Doctor Who Internet Adventure #22 - "Clockwork Orange"
by Robert M. Camisa
"In the eighteenth century it was often convenient to regard man as a
clockwork automaton. In the nineteenth century, with Newtonian physics
pretty well assimilated and a lot of work in thermodynamics going on, man
was looked on more as a heat engine, about 40 per cent efficient."
— Thomas Pynchon, V., 1963
* * *
That which used to be Datura rather enjoyed the cold. His processors
seemed to function better in the sub-zero temperatures. And he still had
plenty of energy stored in his solar batteries. This was proving to be a
necessity as the huge cloud of ash and debris the explosion threw up would
last for a couple hundred years.
He tried to route power to the servos that would move the ship, and
once again was forced to withdraw his presence in a shower of sparks. The
circuits were damaged beyond repair- even the self repairing ones. If he
still possessed the imperfections of the flesh, he supposed he would laugh
at the irony. The most powerful mind in the galaxy, trapped for lack of a
pair of fleshling hands.
Optical sensors registered a small group of fleshlings gathered
outside the ship. They weren't like the massive sauropods who usually
stalked the forest below the mountain. They had a certain resemblance to
the fleshlings that had caused him to be stranded here.
But what had drawn them here? Optical sensors swept relentlessly up
and down the mountain, till finally they saw it. The sparks from when he
had tried to repair circuits had set some of the crushed vegetation his
ship was packed in ablaze. The fire was nowhere near enough to damage him;
it barely registered on his thermal sensors. But the primitive fleshlings
were drawn to it, encircling it.
One, braver then the rest came close to the fire, close to the ship-
reached out a hand, touched it, yelped and drew away.
That which used to be Datura barely noticed. Tests were run, DNA
analysed. Yes, these fleshlings were similar enough to the ones on his
planet to accept the implants. They just needed an acceptable level of
technology to communicate with his ship and then he would be able to do
here what he had been unable to do at home. He would take these weak
creatures past the imperfections of their flesh, then take his army back to
his home planet and force evolution on them.
All he needed to do was wait till these fleshlings developed some