The Curse of the Silver Pharaoh

Something ancient and evil is awakening under the sands of Egypt


14. Chapter 13

As Havensworth's screams died away, the conversion chamber went on with its heinous work. The humming and occasional sparks from the top of the machine, continuing with mechanical indifference.

"Take the woman, next!" Pharaoh's order to the robot mummy echoed through the stone chamber.

"Stop!" As he stepped forward, the Doctor's omnipotent Time Lord voice raised a counterpoint to Pharaoh's order. So powerful was the command, that even the Cyber-priest ceased what he was doing.

"Take me, instead. Leave Donna alone."

"Pharaoh," He continued, lowering his voice. The Doctor's diction becoming far more humble. "I will willingly serve as your advisor. You won't have to convert me into a Cyber-priest, Cyber-slave, Cyber...eunuch. Whatever. I shall submit to your whim, but only if you agree to spare Donna. Let her go, and I'll immediately give you everything you need, right now. My mind to yours. Not only billions of years of Time Lord knowledge, but total access to my TARDIS. What'd ya' say? Deal or no deal?"

"No, Doctor! You can't!" Donna shouted, struggling as the robot mummy grasped her arms. "I'm not worth this."

The Doctor turned suddenly, with a genuinely surprised look. "Oh, Donna Noble." He gave her a sad smile and said affectionately, "You are so absolutely worth it to me."

"Do you agree to obey my every command of your own free will?" Pharaoh asked, looking down his blank metal Cyber-face at the Doctor. "To serve me and almighty Re, for the rest of your days?"


"Then kneel before me Time Lord, and offer your faith unto Re."

With a melancholic expression, the Doctor walked up to Pharaoh and prostrated himself before him.

"Doctor! Please, don't!" Donna pleaded, a tear rolling down her cheek.

"Oh great king, I pledge to obey you in all things, and offer Re wishes." The Doctor said softly, bowing until his forehead touched the cold stone floor.

"Take the girl!" Pharaoh abruptly snarled at the robot, sweeping a hand towards the conversion chamber. "I want the Doctor to see her suffer."

"What? What? WHAT!" A shocked Donna yelled at Pharaoh. "Why you can't do that! The Doctor just said—"

"Silence! I do not need the Doctor's free will! As soon as he becomes my Cyber-slave, I can download all information from him automatically. Without my ever having to worry about him plotting against me, behind my back." Pharaoh told her.

"No deal, then. You picked the wrong answer. Game over. That's all I needed to hear." The Doctor said solemnly, as he quickly sprang upright. Then he flashed Donna a wide grin. "Speaking of hearing, cover your ears Donna!"

In his fist was the sonic screwdriver. Without hesitation, he aimed it at the ceiling. A high squeal erupted from the device, causing the roof to vibrate. Stone dust and bits of masonry immediately began sifting down to the floor, like snow. Both the Cyber-priest and robot began vibrating also. Even Pharaoh screamed, backing away. He was clutching his Cyber-head, shaking it violently as if it were suddenly full of angry bees.

"Donna! The door!"

"What?" She shouted, her fingers in her ears. "Speak louder! I can't hear you, Doctor."

"Then take your fingers out of your ears!"

"Oh. Er—yeah." She said sheepishly, as she took her fingers out of her ears. Donna immediately winced at the noise coming from the sonic, and wanted to put them back. "What where you saying?"

"That door over there on the far wall. Get that bar off! And be quick about it! This won't hold them for long." The Doctor hurriedly instructed her.

Donna quickly ran towards the door at the back of the room. She tried lifting the bar, but it wouldn't budge. She noted that one end of the bar was jutting out farther than the other. Swiftly she moved. Turning her back, she placed her shoulders under the bar, using them as a lever, but to no avail. The heavy piece of metal-bound wood was simply too heavy for her.

"It won't move!" She called breathlessly over to the Doctor. "What'll we do?"

"The secret passage, Donna! Run!" The Doctor shouted.

Keeping his eye on his adversaries, the Doctor was dismayed to see all of them beginning to recover. Pharaoh and the priest's cybernetic auto-defense programming was rapidly adjusting itself to the sonic attack. Likewise, the robot was also slowly correcting the faults caused by the high frequency vibrations.

Suddenly, the doors to the conversion chamber sprang open. Donna and the Doctor both turned to look, in time to see a brand new Cyberman step out. It seemed unaffected by the sonic screwdriver, as it marched up to Pharaoh and stood at attention.

"At your command." It said in its metallic voice.

Frowning, the Doctor sighed inwardly. Now he had yet another threat to contend with. It was proving to be a very busy day for him.

"Donna, into the tunnel. I'll be right behind you."

The two of them squeezed through the opening in the wall. They were in a narrow, torch-lit passage, dressed in plain stone blocks. It felt damp and smelled musty with age. There was barely room for the two of them to squeeze in together. The ceiling was so low, that they both had to stoop slightly.

Donna's eyes blinked as they adjusted to the dim interior, after being subjected to the brightly lit conversation chamber. She didn't see the Doctor bend down and scoop something off of the floor. Then, grabbing Donna by the arm, he tore off down the passageway.

"Come on, Donna! We haven't much time." He said anxiously.

They were only about a quarter of the way down the passage, when the secret door to the tunnel was forcefully pushed wide open. Light flooded into the tunnel, as the Cyber-priest and robot entered. The robot had trouble getting through, but it used it's enormous, powerful arm as a battering ram, turning the stone wall into rubble. In a matter of seconds, it had made the opening wide enough to allow it through.

"There here!" she said, glancing behind her.

"Yes, I can see that, Donna."

"We'll never out-run them, Doctor. What're we going to do?"

"This!" He grinned.

Barely pausing, the Doctor turned. "Here's hoping all those practice sessions with Babe Ruth paid off." He said to himself.

With a powerful overhand throw, he lobbed the stick of dynamite back towards the tunnel entrance. It landed several meters in front of the Cyber-priest and robot.

"Now run, Donna! Like you've never run before!"

They pelted at top speed towards the end of the tunnel. As he ran, the Doctor aimed his sonic screwdriver behind his back. When he'd judged they were a safe distance away, he pressed the switch. The tip of the sonic glowed blue as it gave a gentle hum. There promptly came the flash and bang of an explosion.

The two of them instinctively ducked, coughing, as a cloud of dust and stones washed over them. It became hard to see, as all the torches behind them blew out. Leaving but one, near the end of the tunnel. Pausing, they looked behind them. As the cloud slowly began to dissipate, they could just about make out something lying there.

On top of a low pile of rubble lay the robot's head. Then, they boggled, as through the smoke and dust came marching the Cyber-priest. It was missing it's left arm, but otherwise seemed unharmed.

"Blimey! Pharaoh certainly got his pound's worth out of that one. Come on then, Donna. This is no time for cyber-spotting. Let's just hope there's truly light at the end of this dark tunnel." The Doctor said, as they swiftly made their way up a short flight of steps.

At the top, was a door he hoped would lead out of the tunnel. It took both the Doctor and Donna to push on the heavy door. Sand had drifted against the bottom edge, and the hinges had long been un-oiled. It slowly creaked open, revealing the bright daylight of late afternoon. Only then did Donna realize that they'd been underground for hours.

The door was located on the outside wall of the temple complex. Shading her eyes from the glare, Donna gasped with surprise and joy. There, sitting on the sand in the shadow of the walls, was the TARDIS! Parked right where the Doctor had left it, before chasing after the robot the night before.

Without warning, the Doctor gave a startled cry. Donna whirled around to see what was the matter. The Cyber-priest's right hand was reaching out from the doorway. It was clutching at the Doctor's left foot. With the strength of twenty men, it dragged him bodily to the floor.

Struggling to free himself, the Doctor kicked his free leg against the Cyber-priest's hand. "Stay back, Donna!" He warned her.

The Doctor grabbed the edge of the door and tried to pull himself up. The Cyber-priest responded by sending an electrical charge through his hand, into the Doctor's foot. Donna cried out, as the Doctor's whole body convulsed. Blue and white flashes of electrical charge coursed through him, as he let loose an agonized scream.

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