“I know you’re there, Lilith,” the Doctor said from his spot at the console.
Lilith was leaning against the doorway with her arms crossed. “I know.”
“Well are you going to just stand there and stare at me or are you going to tell me what you want?”
She strode over to the console where he was setting coordinates. “I wanted to talk to you about something that happened in the cabinet room."
The Doctor’s hands froze. “You’ll have to be more specific.”
“Well, I’m not talking about you going all Oncoming Storm at the Slitheen. I’m used to that. What I’m not used to is you looking at companions like that.”
“Don’t play innocent with me, Uncle. It doesn’t suit this regeneration. ‘I could save the world but lose you’?”
Suddenly, the TARDIS shook and an alarm went going off. “Distress signal!”
The two of them started around the console, stabling the ship and letting the signal draw them out of the Vortex. Rose appeared in the console room just as they landed. “So what is it? What's wrong?” she asked as the exited the TARDIS.
“Don't know,” the Doctor shrugged. “Some kind of signal drawing the TARDIS off course.”
“Where are we?” she asked.
“Earth. Utah, North America. About half a mile underground.”
“And when are we?”
Lilith answered, “Two thousand and twelve.”
The Doctor studied a display case nearby. He didn’t seem to like what he saw.
“God, that's so close.” Rose frowned. “So I should be twenty six.”
The Doctor found a light switch and turned the lights on. The bright lights illuminated the large room filled with display cases, each containing something that was most definitely not from Earth.
“Blimey,” Rose breathed, “it's a great big museum.”
“An alien museum. Someone's got a hobby,” the Doctor said. “They must have spent a fortune on this. Chunks of meteorite, moon dust. That's the milometer from the Roswell spaceship.”
“That's a bit of Slitheen! That's a Slitheen's arm. It's been stuffed.” Rose exclaimed, looking at what was indeed the arm of a Raxacoricofallapatorian. Three clawed hand and all.
Lilith wandered over to a case a few rows down. The contents caused a shiver to run down her back. “Uncle, check this out.”
“Oh, look at you,” the Doctor whispered.
“What is it?” Rose questioned.
It was the head of a Cyberman. “An old friend of mine. Well, enemy. The stuff of nightmares reduced to an exhibit. I'm getting old.”
There were so many Cybermen, Lil. Them on top of the Cult of Skaro, it was the stuff of nightmares.
“Is that where the signal's coming from?”
“No, it's stone dead,” the Time Lord assured the human. “The signal's alive. Something's reaching out, calling for help.” The Doctor touched the display case and an blaring alarm went off. Armed guards rushed in from all sides, cutting them off from the TARDIS.
“If someone's collecting aliens,” Rose whispered to Lilith and the Doctor, “that makes you two Exhibit A.”
A woman with curly, blond hair came out of the crowd of soldiers. “Come with me,” she said.
The Doctor, Rose and Lilith were led down a hallway into an office where a middle aged man was sitting behind a desk, talking to a boy who looked to be a little older than Rose.
“What does it do?” the man was asking the boy.
“Well, you see the tubes on the side?” the boy responded. “It must be to channel something. I think maybe fuel.”
Lilith raised her eyebrows. “Seriously, dude? Don’t hold it like that.”
“Shut it, kid,” the woman who had brought them snapped.
“But he’s doing it wrong.” Lilith protested.
“Is it dangerous?” the boy questioned.
“No, it just looks stupid.” She held out her hand for the item, and the soldiers that surrounded them all cocked their weapons. The man handed her the curved, palm sized object. “You need to be gentle.” Lilith stroked the artifact and it made a musical sound. She played several different notes.
The man smiled slightly as he watched her stroke the object. “It's a musical instrument.”
“A Rennin hand flute to be exact.” Lilith clarified. “It’s a long way from home.”
“Here, let me.” The man took it back. His touch was harsher. The sounds that the hand flute produced were sharp.
“I said gentle.” Lilith said. “It reacts to the lightest of touches. It needs precision.”
The man finally got the hang of it, coaxing light notes out of the instrument.
“Very good.” Lilith grinned. “You’re an expert.”
“As are you,” the man said. He casually tossed the hand flute aside. It clattered to the floor. “Who exactly are you?”
“I'm the Lilith Smith. This is my uncle, the Doctor and our friend, Rose. And you are?”
“Like you don't know.” The man turned suspicious. “We're hidden away with the most valuable collection of extra-terrestrial artifacts in the world, and you just stumbled in by mistake.”
The Doctor put his hand on Lilith’s shoulder. “Pretty much sums us up, yeah.”
“The question is: how did you get in? Fifty-three floors down, with your little cat burglar accomplice. You're quite a collector yourself; she's rather pretty.”
“She's going to smack you if you keep calling her she.” Rose snapped.
“She's English too! Hey, little Lord Fauntleroy. Got you a girlfriend.” The man said to the boy.
“This is Mister Henry van Statten.” the younger man introduced.
“And who's he when he's at home?” Rose asked.
“Mister van Statten owns the Internet.”
Rose scoffed. “Don't be stupid. No one owns the Internet.”
“And let's just keep the whole world thinking that way, right kids?” van Statten said.
“So you're just about an expert in everything except the things in your museum,” the Doctor said. “Anything you don't understand, you lock up.”
“And you claim greater knowledge?”
“I don't need to make claims, I know how good I am.”
Lilith shook her head. ‘A little self-righteous, don’t you think?’
‘Shut it, you.’
“And yet, I captured you,” van Statten said. “Right next to the Cage. What were you doing down there?”
“You tell me,” the Doctor shot back.
“The cage contains my one living specimen.”
“And what's that?”
“Like you don't know.
“You want to see it?”
“Blimey,” Rose said, “you can smell the testosterone.”
Lilith snorted. “Seriously.”
“Goddard, inform the Cage we're heading down,” van Statten said to the woman, and then turned to the boy. “You, English. Look after the girl. Go and canoodle or spoon or whatever it is you British do.” Lastly, he spoke to Lilith and the Doctor. “And you, Miss Smith and Doctor with no name, come and see my pet.”
“We've tried everything,” van Statten said as they entered a small room with multiple monitors. “The creature has shielded itself but there's definite signs of life inside.”
“Inside?” the Doctor questioned. “Inside what?”
“Welcome back, sir,” a man in a biohazard suit said to van Statten. “I've had to take the power down. The Metaltron is resting.”
“Metaltron?” Lilith frowned.
But van Statten smiled. “Thought of it myself. Good, isn't it? Although I'd much to prefer to find out its real name.”
“Here, you'd better put these on,” biohazard guy offered the Doctor a pair of gloves. “The last guy that touched it burst into flames.”
The Doctor looked at the man like he was an idiot. “I won't touch it then.”
“Go ahead, Doctor. Impress me,” van Statten said, motioning to the door to what was apparently called ‘the Cage’. The Doctor stepped through the heavy door and it closed behind him. “Don't open that door until we get a result.”
Lilith glared at the man. She already disliked him, and trapping the Doctor in that ‘Cage’ didn’t raise her opinion of him. Please let him be careful. She prayed to whatever god was listening. She joined van Statten and Goddard at a desk with monitors on it.
It was dark inside the Cage. The door clanged shut and locked behind the Doctor. “Look, I'm sorry about this. Mister van Statten might think he's clever, but never mind him.” Van Statten bristled and Lilith smirked. “I've come to help. I'm the Doctor.”
Two white lights blinked next to a blue glow as a mechanical voice spoke. “Doctor?”
“No.” Lilith breathed.
“Impossible!” the Doctor gasped.
The lights came on to reveal a metal creature being held in chains. A Dalek. “Exterminate! Exterminate!” the Dalek cried.
The Doctor hammered on the door in terror. “Let me out!” he yelled.
“You have to let him out of there!” Lilith shouted.
“Sir, it's going to kill him!” Goddard said.
But van Statten was staring at the monitor in awe. “It's talking!”
“You are an enemy of the Daleks! You must be destroyed!” the Dalek’s gun arm twitched but nothing happened.
Lilith narrowed her eyes. What was the damned pepper pot playing at?
“It's not working,” the Doctor realized. He laughed as the Dalek looked at its impotent weapon. “Fantastic! Oh, fantastic! Powerless! Look at you. The great space dustbin. How does it feel?”
“Keep back!” the Dalek demanded, rolling a bit backwards, but the chains held it in place.
The Doctor stood inches away, staring into its eyepiece. “What for? What're you going to do to me? If you can't kill, then what are you good for, Dalek? What's the point of you? You're nothing!” he spat. “What the hell are you here for?”
“I am waiting for orders.”
“What does that mean?”
“I am a soldier,” the Dalek said. “I was bred to receive orders.”
“Well you're never going to get any. Not ever.”
“I demand orders!”
“They're never going to come! Your race is dead!” the Doctor said harshly. “You all burnt, all of you. Ten million ships on fire. The entire Dalek race wiped out in one second.”
“You lie!” the Dalek accused.
“I watched it happen! I made it happen!”
“You destroyed us?”
Lilith flinched. This wasn’t going anywhere good.
“I had no choice.” The Doctor’s voice lost some volume. Her turned and took a few steps away from the Dalek.
“And what of the Time Lords?” the Dalek asked.
“Dead,” the Doctor said in what was almost a whisper. “They burnt with you. The end of the last great Time War. Everyone lost.”
“And the coward survived,” taunted the other alien.
Lilith could almost see the Doctor face twisting into a disgustedly amused expression. “Oh, and I caught your little signal. Help me. Poor little thing. But there's no one else coming 'cuz there's no one else left.”
“I am alone in the universe,” the Dalek said slowly.
“Yep,” the Doctor responded with a small chuckle.
“So are you. We are the same.”
“We're not the same!” the Doctor shouted “I’ve got—” He paused “No, wait. Maybe we are. You're right. Yeah, okay. You've got a point. 'Cause I know what to do. I know what should happen. I know what you deserve.” Uh oh. “Exterminate.” He pulled a lever on a nearby console and the Dalek lit up with electricity.
“Have pity!” the Dalek pleaded.
“Why should I? You never did.” He pulled another lever.
“Let him out of there, you imbecile!” Lilith yelled at van Statten
Van Statten turned to his men. “Get him out!” he ordered.
“Help me!” the Dalek cried.
Guards grabbed the Doctor as he went to ramp up the voltage again. They dragged him out of the Cage as he yelled, “You’ve got to destroy it!” The guards roughly shoved him into the observation room.
Lilith immediately ran to him and crushed the Doctor in a hug, telepathically sending him waves of comfort.
‘They survived, Lilith.’ Even his thoughts were hoarse.
‘It’s just one. Just one stupid Dalek,’ she assured him. Just one, she assured herself.
Van Statten stormed out of the Cage in anger. Everyone followed him to the elevator. “What can you tell me about this ‘Dalek’?” the billionaire demanded.
“The metal's just battle armor,” the Doctor said. “The real Dalek creature's inside.”
“What does it look like?”
“A nightmare. It's a mutation. The Dalek race was genetically engineered. Every single emotion was removed except hate.” Lilith shuddered.
“Genetically engineered,” van Statten repeated. “By whom?”
“By a genius, van Statten. By a man who was king of his own little world. You'd like him.”
“It's been on Earth for over fifty years. Sold at a private auction, moving from one collection to another. Why would it be a threat now?” asked Goddard.
“Because I'm here,” the Doctor said fiercely. “How did it get to Earth? Does anyone know?”
“The records say it came from the sky like a meteorite. It fell to Earth on the Ascension Islands. Burnt in its crater for three days before anybody could get near it and all that time it was screaming. It must have gone insane.”
“It must have fallen through time.” Lilith mused.
“The only survivor,” the Doctor’s voice was bitter.
“You talked about a war?” Goddard prompted.
“The Time War. The final battle between my people and the Dalek race.”
“But you survived, too,” van Statten pointed out.
“Not by choice.”
Lilith slipped her hand into the Doctor’s. ‘It’s a good thing you did, you dumb Time Lord.’
“This means that the Dalek isn't the only alien on Earth,” van Statten said slowly. “Doctor, there's you and Miss Smith. The last two of your kind in existence.”
Lilith mentally swore in Gallifreyan.
They were dragged into what the young Time Lady could only assume was a laboratory, but looked more like a torture chamber.
The Doctor was chained, spread-eagled and shirtless. Lilith had her hands shackled together and stayed silent; for fear that they would hurt the Doctor more than they would if she talked.
“Now, smile!” van Statten said with a self-satisfied grin. A clearly painful laser scan ran down the Doctor's body and he writhed in pain.
Lilith struggled against her bonds. “You moron! That scanner isn’t meant to be used on living creatures!” She couldn’t let the Doctor regenerate early, especially not in front of a sociopathic human.
“Two hearts! Binary vascular system. Oh, I am so going to patent this.”
“So that's your secret. You don't just collect this stuff, you scavenge it.”
“This technology has been falling to Earth for centuries. All it took was the right mind to use it properly. Oh, the advances I've made from alien junk. You have no idea, Doctor. Broadband? Roswell. Just last year my scientists cultivated bacteria from the Russian crater, and do you know what we found? The cure for the common cold. Kept it strictly within the laboratory of course. No need to get people excited. Why sell one cure when I can sell a thousand palliatives?”
“Do you know what a Dalek is, van Statten?” the Doctor questioned, voice threateningly cold. “A Dalek is honest. It does what it was born to do for the survival of its species. That creature in your dungeon is better than you.”
“In that case,” van Statten said, “I will be true to myself and continue.”
“Listen to me! That thing downstairs is going to kill every last one of us!”
“Nothing can escape the Cage,” the human dismissed.
“Stop this! Now!” Lilith growled. But van Statten just blasted the Doctor with the laser again.
“But it's woken up. It knows I'm here. It's going to get out. Van Statten, I swear, no one on this base is safe. No one on this planet!”
Van Statten ran the laser scan again, just to hear the Doctor scream.
Lilith shouted until her throat was sore, but the man wouldn’t stop. Not until a guards voice came over a loud speaker. “Condition red! Condition red! I repeat, this is not a drill!”
The Doctor raised his head to look van Statten in the eyes. “Release me if you want to live.”
The Doctor, Lilith, van Statten, and a guard rushed into the office where a large wall TV showed the room outside the Cage. Rose was there with the English boy, Adam.
“You've got to keep it in that cell,” the Doctor ordered.
“Doctor, it's all my fault.” Rose said.
“I've sealed the compartment,” the guard on the screen informed them. “It can't get out, that lock's got a billion combinations.”
“A Dalek's a freaking genius. It can calculate a thousand billion combinations in one second flat.” Lilith deadpanned.
The door swung open and the Dalek, now free of its chains, rolled out.
“Open fire!” the guard shouted and started shooting.
“Like that’ll do anything.” Lilith mumbled.
“Don't shoot it!” van Statten ordered. “I want it unharmed.”
“Rose, get out of there!” the Doctor demanded.
“De Maggio,” the male guard said to the female, “take the civilians and get them out alive. That is your job, got that?”
“Run, Tyler!” Lilith shouted at the screen.
The Dalek glided up to the wall monitor and smashed it. The image on the screen went to black.
“We're losing power. It's draining the base,” Goddard said, typing furiously at the computer. “Oh my God. It's draining entire power supplies for the whole of Utah.”
“It's downloading,” the Doctor said.
“Sir, the entire West Coast has gone down.”
“It's not just energy. That Dalek just absorbed the entire Internet.”
Lilith gulped. “Now it knows everything.”
“The cameras in the vault have gone down.”
“We've only got emergency power. It's eaten everything else.” The Doctor turned to van Statten. “You've got to kill it now!”
“All guards to converge in the Metaltron cage, immediately!” Goddard ordered over her Bluetooth device.
With her enhanced Gallifreyan hearing, Lilith could clearly hear the gunshot over the comms. It didn’t sit well with her one bit when she heard the tell tale firing of a Dalek blaster and the shriek of its human victim.
“Tell them to stop shooting at it.”
Goddard looked at van Statten like he was insane. “But it's killing them!”
“They're dispensable. That Dalek is unique. I don't want a scratch on its bodywork; do you hear me? Do you hear me?” he repeated.
The gunfire stopped and no one answered. The last Dalek had killed them all.