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.They're breeding.''They were fully-grown specimens,' said Shirna impatiently.Vorg sighed.Expelled from the planet, now strangers in the Scope.It just didn't seem to be his day.Jo watched the Doctor slide the core-extractor along the edge of the plate.'Why did they all go rushing off like that?''Because the influence that was acting on them must have been turned off suddenly.Produced a temporary memory-blackout.Ah, got it.' The metal plate slid back revealing a black opening.Jo peered down it.'Seems to be the mouth of some kind of shaft, Doctor.Like a giant metal pipe.''Right,' said the Doctor.'Down you go, then.'Jo slid into the dark opening.The Doctor grabbed the flare-pistol from the wall rack, stuffed it in his pocket, then followed her.The panel slid shut over their heads.Jo found herself sliding down a long, smooth, metal tube.Luckily the pipe was tilted at an angle so the drop wasn't too steep, and she found she could slow her descent by bracing herself against the sides.Suddenly the pipe ended, and Jo shot out into space.She fell only a few feet, landing with a bump on a metal floor.A few seconds later, the Doctor landed beside her.They picked themselves up and looked around.Jo gasped in amazement.They were deep inside some enormous and incredibly complex machine.Stretching above and below and on every side were coils, circuits, wires as thick as cables, moving wheels, pistons and cogs.Some of the machinery hummed and throbbed.Valves and circuits gave off an eerie flickering glow.Jo felt like an ant that had wandered inside the back of a television set—very small, very vulnerable and very much out of place.She looked up at the Doctor.Hands on hips, head thrown back, he was gazing absorbedly around him.On his face was an expression of pure rapture.'Just look at that filter circuit, Jo,' he said delightedly.'What a beautiful piece of work.Now then—this must be the return system, so that will be the power-feed over there.The Doctor crawled into a narrow space between two circuits, and his muffled voice echoed out.'Yes, yes, it is! Come and look at this, Jo.Magnificent!'Jo tugged hard on one of his projecting legs and he came reluctantly out.'Doctor, where are we?' she demanded.'What is this thing?''What is it? My dear Jo, it's a magnificent example of an early pulse mechanism based on the principle of caeusium decay.Oh, this is absolutely vintage stuff!' Such was his enthusiasm that he seemed to have completely forgotten all their problems.'I take it this isn't the ship's engine room?''Of course it isn't, we're not even on the ship any longer.''So where's the TARDIS?''No idea.Probably been taken outside the machine entirely.Grit in the works, you see.We'll find it.' Then he was off again.'Just look at this capillary hydraulic pump.Have you ever seen anything like it?'Jo hadn't and didn't much want to.'Doctor, the only reason we came inside this clockwork maze was to find the TARDIS.So if the TARDIS is outside, let's start finding our way out.'The Doctor nodded reluctantly.'I suppose you're right, Jo.Well, we'd better begin by following this circuit.'They set off along a narrow metal tunnel, festooned with many-coloured wires.After yet another mini-conference, the three Minoran officials approached Vorg and Shirna once more.Vorg gave Shirna a confident nudge.'I knew it.My little demonstration won them over.They're going to change their minds and let us stay.'Pletrac was leading the way, as usual.He cleared his throat and said, 'One thing still puzzles the Tribunal.How were you able to influence the actions of the specimens as you did? Surely all these pictures are recorded?'Vorg sighed.Hadn't they understood anything ? Patiently he explained.'On the contrary, your worship, the Scope is good old-fashioned live entertainment.The picture on the viewing aperture glo-sphere is a projection of what is actually taking place.'In horrified tones, Kalik hissed, 'Do you mean all those creatures are actually living in there?'Vorg nodded proudly [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]