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Doctor Who Internet Adventure #01 - "DeathRace"


Chapter 9
"This is Getting Bizarre"
by Andrew R. Vogel


---


"Don't worry, Doctor," said the Toymaker smoothly, "you haven't lost."


       "It pleases me to hear it," he muttered to himself. He anxiously watched the other players pick up and discard in turn, trying desperately to uncover a strategy that he could use, or even a set of rules that he could follow. Of course, each players' actions were dictated by several factors of which the Doctor had no knowledge. Presumably, each player was making the move which would maximize his own chances of winning the game based on what cards he currently had in his hand. Even as he witnessed the Rani discard a two of hearts, he had no idea if, for instance, twos were worthless or hearts were worthless. Perhaps, given a combination of cards which the Rani did not have, the two of hearts could be very valuable. Too many variables. Too many unknowns.


       "It's your turn again, Doctor," the Rani smirked viciously. "Do try to hurry along this time."


       "It does occur to me, Toymaker, that this isn't much of a game," the Doctor said.


       The Toymaker smiled. "How can you criticize the game when you don't know the rules, Doctor?"


       "Oh, well, that's just it, isn't it? I mean, this is hardly a fair competition. There isn't really any significant chance for me to win. The odds are overwhelming."


       "But Doctor," said the Rani, "that's exactly the point!"


       "But Rani, you are assuming that the Toymaker's motives are the same as yours. You assume that he seeks petty revenge for bettering him in our previous encounters. That motive, though, is far beneath the dignity of the Toymaker. His goal is to entertain himself with challenging, but ultimately winnable games. The threat of my destruction is ever-present, because the risk to myself and my friends adds a necessary dimension to the conflict. But likewise the possibility that I could win establishes a sort of risk that makes the whole thing that much more enjoyable to the Toymaker. Isn't that so?"


       The Toymaker smiled thinly at the Doctor. "No Doctor, it's not. Play the game."


* * *


"Did you say that you killed the Doctor?" Grace asked the hideous one-armed cyber-gnome.


       "You are known to the Doctor?" said the ugly little creature.


       Grace was beginning to think that she had made a huge mistake when she stepped into the Doctor's TARDIS. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. She was having so much trouble adjusting to "normal" life after the whole New Year's Eve ordeal. Her life was in a rut. She needed a change. She got a police box in her living room.


       "Who the hell are you?"


       "I am Davros, master of the Daleks. You will accompany me or you will be exterminated. What is your name?"


       "Dr. Grace Holloway, if you must know. And yes, I know the Doctor."


       "Excellent. You will proceed me. Walk!"


       "I hate bossy short people!"


* * *


"Yes, well, I've considered very, very carefully, and, based on all of your actions as you were playing, I have deduced that in order to maximize my odds of winning..."


       "You're stalling, Doctor," said the Toymaker.


       "...it will be necessary for me to pursue a strategy of evaluating the relative values of individual cards and specific combinations of cards in order to determine which cards to hold, which to play, and which to discard. And furthermore..."


       "Doctor!" shouted the Rani, staring so angrily at the Doctor that he actually flinched.


       Suddenly, a half-dozen vaguely robotic creatures burst into the room. Their metallic, computerized voices drowned out the Doctor's rambling waste-of-time. "DO NOT MOVE, OR YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED." The lead Dalek's eye stalk swivelled around the room. "WHICH OF YOU IS THE TIME LORD KNOWN AS DOCTOR?"


       Thank goodness, the Doctor thought. Perhaps they won't recognize me.


       Every other player pointed at him accusingly. "I don't know why I bother," he said with his hands above his head.


* * *


"Can't you do something, Toymaker?" shouted the Rani as the Daleks led the Doctor away from the card table.


       "Of course I can, my dear," he said, non-plused. "But I think this could be rather amusing, don't you? I suggest you take advantage of the Doctor's delay and try to finish the race."


       "What about me?" yelled Jadi Morok, finally succeeding in wriggling free of his gag.


       "Oh, bless my soul, I forgot all about you," the Toymaker answered. He levelled his gaze into the mercenaries eyes. "Follow them. If the Daleks don't do it for you, kill the Doctor."


       "Yes, Toymaker," Morok answered lifelessly.


       "Oh, but do try to do it with a little finesse, please. Violence without style is so.... vulgar, isn't it?"


* * *


Davros led Grace to a small ditch in the side of the road, a few miles behind where he had discovered her. "Look," he said, pointing into the ditch with his one good arm.


       "Oh my God," Grace gasped.


       "Ahhh, my Daleks are returning," Davros said as Grace slowly began to panic. The body in the ditch was so familiar. As if it had been yesterday. "Who is that man with them?"


       "It's the Doctor," Grace said, with some sense of relief. But not much.


* * *


"THE DOCTOR HAS BEEN APPREHENDED," said the lead Dalek as its hover-disk came to rest on the road. The Doctor was being constantly covered by the guns of at least two Daleks.


       "That's impossible. This cannot be the Doctor!" Davros shouted.


       "Doctor," said Grace, pointing at the body slumped in the ditch. "Look!"


       Following Grace's gesture, the Doctor eyes widened in shock and fear. "I don't understand. It's impossible."


       Laying face up in the ditch, with a massive and obviously fatal burn in his chest, was a short man wearing a cream linen suit and white fedora. Clutched in his hand was a black umbrella with a red question-mark handle.


* * *


"It's you, Doctor," said Grace, unknowingly fulfilling the centuries old role of the companion by stating the obvious. Of course, she thought, the ever present viewers at home would need clarification. Hell, she could use a little clarification as well. "Before you regenerated."


       "This is all getting too complex. I need time to think."


       "I see no confusion, Doctor," said Davros. "I have killed your previous self, and yet you still exist. This is obviously a very dangerous temporal paradox. It will have to be rectified. Exterminate! Exterminate! EXTERMINATE!"


---
To be continued...



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