It was always Daleks.
The creatures, genetically altered blobs of hate in tanklike structures, had plagued him across the universe for centuries. Their emotionless desire for a master race and their policy of “extermination” had become feared throughout time and space, but each time he, the Doctor, had been there to stop them.
And so it came back to the beginning. New Earth. Back where his life, as the Doctor’s tenth incarnation, began. So long ago…yet still recent in his memory, a massive storage that now spanned almost a thousand years. He still had the same suit, brown with pinstripes, and his Chuck Taylors and his big hair. He could still feel that mole between his shoulder blades, and the new teeth he had never quite gotten used to…but some things had changed.
Rose was gone. She had been for a long, long time, yet she was always in his thoughts. Martha was gone now, too…he had sent her away. It was by inviation he had allowed her to come with him, to travel with him…he couldn’t bear to be the reason for another one of his companion’s deaths. He remembered their parting fondly:
“Doctor, what are you doing?”
“Remember, Martha? When I first met you, playing with time like a child with clay, I took off my tie? Like so…”
and he did so. But this time, it wasn’t a parlor trick. He gave the brown tie to Martha, his deep brown eyes locked onto hers: pleading, hurting, the pain of ages, the pain of a god.
“Take the tie, Martha. It’s all you’ll have.”
“What are you–”
“Don’t! Martha, you’ve got to get out of here. Dangerous things are going to happen, and I will not be responsible for your death…not like with Rose.”
“I’m not Rose!”
“And I’m going to make sure you aren’t! I won’t lose you like I lost her…but to do that I have to send you away…” he looked away momentarily, collecting himself, “look, you’re stronger than Rose and, don’t tell her I said this, but you’re smarter, too.”
Martha couldn’t help but grin slightly.
“Ah, there we go! There’s the smile I wanted! Now, go. Take a SIDRAT, get out of here, go back to your own time. You’re quick, you’ll figure it out. Just promise me one thing,” he glared deep into her eyes, “promise me you’ll become a doctor. Finish your exams, take what you have learned and save lives! Now that my people are gone, we need more doctors than ever…you promise me?”
She nodded dumbly.
“Good. Now go. Your Mum and Dad probably worried sick and your step…whatever she is…well, she’s probably sun-baked all the worry out of her head by now, the girls’ practically orange…”
Martha laughed at this.
“Good. Laughing. We should part laughing. I’ve always wanted to part laughing.” he cleared his throat uncomfortably. “Farewell and godspeed, Ms. Jones.”
“It’s been an honor, Mr. Smith.”
And with that, they shook hands, and she was gone. Another one…gone.
Then came the Daleks. It didn’t take long for them to recognize his presence, a presence they know, perhaps they fear. He was summoned by one of the old Sisters of Plentitude, saying that their old hospital had started up again, this time with no one going in…no one going out. Needless to say, the place had been shut down due to the…unsavory actions of the past nurses, and for it to start up again in such a peculiar manner was very interesting, very interesing indeed.
He remembered walking in. The doors were locked, but he had a sonic screwdriver. Thinking back, that is probably what tipped them off. Being the wonderfully thick-headed race they were, the New Humans had simply boarded the place up. Out of sight, out of mind. The Doctor loved that about humans and new humans alike, so worried about their tiny little life cycles, so worried about today. No time to see something through, must move on, make the most of a meager life.
Sometimes he craved such a meager life. This burden was getting heavy.
Of course, the first place he decided to check was the upper levels. Why? Because they were very, very loud and very, very loud places usually meant someone was there. What he found was a neo-gladitorial contest, a strongman fight taken to the extreme, to death. He watched in apalling horror as one man beat upon another, but only with their own bodies, until the loser was vanquished. As the Doctor’s gaze turned to a sort of leaderboard, he saw the name GRANTZ vanish and the name PARLOL rise to another echelon to face one called TEEVIS.
“The question is,” the Doctor muttered to himself, “who’s the winner, and who’s the loser?”
As the next two contestants were setting up to fight, the makeshift arena was cleansed of blood, teeth, skin fragments, hair shocks, and the like. He noticed a great amount of fascination with the audience on this next fight. As he looked to the board he noted that it read NINE v. HAMLAND. Each burly spectator, possibly all competitors, waited with bated breath for the combatants to emerge.
First announced was Jomathon Hamland, an absolute mountain of a man with more scars than teeth. However, his teeth were down to three when he growled with the promise of a new fight, so perhaps his scars weren’t all that numerous. As Hamland paraded about, presenting his well-muscled and grizzled body for the approval of his fellow fighters, the opponent entered the arena.
Cloaked completely in black, with no body visible, this Nine character looked more like a hooded priest. As the announcer bellowed out “JAVIIIIIS NIIIIIINE!” the Doctor looked to the to his right. Unfortunately, he only had one eye and that was focused on the arena. So he turned to his left, and asked the man who this Nine was.
“Oh ho ho, skinny-britches, you’re in fer a treat! This here’s our best!”
Before the Doctor could even take offense to the “skinny-britches” comment, the fight was set to begin. Javis Nine whisked away her ceremonial black robes.
It was a woman.
Javis Nine was a woman.
Vaguely mediterranean looking, she wore a tight-fitting suit that exhibited her muscled, womanly figure while leaving nothing to be grasped or tore at by the competitor. Her hair was braided back tight for the same reason, but it was obviously long in normal circumstances. She stood with arms akimbo, confident and waiting for the man three times her size to initiate the fight.
Hamland roared again and, like some wild beast, charged her. With one quick movement, Hamland lost his three remaining teeth as Javis neatly sidestepped, tripped, and sent his face cannoning into the floor. With blood pouring out of his face, Hamland leapt to his feet and rounded on her, looking like something out of a nightmare. The crowd, which had still fallen silent, could hear ever word Hamland bellowed.
“Oi, yew sneaky littul tart, why don’ yew stop wi’ th’ trippin’ an’ foight me loike a man?”
“Yes, sir,” Javis spoke her first words with an indecipherable accent: part Australian, part Cockney, part Western, all New Earth. With two swift punches and a lightning-swift kick, Javis broke in succession Hamland’s nose, two of his ribs, and a shin bone. Crippled an in immense pain, Hamland fell to the ground. Javis allowed her wavy dark hair to fly free as she stood a proud victor.
“YOU WILL SPEAK NOW!” A screaming metallic staccato brought him out of his reminiscing.
Daleks. It was always Daleks. They had taken over the old abandoned hospital, and were staging these “fights” to formulate the strongest and hardiest folk: Darwinism to brutal extremes. They were using the humans to create new Daleks in the old pods in the basement. Pods that have once been used, albeit wrongly, to prolong life were now being used most wrongly to exterminate it. The idea was not a new one, the Daleks have often cultivated new Daleks from other society’s wastes…but this was dangerous. This was different.
By using the physically strongest and most vicious specimens, the killingest of the killer instictives, the Daleks were breeding pre-Daleks, resulting in a refinement of the Dalek ideal within the brain itself, Daleks more dangerous than ever before. The fighters were bribed with cash, and loads of it, poisoning their minds and turning them into self-serving, brutal warlords…the perfect stock to create a heartless killing machine.
He had to rescue Javis. He saw, as she stood triumphant, a certain flair in her deep brown eyes, a fire of intelligence. This was not the place for her. He saw her fight these men, and best them because she was smarter as well as stronger. As he met her and talked to her he learned just how brilliant she was, but her fighting spirit often got her into trouble. “You can’t punch a Dalek!” he remembered saying to her. But it was that fighter’s spirit that lead her into a Dalek’s crosshairs, and which he was now calling out and facing down these monsters. He had looked down the barrel of a Dalek death ray many times, but this time he felt there was no backing down.
“YOU WILL AN-SWER!” The Dalek screamed again, “WHERE IS THE ITEM?”
The lyso-key. The Doctor had managed to isolate and formulate a strand of lysosomes that will dissolve the Dalek cell structure. Lysosomes are a body’s way of disposing old cells, but introduced in such a deluge as with a lyso-key into the breeding matrix, it would case a cataclysm and the new Dalek race would burn cell by cell. The very guts of their cells would spill out into an acidic, primordial stew.
He would burn them all. He would burn them all again. He had to.
“YOU WILL SUR-REN-DER THE LY-SO-KEY!” the Dalek continued to scream.
“Oh, I certainly will not,” The Doctor’s voice was hard as steel.
“Doctor, don’t sacrifice yourself for me, just go and kill these horrible things!” Javis screamed. She was still trained against the wall, the horrible Dalek eyestalk peering at her.
“YOU VAL-UE THIS CREA-TURE, DO YOU NOT?”
The Doctor said nothing, only fingered the Lyso-key in his pocket.
“IF YOU DO NOT WANT HER EX-TER-MIN-ATED YOU WILL SUR-REN-DER THE LY-SO-KEY!”
The Dalek whirled to turn its gun on Javis. For all of her strength, the presence of the Dalek caused her knees to fail her. As she hit the floor, the Dalek saw the Doctor check on her for a split second, which was all the Dalek needed. Its eye and gun pointed again at the Doctor.
“YOU HAVE LOST YOUR DE-COY, NOW SUR-REN-DER THE LY-SO-KEY OR-”
“SHE WASN’T A DECOY! SHE IS A LIVING, BREATHING EXAMPLE OF-”
The Doctor began to shout, but was silenced by the Dalek Death Ray. He was flung against the wall and sunk to the floor like a rag doll. The Dalek now moved to Javis’ prone body, only crying out “EX-TER-MIN-ATE! EX-TER-MIN-ATE!” He was stopped, however, by a familiar voice.
“Only one heart down, Dalek! I’ve still got one more, you’ll have to do a lot better than that!”
The Doctor was back on his feet, limping, gasping as his life left him, eyes glazing over. The Dalek turned his gun on him again.
“Go ahead. Shoot me. SHOOT ME! Kill me. Do it. Because I will feel myself die, and I will feel the sadness, and I will feel the hurt, and I will feel the passion, and I-WILL-”
The gun fired again. The Tenth Doctor sank again to the floor, never to rise again. With his last ounces of strength, he checked the Lyso-key. Not broken. Good. Then, he turned to face skyward as his tenth life left him:
“We never did make it…Rose…Barcelona…”