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.'It's a tunnel,' said Wu, adjusting the controls on his gun.'There's nowhere they can run or hide.'He aimed the gun forward and let off a rapid burst of fire.Great loops of blue energy scattered away down the tunnel, illuminating the floor and ceiling as they went.The first couple of shots killed the rabbits and mice, the air suddenly tinged with burnt fur and flesh.His next shots carried further, following the contours of the tunnel as it dipped out of sight.Abi and her comrades listened out, and moments later heard the telltale screams as the shots caught up with the English.'Got them,' she said.'We'll have to see,' said Wu.They ventured forward, dead mice crunching quietly underfoot.The soldiers, Cranford and Teague, started whispering to each other, sharing some joke in poor taste.Abi held a finger up to her lips and they fell silent.They didn't want to give the English any advantage over them.Inky blackness embraced them.Wu reached into his pocket and produced his wireless phone.He tapped the keypad and the small screen lit up.It only gave out a paltry amount of light, hardly reaching beyond his hand, but Abi knew he wouldn't risk more.It was risky enough in itself.'What the hell's that?'The soldier's astonishment pierced the silence.Wu raised his phone up, making his way to the side of the tunnel, examining the stalactites.A pair of legs protruded from the wall, fused into the brickwork.They were singed where Wu's earlier gunfire had passed over them, but they must have been long-dead already.As Wu got closer, the legs moved slightly, swinging at the knees.It was an eerie sight.For a moment, Abi thought it must be some kind of sculpture - art perhaps, or an advertisement.But the first train to pass down the tunnel would just shear the legs off from the wall.'It's one of their test pilots,' said Wu.'He must have landed inside the tunnel wall.Not much we can do for him, now.' He turned away, the dangling limbs lost to the darkness again.Abi was glad to lose sight of them, but as they kept on down the tunnel, phantom shapes played in her mind, legs swinging in blackness.Bamford almost surrendered to him, very nearly just gave up the gun.The shock of the others brought her back to her senses.Their gasps, their words of disbelief.she still had something over them.'How did you know?' she said.'What gave it away?''Nothing in particular, I assure you,' said the Doctor.'You've kept your secret very well.But you knew the police box was involved, and you recognised the portal when you first saw it.Once I'd observed that, it was simply a matter of asking the right questions and listening attentively.You knew an Andrews, once, of course.''Yes,' she said.'I wondered why you took so against him.But the man here is not the man you knew.''I was the test pilot, years ago - for me,' she said, pitifully grateful to be able to tell them.'I was the colonel, and an Andrews worked for me.He was nothing like this parody of the man.''I don't deserve to die, just because of that,' said Andrews, a boyish smile taking over his features.She recognised that look from the man she had known.'You're not him,' she said levelly.'That's why you were so keen on getting rid of his fellows, of course,' the Doctor continued.'They simply served to remind you of how far you are from home.' While everyone else in the room was horrified, the old man appeared not to judge her.It was as if he found the whole concept fascinating - this was a novel twist on his experiment, and he merely wanted to explore the ramifications.'The 2004 I knew was quite different,' she said, trying to hide the hope welling inside her.'Can the hoop get me back there?''No.' said the Doctor.'It's a one-way ticket.That can't be a surprise to you.''No' said Bamford.People round the room sighed, as if she'd just given in.She set her jaw.'If I shoot this one, then the experiment never happened.He never walked through it, so these other versions of him will just disappear.' Her fingers were sweaty around the handle of the gun.She was usually such a sure shot.'It won't make any difference,' said the Doctor, calmly.This was all just a riddle to him, and, she realised, one he'd already worked out.'You will merely cement the paradox.'She actually laughed.'You don't get it, do you? I created all his.I sent the police box back to the beginning.It was me.''I don't understand,' said the Doctor.He looked like he night, at last, be afraid of her.'She sent the TARDIS back in time to herself in the past,'Susan cried, from over by the test room.'Don't you see, Grandfather? It's what started all this.It's what the experiments are based on!''I saw it,' said Bamford.'In the haze, as I passed through time, saw a police box.''We saw it, too, you know,' said one of the Andrews duplicates.'An odd sort of vision, I thought.Makes a bit of sense now, though.''You're nothing to this,' she told him.'I found the police box years ago.And I've locked it away, Doctor.Where you'll never find it.'Another Andrews stepped forward.There was now a small goup gathered around the original.'We've all of us been through the hoop,' one of them said.'It's all for one now, like the damn musketeers.Sorry, but you're one of us too, General.''And you've only one bullet left,' said Griffiths.'By my count.''No!' said Bamford, desperate not to let them draw her into heir cosy world.They weren't afraid of her.She needed them to be afraid of her, to keep everything together.The aberrations - for that was what they were - could not be allowed.'I can offer you a new life,' said Griffiths.'An armistice.Don't do this.''At least,' chipped in the Doctor,'tell me what day you arrived on What was the date?'The question threw her.He, alone in the room, did not hope to overcome her.She realised what he would do with the information, or at least try to do.Bamford had no better options open to her.Let him take it on [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]