Chapter 13

The Doctor stood with his hands pressed against the observation window. Leaning so close that his breath fogged the Perspex. His eyes took in the details of the cavern below. Every work station, every gap between the many rows of Daleks, committing it all to memory. Trying to identify anything that looked even vaguely familiar.

There didn't seem to be an access point from where they were, until Clara spied a small door. The dull black metal made it blend in with the surrounding rock. It was an odd size, she thought. Fairly wide, but shorter than the average human, it was set into a niche in the wall next to the observation platform. The Doctor carefully tried the handle. It moved. He inched the door ajar, wincing at the noise, as it slowly creaked open on rusty hinges.

Bending down and craning his head through the gap, he carefully checked to see if there were any more Daleks lurking about. The pen torch had given out some minute's ago. In the chilly confines of the passageway, there was no light other than the dim glow over the observation area. Even with his superior eyesight, the darkness behind the door was absolute. It was virtually impossible for the Doctor to tell what was there. He could barely make out the white mist of his breath drifting in front of his nose.

Withdrawing his head, the Doctor glared at the door as he pushed it open a bit further.

"No welcome mat. Not so much as a knocker or an intercom to let them know we're here. How very rude." He said indignantly.

"They're Daleks, Doctor. Aren't they supposed to have bad manners?" Clara questioned, with a raise of her eyebrows. "Anyway, I don't think they've been hunting us down to ask us in for tea."

"You're right. Dalek's have terrible manners. Never ignore common courtesy, Clara. One of the most heroic things you can ever do, is to simply care enough to be nice to someone. Mind you, it does sometimes require a little effort. It's not so easy as casually waving two fingers at some bloke on the motorway..erm—what are you doing?" The Doctor asked, noticing Clara searching around the platform.

"I'm looking for a box for you to stand on. Unless you're finished with today's lecture?"

"Manners are wasted on the young." The Doctor muttered crossly.

"Oy! I'm not that young."

"I'm nearly a thousand. How old are you?" He retorted.

"Oh, never mind, Doctor. What's your plan, then?"

Right." He said as he bent down and squeezed through the doorway. "Follow me."

Trailing the Doctor, Clara kept close behind him.

"OK, Clara. Let's see where this goo—ooes!"

Without warning, the Doctor was suddenly gone from in front of her. She could still hear him, though his voice was becoming ever-fainter, muffled slightly by the enclosed space.


Whatever had happened to him, he certainly was having a good time, she thought. Clara took a tentative step forward. At that very second, her feet fell out from under her. She could barely catch her breath as she swiftly vanished into the black void beyond the door.

"Docto—oor!" Clara called out in alarm.

As she slid down a slick, zig-zagging, metal ramp to who-knew-where, she yelled, "Oh, I'm so-ooo gonna'...Arrrgh, what's the use? When in Rome...Geronimooo—!"

In the winking of an eye, she slid into the light. Clara gave a startled whoop when she piled into something soft. Thankfully, it was only the Doctor. Grinning like a child being given sweets, he sprang to his feet.

That's when she noticed a spiraling staircase next to them. The one that lead up to the observation platform, to a door Clara hadn't noticed before.

"Now we find the stairs?" She rolled her eyes.

"Oh, I spotted those when we first arrived on the platform. But I thought your door was so much more interesting, Clara."

"Leave it to you to ignore a perfectly good staircase. You could have warned me about what was behind that door, you know." Clara told him, with a shake of her head.

"But you have to admit, it was very cool. I really should install one of those things in the TARDIS. So much more fun than taking the stairs. Stairs are boring. Bad, bad, stairs." The Doctor made a face at the staircase for emphasis.

"Ahem. I hate to interrupt your play time, Doctor. But...where are we?"

They appeared to have ended up in a small room. There was a wall filled with computer screens and other equipment. Clara had no clue what they might be for. After close inspection, a fascinated Doctor provided the answer.

"Looks like a genetic modification nexus module. Dalek scientists used to use them back when they were first created. I haven't seen one of these in ages! And it looks practically brand new. How very interesting!"

"And for those of us who don't speak alien techno-geek, what's this genetic thing for?"

"In a nutshell, it's used to breed more Daleks, Clara."

"The Daleks are down here making more Daleks. Yeah, that sort of fits in with what we've seen. But what for? You think they're preparing to invade the planet? A surprise attack or something?"

"I don't know. But I'm going to find out." The Doctor answered grimly, as he headed to the door leading into the main cavern, "Come on."

"Wait!" Clara pulled him back by the arm, alarm written on her face. "What about all those Daleks in there?"

"I don't think they're activated. They seem to be dormant, somehow."

"You don't 'think'?" Clara looked at the Doctor as if he'd suddenly grown two heads. "What you mean is, you're not sure. Basically, your plan is that we're just going to waltz in there like we own the place, and take our chances."

"Works for me." The Doctor shrugged.

"Er—I don't suppose you have some sort of a backup plan, Doctor? One that won't get us instantly killed if you're wrong, I mean."

"Trust me. I know what I'm doing, Clara."

As he reached for the switch that operated the door, he whispered, "But just in case, you may want to be very, very quiet."

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