There is a fine and delicate art to getting another’s attention without making any noise or movement. During that particular lesson, however, I was probably doodling in the margins and gazing out of the window.
My entourage had increased, severely. My outer protection ring of CAUSE had its own outer ring of Daleks – calling into question just how many of us were really being escorted.
While we went, down identical bronze corridor after identical bronze corridor**, I did my best to telepathically call upon each of the five heroes, to no avail.
The Captain was too close-minded. Spark Plug either didn’t notice or couldn’t. Trying to mentally tune into Ethereal was like trying to watch a billion different TV shows at once. Unnamed Owl had reverted back to its original size and was now about as useful as, well, a regular sized owl. And Angel Demon’s telepathic mind told me not politely to “f*ck off.”
Well then. Surrounded by potential allies and yet still going it alone. Some things really don’t change.
Our armoured escorts reached a large bronze door that split into equal segments and slid out of view, revealing the ship’s bridge on the other side.
I was about to gasp, but just managed to stop myself. Such sounds of surprise are quite unbecoming for someone constantly acting like he knows what he’s doing.
I’d been on this ship before. Still didn’t know its name, and would be forgiven for not realising earlier on given the conformity of Dalek architects; but I’d definitely been here before. There was a large, gaping hole in one side, with the eternity of space just beyond. Rather than repair the damage, some unit(s) had set up a clear force-field around the hole. It was blue-tinged, transparent and constantly flickering. I didn’t trust it even a little bit.
I understood, though. A rebellion faction can hardly call in to home for a repair job…
“Dalek Elder!” I called. Every pair of eyes belonging to CAUSE turned to me in alarm. “Your package has been delivered.”
The ship’s bridge was a large, bronze, domed room split into two levels. We stood on the bottom , looking up at the mezzanine level – a control deck, with long windows and panels built for sink plungers. A Dalek that had been looking out towards space turned to face us.
Black metal. Platinum accessories. Red eyestalk lamp. And two guns. I make my enemies properly.
Also looking a bit more scratched and tarnished, given my last exploit on this ship.
DE: “OUR SCANNERS INDICATE THAT YOU ARE WITHOUT YOUR TARDIS.”
I was back in my element again; I strolled out of the circles, considering CAUSE as little more than a five-piece set of lounge furniture. The other Daleks twitched, but would not fire without the Elder’s command.
“Nope, so you can relax your tentacles. Nothing’s going to blast another hole in the wall,” I replied, joining their master on the upper level. Other machines who were flying the oversized craft clocked me with their eyestalks, but continued working. “Just me this time. Well, if you ignore your little…” I glanced their way, “taxi service.”
CAUSE had lost their composure. None of them had expected their charge to walk towards their kidnapper; much less address them like an old acquaintance.
I lowered myself down to sit on the edge of the upper level, my legs dangling and swaying in the air.
“What’s this about then, Elder?” I asked upwards. “Since when do you lot go in for delegation and contracts? All a bit Vogons, if you ask me.”
DE: “YOU ARE GUILTY OF THE THEFT OF OUR TRANSMITTER AND THE ATTACK ON OUR HULL.”
Several eye-stalks roamed the way of a very large, and very crude, window.
DE: “THE DAMAGES YOU CAUSED” – I winked at the team – “HAVE LIMITED OUR MOVEMENTS.”
“Yeah, well, you left me on a cliff-hanger, so, I guess we both have our reasons to be angry. I mean, yours is hardwired, but there we are. Also you didn’t want the transmitter back, did you? Only I got rid of it after my plan worked. I presume you heard the song?”
“Did you like it?”
“Ah well. It wasn’t meant for you, anyway.”
CS: “Excuse me?”
A Timelord and a Dalek looked down upon someone, in unison. I can’t blame the Captain for flinching.
CS: “If this matter is now resolved, we shall be on our way.”
“I suppose you did pay them up front,” I commented, absently. “Which I still don’t really get, by the way.”
DE: “WE DEVISED AND UNITED THIS TEAM HAVING DRAWN INSPIRATION FROM YOUR OWN MIND.”
I got angrily to my feet. “Wait, whoa, back up there, Elder Scrolls.” I stared down the barrel of its red-lit eyestalk. it was like glaring into hell. “You put them together? You picked a packet of five weirdoes because you thought I’d like them?”
DE: “A RANDOMISED AND CAPTIVATING LURE, THE LIKES OF WHICH A CERTAIN ECCENCTRIC AND…. IMMATURE TIMELORD COULD NOT IGNORE.”
DE: “I ADVISED YOU OF THIS PREVIOUSLY. WE HAVE RECORDS OF ALL GALLIFREYAN EXTREMISTS.”
“Even about my-”
DE: “UNCONVENTIONALITY, YES.”
I was being read for filth by a motherf**king Dalek!
Which I suppose would just further prove my bizarreness…
“So what about them?” I asked, not-so-subtly trying to change the subject.
The Dalek Elder paused. I believe if it had owned hands, it would have put one to an equally non-existent chin.
DE: “IT STANDS TO REASON THAT THE TRAP HAS WORKED.”
The five CAUSE members brightened, slightly. I did not.
DE: “THEY ARE NO LONGER NECESSARY.”
Daleks. Masters of universal conquest, and terrifyingly dead-pan deliveries.
The ring of Daleks that had led CAUSE here all turned inwards, facing them – more than a dozen guns were suddenly pointed their way. They huddled closer together, back to back, with Unnamed Owl hooting indignantly.
More and more Daleks joined in, increasing the numbers to this firing squad.
I watched the targets. They’d drugged me, stolen me, hauled me through realities and across the universe, and delivered me to one of the deadliest races in existence. I had given them the chance to escape, and they hadn’t taken it. They had brought it upon themselves.
I could just let it happen…
* I won’t apologise for the pun title but will offer warning that it won’t be the last – R
** Daleks do, against popular belief, actually have architects. What they lack in imagination they more than make up for in dedication. Storage bay? Bronze. Ship’s bridge? Bronze. Toilets? Not applicable.***
*** That said, one designer Dalek did suffer an emotional and computational error, leading it to glide into rooms and declare it all “SO LAST CYCLE.” Skaro had never seen such a swift and all-inclusive extermination before…