The Curse of the Silver Pharaoh

Something ancient and evil is awakening under the sands of Egypt


13. Chapter 12

"Now, I know you're angry, but let's be reasonable here. It's the twentieth century. Everything's changed. You don't have any idea..."

"SILENCE!" Pharaoh commanded, cutting the Doctor off in mid-sentence.

"Wish I could do that." Donna muttered.

"Do what?" The Doctor asked, giving her a quizzical look.

"Shut you up, before you go off on one of your little lectures."

"You do." He sighed and rolled his eyes. "All the time."

"Oh, get off! I do not!"

Thinking about it, Donna gave a shrug.

"OK," she admitted begrudgingly, "maybe a little. Sometimes."

"Take the prisoners back inside. And make sure you watch them closely, you fool." Pharaoh instructed the Cyber-priest. "Or I shall make the woman a slave to take your place, and blast you into nothingness."

"You''re not making me into any slave, your royal...pratness!" Donna shouted.

"Pratness?" The Doctor mouthed, arching an eyebrow at her as they were marched back into the conversion room by the Cyber-priest.

"You should rejoice that I've chosen you to serve me, woman." Pharaoh replied arrogantly. Crossing his arms he stood before her, striking an intimidating pose.

"The name's Donna." Not one to be outdone, she deliberately mimicked Pharaoh's stance. Though she tried not to look too closely at the brains peeping through his Cyber-head. "And there's no way anyone could ever 'rejoice' at being a slave. How could anyone be happy to give up their freedom? For what? Free room and board, and a beating if you spill some tosser's drink?"

"It was written of me, on the great temple's eastern wall, that it was considered the greatest honour to be one of my slaves." He told her.

"Oh yeah? Let me guess. Cos' if they didn't say that, they'd end up with their heads getting the chop." Donna retorted.

"Surely, the slaves where you come from, cannot all be unhappy?"

"We don't have slaves where I come from, mate."

"Ahem. What about..." The Doctor interjected.

"You're not gonna' harp at me about that again, are you? People in other countries, working long hours for pennies. Yes, I am genuinely sorry for them, Doctor. The reality is though, not all of us can afford to be conscientious. Especially not the unemployed, or those working for minimum wage. You may be an all-knowing alien time traveler. But, there's hard things happening every day to people, that you never even bother to think about."

"If you'd let me finish? There are other types of slavery, Donna." The Doctor informed her.

"Like what?"

"You can be a slave to popular opinion, fashion, trends, money, power, addictions, obsessions, intolerance..."

"How very interesting!" Pharaoh broke in. "I shall enjoy exploring your mind, Doctor. Once you've been converted. And I think I'd like to visit your world, Donna. Where people manage to exist without the benefit of slaves."

"Arrgh! Everyone keeps interrupting me, today." Said the Doctor, pulling at his hair and stomping his foot, in a tiny fit of pique. He was choosing not to be baited by Pharaoh's last remarks. Though his eyes revealed his anger, just for a fraction of a second. "I'm not very fond of people who butt into my conversat..."

"I've come for that amulet, Pharaoh!" A new voice came from within the room's hidden passageway.

"Will you STOP doing that?" The Doctor whinged like a frustrated child.

He turned to face the newcomer. All of them did. Out of the crack in the wall came Professor Havensworth. His normally neat attire was now dusty and cobwebbed. He was holding something in his hand, and similar items bulged from his right hand suit pocket.

"Hullo! Is that a stick of dynamite in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" The Doctor said casually, eyeballing the bundle of dynamite in the professor's left hand. Several loose sticks were protruding from his suit.

"Oh, look." Donna sighed in disgust. "If it isn't good ol' professor dololly. And he's gotten himself an upgrade. Guns to bombs. What's next? A Spitfire and a Sherman tank?"

"I want that amulet." Professor Havensworth demanded, standing near the crack in the wall. "I've been up all night, planting explosives all around the temple site. Including the tunnel system. If even one tenth of what the legends say about that device are true, the Empire will be safe from the Nazi menace. No German bombs will drop on our sacred soil! Because they'll be no Germany! So, do hand it over Pharaoh, old chap. Or I'll blow us all to kingdom come."

"So, let me get this right." Donna said to him sarcastically. "You want to save the people of Britain from being bombed. And if you can't, you're going to blow us up instead. Hmm—makes a sort of sense I suppose. If you're...Completely. Bonkers!"

"Donna! Not helping." The Doctor hissed at her.

To Havensworth he said, in his most reasonable tone, "I can't let you do that, professor. You see, some points in history are fixed, some are in flux. I'm not just a time traveler. I'm a Time Lord. Time a part of who I am. It's always there, flowing around me, like water on a stream. I know what must be. And what cannot be. The war which is about to happen is a fixed point in time. Little things can and have changed, but the war itself must stand. For the sake of the human race, you cannot be allowed to change history."

"I hunger for souls to convert to Re. I thirst for the chance to escape this place, and walk through the worlds of past and present. To order them to my own liking. Which is why you wish to stop me, as well?" Came Pharaoh's harsh voice from behind the Doctor. "You do not wish to see me with the power to alter time?"

"Since you put it that way, yes." The Doctor answered shortly, jamming his hands into his pockets. He had to stop them both, now. 'One problem at a time, Doctor.'" he thought to himself.

"If changing history means preserving our way of life, then so be it For the last time, Pharaoh. Give me that amulet." Havensworth demanded grimly.

"Blasphemer!" Pharaoh suddenly shouted at the professor. "No mortal controls the power of Re. That is a gift meant only for the gods."

"You're no god!" He sneered, staring at Pharaoh as if looking at something nasty he'd stepped in. "Merely a freak of nature. A thing created by those metal men, like your so-called priest there."

"Don't antagonize him, professor." The Doctor tried to warn Havensworth. Unfortunately, it was too late.

"Guard! Seize him!"

Through the open crack in the wall behind Havensworth, a bandaged arm reached out. It quickly wrapped itself around the man's neck. The robot mummy then forcefully dragged him before Pharaoh. Dropping the bundle of dynamite, the professor choked, struggling for life as the arm gripped him tighter.

"Hold." Pharaoh interceded, raising his hand. The mummy relaxed its grip slightly, causing Havensworth to gasp in relief. "I've a better use for him." The king said smugly. "Another slave to fuel my rocket. Take him to be converted."

"You can't! Pharaoh, you don't need to do this!" The Doctor protested. He surged forward, but was restrained by a threatening gesture from the Cyber-priest.

"You're next, Donna." Pharaoh almost gloated, as he stood triumphantly before the conversion chamber. "You and this professor shall be given the honour of helping me to achieve my great destiny."

The mummy forced a protesting, struggling Havensworth into the booth and locked the door. Then, it came to stand beside the Doctor and Donna, while the Cyber-priest moved over to the booth's controls. In seconds, the blades and saws overhead began to grind and whine into life. The Doctor physically turned Donna away, as the ugly machines lowered down and began their horrific work. She cringed, and he hugged her tighter as Havensworth began screaming.

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