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trapped! page 2

Ever-suave, the Master was describing with relish his plan to dispose of the Brigadier whom he would then personally replace using his new hypnotic technique and thereby thwarting resistance to his foul schemes.

'It'll never work,' said Lethbridge-Stewart, 'You'll never fool the Doctor!'

'My dear, Brigadier,' sighed the Master, 'you really underestimate me, don't you? You see, once I'm in control of UNIT, I shall simply...'

He was suddenly cut short by the wheezing sound of his TARDIS materializing, He looked surprised...In fact, he was!

Worriedly, he rushed to the console that controlled the TARDIS and checked the scanner - darkness! He then checked the computers - Nivkel?! What was going on? Might the Time Lords have brought him here? The thought frightened him, but who else could have done so...? Fetching an oxygen mask - the very likeness of an Etruscan urn - and his deadly body-shrinking weapon, he prepared to go outside.

'I'm afraid that I shall have to leave you alone for a while,' said the Master. 'Please do not do anything silly, Brigadier, or there shall be a corner of a far-off planet that is forever England.'

With that, he exited.

~~~

Liz Shaw's eyes were now accustomed to the murkiness. She now discerned that she and the Doctor were actually in a tunnel, rather than a cavern. As the Doctor reversed the polarity of the laser signal, humming away to himself as he did so, she took a few cautious steps into the surrounding darkness. each time the lamp atop the Police Box flashed, something further down the tunnel responded with a reflection - yes, there was something 'slivery' down there...

Metallic fingers moved over the instrument-panel at the centre of which was a tv monitor; the image on the screen was of a blue box with a flashing light on top.

'It is the Doctor's TARDIS,' said the creature, in tones which were inverse to those of human speech. It threw a switch and the picture changed to show another subterranean location - a blue box with a flashing light! And a humanoid moving about in the darkness! Two TARDIS-es? two Time Lords? Two Doctors?

'Investigate!'

The Doctor readily agreed to Liz Shaw's suggestion that they investigate the rest of the tunnel, his job now completed. But what they found down there left him stunned: everything from chairs and bunks, display units, and computer banks, two huge cylinders of oxygen and other gases intended for fusion - salvage from a space-craft!

~~~

How, the Master had not seen the creatures approach, but he had left the scanner switched on inside the TARDIS, and so the poor old Brigadier saw everything. He recognised them at once. He and the Doctor had dealt with these monsters before!

Here indeed was a mystery that needed solving, thought the Doctor. Before too long, he had kicked the ship's computers back into life. A faint image appeared on the screen: the flag of the UN was displayed to the accompaniment of an abridged rendition of "Copland 'd Fanfare for the Common Man". The Doctor adjusted the perpendicular hold so that the 3-D effect was just right. By this time, the picture had altered and now showed a very elegant lady who introduced herself as the President of the United States of Earth; she resembled Vera Lynn.

Back inside the Master's TARDIS, the Brig was struggling to free himself. On the screen, he saw two of the monsters leading the Master away, their silvery form glinting in the reflected light from the TARDIS; the third, however was approaching the Police Box...If only he could free himself and reach the controls...

Too late! The creature the TARDIS and proceeded to place a metallic box, the size of an average biscuit-tin, on top of the console. Turning to Lethbridge-Stewart, it spoke:

'I am a Dalek! You are my prisoner. Resist and I shall exterminate you!!'

~~~

'Can it be true?' asked Liz, staring incredulously at the Doctor.

'All too true, I'm afraid, Liz,' he replied, almost as stunned as she. 'Water-rationing in North America. Water wars in the Middle East. Welcome to the 21st Century, Liz!'

He was referring to the tale told by the Earth president on the recorded video-message they had witnessed, and which had originally served as a send-off speech for the crew of the space-craft, the remnants of which lay about them.

'Let me get this straight,' said Liz, trying to explain the thing to himself. 'Their mission was to ferry H2O back to Earth from Mars in one case, and from the outer planets and their moons in the case of the ship. Right?'

'Ten out of ten, my dear Miss Shaw.'

'But they were sent in 2052. And that probe back there - why, it was sent in 1997, yet it's still 198_!'

'Of course - how stupid of me!' exclaimed the Doctor, 'I should have guessed!'

Liz looked horrified and puzzled, 'Guessed what, Doctor?'

'Don't you see, Liz?' he explained. 'The people of this world were, in fact, the descendants of the crew of this space-craft. The Master must have used the Time-Scoop to throw them back a thousand years or more - all part of his plan to sow the seeds of the mastery-army with himself as its chief!'

'Just think,' said Liz, 'Perhaps a kind of region did evolve around these bits and pieces and that probe back there. This tunnel may have been their temple. And the crew never did get back to Earth with the water needed to save millions of lives.'

'In which case, there must be an underground lake or two on this planet,' he replied.

'Correct, Doctor,' said a voice from behind them. 'That is precisely why we are here!'

The Doctor spun around. 'Cybermen!' he gasped.

~~~

The Brigadier had been eyeing one particular switch o the TARDIS console. Clearly labelled "Fast Return", its function had been explained to him before by the Doctor; that is, that it immediately instigated a violent reversal of the ship's previous journey through space-time.

The Dalek extended its arm and removed the magnetic clamps with which he was tethered. The Brigadier knew that to stand anywhere near to the Dalek's death-ray was hazardous. He glanced back at the console - there was no other way. He had to get back to UNIT HQ. He looked the Dalek in the eye and raised his arms as though to surrender. He stepped forward and the Skarosion semi-robot reciprocated with a backward glide. The Brig was now adjacent to the console.

'You will move a head of me,' commanded the Dalek.

'Whatever you say,' said the Brigadier, resignedly, 'but don't you think I'll need an oxygen mask?'

Not waiting for a reply, the Brig dived on the console and threw the "Fast Return" switch. At once, the TARDIS doors slammed shut and the ship lurched and rocked and rolled; the Dalek was sent flying across to the other side of the room where it used its suction-arm to secure itself to the wall.

Back on Earth - somewhere in England - Benton had just come back on duty and had been ordered by Captain Yates to look for the Brigadier. He was now scouting around the UNIT garages. Bessie was there, and the Brig's jeep, and even the Whomobile - but where on Earth...?

Just then, he heard the sound made by the TARDIS materializing, outside in the car park. He rushed off to look. Yes - there was the Police Box.

Suddenly, the doors were flung open, and a blurred figure in uniform came flying out in a backward somersault. Landing on his feet, the Brigadier congratulated himself on tackling that assault course in Ottawa and, turning to Benton, yelled, 'Sergeant Benton! Get a Centurion tank down here at once! On the double man!'

~~~

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