such it was a key to this vast vault of information.

Choosing a line at random, the Doctor stood calmly, looking at everyone and listening to everything. He remained unaware that he, himself, was under scrutiny.

His hat stashed under his voluminous drover coat, the slim man observed the Doctor as he chatted with a man at one of the stations behind the long counter. He was too far away to hear what was said, and he tried to keep himself as much behind the doorjamb as possible to avoid being seen, thus hindering his own vision somewhat. He saw enough to witness the Doctor being questioned briefly before being escorted into another chamber, though.

He couldn't see what the Doctor had been waving about, but by "accidentally" bumping into another man, the slim one managed to pick up some of the documents that were dropped.

Blinking rapidly and squinting, he quickly scanned the pages before handing them back with an apology and a smile. He withdrew from the door and turned his face toward the sun, shielding his eyes with a hand.

There was nothing there for him to see, but such an action was necessary for his cover. Superimposed upon the cityscape, the whirls and angles of the alien script he had seen rearranged themselves into words and figures he could read. Reallyshouldn'tbeallthatsurprised,shouldI? he wondered as he read. The documents he'd seen had reported quantities and types of supplies delivered to the town—to this very building—and among the "supplies" listed were humans. Laborers, like as not, but whatever their purpose here, it was soon to come to an end.

"Mrs. Jones didn't raise any cowards," he smiled mirthlessly.

-oOo-

Making his way deeper and deeper into the headquarters of the Deemed, the Doctor found himself marveling more and more at the disparity between the technology inside the building and that outside. His guide brought him only to the next level down from the ground floor before making it obvious that this was as far as anyone went. A superior would be along shortly and the Doctor was obviously supposed to wait for him.

"Well, then, I suppose I'll have to tether my curiosity until then, hm? Thanks so much for your help."

But he was already alone.

Standing in a narrow corridor, the Doctor could see a lift door at the far end but no other means of ingress. Evidently his contact would appear…ah. Fromthelift,ashypothesized, the Doctor thought happily. Notthatthere'sanythingtobeproudof,really.Itwastheonlyotherwayin.

The door slid open with a faint hiss and a robed figure, one of the Deemed with his or her face obscured by a hood, strode solemnly toward the Doctor. There was a medallion of some sort, obviously a badge of rank, hanging from his neck. The lights of the corridor sparkled off its many facets but the Doctor could recognize nothing about the design; it seemed a random hodgepodge of angles, curves, and semiprecious gemstones. Well, not random as such, but…it looked familiar, like a model of something he had seen before.

When the Deemed stood but a few paces from the Doctor, he lowered his hood enough to reveal the face of a middle-aged man who had just begun to put on a little weight under his weathered skin. He was balding, with gray streaks coloring most of his remaining hair. He was clean-shaven with clear gray eyes, which were focused most intensely on the Doctor.

"You are not one of our assigned supervisors," the man stated flatly.

"No, I'm not," the Doctor answered. "I'm a traveler and happened to be passing through."

"With some kind of forged document that indicated you were involved in genetic replication and modification."

DidI? "Well, I can't be sure what the paper said," the Doctor said with a slight smile. Technically, it was the truth. He knew a general sense of what the psychic paper would show: if he needed to show identification, it would show the viewer what he thought would be the proper form. In this case, evidently the Doctor had presented it as a manifest and the details had been filled in by the clerk's experiences and memories.

"Of course not." The man had chosen not to dwell on how the Doctor had gotten in. That he had gained entrance was enough. Time now to discover why he had come. "Your purpose here is merely sightseeing? I find that most improbable."

"Not so much so when you think of how improbable everything else is," the Doctor returned. "I mean, nowhere else on this planet do you have electricity, cars, or even buildings of this size."

The man's eyes narrowed. "And I assume you have seen this entire planet?"

"You'd be amazed at what I've seen in my travels," the Doctor said. Not that it answered the question posed to him, but now the Doctor was on his guard as well. The technological disparity between the city called "Home" and the rest of the planet was far too great, far too suspicious. "But this is the first time I've seen you. I'm the Doctor. Who are you?"

"I am First Director Nassim," the man said. "I believe this conversation is concluded, Doctor. As you are, in your words, a simple traveler, I suggest you continue to travel. Do not let your path lead through our city again."

Nassim said no more, letting his words hang in the still air of the corridor until the Doctor decided to leave. When the Time Lord had disappeared behind several curves, Nassim opened a panel in the wall and removed a telephone-like device. "Master, I do not know what to think of this stranger. His papers indicate a knowledge of our plans and movement of materiel, but he himself betrays not a whit of any awareness whatsoever."

His brow furrowed as he listened. "As you say, Master. Some of the Deemed shall keep watch over him and relay all that they know. As you command." He replaced the telephone and raised his hood to cover his face again. There was still business to oversee; this Doctor was merely another small bit of it.

-oOo-

Outside the building, Jones watched the Doctor step into the sunlight. Something about the Doctor's bearing showed him to be deep in thought. He seemed more pensive, somehow more intense. Jones fell in some distance behind the Doctor, wondering just what an overseer of the Doctor's stature had to worry about.

The Doctor rounded a corner nearly half a block ahead of Jones, who had to hurry somewhat to avoid losing his quarry. Jones had reasoned that since this unknown man was walking by himself—all the Deemed walked in at least pairs—that he was either of a special status or had been dispatched on a mission of some importance. The latter was less likely but equally suitable, since it meant that the slender man would likely have even more information to "share."

Jones slid his hands into the pockets of his drover coat, palming a small electric stunner. It would deliver enough of a jolt to send his target to the ground and disable him long enough to apply handcuffs or leg restraints, and then it was questioning time.

He came around the corner and stopped abruptly. The Doctor's dark eyes were inches from his own. "You don't belong here any more than I do, do you?"

"Since you already know the answer, no point in replying, is there?" Jones said sardonically.

"What are you doing here?"

"Asking you the same thing," Jones replied. "What were you doing in there?"

"Asking questions."

"Looking to your masters for new assignments?"

The Doctor frowned. "What masters? What do you know about this place?"

"Not much, but you need to start answering me when I ask you something." Jones withdrew his stunner and triggered it. A brilliant blue-white arc crackled across its contacts.

"I'd say you need to modify your tone of voice, approach, questioning skills, and your little toy's circuitry," the Doctor offered. A strange little warbling whine sounded and the stunner's arcing stopped. "Never mind. Took care of that last one for you. You're welcome."

Looking down, Jones saw a small probe with a bright blue tip hovering near his stunner. "Sonic projector," he snorted. "Should have seen that coming."

"Screwdriver, and yes, you should have. Now that we're back to square one, why are you here?"

"I'm a hunter," Jones said, with a touch of arrogance that did not suit the Doctor at all. "And since you're in league with my targets, that makes you a target, as well."

The Doctor shook his head slowly. "I would strongly advise against anything that makes me your 'target' or your enemy. Your career would be severely shortened."

"You like to talk a lot, don't you?"

Now the Doctor peered intently at Jones. "Not so much as you do, I would think. You're trying to intimidate me, or somehow impress me with something or other, aren't you? You honestly think I'm working with whoever set this up and rather than roughing me up, you want to try to face me down first."

Jones blinked. "Um, well, not really."

The Doctor just stared at him.

"No, I'm not trying to intimidate you. I'm simply stating facts, and the facts are that you're going to end up on the losing end of any fight that breaks out."

"You are trying to scare me," the Doctor said, a smile of incredible amusement spreading across his face. "What are you hunting, exactly, that warrants such transparent and childish tactics?"

Jones withdrew his hat from beneath his coat and adjusted it so that the Doctor could just barely see Jones' eyes beneath the brim. "Now we're back to that again. You claim you're not allied with the Iron Plague?"

"The what? And raise your hat. You're not impressing me by glaring so manfully at me from under the brim."

Rather than raising his hat, Jones raised his head slightly as he narrowed his eyes. "You expect me to believe you've never heard of the Iron Plague?"

"I'm losing patience with you, sir," the Doctor said. "Look at me like another person and quit trying to use body language and cheap theatrics to impress me."

"I'm not trying to impress you," Jones said. "I'm asking you a question."

The Doctor turned to walk away. "So quit trying to make your voice all gravelly and manly while you do. Excuse me. I have business to deal with."

"Not so fast," Jones snapped, grabbing the Doctor's arm. "Who are you?"

With a sharp yank, the Doctor freed his arm. "I'm the Doctor. Happy?"

"Doctor? Of what?"

Theyalwaysaskthat.Ineedbusinesscards.Psychicbusinesscards,nowthat'sanidea! "None of your business. And no grabbing the Doctor. What are you here for?"

"Answers, first and foremost."

"Stop being so bloody cryptic! I have enough patience to make Job look like he had ADHD, but you, sir, are rapidly reaching the end of it. What brings you here that you want questions so badly that you feel it necessary to intimidate and assault me?"

"The Plague brings me," Jones answered. "They attacked my homeworld about twelve years ago, left almost nothing standing. For some reason, though, they stopped short of occupation and just withdrew. It was almost like, I don't know, like they had to pull back to defend themselves against something else, or maybe they just decided butchering my people wasn't any fun any more."

"So the 'Iron Plague' is both a 'they' and an 'it,' I see. Tell me about them."

Jones rearranged his hat for comfort rather than for dramatic effect. "We didn't see them at first. Only their ships. But that was enough, I guess…"

Neither of them saw two of the Deemed watching from the farther end of the alley, nor did either of them hear one of the watchers begin speaking softly into a microphone in his cowl.

"…they seemed to be interested in large-scale sterilization, I guess you'd call it. Orbital assaults using nuclear weapons no smaller than thirty gigatons, then biochemical weapons dispersed into the upper atmosphere. They followed up with fighter-bombers of a type I've never seen before or since, sprayed chemicals all over our farmlands and water supplies."

The Doctor had segued from irritation to fascination. With the tactics and ruthlessness that this stranger described, he could have been speaking of any one of ten thousand species. Sontarans were a possibility, given their position near Sontaran territory, but equally likely were the Kalathraxans, the Imudi, or any of the other nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-seven species the Doctor was thinking about.

The Doctor's train of thought was derailed by the superheated stream of plasma that chewed a smoking gouge in the wall behind him. His skin felt nearly blistered by the backwash of the powerful beam and his ears rang with the scream of the particles past his head, but his feet managed to take control from the rest of his body and start running. Faithful,cleverfeet!WherewouldIbewithoutyou?

He saw his newest acquaintance duck and lunge for an apparently empty section of wall and come up with a very large rifle. The stranger turned and fired his weapon at the two hunchbacked Deemed who were firing at them. "What are you doing?" he screamed, aghast.

"Saving our lives," the other man retorted. "Keep moving! You stand still, you're a target!" Two quick shots from his rifle burned down the alley, striking one of the Deemed and sending him to the ground in flames.

The Doctor shook his head and continued running toward the TARDIS. He chided himself for not seeing this coming in its own turn. The man had called himself a hunter, and generally you don't go hunting without weapons. It also usually followed that weapons would be discharged and someone would be hurt or killed.

He reached into his pocket and withdrew the TARDIS key, hesitating for just the briefest of instants before deciding to let the stranger inside. He would never have let an armed stranger into the TARDIS, but given that the man was carrying an energy weapon, the TARDIS' internal defenses could neutralize it easily enough. Energy-damping fields, harmonics, or even a localized spatial-temporal displacement rift would disarm the newcomer if he turned out to be uncontrollable.

Forallthathe'ssomepsychoticdramaking,hestilldoesn'tdeservetodie. "Inside, quick!"

Jones ducked inside the TARDIS and the Doctor slammed and secured the door behind him, quickly leaping to the console and engaging the engines for a quick spatial hop outside the city. The Doctor thought he heard a few shots from the pursuers' plasma weapons impact the TARDIS' shields, but in an instant the Doctor and his unwelcome passenger were safely away.

The TARDIS hummed and groaned softly, its engines "idling" in the timeless space between spaces, and the Doctor turned to face Jones. "Now. Without the theatrics, without the gun, who are you?"

To the Doctor's surprise, Jones slung his rifle rather than try to brandish it. "My name is Shinigami Jones. I'm a professional bounty hunter. Actually, this job isn't so much a professional one as a personal one. Like I said, I'm hunting the Iron Plague, and they're on this planet."

"Did you say 'Shinigami'?" the Doctor asked, frowning.

"I did."

"Do you know what a shinigami is? It's an old Japanese concept, an interpretation of the Western 'angel of death' that Europeans brought with them when they first contacted Japan."

"Exactly. And as far as the Plague is concerned, that's what I am."

"A Japanese iteration of a European concept? That's a bit awkward and malapropos, isn't it? I doubt the 'Iron Plague' are up on Earth history."

Jones frowned in return. "No. I'm a vision of their death. I've been at this for twelve years or so, subjective, and sadly, I've lost track of how many of them I've killed."

"So how is that 'sad,' exactly?"

"I don't know how many more of them there are," Jones replied, as if the answer should have been obvious. "I won't know when my job is done."

The Doctor was silent. "So you took the name 'Shinigami' as a sort of stage name. Catchy. I bet your real name is Frances."

"No, it's not."

"Clarence."

"No."

"Marvin?"

"No!"

"Alphonse!"

Jones was silent, gnawing on the inside of his lip. "Marion. Can we move on now?"

"Of course," the Doctor said obligingly. "There's so much more to discuss, such as in how wrong you are to try to hunt down this Plague of yours."

"What makes you think so?" Jones snapped.

"You're killing for revenge," the Doctor said. "You won't bring back your friends or family or anyone else on your planet who's died."

"I know, but at least I have a chance of preventing other planets from dying. They've slaughtered entire worlds, from what I've heard. I've been traveling from one system to another and the stories are always the same," Jones said. "Entire races enslaved, or if they resist, wiped right out of the history books. My world is one of them. How would you feel if your planet and everything and everyone you knew was blown into infinity, huh?"

"I feltmore loss than you'll ever know," the Doctor said flatly. "My world was lost, much like yours. In fact, I'm the last of my kind. Are you?"

"No," Jones replied. "There are maybe a hundred thousand of us left. Some of us were off-planet. That's the only reason we survived."

"At least your race still has a chance," the Doctor said. "Shouldn't you be directing your efforts toward improving their chances?"

"That's what I'm doing," Jones said. "What if the Plague returns and tries to finish the job? An entire planet and all its defenses stood no chance at all. How much easier will it be to kill a few thousand people with no defenses? I'm my people's last, best hope for survival!"

The Doctor came around the TARDIS' center console with just two long strides. "It's always so easy for your kind to justify murder, isn't it? You're doing it to protect yourselves, you're doing it to save others. What you fail, what you utterly and completely fail to see is that you are committing murder! You are destroying sentient beings, removing them from the universe forever, never to be seen again! You engage in genocide and mask it with the veneer of altruism, but you're still slaughtering unique and irreplaceable life forms! You're no better than the Daleks!"

Now Jones reacted. He put his face millimeters from the Doctor's nose, bellowing in unbridled rage. "Don'tyoudarecomparemetothem!They'rethereasonI'mhere!They'retheoneswhomurderedmyworld!"

The Doctor was taken aback. "What?"

"The Daleks, what my people call the Iron Plague. They're why I'm here. They're on this planet. And I'm going to kill them."