(Author's Note: This story is light on descriptive detail, it assumes you've seen the episode and can fill in the descriptions from that. If you have not seen the episode yet and don't want to be spoiled, don't read this. This is, hopefully, an exercise in how only small editing changes can make a big difference. This is what the story might have been like with a few more edits.)
Asylum of the Daleks REVISED
"First there were the Daleks." We fly in across a devastated alien city, the camera pans up and up, across the huge statue of a Dalek, old, battered, moldering.
"And then, there was a man who fought them." A woman's voice narrates. "And then, in time, he died." We close in on the Dalek eyestalk. "There are a few, of course, who believe this man somehow survived. And that, one day, he will return." A hooded woman stands behind the lens of the Dalek eye. "For both our sakes, dearest Hannah, we must hope these stories are true."
Within the statue's eyestalk, the woman hears a noise, she turns. Her feet are dirty, in broken sandals. A shadow on the wall...
"I got your message," the Doctor says. "Not many people can do that. Send me messages."
"I have a daughter," she says pleadingly. "She's in a Dalek prison camp. They say you can help."
"Do they?" he says quietly. "I wish they'd stop.
"I love your choice of meeting place," he says morosely, going to the window.
"They said I'd have to entreat you," she says behind him.
"Skaro," he says, looking out over the broken city. "Another planet of the Daleks. Broken and subjected."
He turns. "Who told you about me?"
"Does it matter?" she asks.
"Maybe not," he says quietly, intensely. "But you're very well informed." He reaches up and pulls her hood down. Revealing a woman, red hair, worried expression, dressed in ragged clothes.
"If Hannah's in a Dalek prison camp, tell me, why aren't you?" he turns, disbelief in his voice.
He laughs, softly, sinister. "No. Nobody escapes the Dalek camps." He takes her hand, brushing his thumb across it. "You're very cold." He touches her cheek, she moves her head away. His eyes become worried. He looks around.
"What's wrong?" she asks.
He backs away from her. "It's a trap."
"What is?" she asks, stalking closer.
"You are." He backs off, eyes locked on her. "And you don't even know it."
She stares at him. Her eyes glow blue. The pupils as blue as a Dalek eyestalk, the irises black as metal, with tiny Dalek vanes around the edges. Her expression changes, dropping the worried mother, becoming calm and triumphant. Arrogant.
Her hand comes up. A Dalek gunstick emerges from her palm. She shoots.
Extermination noise, a bright flash of light throws the Doctor backward, he screams, the screen goes black.
Loud, raucous music, Amy appears, her hair in curls, heavy makeup, one fist comes up to the screen, HATE written on the knuckles. The other fist comes up, showing LOVE.
Lightbulbs flash. Big jewelry, a woman blowing a hairdryer at her, blowing her hair while a photographer snaps photos. Costume change, black leather and studs, black eyeliner. Amy doesn't look happy. Just doing her job.
A secretary comes up, waving for attention.
She nods to the photographers. "I'll just be a minute." She slides down the banister.
"Your husband is here," the secretary says.
She sashays off, annoyed, "I don't have a husband."
"Oh, well, apparently you still do," the secretary says with a nervous laugh, smiling at her.
She leaves him behind and walks into her dressing room, to find Rory sitting at her makeup table. He looks at her in the mirror, disgusted. He holds up a sheaf of papers.
"You have to sign these."
She stalks over and grabs them. "And then we're not married?" she demands.
He throws his hand up. "Just like magic."
She signs them, signing her legal name, Amelia Williams. Dotting the i with a decisive stroke.
She hands them back. "Can't chat," she brushes him off. "Working."
"Really?" he accepts the divorce papers. "I thought you were just pouting at a camera." He gets up and leaves. Both of them angry.
Just as he reaches the door, Amy falters, "Rory?" she entreats.
He holds his hands up in an, "I don't want to hear it," gesture and detours around her makeup artist who's just walked in.
A light on the mirror starts to flicker.
"Sorry, love, was I interrupting?" the makeup woman asks.
Amy shakes her head, "No," resigned.
"Gosh, look at you, you look so pale," she cups Amy's cheek. "Come on, take a seat, we'll soon sort that out." Amy sits down. The light continues to flicker.
Amy hears a wet, crunching noise behind her, senses something wrong, she turns, the light flickers, a Dalek gunstalk fires.
Outside, Rory hails a cab with the sheaf of papers. He looks downcast, but resolute. The cab pulls up and he gives directions, slipping into the back seat.
The driver nods at him, Rory goes back to studying the papers. The driver's eyes glow blue in the rearview mirror, looking like tiny Dalek lenses. He turns.
Light flares, shooting out of all the cab windows.
Rory, lying on a blank white surface. He wakes up, then jerks upward with a gasp.
He turns, Amy is standing beside him. They're in a featureless white round room.
She gives him a silent, defensive look. "Where are we?" he asks dubiously.
She nods toward a grilled window.
He looks outside, they are in space, surrounded by a Dalek fleet.
"So," he asks. "How much trouble are we in?"
The door whooshes open, a Dalek glides in. "How much trouble, Mr. Pond," the Doctor's voice says. He walks into the room after the Dalek, another behind him, clearly a prisoner.
He stalks into the room, looking cocky, and somewhat happy to see them. "Out of 10?" His face drops the cheerful facade, becoming ominous. "Guess."
The ceiling suddenly hisses hydraulically and breaks apart into wedges, opening up. The floor shakes, and starts to rise.
They stare around, nervous, keeping on their feet, all they can see is starspangled dome overhead.
They rise up, into the middle of an amphitheater. They look around, and their blood runs cold. Daleks. Everywhere. Thousands of them.
Ranks upon ranks of Daleks of every conceivable type. Silent. Watching. The Doctor stares around.
"Where are we?" Amy asks. "Spaceship, right?" The Doctor nods.
"Not just any ship," he says, his voice dark. "The Emperor's ship. This is the Convocation of the Daleks."
The floor locks into position. He turns to look at them. "They only convene like this in the most dire of circumstances."
Rory looks sick behind them.
"What do we do?" Amy asks.
"Wait for your chance," the Doctor says, his eyes darting toward the Tardis beyond them. "They wouldn't have brought us here if they wanted us dead."
He stepped back, away from the Ponds, and turns to the waiting Daleks. "Well come on then." He throws his arms wide. "You've got me. What are you waiting for? At long last, Here I Am!"
He turns in a circle, daring them.
The Doctor turns, startled, to the transparent tube at the head of the dais. The one that holds the only visible Dalek mutant.
He stares in disbelief, as if he isn't sure what he just heard.
"You will save us," the same Dalek voice says again.
"I'll what?" His arms flop down to his sides.
"You will save the Daleks," the Emperor said.
"Save the Daleks. Save the Daleks. Save the Daleks," the others all started chanting.
Amy and Rory stared around in consternation. Every Dalek, all several thousands of them, dome lights flashing, chanted the same thing.
"Well," the Doctor turned, a quizzical smile on his face. "This is new."
A plastic ballerina turned on a music box. "Carmen" blared in the background.
A young woman's voiceover. "Day 363." An attractive, long-haired young woman stands up, nails in her mouth. Voiceover, "The terror continues." She nails a board on top of other boards, all of them blocking an airlock.
"Also, made another souffle." She smiles and opens the oven, to find a burnt, fallen souffle. Her smile falls. "Very nearly." She pulls it out and dumps it in the trash, patting the lid to the beat of the music.
"Check defenses." She checks the airlock, to find that one of the boards has been removed. "They came again last night,' she says. "Still, always at night. Maybe they're vampires," she conjectures.
She lies in a hammock, the music box twirling in the foreground, the messy confines of her lifepod around her. Recording her voiceover diary on a handheld recorder. "Oh, and it's my mum's birthday. Happy birthday, mum. I did make you a souffle, but it was too beautiful to live," she says cheerily.
Suddenly something pounds on the door, heavily. Slurred Dalek voices demand, "You will let us enter!" a cacophony of babbled, aggressive Dalek voices make demands as they pound on the door.
Her expression falls, fear turning to determination. She turns up the music. Drowns them out. She puts her fingers in her ears, refusing to listen...
Back in the Emperor's ship, the Doctor paces.
"What's he doing?" Rory whispers to Amy.
The Doctor stalks, looking at everything, like a tiger in a cage.
The Daleks all watch him, silent, mesmerized, eyestalks swinging back and forth, tracking him as he moves.
"He's thinking," Amy says.
Rory bites his fingernails.
The Doctor stops, frowns. And adjusts his bowtie.
Amy grins. "And, he has a plan."
"We have arrived!" The Emperor's voice booms.
The Doctor takes a deep breath and steels himself. "Arrived where?"
The human woman from the trap steps forward, eyes glowing blue. Dalek arrogance and pride in every line of her, revealing the tatters she wears as the costume they were.
"The Emperor will see you now," she intoned in a hybrid female/Dalek voice.
"The Emperor has been seeing me for the last few minutes," the Doctor snarked as he stalked up the incline.
He stopped beside her. He leaned in, staring into her Dalek-blue eyes. "What are you?" he asks curiously, quietly, "Some sort of advanced Roboman? Do you even remember who you were? Before they emptied you out and turned you into their puppet?" he asks sadly.
She answered in a human voice, her eyes changing becoming deliberately human, as if to emphasize her artificial nature. "My memories are only reactivated if they are needed to facilitate deep cover or disguise."
"You had a daughter," he reminded her.
"I know," she said. She leaned in, her voice turned Dalek. "I've read my file."
The Doctor jerked back.
She stared at him with blank blue eyes, and waved a hand toward the Emperor.
He stalked up the ramp. Planted himself before the Emperor. "Well?"
The Emperor's voice was screeching and harsh. "What do you know of the Dalek Asylum?"
"According to legend," the Doctor said. "You have a dumping ground. A planet where you lock up all the Daleks that go wrong. The battle-scarred, the insane, the ones even you can't control. It's never made any sense to me."
"Why not?" the Emperor asked.
"Because you'd just kill them," the Doctor said, as if stating the obvious.
"Why? Such destructiveness is beautiful. Such purity. If such genius of hate could be harnessed..." the Emperor said.
The Doctor sneered. "And you wonder why I despise you. You think destruction, hatred, is beautiful..." he trailed off, disgusted.
"Perhaps, that is why we have never been able to kill you..."
The Doctor jerked, as if suckerpunched.
The floor in the center of the atrium clanked open. Amy and Rory jumped back as a round portal opened in the floor.
The Doctor walked down to investigate.
The Robowoman followed him. "The Asylum," she said in her hybrid female/Dalek voice. "It occupies the entire planet."
They looked down through the hole in the floor, to the shielded planet below.
"How many Daleks are in there?" the Doctor asked.
"A count has not been made. Millions, certainly," she said.
"All alive?" the Doctor asked.
"It has to be assumed," she said in her human voice. "The asylum is fully automated. Supervision is not required."
"Armed?" Amy asked.
The Robowoman turned blue eyes on her. "Daleks are always armed."
"And they're all nuts," Rory said with resignation.
The Robowoman turned to him, decided to take it as a question, "They are not normal Daleks, at least."
Rory snorted. "Like that narrows it down."
A white Dalek moved to a communications panel. "This signal is being received from the very heart of the asylum," the robowoman said.
"Carmen" blared out over the sound system. So incongruous in this sterile Dalek space. The Doctor grinned and started ghost-conducting.
"What is this noise? Explain. Explain!" the White Dalek demanded.
The Doctor conducted, enjoying the music, arms raised over his head. "It's me."
"Sorry, what?" Rory demanded.
"It's me. Playing the triangle," the Doctor said, dinging an imaginary triangle. "Okay, so I got buried in the mix."
"'Carmen!' Lovely show!" he said, twirling and stalking back up to the communication's panel. Sonicing it with the screwdriver. He looked at it. "Someone's transmitting this. Have you considered tracking back the signal and talking to them?" The Daleks all stared at him blankly. "He asked the Daleks," he muttered.
"I'm guessing no, so..." He flipped the controls. "Hello. Hello. Carmen! Hello."
The young woman in the pod stopped and stared to hear a human voice. "Hello?" she asked with desperate hope.
"Hello, Carmen, come in!" the Doctor said.
The girl ran to her communications console. "Yes, yes! Hello, sorry," she sat down at her controls opening the channel. "Do you read me?"
"Yes!" the Doctor said, throwing his hands up in triumph. "Reading you loud and clear. Identify yourself and report your status."
"Hello," the girl said. "Are you real? Are you actually, properly real?"
"Yep, confirmed," the Doctor said, laughing. "Actually, properly real."
"Oswin Oswald," she stood to attention. "Junior Entertainment Manager, Starship Alaska. Current status, crashed and shipwrecked somewhere..." she looks toward the airlock, "not nice," she said with emphasis. "Been here a year, rest of the crew missing. Provisions good, but keen to move on."
"A year?" the Doctor said softly. "Are you okay, are you under attack?"
"Some local lifeforms," she said. "Been keeping them out."
"Do you know what those lifeforms are?" he asked.
"I know a Dalek when I hear one, yeah."
"What have you been doing?" he asked quietly, "On your own, against the Daleks? For a year?"
"Making souffles?" she said tentatively.
"Souffles? Against the Daleks?" he laughed softly in delight, looking at the Daleks. "Where do you get the milk?" he suddenly asked, curious.
"This conversation is irrelevant!" the White Dalek said, advancing menacingly.
"No it isn't!" the Doctor protested, turning to confront him. The Dalek cut off the signal.
"No!" the girl jumped forward to try to reestablish the link. "Hello. Hello!"
"Because a starliner has crashed into your asylum, damaging your shield," the Doctor continued loudly. "And if a ship's got in. Then everyone can get out. A tsunami of insane Daleks. Even you don't want that."
"The asylum must be cleansed!" the White Dalek decreed.
"Then why is it still here?" the Doctor asked. "You've enough firepower on this ship to blast it out of the sky."
"The asylum forcefield has regenerated itself, it can resist our barrage," the robowoman said behind him.
"Send a bomb," the Doctor said.
"All bombs have been neutralized in transit," she said.
"Then turn the shield off," the Doctor said, annoyed.
"We cannot. The shield generator is in the core of the planet, inaccessible. A signal from inside the asylum is blocking our access," she said.
"A small taskforce can sneak through the forcefield and turn off the signal," the Doctor said. "Surely you've got a way to put inmates in. Send a couple of Daleks," He stalked back down to the atrium floor.
"None have reported back," the White Dalek grated.
The Doctor stopped, halfway down the ramp. "Oh," he said in realization. He started clapping, sardonically. "That's good, that's very good." He stalked back up the ramp to confront the White Dalek, "And what do Daleks do when they can't do the job themselves..."
"The Predator of the Daleks will be deployed," the White Dalek said, looking him in the eye.
"I'm not a predator," the Doctor said firmly. "And even if I was, why would I turn off the signal for you?"
"Because you will have no other choice," the Emperor's voice boomed.
The two blank male robomen grabbed the Doctor by the arms. The female roboman slapped a Dalek bracelet on his wrist. "You will need this, it will protect you from the nanocloud."
"Nanocloud? What?" he said as the robomen hustled him down to the portal on the main floor.
"The gravity beam will convey you close to the source of the transmission," the robowoman said in her Dalek voice. "You must find a way to deactivate it from there."
"You're going to fire me at a planet?" the Doctor said, struggling against his captors. They held him still with rigid Dalek strength. "That's your plan?" he continued talking, trying to find an out. "I get fired at a planet and expected to fix it?"
He looked down into the hole at the planet below.
Rory spoke up. "In fairness, that is slightly your M.O."
"Don't be fair to the Daleks when they're firing me at a planet!" the Doctor said.
The two Dalek guards by Amy and Rory backed off but kept their guns trained on them as the robowoman fitted them with bracelets.
"What do you want with them?" The Doctor protested.
"It is known the Doctor requires the help of associates," the White Dalek grated.
Rory threw his head back. "Oh, Good-O!" he shouted in frustration.
"Don't worry," the Doctor whispered. "We'll get through this, I promise."
"No offense, Doctor, but I'd really rather not go," Rory said, eying the distance to the Tardis. All the Daleks had their gunstalks aimed on them.
"Don't worry, Rory, it's not that bad," Amy said.
"Planet full of insane Daleks? Hello?" Rory retorted.
"The Doctor will find us a way out," Amy said with complete confidence. She looked at him.
The Doctor wrung his hands. He whispered. "They had to have built the Asylum at some point. Where there's a way in, there's a way out."
"And that is your motivation," the Emperor's voice boomed out.
The Doctor's voice rose, facetiously indignant. "It's impolite to eavesdrop on a private conversation."
The Roboman shoved him into the gravity beam. Amy and Rory followed.
"AAAAHHHHHH!" they screamed as they fell.
"Wrong way up! Wrong way up!" Rory yelled as he fell, head down, past them.
A black man in a snowsuit looked up from drilling at an airlock that was buried in the snow. Three gravity beams landed not far off.
He went to investigate.
He found Amy lying in the snow.
He approached cautiously, "Hello? Hello, who are you?" he asked.
Amy woke up. She stared up at him in surprise. "You okay?" he asked.
She stood up, dizzy, disoriented.
"Rory? Doctor!" she yelled, not seeing the men.
"I'm Harvey," the man in the snowsuit said, trying to calm her down. "Who's Rory?"
Amy stared at him, then rushed off, looking for the others.
"Where are you going?" he yelled, and scrambled after her.
On an incline, a Dalek eyestalk shoved up through the snow, looked around, and retreated. It repeated the procedure a little farther away. Finally it turned and spotted the Doctor, it studied him. He was lying in the snow, breathing, but unconscious.
He woke up, and started laughing when he found himself lying in snow. He tried to sit up, scrunching the snowdrifts with his elbows. Delighted with the sensation he scrunched some more, then noticed the eyestalk, watching him.
He closed one eye against the glare of the whiteness. The Dalek pupil widened as if getting a better view. "Carmen" suddenly started blaring from it.
"Sorry, sorry!" the Souffle Girl's voice replaced the music. "Pressed the wrong switch."
"Souffle Girl?" the Doctor asked in disbelief, staring at the eyestalk.
"You could always call me Oswin," she said back. "Seeing as that's my name."
The Doctor crawled toward the eyestalk. She could see him on her monitor. "You okay?" she asked.
"How are you doing that? This is Dalek technology!" he said, tapping on the eye glass.
"Well it's very easy to hack," she said.
"No it isn't," the Doctor protested. He soniced the eyestalk. "Where are you?"
"Ship broke up when it crashed. I'm underground, I think. You coming to get me?" she asked.
"Doctor?" Amy's voice yelled.
There was a feedback squeal, the signal started breaking up. "Hey, hey! Souffle Girl, come back!" The Doctor yelled. She tried to reestablish the signal.
Amy blundered up grabbing the Doctor, unsteady in the snow. "I found you," she looked past him. "What's that?"
"Dalek surveillance system," he said. "Where's Rory?" He looked past her to the stranger in the snowsuit.
"There was another beam," Harvey said. "There," he pointed. "Over there." They ran. "Are you the rescue team?" Harvey asked hopefully, following them.
On the other side of the ridge they found a ravine. At the bottom, glinted bronze Dalek metal. A vertical stripe of melted snow pointed directly down into a fissure in the metal. Scattered snow showing where something had slid. Amy and the Doctor looked at each other. "Rory!" Amy yelled.
Rory lay on a wet concrete floor, water pouring in around him. Something green and glowing dripped onto his face. He wiped it away. He looked up. Directly into a Dalek eyestalk.
"Whoa!" He jerked and rolled frantically away from the base of the Dalek. He scrambled to his feet. It hadn't moved. Eyestalk still looking down.
Rory panted. He looked around. He was in a decrepit underground bunker. Cable and roof beams littered the floor. There were other Daleks standing around, immobile.
He considered, and carefully approached one of the Daleks. They looked rusty. Silent. As if they hadn't moved in centuries.
He approached one, watching for any signs of life. He carefully touched it, and jumped back.
It didn't move.
He placed a hand on it and shoved. It rolled back like a rusty old wagon.
He breathed a sigh of relief. He took out a pocket torch, turned it on, and went exploring.
Harvey led Amy and the Doctor back to his hatch.
"We came down two days ago," he explained. "There's twelve of our escape pods." He clicked open the hatch. "I don't know what happened to them."
Amy felt metal under her feet and scraped away the snow. Underneath, the escape pod read, "Alaska."
"Alaska," she said. "That's the same ship as Souffle Girl."
"Yes," the Doctor said, studying it, uneasily. "Except, she's been here a year."
Harvey climbed down into the escape pod, the others followed him. He went over to an interior cabinet. "We should have some climbing rope, long enough to get down that ravine."
The Doctor jumped down off the ladder and noticed the other snowsuited figures in the pod. "Won't you introduce us to your crew?" he said, smiling.
"Ah, yes, sorry," Harvey said. "Guys, this is the Doctor and Amy."
The Doctor saluted.
No one responded.
Harvey stopped getting the rope and stared. "Guys?"
The Doctor reached over and tapped the closest figure on the shoulder. It slumped back, revealing a decayed face.
"Oh my god," Harvey said. Amy jumped.
The Doctor scanned the figures with the sonic. "They're dead, all of them."
"That's not possible," Harvey said. "I just spoke to them. Two hours ago we were doing engine repairs."
The Doctor lifted the hood off another figure. The head bobbled lifelessly backward. "Sure of that, are you?" he asked.
Amy crept forward, morbidly curious. The Doctor went around and pulled down all the hoods, revealing dead, deteriorating faces.
"Because I'd said they've been dead for a very long time," he said.
"But they can't be," Harvey protested softly.
"Well, they didn't get in this state in two hours," Amy said, looking at them from the front of the room.
"Oh, of course, stupid me," Harvey said.
"Stupid what?" Amy demanded.
"I was the first outside," he said.
"So?" Amy asked.
"They wouldn't let me back in," he turned innocent brown eyes up to them. His eyes changed to blue, Dalek blue. "But I got back in," he said ominously, in a Dalek voice, starting to stalk toward them.
The Doctor grabbed a fire extinguisher and fired it in the roboman's face. "Amy, the door!" the Doctor yelled.
Amy ran forward and opened a door behind the stairs, the Doctor herded the roboman inside and slammed the door shut, locking the override.
"Explain!" Amy demanded. "How did he get all Daleked?"
"The nanocloud," the Doctor said. "Oh, that's clever. Anyone unauthorized lands, and the nanites convert them into robomen, they become part of the security system."
"What's a nanocloud?" Amy asked.
"Microorganisms that restructure flesh. They turn any intruder into a Dalek puppet," he said, patting one of the corpses on the head.
"So why aren't we affected?" Amy said, running to the front beside him, away from the door which was beginning to buckle under the pounding.
He held up his wristband. "We're authorized." He quickly looked around the pod, picking up the rope Harvey had taken out earlier. "The Daleks wouldn't want us converted," he said, hoisting the rope over his shoulder. "We're no use to them without free will. Come on, we have to find Rory, and the source of that signal. We can lock Harvey up in here."
He started up the ladder, but the door burst open and Harvey raged out, eyes blue, he knocked the Doctor off the ladder. The Doctor and Amy scrambled back. The fire extinguisher was on the other side of the room.
The Doctor threw the rope at Harvey, and leapt up on the chairs, he hopped over to the other side, toward the fire extinguisher. His pantleg was caught. He looked down, into Dalek blue eyes.
"I see it!" she yelled, backing up toward the front of the room, away from the onslaught of blue eyes in dead faces. The corpses stood up. Amy leapt forward and grabbed the Doctor's jacket, yanking him out of the roboman's grip and up beside her by the door.
"How can they be alive?!" she demanded, as the robomen lurched around the chairs, coming for them.
"Nanites work the nervous system. Even dead they can still pull the strings." He pulled out the sonic screwdriver and tried sonicing the closest one. "No good." He turned and soniced the door behind them. They fell through as the zombies grabbed for them.
He turned and pulled Amy in, out of their hands, and kicked the door lock mechanism.
The door slammed shut. Locking the robomen outside. He hit the door override.
Amy leaned weakly back against the door, panting. Blows reverberating against her back. "Okay," she said. "Now we're fighting Dalek zombies." She turned and looked at him, he was leaning against the door beside her, keeping them out.
"Have I ever mentioned that life with you is never boring?" she asked.
He grinned at her. "I know."
An especially hard thud bounced them. They turned and pressed their hands on the door. "Okay, smart boy," Amy said. "How are we going to get out of this one?"
"Give me a minute," he said.
"Unauthorized personnel may not enter the cockpit," the mocking voice of Souffle Girl said over the intercom.
"Oh, Shut up!" the Doctor mocked back. He found the monitor.
"Aw! Mr. Grumpy!" she teased. "Bad combo, no sense of humor and that chin."
"Is that her again? Souffle Girl?" Amy asked, the sounds of banging still coming from behind her.
"Yeah, she, " the Doctor started to explain, then turned back, "Oi! What is wrong with my chin?"
"Careful dear," she said. "You'll put someone's eye out."
Amy snorted a laugh.
The Doctor rubbed his chin, looking put out. "Scanning you," Souffle Girl said. "You're on another of the escape pods from the Alaska. Same ship I was on."
The Doctor threw up his hands in exasperation. "How can you hack into everything? It should be impossible. You're on a crashed ship!"
"Long story," she said, checking her watch. "Is there a word for total screaming genius that sounds modest and just a tiny bit sexy?"
The Doctor grinned. "You're confident, I'll give you that."
An alarm went off in the girl's pod. "Check the floor, I'm picking up a breech at floor level, it could be a way out." She went back to her instruments. "See ya later!"
The Doctor and Amy started moving things off the floor. "Ah Hah! Hatch!" The Doctor said. He knelt down and studied the square door in the floor, a rope came out through the door handle. "It looks like it's been used already and they tried to block it off behind them."
Zombies banged on the door. Amy turned. "I can't imagine why. Wait a minute, if the pod is buried, won't that just lead to the ground?"
"Well, somebody got through. We need to get out," the Doctor said, prying at the stubborn hatch.
"And find Rory," Amy said.
The Doctor looked at her, still working on the hatch. "Speaking of Rory," he said, worried. "Is there anything you want to tell me?"
Zombies thumped on the doorway. Amy stared at him in disbelief. "You want to do this now?"
"Well what happened?"
"Uh, stuff!" she flustered. "We split up, what can you do?"
"What can I do?" he asked with concern.
"Nothing," she said. "It's not one of those things that you can fix like you fix your bow tie." She straightened his tie fondly.
He stared at her sadly.
"Don't give me those big wet eyes, Raggedy Man." she said. "It's life! Just life. That thing that goes on when you're not there."
The hatch yielded to his prying and popped open, he laid the door back, revealing rock, fractured from the crack, and to one side, a gleam of Dalek metal. A rope ladder ran down into a fissure.
He craned his head. "Ventilation shaft. This must lead right down into the Asylum."
"So someone else got out this way then?" Amy asked.
"Yeah," the Doctor replied. "Let's go find them."
The banging on the door changed in rhythm, sounding more like knocking than attempted break in. "Hello," the Doctor said, "What's this?" He went to investigate. "Hello, hello, hello," he turned on the viewscreen. "What are they up to?"
The screen showed the robomen outside, eyes glowing, one was holding up a Dalek bracelet. Taunting.
"What's that?" Amy asked.
"One of these," the Doctor said, holding up his arm with his own bracelet. "But where did they get it."
"Rory," Amy said. "They've got Rory!" She scrabbled at the door, the Doctor pulled her away. They both looked down, at her wrist, her bare wrist.
"Doctor," she said with calm, paniced, intensity, "What's going to happen to me? Am I going to turn into one of them?"
The Doctor turned back to the monitor, the dead roboman waved the bracelet in his face. "We've got to get it back," he said. He looked around the room, he picked up the prybar he'd used to pry the hatch open with.
"Right," he took a pose, getting ready. "The one with the bracelet is right by the door. "You stand by the lock. I'll open the door, snag the bracelet, and you close it," he stared at her seriously. "Got it?"
She nodded, hand over the lock.
She pulled the lock, he soniced the door, he jumped forward and jabbed the prybar through the crack, on the monitor they could see the hook in the bar hit the bracelet, and knock it out of the roboman's hand.
"Close it! Close it!" The Doctor said frantically. He pulled back the prybar, it was bent in the middle. The door hydraulics whined. Zombie hands had hold of the jamb, prying it open with brute strength.
"No good!" He threw aside the prybar with a clang and pushed her toward the floor hatch, "Down the hole! Quick!"
The door behind them screeched open wider. The Doctor jumped down the hole, pulled it shut and sonic welded it to the frame.
Amy nodded below him, and started climbing down.
Rory walked breathlessly through the Dalek asylum, the sound of his own crunching footfalls and leaking water the only sounds. The Daleks were all apparently dead.
Taking his courage in his hands, he approached one of them, studying it, trying to find out what happened. He peered in through the grating, trying to see inside. The eyestalk was in his way, he carefully turned it to the side.
The eyestalk slowly slid back.
His eyes widened, his heartbeat picked up. He backed away. His foot hit one of the discarded Dalek balls and and slipped, he fell with a clang.
The Dalek's eyestalk started to glow, it looked down at him. He froze, hoping it wouldn't see him.
"E-e-e-e-e-eggs" the Dalek stuttered.
"Eggs..." the Dalek said again, staring down at him.
Rory looked down and picked up the bronze ball he'd slipped on. A horrified, disgusted look came over his face. "They're your eggs?" He held it up to the Dalek on the very tips of his fingers, as if it was slimy. Hoping it would take it and leave him alone.
Rory's eyes popped wide, the other Daleks started to wake up. The first Dalek raised its gunstick.
"Oh, shit!" Rory threw the metal ball, it clanged against the Dalek's eyestalk, cracking the lens and throwing the eyestalk up. The Dalek fired. Rory scrambled and ran.
He ran behind the pillars as the rest of the Daleks woke up and started shooting, blue laser beams criss-crossed the room, blowing chunks out of the pillar he was hiding behind. He looked frantically for a way out.
"Hey!" Souffle Girl's voice yelled over the com. "The door at the end! Run for it! They're waking up, but they're slow. The door at the end, just run for it. Now. Now. Now!"
Behind Rory the Heavy Weapons Dalek powered up.
Rory turned to get his bearings, saw the gun turret swivel toward him and ran, flat out. All the other Daleks followed, shooting, beams crisscrossing, he dodged, his hands over his head.
The door at the far end slipped upwards, just to knee height.
The Heavy Weapons Dalek was powering up, engines screaming. He dove, sliding under head first. He rolled to the side. "Close it! Close it!" He huddled to the side of the door.
The energy scream reached a crescendo and the something slammed against the door in an explosion, hard enough to shake dirt from the roof. In the corner, Rory huddled into a ball and covered his head.
The door plinked, with heat, but held. Rory unwound from his crouched huddle, ceiling dust cascaded off his jacket. The sounds of Daleks were fainter, farther away.
He sat up, shaking. Panting.
"So! Anyway," said Souffle Girl's voice unexpectedly. He jumped.
"What's your name?"
"Uh..." he had to think, too shaken up. "I can't remember... Uhh... Rory."
"Lovely name, Rory. First boy I ever fancied was called Rory. Actually, the first person I ever fancied was called Nina. I'm Oswin. Come on, get up beaky boy. They aren't going to stay stunned forever."
He jumped to his feet. "Look, if it's a choice between beaky boy and Nina, I prefer Nina," he said. The Daleks started pounding on the door again. He looked into the Dalek camera. "Any idea how I get out of this place?"
"Down the corridor, first turn on your left. Trot along." The door behind him banged. He trotted.
Amy and the Doctor are climbing down the rope ladder.
"So tell me, what's going to happen to me," Amy says. "and don't lie because I know when you're lying to me and I will definitely fall on you."
He answered. "The air all around, is full of micro-machines. Robots the size of molecules. Nanogenes. Now that you're unprotected, you're being rewritten."
They reached the bottom.
"So what happens?" she asked. "I get funky eyes and one of those gunsticks coming out of my hand?"
"Physical changes come later." He looks around at all the entrances and picks one, he takes her hand and heads off.
"Well what comes first?" she persists. "How does it start?"
"With your mind. Your feelings, your memories." He stopped and looked at her. " And I'm sorry, but it's started already."
"How do you know?" she asked in a terrified voice as he started along again, drawing her by the hand.
"Because we've had this conversation four times."
She stared at him in horror. "Okay, scared now."
They'd come to a barred grill door that blocked off the corridor.
He turned. "Hold onto scared. Scared isn't Dalek." He hugged her.
Rory walked nervously down a Dalek corridor. The lights went off. His torch sputtered and died. "Oswin?"
"There's a door beside you," a door started opening. "Through here."
He dodged inside, the door closed. The room was disused, a cul-de-sac, no other way out. There was a large ornate technological circle on the floor. "Okay, you're safe for now. Pop your shirt off, quick as you like," Oswin instructed from the speakers.
He automatically started taking his jacket off. "Why?"
"Does there need to be a reason?" she asked flirtatiously.
He frowned at the ceiling and put his jacket back on.
The Doctor opened the grill door that blocked off the end of the corridor. There was a large empty room beyond. He sniffed, frowning at whatever the scent told him. There were no Daleks, only Dalek voices farther away.
"What's that?" Amy asked, hearing the voices.
The Doctor reshut the door. He gripped her shoulders. "Keep a lookout. Do not open this door." He walked off back down the corridor.
Behind him, Amy hissed in pain and pressed a hand over her eyes.
"Oswin!" the Doctor yelled to the ceiling. "Oswin, can you hear me?"
"Hello the Chin!" Oswin caroled back. "I have a visual on you."
"Why don't I have a visual on you?" the Doctor said from the monitor. "Why can't I ever see you?"
"Limited power. Bad hair. Take your pick," Oswin answered flippantly. "There's a closet to your left, open it." The Doctor looked around and opened a door to reveal a small closet with a control panel.
"Gonna send you a map to that screen," she said. "I put your little friend somewhere safe, I can get you to him."
"Rory, you found Rory?" the Doctor asked, excitedly.
"I call him Nina, it's a personal thing. Hush now!" she went back to programming her board.
Amy looked out through the grill to the room beyond. There was a man standing there. An inoffensive looking man in a bland suit. Her head felt wavery.
"Who are you?" she whispered. Dizzy.
She opened the door, and stepped into the room, unsteady on her feet, everything spun. There were other people in the room. More inoffensive men, a couple of women in old fashioned clothes, an evening dress, pearls, a girl in a ballet tutu spun and laughed in the distance.
Amy smiled and went to join them, they welcomed her. Her head buzzed. The girl twirled.
Everything was so nice. She smiled.
The Doctor heard the door, he turned then turned back to the monitor, urgent. "How many Daleks directly ahead of me right now?" he demanded of Oswin.
"Ten, twenty, hard to say. Some of them are catatonic, but they do have firepower."
The Doctor jumped and spun out of the closet, he ran down the corridor. "Amy!" She was already in the room.
He dashed into the room, frantic to grab her and haul her away. She turned and hushed him, obviously delusional. "Hush, it's okay, it's just people in here. It's just people." She turned back to them with a smile.
"Amy," the Doctor whispered urgently, not daring to grab her. "The nanogenes are altering your perceptions, integrating you into the Dalek matrix, the Crazy Daleks matrix. Look, look, those aren't people."
She smiled indulgently and looked again. Suddenly it was a room full of Daleks, less than six feet away. Her mouth opened in shock.
"Amy," the Doctor whispered frantically. "Come with me. Take my hand. Run. Run!" He grabbed her hand and hauled her down the corridor.
She panted in disbelief. He dragged her back to the rope ladder, but it was shaking. "No! Amy yelled, pulling him back. "They're coming down!"
The robomen above had managed to open the hatch, the Doctor could see one of them climbing down the ladder above him.
They turned back to the hallway, but a Dalek was advancing toward them, cutting off all retreat. "Here! In here!" The Doctor whirled Amy into the closet.
"Intruder! Intruder!" the Dalek screeched. They could hear a weird, wibbling electrostaticy noise. Like a burnt out toaster. The Doctor frowned, they stared at each other.
He pressed his ear to the door, then slowly opened it.
Outside, the Dalek's gunstick fizzled. Again and again as he tried to fire it. Unsuccessfully.
"It's damaged," the Doctor said.
"Okay, what do we do?" Amy said, darting a gaze back down the corridor where the ladder was still shaking.
"Identify me," the Doctor told the Dalek. "Access your files. Who am I?"
It did a face match. "You are the Doctor!" it screeched.
"And what are you standing orders concerning the Doctor?" the Doctor asked. He glanced back at the ladder.
"The Doctor must be exterminated!" the Dalek yelled.
"And how are you going to do that, Dalek?" the Doctor demanded. "Without a gun, you're a tricycle with a roof! How are you going to destroy me?" he prodded.
The Dalek started initiating self destruct. Its alarm went off. "Self destruct initiated!" it proclaimed.
The Doctor grinned and soniced its hood open.
"Self destruct cannot be countermanded!" the Dalek claimed in satisfaction, as the Doctor opened its hood and started poking around inside.
"I'm not looking for a countermand, dear. I'm looking for reverse!" He clanged the hood back down, and the Dalek started speeding backward down the corridor.
"Forwards! Forwards! Forwards!" the Dalek screamed as it tried to override what the Doctor had done.
It sped backwards into the room full of Daleks, self destruct alarm blaring. "Intruder!" the other Daleks yelled in panic. The Dalek slammed into one behind him, and exploded.
Rory and Oswin felt the explosion from where they were, the floor and roof shaking.
"Oswin?" Rory asked. "What was that? That was close!"
Amy and the Doctor stepped out of the closet, a blast of Dalek firepower slammed into the door by Amy's head. She jerked, and fell unconscious. The Doctor jumped out of the closet, grabbed up a Dalek ball that was bouncing by, from the destruction in the room, and threw it at the roboman who was firing at them from the bottom of the ladder.
The ball hit him right between the eyes, with a crack of lenses, he fell from the rungs.
The Doctor scooped up Amy and ran, as more legs appeared down the ladder.
Rory ran into the room. Shattered, half melted Daleks littered the floor. "Oswin! What happened?" he looked around. "Who killed all the Daleks?" he asked.
The Doctor ran in carrying Amy. "Who do you think?" he yelled. "Now run!"
Another blast of Dalek fire shot over his head, he ducked and they both ran.
Back in the safe room, the Doctor laid Amy down on the round platform on the floor. "Thanks for redirecting them, Oswin," the Doctor said to the ceiling.
"No problem," she chirped.
"Will being unconscious help her?" Rory said, looking down at Amy. "Will it slow down the process?" he asked.
"You better hope so," Oswin said from the wall monitor. "Because pretty soon, she's going to try to kill you."
Amy groaned, and started to wake. "Ow!"
"Amy," the Doctor stroked her hair. "Amy, still with us?"
"Amy," whispered Rory. "It's me. Do you remember me?"
She opened her eyes, pained, and glared at him. "Idiot," she growled and passed back out.
"Same old Amy.' The Doctor grinned.
"Do you know how you turn someone into a Dalek?" Oswin said from the com, pensive. "Subtract love, add anger. Doesn't she seem a bit angry to you?"
Amy sat up woozily and glared at the monitor. "Well, somebody's obviously never been to Scotland," she said snarkily.
"What about you, Oswin. How come you're okay? Why haven't the nanocloud converted you?" the Doctor asked.
"I mentioned the genius thing, yeah? Shielded in here."
"Clever of you." The Doctor jumped down off the circle. "Now, about this place. The Daleks up top think the ones down here are planning some sort of breakout. But look at this place. It's a wreck!"
"Well," Oswin said. "I've had nearly a year to mess with them, and, not a lot else to do."
The Doctor started laughing. "A Junior Entertainment Manager hiding out in a wrecked ship, taking on the most advanced warrior race the universe has ever seen! I love it!" He grinned like a maniac.
"But, you know what really gets me, is the souffles," he turned serious, curious. "Where do you get the milk?" He turned to Amy and Rory. "Seriously, is no one else wondering about this?"
"No!" said Rory. "Frankly, no. Twice."
"So, Doctor," Oswin said. "I've been looking you up. You're all over the database. Why are the Daleks so scared of you? There's all sorts of warnings about you."
"It's because I'm the man with the plan!" the Doctor said gleefully.
"You've got a plan?" Oswin asked, hopefully.
"We're all ears!" Rory said.
The Doctor jumped up on the circle, going into lecture mode. "In no particular order, we need to neutralize the Daleks in this asylum, rescue Oswin from the wreckage, escape from this planet, and fix Amy and Rory's marriage."
Amy stared at him. "Okay, I'm counting three lost causes."
Rory threw his hands up in defeat and walked away.
"Oswin, there's a Dalek ship in orbit," the Doctor said.
"Yeah," she replied. "I got it on the sensors."
"There's a forcefield around this planet, the Daleks want to turn it off but can't because there's a signal blocking them, I assume you have something to do with that?"
"Yeah!" she said cockily.
He grinned. "As soon as that signal goes down, the shield gets turned off and the Daleks will burn this whole world and us with it. The question is, how fast can you drop that signal?"
Amy and Rory stared at him.
"Pretty fast," Oswin answered. "But why would I?"
"Because this is a teleport," the Doctor said. "Am I right, Oswin?"
"Yeah, internal use only," she said.
The Doctor snapped his fingers and pointed at the monitor triumphantly.
He ran over to the teleport platform and started sonicing it. "I can boost the power. Then once the forcefield is down we can use this to beam us right off this planet."
"But you said," protested Rory, "that as soon as the forcefield is down the Daleks will blow us up."
"We'll have to be quick, yes," the Doctor said.
"Okay, we'll be quick," Amy said. "But where do we beam to?"
"The only place within range," the Doctor said. "The Dalek mothership."
"They'll exterminate us on the spot!" Amy protested.
"Oh," Rory said snarkily. "So this is the kind of escape plan where you survive about four seconds longer?"
"What's wrong with four seconds? You can do loads in four seconds," the Doctor said. "Oswin! How fast can you drop the signal?"
"I can do it from here. As soon as you come get me," she said resolutely.
"Just drop the forcefield and come to us," the Doctor said.
"There's only power enough in that teleport for one go, how do I know you won't just leave me behind?" she said.
"Why would I?"
"I don't know, just met you. But I'm going with you," she said resolutely. "So come get me."
"Doctor, don't argue, just go get her." Amy said disgustedly.
"It'll probably take less time than you two bickering," Rory said. To Oswin, "But this place is crawling with Daleks and Robomen. How is he even going to find you?"
Oswin said, "I'll send you a map."
The Doctor zipped around, he downloaded the map, rigged up the teleport and handed Rory the teleport controls. "As soon as the forcefield goes down the Daleks will attack, if it gets too dangerous in here, you go without me, okay?" he whispered, not wanting Amy to hear.
"And leave you to die?" Rory whispered in disbelief.
"Oh, don't worry about me," the Doctor said. "you're the one beaming up to a Dalek ship to get exterminated." He grinned.
Rory nodded helplessly. "Fair point. Love this plan!" he said sarcastically.
"Uh, what about Amy?" Rory asked as the Doctor crawled back under the transmat to do last minute adjustments.
"Keep her remembering. Keep her focused. That will hold back the conversion," the Doctor yelled up to them.
"What do I do?" Amy said aggressively, holding her head as if it hurt.
The Doctor popped up. "You heard what she said. They're subtracting love. Don't let them." He gave her a serious, deep eyed look.
Rory looked down, and looked away, uncomfortable.
The Doctor snuck through the asylum corridors, he could hear screaming Daleks all around him, through the walls, around corners... He came to a cross section and saw a green tentacle crawling away around the corner. He froze. Heart beating. Silent. The tentacle squelched off on its way.
Alone, among his greatest enemies. His breathing speeded up. He kept on.
Back in the teleport room, Rory paced. Amy sat and brooded.
"Okay, look at me," Rory said.
Amy turned and looked at him dubiously.
"I'm going to be logical," Rory said urgently. "Cold and logical, okay? For both of our sakes. For both of us, I'm going to take this off my wrist, and put it on yours." He held up his Dalek bracelet, and stepped toward her.
She jumped back, away from him. "Why? Then it will just start converting you."
"Yes," he agreed. "But it will buy us time. Because it will take longer with me."
"Sorry, what?" Amy said.
"It subtracts love, that's what she said," Rory said.
"What's that got to do with it?" Amy said defensively. "What does that even mean?"
"It's just arithmetic," Rory said. "It'll take longer with me because," he paused, looking at her with heartbroken eyes. "We both know, we've both always known that..." Amy looked at him with a hard face.
Rory crouched down in front of her and took a deep breath. "Amy, basic fact of our relationship is that I love you more than you love me. Which, today, is good news! Because it might just save both of our lives."
"How can you say that?" Amy's eyes were red from keeping back tears.
He stood up and snorted, face contorted with grief. "Two thousand years, waiting for you outside of a box. Say that isn't true. And since we both know it is true give me your arm." He tried to take her arm, she pulled it away, keeping it from him. "Amy!"
She slapped him.
"Don't you dare say that to me! Don't you ever dare!"
Rory turned back to her, face red, almost crying. "Amy, you kicked me out!"
"You want kids!" Amy cried. "You have always wanted kids! Ever since you were a kid. And I can't have them!" Her face contorted, trying not to give in to her grief.
Rory looked down at her in surprise. "I know."
Amy turned away. "Whatever they did to me at Demon's Run. I can't ever give you children." He stared at her back. "I didn't kick you out. I gave you up."
He shook his head. "Amy, I don't..."
"Don't you dare talk to me about waiting outside a box," she demanded, turning back to him. "Because that is nothing, Rory, nothing compared to giving you up!" She stood and faced him, devastated.
"Just give me your arm," he begged. "Just give me your arm!"
"Don't touch me!" she pushed him away.
He grabbed her arm.
They both looked down in sudden realization. Rory took his hand away. Amy was already wearing a bracelet.
"It's the Doctor's," Rory said, swallowing. "When you were asleep, he must have..."
"A Time Lord," Amy said, sniffling. "He probably thinks he doesn't even need it."
"Then why didn't he just tell us!" Rory yelled pacing.
Amy cried, knowing why.
The Doctor snuck down the corridor, eyes darting all around, keeping a lookout. "Oswin. I think I'm close."
Oswin leaned back from the kitchen to check her monitor. "You are. Less than 20 feet away." She checked her map. "Which is the good news," she said ominously.
The Doctor, sweaty, dirty, nervous, alone in a darkened corridor, answered, "And the bad? Which I suddenly feel is coming?"
"You're about to pass through Intensive Care," Oswin said.
The grated gate opened before the Doctor, allowing him into a green glowing room, dormant Daleks sat in separate stalls, barred in, chained to the walls.
The Doctor walked through quietly. "What's so special about this lot then?" he whispered.
"Dunno," Oswin answered. "Survivors of particular wars. Spiridon. Kemble. Iridius. Vulcan. Exxilon. Ringing any bells?"
"All of them." The Doctor ghosted through, looking at all the different Daleks from different ages.
"These are the Daleks who survived me." He winced and crouched lower, pussyfooting over the strewn cables, determined to get through without waking them.
"Doc-tor...!" The Doctor turned to see he'd passed right in front of one of the Dalek's line of sight. It was waking up.
"Doctor!" "Doctor!" Others woke up. He gulped and looked around, they were all waking up. "Doctor!"
"That's weird," Oswin said. "Those ones don't usually wake up for anything."
"Yeah, well, special visitor," the Doctor said, ducking around the stanchions and heading quickly for Oswin's coordinates.
He found her door. "Okay, door, but," he looked. There was no exterior controls. "Not designed to open." He tried to open it with the sonic screwdriver. "You can't be far away though."
Oswin knelt down in front of her control panel. "Hold on, not quite sure of this, a release code. Let me just... Anything happening down there?"
"No." The Doctor looked around, checking for Daleks. He tried to move the door manually, slide it aside, but it wouldn't budge.
He heard a squeaking behind him. He turned with trepidation. The Daleks were moving. Coming toward him.
Daleks at the walls broke their chains, they all started swarming toward him. "Doctor! Doctor!" Voices grating.
He pounded on the door behind him. "Oswin, get this door open."
They have no gunsticks, even the mad Daleks don't trust these ones with guns. The Doctor dodges, tries to run away from the door through them, but they crowd too close, there's no gap between them, they herd him back toward the door. They don't have gunsticks, but they can still crush him to death.
"Oswin! Open this door!" He pressed himself back against the door, sucking his gut in, making himself as skinny as possible. "Oswin!"
Oswin frantically works her controls, then her face lights up with inspiration. She calls up the Doctor's files...
The Daleks press into the Doctor with their plungers, too many of them to get close enough, he pressed himself back as far as he can against the door, turning sideways to make more room, squeezing his eyes shut, then they stop. The plungers retract, and they wander off, ignoring him as if he's too unimportant to bother with.
The Doctor stopped, blinked, gulping in huge breaths. He heard Oswin's giggle over the intercom. "What did you do?" he demands.
"Hang on, need to find the door code..."
"No!" he hit the door, "Tell me what you did."
"The Daleks, they have a hive mind," her voice explained over the intercom as he watched, disbelieving, as the Daleks went back to their cells. "Well, they don't, but they have a sort of telepathic web."
"The Pathweb, yes," he confirmed.
"I hacked into it," she said with satisfaction. "Did a master delete on all the information connected with the Doctor."
"You made them forget me," he said, not sure how he felt about that. He looked up at all the Daleks in the room. "But I'm still an intruder, why aren't they attacking?"
"They don't care," she said flatly.
"And, here comes the door," she said. The door started raising behind him.
He stood up. "I've tried hacking into the Pathweb, even I couldn't do it."
"Then come and meet the girl who can," she said jauntily.
The door opened all the way. The Doctor started to step in, then stopped. He stared. His eyes widened, horrified.
Oswin ran and started packing, happily.
"Hey!" she saw him staring in the monitor. "You're right outside, come on in."
"Oswin," the Doctor said in an ominous voice. "We have a problem."
She stopped packing, her happiness dimmed with worry. "No we don't. Don't even say that.
"I joined the Alaska to see the universe," she said, skipping toward the monitor. "I ended up stuck in a shipwreck first time out. Rescue me Chin Boy and show me the stars!"
"Does it look real to you?" he asked from the monitor.
She frowned. "Does what look real?"
"Where you are, right now?" He looked up at a white, featureless dome. "Does it seem real?"
"It is real," she answered, looking around her ship.
"It's a dream, Oswin," he said. "You dreamed it for yourself because the truth was too terrible."
"Where am I?" she asked with dread.
He stared across the white room, at a Dalek chained to the wall. "Where am I?" it asked. "Where am I?"
"Because you are a Dalek," his voice broke with anger and disgust.
Oswin protested. "I am not a..."
"...Dalek," the Dalek finished. "I am not a Dalek," it protested.
"I'm human," Oswin said.
"You were human, when you crashed here," the Doctor said, he laid consoling hands on the Daleks sensor panels. "It was you who climbed out of the pod. That was your ladder. "
She remembered climbing down the ladder, being confronted with Daleks. Not knowing where she was.
"...human" the Dalek said.
The Doctor looked into the Dalek's grill facings, at her. "Not any more," he whispered. "Because you're right. You're a genius. And the Daleks need genius. They didn't just make you a puppet, they did a full conversion."
Oswin shook her head, remembering horrible memories.
"Oswin, I am so sorry," he said. He walked to the center of the room, head down. "I'm sorry, Oswin. But you ARE a Dalek." He turned back to her. "The milk, Oswin, the milk and the eggs for the souffles, where did they come from?"
Oswin remembered the conversion. "I'm am not Dalek, I am Human, I am Human!" Even as they were changing her.
"Eggs..." Oswin and the Dalek said.
"It wasn't real," the Doctor said. "It was never real."
Oswin remembered the conversion, turning her humanity into a Dalek. "I am a Dalek. I am a Dalek!"
"Eggsterm..in..ate," her gunstick came up, pointing jerkily at the Doctor.
"Oswin?" he asked, uncertain.
"Eggs, stir," Oswin/Dalek said, "min, ate!"
The Dalek jerked forward, breaking its chains. "Ex-ter-min-ate. Exterminate!"
"Now, now Oswin!" The Doctor said, backing up.
"Exterminate! Exterminate!" the chains fell away, she rushed forward.
"Oswin! Listen! You don't have to do this!" the Doctor yelled, backing up to the door.
"Oswin? Oswin!" He pressed himself back against the white door.
She pressed her plunger into his middle, pinning him there. "Oswin!"
The Dalek gurgled, and stopped.
Oswin huddled into herself by her barred airlock door, crying.
She looked up. "Why do they hate you..."
"...so much?" finished the Dalek.
"They hate you so much," the Dalek said in a light voice. "'Why?"
The Doctor looked into her eyestalk. "I've fought them," he admitted, not proud, weary. "Many, many times."
"We have grown, stronger, in fear of you," she said, her eyestalk looking directly into his eyes.
"I know," he admitted with self-disgust. He looked away, looked down. "I tried to stop." His lips trembled, so did hers. Neither of them wanted to be what they were.
Oswin's head came up. "Then run."
He looked at her. "What did you say?"
She ran and got back in the driver's seat.
"I've taken down the signal..." she said.
"The Daleks have begun their bombardment," Oswin/Dalek said. "Run!" The door behind him opened.
"Oswin, are you sure..." The Doctor made a motion, as if to take her with him.
"I am Oswin Oswald, I fought the Daleks and I am..."
"Human!" the Dalek said. "Remember me."
The Doctor's eyes glowed bright with hope. "Thank you."
He could hear the explosions starting. He ran.
Oswin sat back in her chair, curling her legs under her. Satisfied. "Run you clever boy. And remember."
The Asylum started exploding. Daleks milled around, confused.
The Doctor ran.
Explosions shook the transmat room. Amy and Rory were rocked on their feet.
"How long can we wait?" Rory asked, looking down at the transmat controls in his hands. Wondering when to activate them.
"The rest of our lives," Amy said softly, drawing his gaze up, giving him a significant look.
He met her eyes. Understood. He nodded. "Agreed."
They kissed. Things exploded around them.
The Doctor ran through the exploding corridors.
He dodged into the transmat room, smoke and sparks following him. He jumped up on the transmat platform. "Good. Come on. Let's go."
He looked up and saw them kissing. He looked behind him and saw more explosions, Daleks screamed. He looked back, they were still kissing.
"Oh for Pete's sake!" He grabbed the controls and did it himself.
The Daleks threw everything they had at the planet, shattering it like a bowling ball.
"The Asylum is destroyed!" reported the White Dalek to the Emperor.
"Incoming teleport from the Asylum planet," a bronze Dalek reported. "We are under attack!"
"Prepare to defend. Defend. Defend!" All the Daleks came to alert, scanning the room.
Nothing showed up.
"Explain, Dalek Supreme!" the Emperor demanded. The White Dalek turned to him, but before it could say anything, the Doctor's voice blared out over the intercom.
"You know, you lot should really have seen this coming!
"The think about me and teleports," his voice said. "Is I've got a pinpoint aim."
The Doctor stepped out of the Tardis. "Surprise!"
"Identify!" shouted the Emperor.
"Identify!" shouted the White Dalek.
"It's me," the Doctor said jauntily. "You know me, the Doctor," he said, leaning against the Tardis. "The Oncoming Storm, The Predator..."
"Titles are not meaningful in this context," the Robowoman said. "Doctor who?"
"Doctor who?" the Emperor demanded.
"Doctor who? Doctor who?" the others took up the refrain.
"Oh, Oswin," the Doctor said, smiling. "You did it to them all. You beauty!"
"Exterminate him!" the Emperor bellowed.
The Doctor jumped and dashed into the Tardis, just as a thousand Dalek beams shot out.
Back on Amy and Rory's street, the Tardis dematerialized. Amy and Rory waved him off from their front door.
Amy gave Rory a sultry, up and down look, then sashayed into the house.
Rory turned around and did a tight, quick "Yes!" dance.
"I can see you," Amy said from inside.
"Okay." He stopped and trotted into the house after his wife.
Inside the Tardis, the Doctor stood at the top of the stairs, about to burst with a feeling of freedom.
"Doctor who?" he asked, dancing down the stairs.
He slapped the controls with glee. Twirling. "Doctor Who?"
He pulled the dematerialization lever, spinning himself off into the vortex, once more just a madman with a box.
If you enjoyed this version of the story, please leave a comment for the author. What did you like or not like about it?
This was a writing exercise to see if little changes could make a difference. Let me know what you think.