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Doctor Who Whoniverse Internet Adventure #01 - "The Cold Darkness"


Chapter 2
"Labyrinth"
by George Potter


---


The room where they met was undetectable to any surveillance equipment known to Human or Draconian science; shielded against all known electromagnetic waves.


       It was not supposed to be there. The companies that had laboriously constructed Krios had not built it. And - it was larger than it possibly could have been...


       "I see you are awake." said the man behind the desk. His voice was smooth, gentle — calculatedly soothing.


       Lan suddenly was awake. Not the slow wakening from normal sleep, but a sudden transition from blankness to full awareness. Lan tensed, stared around wildly, and went for the blaster he always kept inside his supply belt. He found only an empty holster...


       Lan was sitting in a comfortable chair before a vast oak desk. The man behind the desk was dressed in an immaculately tailored suit of white and gold. Pale silver hair cascaded to his shoulders. His face seemed young and old at the same time.


       "Who the hell are you?" Lan asked, voice deadly. "Where am I?" He was not scared. A veteran of the Dalek Wars, a survivor of the enemy slave pens, he had lost most of the capacity for fear. But he was angry.


       "Be calm, my friend. All will be revealed." The silver haired man stood, pouring two drinks from a carafe. He handed one to Lan, who ignored it, staring his abductor down.


       "I see that you require explanation before social customs can be observed. Very well. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Galt. I am a Time Lord." The silver haired man bowed, slightly. "As to where you are...well, you may consider this my office. And yet, you have not left Krios, Administrator."


       "Garbage." spat Lan. "The Time Lords are notoriously uninterested in Human affairs... if they actually exist. And I've seen every square inch of this station..."


       Galt chuckled. "Well... perhaps not ON Krios, per se... unless you count the door. But I am not here to discuss the finer points of Dimensionally Relative Physics..."


       Lan decided to play along, suddenly. It was a hunch, and he usually followed his hunches. He sipped the drink, surprised to discover it to be an extremely fine bourbon. "What are you here for then... Time Lord?" Time Lord... Lan almost laughed. He had always considered the Time Lords a silly myth, time travelling super-beings of moral and intellectual superiority... still, this man had somehow brought him here without his cooperation or a struggle, and - to be honest - was being thoroughly polite. Raised in the higher classes of Earth society, Lan had been taught to respond to manners with manners.


       "I have information for you, Administrator. Information of supreme importance." Galt poured his guest another drink, and Lan took it with a polite nod. He sipped. Lan appreciated a good drink.


       "Oh?" he replied, raising an eyebrow. "Well, let's hear it."


       To his surprise, Galt laughed. "You still do not believe me, I see. Humouring me, eh?" The tone of Galt's voice indicated amusement.


       Lan did not care to amuse this man. "Why should I?" he asked simply. "You have not shown me a drop of proof... Time Lord indeed. I do not believe in Time Lords, Galt."


       Galt grinned. "Then I shall prove it." His hand danced over the top of the desk, a series of buttons invisible to human eyes, and...


       The Head Doctor of Krios Station, Ixer Pandalach, stood looking shocked beside Galt. Galt was unimpressed. Transmat technology was old and well established.


       "What in the Six Realms am I-- Lan! what's going on here?"


       "That's what I am trying to figure out, friend." said Lan, sipping his drink.


       "Welcome, Honoured Doctor..." said Galt, with a slight bow. "You do not drink, so I will not offer."


       "I was in my lab, working on the assassination report, when.."


       "What are you playing at, Galt."


       Galt ignored him. "Doctor, you have your scanner? Use it on me."


       "Why on Earth should I do that?" replied the older man, erect and stubborn.


       "Do it, Ixer." Lan said. To his surprise, the bourbon had calmed him, had him feeling quite mellow.


       "Very well." With expert movements, the Doctor initiated the small device and ran a scan on Galt.


       "I still do not..." the Doctor began, then stopped. His face grew pale "I... I've never... molecular structure... respiratory and circ systems... completely... Dear Lords... Lan, what form of being IS this?!?"


       Galt smiled. Lan felt a cold vice close over his heart. His arguments died on his lips. Time Lord. The words "supreme importance" echoed in his mind...


       "Well, Administrator?"


       "I believe that we have things to talk about, Galt."


       The Time Lord smiled. He touched another series of buttons, and Ixer was instantly gone.


       Lan stood, angry. "Damn it! Time Lord or not, you WILL NOT treat my staff with such disregard!"


       "Be calm, Administrator." said the still smiling "man". "The Good Doctor is back in his lab, memories of this little encounter gone, intently working on the assassination report. Which incidentally, is the subject of our discussion..."


       With an act of will, Lan sat back down. His head spun, but he was determined not to show it...


       "Now. You have little time, Administrator, so please listen... This point in time has been determined to be of absolute importance... not only to your race and your allies, but of the universe as a whole..."


       Galt began to talk, and Lan listened. His anger slowly faded, replaced with a different emotion, one Lan had not felt in many, many years...


       Fear.


* * *


Jane was near tears after the interrogation. It had been brutal, conducted by a mixed team of Draconians and Humans, neither very concerned with her feelings. They had used every style of intimidation short of crude violence. She was groggy from Draconian and Human truth drugs, half sick with the sheer emotional weight of the questioning.


       She was wondering how this trip had turned to such a nightmare when Alnor was brought back to the cell. His face was puffy and bruised, his nose looked broken.


       "Those BASTARDS!" she screamed, moving quickly to her old friend. He nearly fell into her arms. She helped him to the hard cot that ran the length of one wall...


       "My own fault.." Alnor said, split lips making his speech a mushy blur. "Got fed up and cracked the Drac questioner... Before I knew what was going on..." he stopped, staring outside the cell.


       Jane looked up. The station administrator stood there, looking grim. He looked ready to speak, but Jane beat him to it...


       "Is this the way you treat visitors, Administrator Henricksen?" she hissed at him. "This is the aim of the honoured Krios? To beat innocent..."


       "Jane..." Alnor attempted to calm the angry woman. He knew her well, knew her temper. He also knew that the Administrator had power enough to make both of them very, very miserable as long as they were on Krios.


       Lan surprised them both. He smiled at the raging woman. Then he turned to the guard. "Release them. Take them to the best rest area and give them an hour to clean up and get medical attention." He turned his pale blue eyes onto the prisoners. "Then escort them to my office. We have grave matters to discuss."


       "Sir!" The guard saluted crisply. Lan strode off without a backward glance.


       Alnor and Sarah looked at each other, dumbfounded.


       "I think we have just been declared innocent." Lan said, to no one in particular.


* * *


An hour later, both reporters were sitting in comfortable chairs, clean and refreshed. Alnor was simply glad that the ordeal seemed to be over, but Jane - though she hid it well - still smouldered with anger.


       Lan dominated the room, behind his metal desk. He dove straight to the heart of the matter. "Krios needs your help, citizens."


       Jane sneered. "Oh... it's citizens now, is it. After..."


       "Jane, please." Alnor began.


       Lan nodded. "You have a right to be angry. Allow me to apologize for the... misunderstanding. You must understand though, that the assassination has enormous implications... far more than anyone yet realizes. And it is but the first step in a very labyrinthine conspiracy."


       Both reporters perked up at the last word. The smell of a story was thick in the air. "Go on.' said Jane, much more receptive.


       "I think it will be easier to show you." Lan said, He reached into the desk and retrieved two small disks - optical storage flexies. "These were given to me by a ... very special contact." He slipped the first into the desktop viewer, Instantly, a spherical holo image sprang up between Lan and the reporters.


       Against the deep black of space stood massed a vast armada. Warships.


       "That's a Draconian fleet." Alnor said. "What are they doing?"


       Lan shook his head. "They are not Draconian." He manipulated the controls, and the image zoomed in close on a single ship — a flagship, judging by size and position. The image expanded, till a single viewport dominated the sphere. The image froze.


       "Watch closely." said Lan, voice a whisper. He advanced the frames one at a time. Suddenly, something passed by the viewport, and Lan froze it again. The shape on the screen was instantly recognizable, instantly dreadful. The shape was burned into the mind of every peaceful race...


       A Dalek.


       Jane and Alnor stared, somewhat confused, but horrified nevertheless.


       Lan sighed. "The Daleks plan on attacking Krios, disguised as a radical faction of Draconians seeking vengeance for their emperor's death. Their intention is to break the fragile Human/Draconian alliance forever, start a war between our peoples... and move in later to finish the job."


       The full extent of the horror sank into the reporters. Both were speechless.


       "That's not all." Lan continued. "My contact also gave me a... well, an even more disturbing piece of information." He killed the projection, and swapped flexies. The image that replaced it was of a dead planet. The atmosphere was choked with black pollution, its seas dark with waste. The signs of heavy antimatter bombing were unmistakable.


       "Dear lord..." Alnor whispered.


       The recording switched. Another world. Dead. Another and another. One by one, the images of destruction flashed past. Dozens. Hundreds. The recording froze on a final world. Despite the devastation, the continental outlines were unmistakable.


       Earth.


       Jane was weeping, Alnor fighting back tears. "Where... how...?"


       Lan shut the projection off. "I was sceptical. But... I have been shown evidence that the contact is telling the truth. These are images of the future, my friends. These are images of what the Daleks will leave... if we allow their plan to proceed..."


       Alnor was decided. He glanced at Jane, saw the same sudden determination shining through the tears. Images of the future? It was mad, but... he believed. His intuition, the sense that had made him a first class reporter, defied his scepticism.


       "What do you want us to do?" they asked at the same time.


       Lan smiled, through his grim visage. "You have heard the story of Troy, I'm sure?"


       Both nodded.


       "We are going to build a Horse," he said simply.


---
To be continued...



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