[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.'It must be something to be reunited with your own past.''And my self, Captain.'With an effort, Captain Vay stands straight; blood still seeps from his wounds.This is a man who was brutally close to losing the battle for his life.'Doctor.Have you any explanation for what's going on here?''What's taking place is a vast experiment.The entire planet's a laboratory.''But why didn't our probes detect Daleks in such numbers when they scanned the Quadrille?''Because they have expended tremendous effort and material to screen their citadel from any search by hostile forces.Now, tell me, Captain.You were captured by the Daleks?''Yes, too easily, I'm ashamed to admit.They locked me in that cell.The others too it seems.Then they tormented us for their own enjoyment.''No, not enjoyment.They were running tests on you.Observing how you reacted to challenges.If you survived or not.''We did OK, I guess.' The Captain nods at me.'But we weren't as successful as Jomi here.He was the only one to evade the monsters.''Yes, he was the most successful, wasn't he?' Something about the way the Doctor speaks the words makes me glance sharply at him.He seemsto be reaching a new understanding.Captain Vay flexes the strained muscles in his limbs.'So, Doctor, what have the Daleks been working on here?''Tell him, Jomi.''They are modifying a variety of life-forms so that, in the words of one of the specimens here, they will all possess a Dalek heart.''A Dalek heart?'Quickly I run through what happened to the Doctor and me on the journey here from the man's living quarters, including our fiery encounters with Daleks and our discovery of the monstrous test specimens in the neighbouring cells.Captain Vay shakes his head.'I can see why the Daleks would exploit slave races on worlds they capture.But why embed their own Dalek thought structure in what, to them, are alien creatures?'The Doctor eyes are hooded, as if he is withdrawing into himself.'Because, Captain, Dalek instinct drives them to invade, conquer and occupy every galaxy, every planet, every grain of sand.They have an overwhelming obsession to possess everything that is capable of possession.Rugged though the Dalek is, it can't freely inhabit every environment.So how much better, from their point of view, if they could graft the mind of a Dalek into a fish, or a bird, or an insect, or even bacteria? That way, every living organism could become a Dalek–' he gives a grim smile – 'a Dalek at heart.''Then why haven't they unleashed this programme of modification throughout the universe?''Ah, because there you have the irresistible force slamming into the immovable object.Daleks are like a virus.They have no choice but to infect the entire universe with their species.To achieve that, they must mutate in order to adapt to different environments, different atmospheres.Equally, they instinctively despise all life forms that are different from themselves, even if they vary only infinitesimally at molecular level.Ergo: they are driven to destroy or dominate any creature alien to themselves.''But these Dalek-hearted creatures wouldn't be different.They would have the same goal.The same loyalties.The same craving fordomination.''Indeed they'd share the same goal.But what makes a Dalek a Dalek? The mutant's physical form is different from that of the Dalek, which is not only distasteful to Dalek sensibilities, but dangerous, too.''How could something with the mind of a Dalek be a threat to the Dalek race?''Now, there, as the ancient saying goes, is the rub.' The Doctor rested his fingertips together as answers evolved within him.'What if the Dalek experiment here is a success? Imagine, if they create a being that is superior to the Dalek.More cunning, more ruthless.Imagine Dalek Imperial Command asking themselves: "What if our own creation decides we are inferior to it; therefore, we are to be despised.and deposed." What then, hmm?''So the Daleks know they can't abandon this program of embedding what amounts to a Dalek mind in alien life-forms; but at the same time, they dread the possibility that their own creation will be so successful that it will eradicate the Dalek species as it exists now?''Precisely.'I remember a word the Doctor used earlier.'You said something that was significant regarding the nature of this planet: quarantine.''Indeed, Jomi.Quarantine.The Daleks have not only laboured hard to conceal this global laboratory from the Thals, they have also gone to extraordinary lengths to quarantine the world, so that their own test subjects can't escape and wreak havoc throughout the Dalek dominion.''That's why Daleks from outside the Quadrille haven't been back here for centuries?''Absolutely.They're too wary of contamination.I daresay you won't find a single Dalek ship here, in case any of the test subjects should escape.' The Doctor nodded.'The Daleks have created their ultimate weapon.Only – to quote another old phrase – they can't live with it and they can't live without it.''Bravo.Bravo.'I recognise the whispering voice and whirl round.There, standing ahead of us in the corridor, is the old man with the white hair.He's applauding the Doctor's words while repeating: 'Bravo.Bravo.''Well, well, well.' The Doctor cracks a dry smile.'I didn't think I'd see you again.'Puzzled, Captain Vay stares at the old man.'You know this person, Doctor?''This is a non-person.It's one of the walking hives – parasitic bugs and nothing more.But I know the appearance it has chosen for its present incarnation.' Head tilting, he examines the figure in its peculiar clothes.'Yes, my friends, that is me.Or rather, me as I once looked.Those insects are exceedingly clever, aren't they? They managed to sift through my memories even when I myself no longer had access to them.' He addresses the figure.'l know why you are here, of course.''Yes,' the man-shaped hive whispered, pleased.'I should hope you do, even though you took your own sweet time reaching your conclusions.'Captain Vay asks the old man: 'The Doctor is right? This world is just one huge laboratory?''Oh yes, he's right.The Doctor is always right.At least, he was in my day.'The Doctor turns to us.'You must remember that you're not conversing with a true version of my earlier self.Those insects are clever.Our friend there has his – its, I should clarify – own agenda.''Then we need to be on our guard.' Captain Vay looks round.'Jomi? We have only one weapon between us?''Yes, sir.''Then our safety lies with you, ranger.''Yes, sir.Only, I'm down to my last two shots.''In that case, all I can ask is that when you need to fire, make sure they count.''Yes, sir.'The white-haired man waves us closer.His manner seems impatient, almost caustic.'I've got something to show you.'We move forward, alert to any possible threat.'Come along, I shan't bite.' But even as the words are formed, I see his face momentarily dissolve into a mass of swarming insects, before they re-bind themselves once more into the image of the white-haired man.'Wait!' The Doctor steps forward.'Are you going to tell these soldiers,or shall I?''Tell them what?''You should know.Your telepathic ability is highly developed.You're reading what's uppermost in my mind right at this moment, aren't you?''I prefer to show as well as tell.And now that time has come to show.' With a grand, stately gesture, using both arms fully outstretched, he indicates the wall behind him [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]