The first of four (rightfully) rejected drafts of the last chapter of The Dying Days …
DOCTOR WHO AND THE VALEYARD OF THE DALEKS
Saturday, 6 December 2003
One of Grotecca’s men pricked him with the portable DNA scanner, the other searched him, finding and removing his pistol. ‘He’s who he says he is, boss.’ ‘I never doubted it.’ The Italian arms dealer was small and sweaty. ‘Good evening, Mr Jason Kane. Show me the colour of your money.’ Jason indicated the battered S-reg Mondeo. ‘The colour of my money is gold and it’s in the boot of my car. It’s booby-trapped, so I advise you to keep away. I want to see the goods first.’ One of the goons was holding a leather briefcase. He laid it down on the boot of their Mercedes. Grotecca handed Jason the swipe key. Kane bent over the case, unlocking and opening it up. A warm glow lit his face, and he stood there for a couple of seconds, transfixed. ‘You happy?’ He didn’t respond. ‘Kane!’ Grotecca repeated. ‘You happy?’ Jason shook his head, closing the case. ‘I’m happy.’ He reached into his jacket. Before the action had been completed, Grotecca had drawn his gun and was pointing it at him. ‘My car keys,’ Jason assured him, holding up the remote control. I’m going to unlock the boot for you, OK?’ Grotecca relaxed a little. ‘OK.’ Jason smiled and squeezed the remote control. The Mondeo exploded. It was an old petrol model, so Grotecca and his goons were bowled over by the blast. By the time Italo Grotecca had got to his feet, Jason Kane and the briefcase were long gone. Fifteen minutes later, Jason Kane was in the Internationale casino, looking for a game he could join. There were a dozen tables, and choosing between them was going to be very difficult. Then he saw the girl, and she made the decision for him.
No older than eighteen, she was large, but her evening dress had been wisely chosen, playing to her advantages. It had been tailor-made for her, and showed just the right amount of milky-white skin to make her appear womanly rather than overweight. She looked good and she knew it, which made her all the more attractive.
‘Jason Kane,’ he informed her, smiling.
‘That’s an unusual name,’ he observed, trying to open up the conversation. The woman – Iphegenia – could see through what he was doing but played along.
‘My parents gave all their kids names beginning with an “I”. I was the seventh, and they’d run out by then. My younger brother’s called Ipswich.’
There were chuckles from around the table, which disconcerted her a little, she hadn’t meant it to be a joke. Her voice was still young, a little adenoidal. As she spoke, she shifted slightly, exposing a voluptuous expanse of leg. Realising that he was staring, Jason glanced back up at her face, and saw her smiling back at him knowingly. She had warm brown eyes. They held each other’s gaze for a second.
He held out his hand. ‘Jason. Jason Kane. And you are Iphegenia … who?’
‘Quite,’ she answered casually, glancing across the table. Jason noticed her companion for the first time, and was unsure what to make of the man. Two thousand years ago, he could have been a Roman Senator, with just the right profile and bearing. He was in his sixties, with thinning white hair and odd pale eyes. He was clearly the most intelligent man around the table – around any table – his posture and expression radiated an effortless genius. He had kept himself lean, and moved with the unselfconscious ease of a man two or three decades younger.
‘You’re married, Jason Kane,’ the old man said sardonically. ‘And so is she.’
‘Do I know you?’ Jason asked, more than a little annoyed. The old man was wearing a dark-blue suit and a pressed silk shirt that looked expensive, but weren’t exactly the height of fashion. The older man smiled.
Jason attempted to keep his expression neutral. Glancing around the table, he could see that the couple fascinated the other players. He could tell that they had quietly been speculating about the couple’s relationship all evening, but no-one had the nerve to ask them. Were they husband and wife?
Play began, and Jason, a seasoned gambler, recognised the familiar patterns of such games: the well-meaning amateurs, the tourists, the rich who had joined the game simply to be seen losing a fortune. The odd couple were harder to place in such a hierarchy. Outwardly the man was calm, but you could almost hear his mind work as he calculated odds and rehearsed his options. Finally, though, he snorted, and dropped his cards to the table. A couple of the other players, with substantially inferior hands, immediately did the same. Jason placed his cards more carefully, face up. A full house. He kept his expression neutral, but looked at Iphegenia expectantly. She kept her cards level for a moment.
‘Are you going to show us your cards, Iphegenia?’ the old man asked curtly. He wasn’t someone who liked to lose.
Jason leapt to her defence. ‘It isn’t sporting to rush a lady, Mister.’
‘Doctor,’ the old man corrected him gently, ‘and if I know my wife at all, she has a winning hand and she knows it. She also knows that it’s her last hand of the evening, and she’s taking great pleasure in spinning out the tension.’
Jason raised an eyebrow. ‘Is that true?’ Iphegenia giggled and slapped her cards down. The dealer began to push over her winnings. The other players were beginning to drift away, hoping they still had enough money to pay their bar bills. Jason smiled, then looked up at the old man. ‘Wait a minute, did you say “Doctor”?’
The Doctor held out his hand. ‘Hello Jason, it’s been a very long time.’
‘Yeah. Longer for you than me, by the look of it. Since we last met, you’ve … ‘ he searched for the word, ‘regenerated? And got married,’ he added, almost as an afterthought.
‘Many times. And just the once.’ ‘He’s not the man I married,’ Iphegenia giggled. ‘My forty-first incarnation was a great deal more impulsive than myself.’ He looked across the table at his wife, a very contented smile on his face. ‘Thankfully.’
Jason had a number of questions to ask the pair of them. Only one was important.
‘How is my wife?’ ‘Supreme Commander Bernice Surprise Summerfield, Lord of the Inner and Outer Worlds, High Admiral of the Galactic Fleets, Lord General of the Six Armies and Defender of the Earth? I’ve not seen her since her inauguration as God Empress of All Human Space.’
Jason’s mouth was wide open. ‘You’re joking?’ ‘Yes, of course I’m joking,’ the Doctor chuckled. ‘You should see your face,’ Iphegenia snorted. ‘Well, how is she?’
‘I’ve not seen her for a very long time, I’ve had, oh, a thousand new adventures since then. I was in my eighth incarnation, so that would be … ‘ he worked it out in his head. ‘Over two thousand two hundred years ago.’
Iphegenia kissed her husband on the cheek. ‘You’d think the age difference would be a problem, wouldn’t you?’
‘Where is she?’ Jason asked. ‘Is she still on Dellah in 2593?’ ‘How did you know that?’ the Doctor asked.
‘I found a letter at Allen Road. I was there last week. I thought she might be.’
Iphegenia was watching him. ‘You miss her, don’t you?’ ‘I do. I’ve remained faithful to her, you know that? All this time.’ The Doctor glanced at his wristwatch. ‘Subjectively speaking, you did only split up a fortnight ago.’
Jason shrugged. ‘I realised I missed her. I’m trying to build a time tunnel.’ The Doctor raised an eyebrow. ‘Are you indeed?’ ‘Just for a one-way trip. I’ve still got my time ring, so most of the work was done for me. Check the briefcase.’
Iphegenia opened the case, the light from it radiating over her face. She smiled a cherubic smile. ‘Is that what I think it is?’ Jason nodded. ‘It’s beautiful.’ ‘It’s an emm of taranium.’ The Doctor’s mouth was open. ‘You managed to acquire a useful quantity of taranium in less than two weeks? It’s one of the rarest substances in the universe.’
‘Yeah. I know that, you know that, but to the twenty-first century it’s just some glowing rock. So, now I’ve got all the bits will you help me build my time machine?’ The Doctor shook his head. Iphegenia was aghast. ‘Doctor?’ The Doctor formed a thin smile. ‘Why bother when I can just take you to Dellah in the TARDIS? After we’ve finished our drinks, of course.’
The police box stood just outside the amusement VRcade. ‘You never got the cloaking device fixed then?’ Jason asked. ‘It was never really broken,’ the Doctor answered. Iphegenia unlocked the door and slipped inside.
The Doctor paused on the threshold, and stared at Jason, a look that bore right through him. ‘Are you sure?’ ‘I’m sure. I know we’ll get back together. At the wedding we were told our fortune. And later we met our son, Keith.’
‘Oh, that’s no guarantee,’ the Doctor said dismissively. ‘Temporal paradoxes and alternative timelines are ten a penny. You can’t rely on tawdry plot devices.’
‘But I love Benny,’ Jason objected. ‘And she loves me.’ ‘If you are sure of that, then that is your guarantee.’ The Doctor ushered him inside.
The control room was a dazzling airy space, with walls carved from crystal. Iphegenia was by the octagonal console, which sparkled like a crystal chandelier. Somehow she had found time to change into a flowing white robe.
‘I’ve set the co-ordinates,’ she told them. The Doctor stepped over to check the instruments. ‘I do know how to,’ she added.
‘Of course you do, my dear.’ The Doctor said, patting her affectionately. He reached across and pulled a couple of levers. The liquid in the central column began pumping up and down with a regular rhythm. The Doctor stared into it, a bittersweet look on his face. Jason and Iphegenia smiled at each other. ‘The Doctor always hoped you and Benny would get back together,’ she whispered. ‘Between you and me, I think he’s always had a soft spot for your wife.’ ‘That’s OK,’ Jason said cockily. ‘Between you and me, I fancy his wife.’ She stifled a giggle. The Doctor was rubbing the back of his neck. ‘What’s the matter?’ Iphegenia asked, clearly concerned.
The Doctor winced. ‘The hairs on the back of my neck are prickling. Back in the old days that always used to mean – ‘ He stood, staring ahead at something over Jason’s shoulder.
The TARDIS rocked, as if something had just hit it. ‘Doctor, what’s happening?’ Iphegenia called.
The scanner twinkled on.
There was a machine, a robot of some kind framed on the screen, a dome mounted on a stubby, conical base. At the top of the dome there was a single camera lens, which was twitching.
‘Doc-tor! We have fi-nal-ly lo-cate-d you!’ it barked in harsh, grating syllables. Lights on the side of its head flared, almost in time with its speech. ‘You have es-caped Dal-ek jus-tice for too long. Pre-pare for ex-ter-min-a-tion.’
‘And good evening to you, too,’ the Doctor said. ‘Talk about blasts from the past.’ He was flicking switches and twisting dials, a little frantically.
‘That is a Dalek?’ Iphegenia asked.
‘Correct. Their WAR-DIS was in a temporal orbit, waiting to ambush us.’
‘Are they all that colour?’ Jason asked. They were royal blue, with chrome trimmings.
The Doctor looked up, clearly seeing the question as trivial. ‘These days, yes,’ he snapped. Then he looked up at the screen again. ‘Their technology clearly hasn’t moved on since the last time I met them, on Falkus. Do you remember that?’ he shouted up at the Dalek.
‘All def-eats are cat-a-log-ed in the Dal-ek dat-a-banks. Your crimes ag-ainst the Dal-eks are with-out num-ber, Doc-tor. Your ex-ec-u-tion is long o-ver-due.’
The Doctor chuckled. ‘The poor dears have been annoyed with me since my seventh incarnation used the Hand of Omega to blow up Skaro in 4663. Some of the hardliners on the Supreme Council still deny it ever happened.’
‘Sur-ren-der,’ the Dalek screeched. ‘You will be ex-ter-min-a-ted. Sur-ren-der.’
The TARDIS reverberated as another Dalek energy bolt slammed home.
As the Doctor moved around the console, activating as many defence systems as he could find, he reeled off a brief history of the Daleks: the fifth execution of Davros on Calliopticon, the rise of the new regime and the Daleks’ victories against the Movellans, the Galactic Federation and the People. He explained that the new Emperor had eventually united the fragmented Dalek principalities into the Dalek Nation, the largest, most powerful empire in the universe, which stretched across vast areas of space and time.
‘What about humanity?’ Iphegenia asked. She was checking an instrument on the console that resembled a radar screen.
‘The Daleks lost their war with Earth’s galaxy, thanks to President Blake and his friends. Nowadays the Dalek Nation is consolidating its gains elsewhere in the universe. It will be many millennia before they will be in a position to expand towards Earth again. Their efforts are concentrated towards shoring up the front with the old Empires at the Universal Core.’ The Doctor looked up at her, a morose expression on his face. ‘The Children of Kasterborous are giving them particular trouble.’
Jason looked at the radar. ‘The Dalek warship is gaining on us.’ He checked the instruments again. ‘We’re still heading to Dellah.’
The Doctor glanced at the control. ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘We’ll be dropping you off.’ He flicked a few more switches. The TARDIS pitched over again.
Jason grabbed onto the console to keep himself upright. ‘But you’ll lead the Daleks straight to Benny.’ The Doctor shook his head. ‘They won’t have time to lock on before we dematerialise.’
The Dalek on the scanner was getting more agitated. ‘Our Em-pe-ror has sent-enced you to death for crimes ag-ainst the Dal-eks.’ ‘It’s not the first time he’s tried to prosecute me,’ the Doctor shouted back. ‘He was a lousy lawyer then, and he’s a lousy lawyer now.’
The Dalek drifted forward, filling even more of the screen. ‘This to be your fi-nal des-tin-y, Doc-tor. Ex-ter-min-a-tion! To-tal an-ni-hil-ation!’
The TARDIS rocked again. This time instruments on the console began to spark and burst.
The Doctor looked over at Iphegenia. ‘If only they knew who their Emperor really was,’ he chuckled.
‘Talk about your final destiny,’ she replied, beaming over at Jason. He smiled wanly, pretending he knew what they were talking about.
The Doctor was deep in concentration. ‘We’ve almost reached Dellah. Prepare for emergency rematerialisation.’ He turned to Jason. ‘This is where we must say goodbye. Give my regards to Benny. And don’t disappoint me, Jason Kane.’
Jason shook his hand. ‘I won’t. Look, are you going to be OK? If you need my help … ‘
The Doctor smiled. ‘Against those things? Nonsense.’
Iphegenia leant over and kissed Jason on the cheek. ‘You look after yourself.’
The Doctor’s hand was hovering over the console. At a precisely judged moment, he stabbed at a control and the TARDIS lurched to a halt. Jason was already standing by the door as it began to slide open. The ship had landed on concrete, it was raining out there, but he could hear young people laughing. He picked up his briefcase. Before he left, he turned to the Doctor. ‘Thanks for giving me second chance. Goodbye.’
‘Goodbye,’ the Doctor said.
Jason stepped out of the TARDIS and the doors closed behind him. The familiar wheezing, groaning sound started up, and the police box faded away. Jason grinned.
November 23 1997.
It was a beautiful morning …