An Unearthly Rescue

A Doctor Who fan fiction

by

John Connors, Lamia Forte, Trudy Myers, Douglas Neman,
John Lars Shoberg, and Ashlee Webster

Written during the Sci-Fi Sea Cruise, October 18-27, 2013

"David, have you got the power feed stabilized yet?" Susan Campbell called down to the engine room.

"Another line split, honey. This thing is over forty years old, and hasn't seen space for almost that entire time."

Good provider, good mechanic (if the tech was Earth based), not a great improviser. And he didn't like working at two-thirds his normal height.

"Well, keep at it. I locked us onto an asteroid registering the strongest magnetic ping since we've been out here."

"Like the last one?"

"I was still figuring out these Dalek sensors. This one is the real McCoy." Now that I found the inferometer those salt shakers used, she added mentally. They are going to get such a lambasting once I get a chance to update MY 900 year diary. Are you still thinking about me, Grandpa?

And these sensors! Okay, they are convenient for those swivel-headed pepper-pots, but swinging my head from the short-range viewer to the long-range detector is putting a crick in my neck something fierce. When we get this thing back to Earth, I'm ripping this thing apart and mounting them side-by-side.

As she swiveled away from her long-range scan, its ping burst into a cacophony of sounds. And the interval between the series was getting shorter. That means... "David get ready, something is coming our way."

"Something what?"

"That asteroid has decided to come to us, instead of waiting patiently." Ignoring the ache it caused her back, Susan's hands flew over the round controls of the scanner and began filtering out the individual elemental pings percussing the control room. Iron, cobalt, carbon; steel. Steel doesn't occur... "David, that is no asteroid and it's coming our way. Can you boost power to the visual detector?"

"The blue switch above the display?"

"No, that's the one we used for the coffee maker last week. It blew the machine to pieces, I'm still finding coffee grounds everywhere."

"Then try the red one next to it."

"Got it. A little smoke but the viewer just jumped the image resolution up magnificently. My God, that looks like a missile heading for us."

"How far, how long?" Susan could hear panic bursting through her husband's voice.

"I may have figured out Dalek symbols, but it's still dicey. All their operations are denoted by rotating five-character algorithms; it's a strain keeping up."

As the resolution increased and the object approached, Susan saw the missile resolve into an oversized coffin and begin to slow down. Could it be a life pod?

She kicked herself away from the sensor panel and towards communication. Easy enough to do when you only have the artificial gravity up to one-tenth gee.

She set the transceiver to a rotating frequency. "Hello capsule."

The radio ran through the full spectrum of frequencies. "Dalek...masters, please...help...me," came a breathless voice over the main channel.

This doesn't look like a Dalek pod.

"Uhh, please identify yourself." Susan uneasily looked over to the weapons console. It looked active.

"Inform...Dalek...leader...this...is...slave...Lilt," labored the speaker. "Comply...life...support...levels...low."

"There are no Daleks aboard this ship, Lilt. I'm heading down to the landing bay to get a door open for you." Susan rapidly patched the communication feed through to the landing bay.

"Want me down there, love?" David asked from the engine room.

"We've gone over this before, love. You're my husband, not Grandfather. I can handle it."

 

The pod door began to swing open. "That got it," Susan said.

Then half-way open the mechanism ground to a halt.

"For the love of Omega, something's jamming the door!" Susan cursed.

Ducking low, she could see the pod just ready to slide in. Had it been a traditional Dalek escape pod – and a few of those were left aboard – it couldn't have gotten through what open area they had. But this human-designed one was longer then it was tall.

If only I could find a way to drag it in.

"Daleks control things using magnetics," Susan thought aloud. "If I can find a cable flexible enough..." She leapt across the landing bay and yanked loose the auxiliary power cable used to bypass some unidentified Dalek circuits.

She bounced over to the parts locker left of the open door. I'm rather enjoying this low-gravity work.

"Yes!" she exclaimed as she found the two-inch electro-magnet coupling and attached it to the cable's end. She quickly wired the magnet's circuits into the cable's power lead.

"David, connect power to the cable." She had to look for the ID stamp. "11231963."

The coupling leapt out of her hand and attached itself to the bay wall.

"This will work!" Susan chortled. "Okay, power it down for a moment."

Ducking low by the open door, she threw the magnet end towards the life pod and shouted, "David, now!"

Her aim was true. As the magnet repowered itself, it shot to the steel life pod. Susan needed only a couple of tugs to bring the pod through the magnetic force shield and into the air-filled landing bay.

"I dare Grandfather to do any better!" Scanning the pod, she found a quick-release lever and pulled. The pod door opened slightly, enough for air to rush in. She could hear Lilt's panting breath.

"Hello," he panted. "Hello, you outside. The lid of this thing appears to be stuck."

Susan grabbed the partially open lid and pulled up. The entire pod lifted off the floor. Okay, maybe one-tenth gee isn't the best for everything. "I'll have you out in a moment."

Grabbing the loose panel covering, she wedged it into the gap and twisted. It widened another inch and revealed a bolt holding the two halves of the pod together.

"Madam, I am still trapped in this infernal coffin," Lilt expressed his frustration. "I do not mean to rush you but it has been an extremely long time and I would to get out sometime in the near future."

"I'm working on..." Susan remembered seeing a Dalek gun in the parts locker with the magnetic coupling. Bouncing back, she grabbed the gun. "Get as far over in that thing as you can."

She blasted the bolt, and the top half of the pod swung open. She dropped the weapon and extended a hand to help Lilt up.

"You took your bloody time getting me out of this thing," Lilt said, emerging onto the landing bay deck.

"Thank you, too."

"Madam, there is no need to get snippy."

Ignoring him, Susan began an examination of the pod's interior. "How long have you been in this thing? Your batteries and propulsion systems are dead."

"What year is it?"

"That long, huh? 2245 A.D. by Earth's calendar."

"I have no idea then. Davros must have had us on a different system."

"Who's Davros?"

Waving his hands around the landing bay, Lilt said, "Madam, he is the inventor of all this technology."

"No, this is Dalek tech."

"Correct! That which is created by the Daleks belongs to Davros. He is their creator, their originator, their God. He was the greatest genius of all time, but also the most corrupt individual I have ever served."

Susan reached down and picked up the Dalek gun. "And you worked for him? I don't see your control helmet."

"No longer. Davros was defeated by the Doctor. I believe he is dead."

"Grandfather? Elegant older man, great coat?"

"No, madam, this buffoon was younger than either of us with unkempt, blond hair and wore...all I can call it is a costume, which would blind you with its color scheme."

"He's regenerated, then." Unknown tension relaxed from Susan's face into a brief smile. Turning her head, she whispered, "Be safe, Grandfather."

"Madam," Lilt began. "Dalek technology has advanced beyond the need for external helmets. We have better ways to control our slaves."

David's voice burst over the communication board. "Do you see that new ping?"

"What?" Susan hurriedly patched the display through from the cockpit, as the lights across the bay sprang to life. "Yes, I see it now. Rassilon's eyebrows! It's activating all the Dalek systems!"

A second bay door creaked and whirred to life.

"David, did you activate a bay door?"

"No. It must've engaged automatically. I can't shut it down!"

Susan bounded to the pod control board, flicking every switch and turning every dial in a flurry of activity, attempting to halt the docking.

Frustrated, she slammed her fist into the control board. Nothing worked.

"Honey," David called down. "Have you taken over the controls? All these dead systems seem to be coming alive."

Lilt turned to the opening door, knelt reverently, and bowed his head. "Master, I await your arrival."

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