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Doctor Who Internet Adventure #22 - "Clockwork Orange"


Chapter 9
"Sunset"
by Matthew Harris


---


Book Two


12. Maxim: Member of an elite group so secret that they have no name. Dedicated to saving the Earth from the scum of the Universe. Deceased. Shot by Luc Peret for harbouring a fugitive.

11. Luc Peret: Former agent of the Shadow Directory in Lyon, co-opted to Project Clockwork because of his experience with the metanormal.

10. Jeremiah Horowitz: Architect of Project Clockwork. One of the two men who actually know what the final goal of the project is. A worried man, worried by the cracks that are appearing in security, worried about the loose ends. At large, with a captive.

9. Kirena Morok: Deremarian Guildmistress and sometime time-traveller with the Doctor and Luke Bramley. Captive of Jeremiah Horowitz and Luc Peret, neatly positioned to take the blame for the murder of Maxim.

8. Luke Bramley: Fellow traveller. Currently at large in the complex, concerned for his companions and distressed by the brutal murder he has just almost witnessed. Developing a healthy dislike for Krebs and his methods.

7. Ernst Krebs: Nazi defector and surgical director of Project Clockwork. Fine-tuning his hydra for the afternoon's surgeries. Unconcerned by security issues. Fixated on the Project.

6. Judith White: Also known as Ramona. Englishwoman abroad, although you wouldn't know it from her accent. Owner of The Feeling, the club that acts as a source and clearinghouse for Krebs' subjects. Currently in a car on the way to the Project, bearing cargo.

5. Don Hallaghan: 44 years old, podgy balding and corrupt to the core. Ramona's cargo. She's drugged him, and she's taking him to Jeremiah herself. Hallaghan used to be a good source of income for her, but he pushed her a little too far when he brought in Roni.

4. Veronica Hallow: Young, pretty, whore. Basically a good person, who's fallen in with bad crowd after bad crowd. She's got herself into trouble because she was looking for her friend the Doctor, who left The Feeling a couple of hours before she got there. Nervous.

3. Freddie Merker: Driver, middle-man, some time Mafia puppet. Roni's lover, and the love of her life. The bright pole of her existence. He loves her so much that it hurts him, so much that even while he is angry at her and reckons she's falling for this Doctor guy, he'll still speed across town to pick her up and drive her and Ramona to Vegas.

2. Mathew Harris: The bright young star of the LAPD, sitting in an unmarked car on the highway, following Merker and his women. He's following them not because they've got Hallaghan unconscious in the back seat, but because he reckons they'll lead him to John. There's a little bit of hero left in Mathew, and an urge to put things right with his lover.

1. John West: Actor. Mathew's lover. In over his head, knocked unconscious and hypnotised into a state of forgetfulness by Maxim. At least that was the idea.


* * *


When John woke up in the dim light of the infirmary, he remembered everything. He was terrified - more so than ever, because Kirena and Luke weren't around. He was all alone.


       No — not all alone. There was someone else there. Another man, this one tied to the next bed by his wrists and ankles, but still awake, alert.


       "Hello?" said John, the sound of his own voice startling him.


       "Hello," replied the other man cheerfully. "I'm new here, and let me tell you, boarding schools aren't what they were in my day."


       John stood unsteadily, placed his hand on the other man's, looked into his eyes.


       "Hang on a second, I'll untie you."


       "No rush, I'm actually quite comfortable here. You get used to it, you know. I'm the Doctor, by the way. Please forgive me if I don't shake your hand." He wriggled, and the ropes binding him fell free.


       "I think I'm getting better at that," he said, offering John his hand as he swung to his feet. "Houdini taught me that, you know. As I was saying, I'm the Doctor, and you are?"


       "John West."


       "Very pleased to meet you, John West." The Doctor grasped John's hand with both of his own and shook it vigorously. "I once knew a Tuna called John West. Charming fellow. You wouldn't happen to be related would you? Well, I guess not."


       John let his jaw drop.


       "You know," said the Doctor. "I would love a frappucino right about now. I don't suppose there's a Starbucks around here. I'd kind of hoped that today was going to be about drinking tea with charming young women, but it seems to be about getting beaten senseless and tied to beds. Oh well, I guess it's just one of those things."


       And with that, John threw his arms around the Doctor, buried his face in his neck, and held him tight. The Doctor, shocked at first, tried to pat John comfortingly on the back.


       "There, there. Why don't you tell me all about it?"


* * *


Horowitz stepped over Kirena's body.


       "She'll be out for about half an hour," he said. "I'll talk to her when she comes round, find out who she's working for. I assume that she is responsible for Maxim's death."


       Peret nodded slowly.


       "Yes, she killed him. I shall inform Cray that we have had... a breach in security," he said at length. "It is regrettable."


       "It is."


       Horowitz watched Peret shuffle off. It was indeed regrettable. Part of him wished that they could make the whole project public, could tell the world of the benefits that they were working towards. But there would always be those who misunderstood, those who tried to shut them down. Those who stood in the way of progress. The sort of ignorance that CLOCKWORK would help to eliminate.


       He nudged Kirena with his foot, and she rolled slightly, moaned softly.


       Soon she'd understand. And if she didn't, she'd probably die.


* * *


"These security breaches cannot be tolerated. There are certain forces... certain people in the world who make it their business to disrupt project such as this, to sabotage our search for enlightenment. They know we could one day cure all disease, prevent the insanity and tyranny and war and degradation that have gripped the human race for millennia. They know we could map the depths of the oceans and walk on the moon. And they would seek to stop us. Your inefficiency and dangerous egotism would allow such elements into this place, would allow them to disrupt what goes on here."


       "Maxim arrived with your party," said Cray hoarsely, barely containing his anger at the foreigner's impertinence. He was standing now, bent forward over his desk with both palms splayed heavily on the forgotten reports and requisitions.


       Opposite him, Peret leaned heavily on his cane, the fingers of his left hand tapping the tabletop.


       "Don't be naive, General. I knew about Maxim. His organization is out of favour and his power was limited. He was no threat alone, merely here out of courtesy to that department. Nevertheless, I had my own staff watching him. Any attempt at sabotage would have been blocked. This woman was the real threat."


       "Your own staff?"


       "General Cray, my position within Delta is more than just an advisory one. For several months I have had agents, who report directly to me, placed amongst the military units seconded here. As a caveat to my recommendation of continued funding, I have suggested I be given direct and full control of the project. With all due respect, General, your management of this affair has been amateur since day one. I don't think it would be entirely unfair to say that you were only assigned to CLOCKWORK because of your relationship with Professor Horowitz's father. It is clear to me that the continued success of this project is being jeopardised."


       "How dare you!" Cray bawled, towering over his desk towards the elderly man. "I am in charge of this facility, and I report only to Horowitz. This is a military project..."


       "Funded by my department!" Peret smacked his stick against the floor and took a few moments to calm down, though his gaze never wavered from Cray's face. He reached up with his left hand, loosened his tie and unbuttoned his collar. He was breathing heavily but would not show weakness.


       "One of my predecessors recruited Professor Horowitz, saw the possibilities in what Adler had discovered. Delta controls all military projects such as this. General, I have been involved in this form of enterprise for over four decades. I have seen over-confidence and self-satisfaction lead to many failures. The future of the human race is too important to take such risks over. If what goes on here were to be made public, people would not understand — particularly when you have involved men such as Krebs. Nazis have no place here, no place in the future."


       Peret stepped back and perched against the drinks cabinet opposite the desk. A cursory glance over the bottles on offer, and he began to pour himself a gin. Cray was silent, watching the old man and listening to the liquor splash into a glass. Peret took a sip and placed the tumbler back on the polished wood. He coughed and blinked his eyes.


       "That's good stuff. General, I can't blame you for allowing personal ambition to interfere with Professor Horowitz's work. Don't worry. You will retain your position; your prospects will not be diminished by my presence. I shall merely... how you say? Oversee things. Let you know when you're getting it wrong. Now, I suggest check all the living subjects you have on site. And start examining the... 'supply chain'. This woman may not be alone, and I doubt she got herself brought in by accident. I have already recommended the delivery driver be detained on his next arrival."


       Reaching into his pocket, Peret extracted a silver cigarette case. He took a thin, foreign brand from the case and offered one to Cray. The General declined with a wave. Peret lit his cigarette with an antique gas lighter and looked around for an ashtray.


* * *


- The slight tingling that you can feel in your arm is from where I injected you with Sodium Amytal. You may have heard of it. The less salubrious journals refer to it as truth serum. I think that you will find that it makes our conversation here more pleasant, Miss... I don't think I caught your name.


       - Kirena Morok.


       - An odd name for an American woman.


       - I'm not American.


       - And, it seems, not a very good spy, Comrade Morok. You've made so many mistakes already.


       - I don't know what you mean.


       - You got caught. You let Soviet technology fall into my hands. You admitted to not being American.


       - No, no, no, no, no. I don't know what you mean when you call me a spy. I'm not a spy.


       - But you admit you're not American?


       - Well, I'm not. It doesn't make me a spy, does it?


       - Tell me where you got this weapon, then.


       - Macy's. They had a sale. I got a novelty gun and a fabulous collection of new frocks. They probably don't have any in your size though.


       - Flippancy will get you nowhere, Miss Morok. Tell me who you work for.


       - Recently I've been freelancing. Before that I was with a group called the Guild of Poetic Justice. You've never heard of them. They're not American.


       - And where does this guild operate?


       - Kapone, and occasionally Deremar. You've never heard of either of those places but I'm sure that you think they they're somewhere between Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. I've never been to either of those places. Is it the Sodium Amytal that's making me babble quite so much?


       - Perhaps, Ms Morok, perhaps. Tell me more about this guild of yours. What activities does it partake in? Why were you assigned to Project Clockwork?


       - You don't make this easy, do you? I tell you, I would kill for a flip chart or PowerPoint. You don't have them, do you? No, of course not — not invented yet. I bet you still think that it's cool to have bookcases that turn into giant radar screens and billiard tables that invert to display bas-relief models of your top secret base. I've seen James Bond movies you know. Take my advice — Lazenby — going to be big.


       - Please try to concentrate, Ms Morok. Why were you assigned to Project Clockwork?


       - You know, I wasn't assigned as such. It seemed to be a personal thing for Maxim. He seemed to think it was a good idea at the time. I guess I dazzled him with my wit and repartee while being tied up and knocked unconscious. I don't know what Project Clockwork is. I'm not even sure that I care - from what I can deduce it's pretty inhumane.


       - Inhumane? Far from it. So far from it. What we are doing here is for the ultimate benefit of all humanity.


       - Tell you what — why don't you untie me. I hate being tied to a chair and it's so undignified. Now I promise not to escape because I'd kind of like to stick around and see you get your comeuppance. And don't worry, I'm quite sure that you will get your comeuppance even though I'm not sure why it's called a comeuppance. People who tie other people to chairs and frame them for murders generally don't prosper. That's poetic justice for you.


       - Has anyone ever told you that you are incredibly annoying?


       - Many people. It kind of goes with the job. And I don't think your medication is helping much. Why didn't you ask me any control questions to determine the effect of the drug? Not very scientific. That's what they did the last time I had a polygraph test. Have you guys invented that yet?


       - You may feel a small pricking Ms Morok. I am giving you a second dose.


       - Am I not co-operative enough? I thought I was being co-operative and everything.


       - We'll start again. Name, rank, and serial number.


       - Name's Kirena Morok. Rank isn't really appropriate since I'm a civilian, and I don't have a serial number, although I do have a bar code tattooed on my bum but that's a very long story. Now, let's talk business.


       - Business?


       - I'm not affiliated to any national group, I have access to advance technology, I have some distaste for what it appears that you do, but I've got an open mind. Really, I do. I'm prepared to believe that you might possibly have a good explanation for what you do, and I may even be prepared to help you. I've clearly got access to advanced technology. I may be able to help you. Maybe... maybe what you need is a consultant. You say that what you are doing is for the ultimate benefit of all humanity. Maybe I can find a way to help you reach your goal without destroying half of humanity on the way. When does the truth serum kick in?


       - Hmmm...


       - So you're thinking. That's good. I can see it in your eyes. You're wondering if I am mad, or if there's a possibility that I may be telling you the truth. You're wondering if you can afford to ignore me. Certainly you've decided that I'm valuable — valuable enough to keep alive. But can I be trusted? You could keep me drugged... that might work. Except, of course, the stuff you've given me has had no effect at all. I'm just babbling on like this to annoy you. Untie me and we can talk properly.


       - I still have a gun.


       - You can keep it if it makes you feel happier.


* * *


What would the Doctor do in a situation like this, wondered Luke, and realised that he had absolutely no idea.


       The Doctor probably wouldn't be in a position like this in the first place. There had been merit in staying together. Now Kirena was with Maxim, and that John guy was alone in the infirmary. And Luke was hiding in a cupboard.


       What would Luke do in a situation like this, wondered Luke, and realised that he had a marginally better idea. Protect the civilians. Stop anyone else getting hurt. And that meant getting John out of the complex, back to safety. Kirena could look after herself and anyway, she was safe. John was still in danger. The Doctor would never have left him alone.


       He kept to shadows as he made his way back to the infirmary. One or two people saw him, but nobody gave him a second glance in his uniform.


       He smiled. Authority figures and those who thought that they could afford complacency never looked at people. Never more than the quickest of glances, enough to identify, to clarify, and classify. Pigeonhole people by their clothing, put them in a little mental box and file them away as a threat or otherwise. A simple human failing and one that had saved his neck more than once. That was what set him apart — or it used to be. He looked at everyone, looked at everything. He observed detail, noted small facts that would escape others. He should have been able to look at what they did to that girl.


       The Doctor would have been able to. The Doctor would have noted the details, reached conclusions, found a weakness, rescued her. Kirena would have flinched but would have made herself look because she wanted to be like the Doctor. Luke didn't want to look, didn't want to know.


       Somehow, he thought that made him the most human of the three of them.


       What would Luke do in a situation like this? Protect the civilians. Protect John. Don't get lost in introspection, Bramley. Don't beat yourself up over nothing.


       He pushed open the door to the Infirmary and slipped through it backwards, checking he was unobserved and closed it behind him.


       "Perfect," said the Doctor. "It's lovely to see you again Luke. Now, if it's not too much trouble, would you mind getting undressed?"


---
To be continued...



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