The TARDIS spun wildly in the vortex as it quickly veered left and right to avoid a massive energy blast directed in its path. The next volley of laser fire quickly struck the small spinning blue police box and caused a massive explosion off of its tough shell.
Deep inside the battle weary Time lord vehicle, The Doctor tried to maintain balance near his console that sparked and blazed from the aftermath. The perforated walled interior was full of scorch marks, dangling wires and cracked rounded glass that adorned it. Trying his best to keep the machine running, the Doctor fiddled with the various switches and leavers in a feverish manner.
“Confounded you devils!” He cursed aloud, “Haven’t you had enough of trying to kill me!”
He darted around the octagonal console trying to keep up with the many ringing alarms warning him of malfunctions and fires. The salt and pepper haired man continued with frantically trying to out maneuver the attackers and used his own breath in effort to put out a flame that shot out in front of him. He had aged considerable since the time of his regeneration, one that he still considers ‘unnatural’ - a lifetime ago and with many battles now under his belt.
His face had matured and was starting to grow facial hair, a more relaxed look then what he usually accustomed too, but with so much going on in this Time War – there was little concern about appearances anymore.
“I’m not going to shake them this time, old girl.” He said gazing at the centre column rapidly moving up and down with sparking energy beams, “They’re just too stubborn and damn well annoying the hell out of me. Firing inside the time-space vortex?” he suddenly scoffed, “That’s the last resort of desperation. Killing themselves and me or anyone else traveling inside of it – typical, absolutely bloody typical of them.”
Just as he managed to put out the fire with his small red cloth from his tattered brown leather jacket, another major blast shook the TARDIS violently and caused the man to fall to the floor on his back in agony. The column flared brightly and a flash of fire rose up through it; the console sparked all around and the lights inside the battle worn room flickered with loss of power.
Launching out of the swirling Vortex, the TARDIS materialized onto a desolate world in the far reaches of space. The sound of its usual wheezing was laboured and warped as it quickly appeared on the red rocky surface. As it came to a rest, the blue box smouldered and hissed as the rough landing damaged the outer shell. It was now mottled with burn marks and cracks on the blue wooden-like surface.
The sound of the other ship approaching was much more graceful and pulsating. As the shadow of it overpassing the Time Lord vehicle it caused the ground to quake and the dust to stir up around it. The mysterious alien vessel then landed a few feet away and powered down.
* * *
The Doctor began to awaken inside; the pain from falling caused him to wince and soon realized what had happened as he looked around; the whole place was dark with only a few emergency lights giving it some illumination of the console and doorway. The frail man rose up from the floor and clasped onto the metal railing near by to give himself a boost upward. In a daze he could see the TARDIS was non-functional, he grumbled in frustration from the sight of the devastation.
The console was smoldering and out of power as he tried any switch or lever that wasn’t nearly badly burned. But it was all in vain. Bitterly he pounded the console with his right fist.
“Blast!” He grumbled. “Were in for it now, eh, old thing? So many battles, so many close shaves – until now it seems. Well, if they want me, they can have me. I’m tired of all this. No more––no more of any of this.”
The War Doctor patted down his leathery coat and dusted off his pants. With a quick indrawn breath, he stood up erect and made his way towards the exiting door to his craft. As he came close to it, the unshaven aged man rested his forehead onto it and closed his eyes wearily. But they soon opened with great shock as the all too familiar digitized voice called out to him in that familiar evil tone.
“Doc-tor! Doc-tor! You will come out and face us!”
Slowly, the aged Time Lord opened up the door and was faced with a several, silvery-gold looking pepper-potted Daleks. The menacing creatures quickly aimed their arm blasters at him and glared down with their singular protruding eyepieces.
“Face us, Doc-tor! Face us and prepare for your extermination!”
The Doctor stepped out sheepishly from his TARDIS and gave a slight cough from all the smoke billowing out of his craft. Instead of trembling with fear at the sight of so many Daleks poised to destroy him, the man simply smiled and gave a laugh.
“Is this it? Is this all you’ve got to take me on? The might of the Dalek Empire and they send only a few Daleks to challenge me? Talk about low budget! HA!”
“Silence!” The main Dalek shouted bitterly. “We are a task force sent from our main ship to exterminate you! Daleks! Prepare for extermination! Prepare! Prepare!”
All of the Daleks switched on their weapons; the surge of power could be seen building inside of them as they were on the cusp of activating.
“So you’re going to end me here and now?” The Doctor scoffed, “They’ll never believe you. The Time Lords that is – I mean, to simply say, ‘he’s dead’ isn’t going to make them end the war now is it? No, you put The Master on trail and had the whole galaxy witness his end – but for me? A mere blast of energy and its done? Pitiful… Why not think outside the box…as it were, why not do something different? An alternative to this simple self gratification…”
“Negative!” The creature uttered in contempt, “For you there is no alternative but utter obliteration! The Daleks will reign supreme over all life, the Time Lords will be eradicated and we shall become the new lords of time and space!”
“Spare me the usual megalomania banter. So you think you can do better?” The aged man scoffed, “I very much doubt you lot could. If only you could imagine the scope of what that means, but – no, not creatures with a single-minded goal of utter perfection. What ever that is…”
“Daleks are perfection, Doctor.” A voice booms out loud over them all, “And once we have purified this universe of all non-Dalek kind, we will be masters of all time and space.”
“And the puppet master speaks.” The aged man smiled, “I am addressing the Emperor or some other high ranking commander? You lot all sound the same to be honest.”
“I am the Time Strategist Dalek.” It growled in contempt, “I manipulated you to this planet and forced you to land here.”
“Oh? Really? Rather than outright destroy me?” The Time lord quipped, “How un-Dalek of you. Could it be you’ve learned some small scrap of humanity after all? Hm? No. I suppose it would be too much to think that of you. So what is it to be then, eh? Talking me to death, is it?”
For someone that was clearly about to die, the Doctor seemed overly calm and rather chipper. The Daleks kept their eyestalks on him as he continued while walking about them.
“No, Doctor,” The Dalek Strategist answered coldly, “Exterminating you would turn you into a martyr, and the galaxy would unify against us and delay our plans further. No – this I must not happen. It has been decided. You are to be our prisoner––forever! No longer able to meddle in our plans, you shall be our guarantee and a means to end the Time lords once and for all. Your capsule will be immobilized and you will be trapped here indefinitely in a planetary time lock!”
“What?” He smirked as he stopped back in front of his Tardis, “No extermination? How interesting… So you’re afraid then, is that it? Of little ol’ me? Mercy from a Dalek? Very interesting indeed.”
“Mercy?” The creature mocked, “There is no such word in our vocabulary! It is a weakness that will be destroyed and the Daleks will be the superior beings forever! Daleks conquer and destroy!”
“Daleks conquer and destroy!” They all shout in unison over and over.
“Then why the reprieve?” The Doctor questioned with a glare, “You’ve got me and now you want me to live? Make up your minds!”
“Live?” The Dalek voice echoed back, “You shall not live. We will go and remake the universe in our image; destroying all time lines, all the universe and begin the Dalek Empire as it was meant to be. Perfection! And when we are done, when all life has become Dalek – then, only then – we shall return to show you who is truly the masters of time and space, and then you shall – DIE!”
“No…” The aging man uttered, “Your tampering with things you know nothing about! Masters of time and space? You won’t be able to control yourselves. I warn you, Daleks – this will end badly for you.”
“We shall see, Doctor! We shall see. When we return, your death will be assured.”
Backing away from the somber Time Lord, the Daleks slowly retreated backwards their vessel. The Doctor stood helpless as he watched them. The saucer-like ship quickly flew up into sky, the aged man winced and looked up to the stars above; All those worlds, all those lives and he just terminated them all. Now there was nothing to stop them. Nothing at all.
“What have I done?” He said in a quivered breath, “ What have I done?”
Inside the now, darkened Time Lord craft, the Doctor sat in a worn looking wooden chair. A chair that was a gift to him from the Renaissance time, a hand crafted, red leathered seat that has seen better days. Next to his rather cozy crafted chair was a small table made of oak and detailed with gold leaf embroidery. The cup of hot tea sitting on top was fine china from the Ming Dynasty, one of many sets he’s been given when visiting the ruling body of that era.
As he sat there, somber and reflective, he could hear the pulsing shield that surrounded the planet. Locked in one fixed time and space forever, this was going to be his tomb and wondered how the universe was doing against the unstoppable enemy. He could sense the great loss, the ongoing death and cries of many cursing not only the Daleks, but him as well.
He was not like the Doctor at all. In fact, he made it a point to remind all those that sought him out or awed at his presence. The regeneration he took was far more aggressive and unpredictable than any of his previous ones.
Taking a moment to sip his tea, he often wondered how much time had passed. In a time lock, there is no measurement of time or feel of space moving around him. No way of telling of what the future will be, what the past has been or what’s going on in the present. It’s the quietest time the Doctor has ever had in any of his lives. For him, only minutes have passed – enough time to make a cup of tea and read a few pages of his book - Life, The Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams.
But even now, the book was giving him no joy. All of time and space was burning because of him, a gamble so great, that the odds where definitely stacked against him. The Time Lord could almost hear his previous incarnations shouting at him in disgust and anger, but he knew well enough that this was the only option he had left – other then being killed that is. But if things go that way, so be it.
“Shouldn’t be long now.” He muttered softly to himself. “Enough time to have one cup of tea and a biscuit or two.” Suddenly, the Doctor frowned as he looked at his side table, “Damn, out of biscuits. Why do I always eat the biscuits first? Now I’ve got nothing with my tea.”, he drew out a long sigh, “I should have had them agree to pick up a packet for me upon their return.”
Just as he rose up out of his chair to look for some more, a loud knock on the door echoed throughout the dead TARDIS. An eerie sound that even made the old man pause in his tracks. He glanced over at the exit and listened once more. Two more loud knocks made him close his eyes in fear. The time had come. Carefully, he walked down the ramp towards the doors and placed his hands on to them.
“Moment of truth,” He uttered softly. “Right, don’t delay the inevitable. Daleks don’t like to wait do they?” His eyes gave a curious glare as something came to mind, “They don’t knock either. Did I get the one and only polite Dalek in the universe? Imagine that,“ he chuckled, “A well mannered Dalek.”
Opening the doors to the TARDIS, the aged man stepped out and was surprised to be greeted – not by Daleks – But by four individuals with white gowns and long white hair. Their eyes were all blue and their skin as pale as their robes adorning them. It made the Doctor raise an eyebrow upon seeing such beings that were clearly human in form. For the most part they were male, but some could have been female, he’d been to many a world where some beings actually were feminine but looked masculine in their features.
“Dear me,” He scoffed lightly, “Did I miss a Lord of the Rings convention or something? Perhaps an Edgar Winter look-a-like contest, eh?”
The beings remained silent to his comical quip. Recovering from the lack of response, the Doctor lowered his smile and pressed on.
“Look, um… can I help you? I was rather expecting some other company.”
“It is truly you.” The leading individual finally spoke as he stepped forward. “Doctor.”
“No. I’m not him.” The Time Lord grumbled in shame. “Not anymore that is.” With that introduction over, the aged man quickly peered at them with a question in mind, “I wasn’t aware that this planet was inhabited. May I ask who you might be?”
“We are not of this world, there is no one here but you” The pale male man answered calmly, “No one, but you – the prisoner of this world…the oncoming storm.”
’Eh” The Doctor suddenly said twitching his left eye, “What did you call me?”
“The Oncoming Storm…” He replied. “An ancient name we gave our greatest adversary.”
Then it dawned on the Time Lord, the realization focusing back into his eyes and a quiet gasp under his breath.
“There’s only one species that ever called me that––Daleks. Are you telling me that the four of you are Daleks?”
“After a fashion,” The white haired individual smirked, “We are the last of a multi-generation from our predecessors. We have come to see the man who dared to challenge our race and made us what we are now.”
“Forgive me.” The man said holding up his right hand, “I forget how long you’ve been in here. A mere few minutes for you––but ten reconstructs of time and space for us.”
“Ten reconstructs?” The doctor questioned with a confused glance, “Are you saying that… um… ah… there have been ten restarts of time and space? Is that even possible?”
“In ways even you may not fathom.” The white haired man nodded, “The Daleks, as you know them, did conquer the galaxy – but our interests began to move beyond the limits of this galaxy. We reshaped time, the universe and other manner of existence to our own purpose.”
“I see.” The aging Doctor stated with surprise, “So I’m the only being left in your way, is that right?”
“You are the only original being from the time we first began our redesigns, yes.”
“So now that the whole of creation is made in your image, you’ve come to rub it in my face and are here to finish the job.” He quickly gave a defeated sigh, “And how many perished in so many timelines, so many lives snuffed out over and over just to suit the Dalek need for perfection? Was it truly worth it? Are you satisfied now that you have it all?”
“No…” The man stated.
“No?” The Time lord repeated with raised brows, “How disappointing for you. So I guess I’m the icing on the cake and then you lot can hold hands, now that you have them, to sing the happy days of the last Time Lord’s demise.”
As the Doctor overly gestured at his comments and bowed to them mockingly, he quickly stopped and gazed up with a curious glare.
“Wait a moment.” Again his hard glare now focused on their faces, “Since when would a Dalek ever change their form? To them, being those overly decorated pepper pots is the only true form to be. So – “, he then started to grin again, “What could have happened to make any Dalek turn to something other than… well… a Dalek? Eh?”
The gaunt, longhaired man stepped closer to him and returned the glare. The Doctor continued to look smug and waited for the answer.
“We grew beyond our shells.” The man spoke bitterly, “We tried to retain our forms through out the changes, but our minds and bodies began to disfigure due to the correction process. As we began to create new universes to occupy, the wars began between our kind. Dalek kin refusing to accept the modifications now reverted back to they way they were and exterminated the genetic impurities.”
Watching him with great interest, the Doctor stroked his chin and reflected as the man continued.
“Those of us that dared to keep the deformity, either by choice or by lack of genetic reversion capability, where hunted to near extinction. Because we dared to recreate all of time and space to what we wanted, the others now wanted to stop and return to the how it was before. There was no progression, no inspiration, there was nothing but us!”
“And so,” The Doctor finally mused, “No one to exterminate but yourselves. How ironic… and very tragic.”
“But you were still here.” The white robed man pointed, “You had never been removed from existence. In a way we thought you to be lost, forgotten and even a minor legend. But when the others found out that the Doctor was still on a world in time lock, the wars grew intense. The race was on to find you and end your life to bring solidarity to all Daleks.”
“I’m touched.” The aging Doctor snickered. “To be so remembered and hated that I would be the one to be the rallying cry for solidarity to the Daleks. And now – here we all are.”
“All?” The white dressed many said with a slight smirk. “There is only one left.”
The two other beings disappeared behind leaving only the one Dalek-hybrid human talking to the slightly surprised Time Lord. He hadn’t expected to see them vanish into thin air, but tried to remain focused on the one standing before him.
“One?” The doctor paused in realization and gasped at the individual, not a wave of pity or remorse was shown the other man’s face.
“Those other, um, projections, I take it, where meant as a means to curb my loneliness. I suppose being all alone in the universe is even more than a former Dalek to endure.”
“You mean they’re all, ah… well…”
“Dead,” The white robed man said as he backed away slowly. “Exterminated.”
“How? Why?” The Doctor questioned with confusion, “Are you telling me they just wiped each other out of existence?”
“No,” He stated coldly, “I did. I exterminated every single one of them until I was the only true Dalek left.”
For a moment, there was a long pause as the Time Lord took it in, but then a sharp boisterous laugh came out and the Doctor rose up his hands.
“You hear that universe! The last Dalek has risen! Will there be trumpets and throngs of admirers? Oh… no, I think you’ve managed to take out all of them, haven’t you? Oh dear, dear, dear… Tsk, tsk, tsk… No one left to bow at your feet or chant your name, how sad indeed.”
“You mock me?”
“Mock you?” He replied in a sarcastic tone. “No, why would I do that? You’ve achieved what everyone in the whole of the, well, in my former universe, was trying to do. End the Daleks completely. Perhaps if they had all lived, they would thank you.”
“And yet – Time lord.” The man stressed in anger. “You are the last of your kind as well. Having sent them all to a fate worst than death itself. You and I are all that’s left of the Time War.”
The Doctor’s smug smile diminished and returned to his stoic self. The impact of that statement seemed to hit him hard as he walked back to the Tardis and softly gripped the side of it. The ship was totally dead––no power, no energy to fuel it and sitting helplessly on the dust and rocks.
There was no way he could save anyone this time, the damage was done now, and truly the only ones that lost were the innocent.
The aging man gave a slight sigh of defeat and lowered his head.
“Yes,” He agreed. “I’m here. Here because I wanted the war to be over, to give the universe some sort of peace from our endless destruction. But in the end, you Daleks took the path to total self-destruction, and with it, all of life too. No winners, no losers… only victims.”
The long white haired man placed his hands on either side of the equally white-belt that sported rounded orbs. They were similar to the orbs the Daleks had on their outer shells, but only smaller and only on the cloth-like belt that held the rest of his robbed outfit together.
Clearly, the sentiment seemed to affect him as well, the frustration and sorrow seemed to rush into his expression. A slight pace forward towards the darkened time craft caused the Doctor to turn around sharply.
“Well,” The Doctor struggled to utter with an almost somber tone. “What are you waiting for? Finish the job. End me and your victory will be done with. I’m tired of it––all of it. I’ve got nothing else to live for, the people, the worlds, all of time and space, gone because of me.”
The white dressed man simply smiled, walked past him and walked into the Tardis. It was something the Doctor was not expecting. He seemed a bit confused by the action and winced back into the craft.
“Curiouser and curiouser…”