It hadn't needed ten days on the job, but DarkRula wanted it done right. He had run through the entire system of The Ark, and the entire supply of Federation equipment, to make sure nothing could compromise him. No droid or device would ever be able to send so much as a signal from the cruiser again. Even all the ships stored in the hangars had had the same retooling applied. In the last few days, he had been thinking about where the main base of the Jedi was now located. If he was right in knowing the protocol, the main base would contact all sub-bases with the new location. He just needed to visit one of those sub-bases to get that location. On the bridge, The Doctor had taken to his new fan club with delight, telling the droids of strange worlds and some very interesting stories of narrow escapes. "With a wave of my sonic screwdriver, I was able to disable the electricals of the place. Including the lights. I was able to run out of the building and make it into the forest before this Pirilax got his fleet of ships searching for me." "Yay!" the droids cheer. "Alright, that's enough for now," DarkRula says upon entering. "Ah," The Doctor says. "Just giving some entertainment. And that story was from just before I made it into this universe. Just before I met you." "Great. Everything checks out. This cruiser is now completely clean. We will no longer compromise any Jedi bases." "Which is where I'm sure you want to go." "Of course. I'm not going to sit by and get abandoned again. I want answers." "Where to, sir?" a droid asks. "To the Zhar system," DarkRula informs. "A base is located within one of the gas giants there." "All set to jump." On command from DarkRula, The Ark does just that.
It had taken quite some time to reach the Zhar system, but DarkRula had stood waiting at the communications terminal all that time. Once The Ark arrived, the communications were fired up and a message sent down to the sub-base. "I still don't understand why we couldn't just make contact from where we were?" The Doctor asks. "Sub-bases cannot be contacted from far distances with non-Jedi coded communication. It needs to be system based." "But you are a Jedi..." "Only Masters can set up the coding." "Ah. So what is the plan?" "Just a talk." The communication terminal emits a small whine as it powers up. "System of Zhar recognises The Ark," a voice states. "What do you want, Federation?" "I'm not with the Federation," DarkRula promptly corrects. "Jedi Protector DarkRula, looking for the new main base of the Jedi." "What makes you think we have that information?" "You are a sub-base to the Jedi, are you not?" "We are awaiting confirmation of who you are before replying. Stand by." DarkRula dares not say anything to provoke a negative response. Though he is thinking that they should have been quicker in checking his identity out. In fact, they should already know he is now in command of The Ark. That is, of course, if Tee Vol and the other Masters had logged as such. "It all checks out," the voice says after a minute. "Sorry about suspecting anything." The voice sounds slightly apprehensive still, though that might have just been the audio playback messing up a bit. "Now that's cleared up, do you have any information on the main base?" "The base has changed location, are you saying?" the voice asks. "First we've heard about it. Haven't had any contact from the main base for quite some time now." DarkRula withholds his sigh of frustration. Keeping his voice even, he says "Thank you for the information. I will keep trying other bases." With the communications powered down, DarkRula lets out that sigh. "So we still don't have the information you wanted?" The Doctor seems slightly concerned. "Move us to the edge of the system," DarkRula orders. To The Doctor he says "I'm sure they just weren't ready to outright give the information to us. If Tee Vol has already notified other bases, all of them are going to get wary of being compromised as soon as The Ark arrives in their system." It is then that he remembers he was the cause of the Jedi main base having to be relocated. Tee Vol would certainly have made that known to other bases. "Are you saying we leave The Ark here and use something else?" The Doctor asks. "One: The Ark will jump just a bit away so we're in the next sector. Two: I'm suggesting we use the TARDIS." After a small hyperspace jump to the Kiblini sector, DarkRula and The Doctor stand by the TARDIS' console. DarkRula had suggested that the TARDIS might work better if it had a better link to The Ark's main computer system. That way it could accurately navigate the galaxy as well as giving the two access to the map for planning. "The link is stable," DarkRula comments. "I'll let you input this into the navigation, as our next target is Da Soocha." A few button presses and The Doctor says all is well. "We'll be gone for a while," DarkRula says into the comlink. "Same instructions as ever." "No communications with anyone, and don't travel anywhere. Permission needed for both," the droid affirms. With that finished, DarkRula tells The Doctor to get under way. He flips a switch and the thrum of the drives starts up. "Give me a yell when we arrive," The Doctor says. "There's something I need to do." With nothing to do but wait the journey out, DarkRula stands listening to the thrum of the TARDIS' engines, hoping that this time he will get better results. A flash of sparks momentarily blinds DarkRula, and he notes that the thrum of the drives has gone erratic. The TARDIS starts vibrating wildly, and he has a funny feeling a repeat of their last travel in the TARDIS is happening. "Doctor!" he shouts, extending the word out. "Hold on a second," a voice rises from below. "I am looking for something important." "She's doing it again! The TARDIS is going haywire!" "One more minute, please." The Doctor's voice sounds strained. "Oh, come on. Where is it?" "What are you even looking for? Just where exactly are you?" "Aha!" a shout makes itself heard as another explosion happens. "Found you! Knew you would be in here!" Another explosion happens, and it sounded from down below. "Doctor? Just where exactly are-" He was brought up short as a book of some sort skidded across the floor. "What is that?" he blurts out. The Doctor follows, rising from the storage hold underneath the floor plates. "That, my dear Max, is the TARDIS manual." Walking over to where DarkRula stood, he picks the manual up. Another explosion rips across the console, and the vibrating gets worse. "The original you might say. Ha! I haven't this baby in a very long time." Hearing his real name still felt sore for him, and especially when the man in front of him should know better. "Please, Doctor. Don't call me Max," he says in an annoyed tone. "I told you, it's DarkRula." The annoyance in his tone doesn't dissipate as he asks "And why do you need a manual. I thought you had centuries of practise." "Well, you have missed the obvious point, old chap." The Doctor staggers as another violent vibration takes hold of the TARDIS. "This is not my universe and the TARDIS is not used to here. She is in a dangerous state and needs to rest." DarkRula could sense a change in tone suggesting some story or some such was about to come from his mouth, and wasn't disappointed as The Doctor continued. "Now obviously I would have took her to the Eye of Orion but it seems that I will not be able to do so as the TARDIS does not have enough energy resource to return back to my universe..." "The eye of what!" DarkRula exclaims. A slight change in the thrum of the engines alerts him to what is about to happen. Looking to one of the screens, a map shows their location. He isn't able to read where they are, but no movement must mean "I think we're landing." The thrum decreases in volume. The vibrations stop. A reverberating bong sounds throughout. "Hah," The Doctor breathes. With a normal voice he says "So we have. I wonder where we are? Max, activate the viewing screen." "Doctor, it's not... Never mind." Now able to focus on the viewing screen, DarkRula sees the name of the planet. "Tatooine. This is a planet with some history, and somewhere I've been once before." "Hmm... Tatooine, eh? Tell me about this planet." "On the surface, not much," DarkRula informs. "It's habitable, has numerous towns. The Mos Eisley spaceport is famous. Pretty much that entire town is. We, however, are fifty miles south in the small town of Anchorhead." "Well then. Come on. May as well explore while we wait." "Seriously? You're gonna walk around dressed like that?" The Doctor still hadn't dispensed with his ornate clothing. The red one-piece suit and black trousers were definitely going to stand out. "When I first met you I thought you would eventually get rid of that costume. But no, you're still wearing it." It seems he might have crossed a line. "How dare you!" The Doctor exclaims. "This 'costume', as you put it, was especially made for me on Gallifrey. It was hand-tailored by over one hundred tailors, so yeah." A smile cracks his face, which DarkRula took to mean he wasn't being serious. "I think it suits me alright, especially the top hat. But as for you, you could do with a change of clothes." DarkRula had to laugh at that. His black jacket was the same as always, though this time he had elected for a black shirt instead of his usual red. He also had a pair of dark tinted glasses. He had dispensed with them for a while, but ever since escaping the Federation on Forsaad had felt the need to wear them again. They were like a mini HUD when linked to a server, but for now would serve as protection against the twin suns of Tatooine. "Doctor, you are just unbelievable. Let's go then."
The palace, Thalos reflected, was always a great place to be. He had more defences here than at any of his factories, and being built on top and within the canyon was an extra bonus. The main chamber was quiet today, with hardly anyone to bother him. That is until a Stormtrooper walked up to him. Was it a Stormtrooper though? Ever since Skirata had armed his men up with the armour, it was difficult to tell. This was one of his men though. He was sure of it. "Sir. An unusual reading has been detected in Anchorhead." "Could this be the one my masters are wanting?" "It's possible sir." "Send a squad to check it out." "Sir!" the Stormtrooper salutes and walks out. Thalos decides to take the information to the Daleks. Even if it proved to be nothing, it was better to be prepared. In one of the meeting rooms, Dalek Zane and Dalek Rizon were watching as Skirata tracked his men as they scouted the galaxy for The Ark. "We might have struck lucky," Skirata says as Thalos enters. "One of my scouts have found The Ark." "I think they are already here," Thalos informs. "A strange energy reading has appeared in Anchorhead." "The TARDIS," Dalek Zane exclaims. "Capture it and we capture him." "I have a squad already on their way to check the reading out. When they report back, I will tell them to bring it here." "Do our scouts need recalling?" Skirata asks. "No," Dalek Zane commands. "However, the Dalek presence must be minimised on this planet. Not to do so will make The Doctor suspicious." "If we intend to capture him anyway, does that really matter?" Thalos asks. "It does," Skirata says, surprising Thalos. "If the presence here is small, they won't come back if they escape. If there's a larger presence here, you can be sure they will return, and with the might of The Ark." "You can overcome one cruiser, surely?" "You ever faced a Jedi before? This one is resourceful, even if my contacts say he is pretty much alone." "You mean an outcast?" "Exactly." "This meeting is closed," Dalek Zane says. "Dalek Rizon will stay on the planet. The rest, along with the Mandalorians, will return to space." Thalos hoped this would work. With The Doctor and this Jedi now on the planet, he couldn't help but feel nervous again.
Thalia looks on from afar as the two split up. The one in red with the top hat, and the other all in black with dark-tinted glasses. She knew these two would be hunted, it was pretty much confirmed when she had overheard the Stormtroopers talking about something in this area that was unnatural. "Do be careful, Doc," she heard from the one in black. "Our last few adventures have ended up with you getting into trouble." "Oh, I'll be fine," the other replies. "And refrain from calling me Doc. I'll meet you back at the TARDIS soon." "Okay, Doc." The one in black quickly walks off. The comment about getting into trouble had struck her. She had a feeling the one in red would be easier to deal with first. This was Tatooine. Hardly anyone bothered looking when trouble started, and even if they did it was only with a cursory glance. Disabling the advanced optics from her rifle, she folds the stock and held in it her hand. The weapon itself was useless as a gun, all but the optics. She had made sure that part of it still worked, and had packed it with auditory sensors that operated on a very tight beam. Quickly rolling around from the boxes she had hidden behind, Thalia walks to where the man was. It was easy enough to make it seem like she was in a hurry to get somewhere. She missed her chance to strike when he moved. Though it looked like he had made a mistake. Faintly she heard him humming to himself, and he had the air of someone who was admiring the scenery. He also had walked straight to the nearest gap of two buildings, as though wanting to see what was in them. The breath he took as he stops humming was the only tell that he had heard something. Thalia quickly sidesteps to get out of view from the gap. "Hello?" she heard him call. "Is anybody there?" A pause of a few seconds. "Ahh, I keep telling you Doctor. You are becoming senile." Thalia decides he was in the perfect position, and she could always explain herself later. As she heard him continue, she took a purposeful swing around the building. The man was halfway through the gap, so she had to take a few steps to get to him. He had time to at least voice his surprise "Oh, hello. I'm the Doc-" before the folded stock of her weapon was brought up to hit his chin, then striking down to knock him out. Shouldering the weapon, she looks out of the gap. No-one had heard. She wondered if anyone would suspect anything when they eyed a woman dragging a man out, especially one dressed as conspicuously as this man was. Looking out the other side, she couldn't help but smile. Some time ago, Anchorhead had played host to a number of people trying to hide from something or other. Those people had overtaken a number of buildings and built a link between all of them. Or at least had tried to. Only one link had been successfully built before the whole lot had been taken out themselves. One of those buildings was on the opposite side to where she stood looking out. She wouldn't need to worry about being seen by many people at all. And it would avoid patrols that might be between here and her hideout.
Since there was nothing else to do, DarkRula had decided he would check in to one of the cantinas for a drink. There seemed to only be one, or at least he hadn't bothered looking for more once he had found one. He didn't like alcoholic drinks. He never had. The one thing he had always liked didn't look as though it would be served here. Instead he was just filling up with glasses of water. The band itself had played a number of songs while he had been here, and it was always a good idea to keep an eye on the patrons. Mos Eisley was the hub for thieves and scoundrels, but there was always the chance some had made it to this town. Looking back to the bar, he asked for a refill on his water. As he received a new glass, a Wookiee sat down next to him and asked for some blue milk. "You travelling?" the barman asks. The Wookiee trills, and DarkRula understood that to mean 'yes'. Maybe it might be worth a chat, just to see what this Wookiee did. "You on a stop-off?" he asks. The Wookiee replies an answer which came as 'For a while'. "Been on many jobs? I expect you're a crew member?" 'I am. And looking at you, I would say the same'. "Well, yeah. Killing time waiting for something to come up." What the Wookiee said next surprises him. The large hairy form asked if he needed a job, he was more than welcome to come along with him. "I'm fine," DarkRula says. "I'm waiting for someone," he invents. "Of course, I'm meant to wait for them elsewhere." It had been fun in the cantina, but he really did need to get going. The Doctor might have got lost somewhere. That would be a problem if he had. The Wookiee asks if he wanted some company while he waited. DarkRula had refused politely. It wouldn't do to have company at the minute.
Thalia had expected the man to have come round by now. She hadn't bothered trying to get him onto one of the beds that were around, but had at least dragged one of the mattresses off one of them so he wasn't lying on the ground. While cleaning out some of her stuff, she heard him groan. "Would you care for a Jelly Baby?" he asks slowly. It seemed he was confused. He was recovering fast, though. Turning, she watched him rubbing his chin. "Hmm... ah. Right. Yes, I really should stop doing that..." He groans again before continuing. "What is this place?" He had noticed her then. "You're safe here," she told him. "We are underground. The troopers won't find you here. Sorry if I had to knock you out, but I had to avoid a scene." The man took a bit of thought to that before replying. "I see. But you should really have asked. I would've more than happily obliged to come." She had to wonder why she hadn't thought of that. It would have been more easier than carrying him through the tunnel. She laughed before saying "Yeah, should have thought of that. You're safe here though." "But how?" the man asks. "I haven't even done anything. Why are they looking for me?" He had a strong voice. It brimmed of confidence. Her own voice always seemed to sound hesitant about everything. "I can't say much, but you are a wanted guy. They consider you a threat! The Doctor and his TARDIS? Am I right?" He seemed surprised that she knew about him. "Hmm... I see... And yes, I am The Doctor. And you are?" "I can't say," she says. "I'm sorry." Now came the moment. The point at which she would know how easy this would be. "You gotta leave here. Trust me on this. As soon as you can." "I can't," he says, and his fate was sealed. "The TARDIS needs to cool down. She isn't at her best at the moment... Hopefully that should change once she decides to regenerate, but it's not possible yet. I need to fix her architectural configuration unit to start with. The overhaul of deleting and restoring her back to her once brilliant self... That means I am stuck here until the engines cool down so I can leave." Could have spared the techno-babble, she thought to herself. One thing was clear though. He was stuck here. Sighing, she says "Well, you gotta stay here until Thalos decides that it wasn't you that arrived here but a merchant from Dantooine." "Thalos, eh?" The Doctor questions. She sighs again. "Look, I've already said too much. Please just trust me." "I don't know why I should trust you, really," The Doctor comments. "I could easily just leave." "Yes," Thalia informs, starting to think that maybe this wasn't going to go to plan. "You could just easily leave here and get caught and shot. But don't you see I am trying to help here?" It seemed he was thinking things through again. "Why would you want to help me?" he asks. "I'm not sure," she replies, hoping she could play this right. "But there's something about you I trust. I mean, don't get me wrong here Doctor, I don't like innocent lives getting hurt. You should know that, being a doctor." "Well, to be honest that's just my name. But I guess I can stay a while. You'd have to watch out for Max, of cour-" "The guy that was with you?" Thalia knew she had his trust now. "The one in the black outfit?" "Yes! Him! Just look out for him. You can't let him get hurt." Thalia walks to the entrance to the tunnel. "You can count on me, Doctor." Walking through the tunnel, she made a guess that the best place to wait would be where she had attacked The Doctor. If the TARDIS was stationary, it would make the perfect place as a meeting point. She would wait for the other there. This time she would simply ask this Max to come with her. Of course, if she mentioned The Doctor to him, he would probably go along no questions asked. She made it out of the tunnel and back to the gap. Crossing the clearing easily, she took up the same vantage point as before. Looking to her left, a group of Stormtroopers amble into the clearing. She started to grab her rifle, but thought better of it. She needed to see this closer up. Down to the side of the clearing, which she remembered was a market square, she hid behind the lone market stall out today. The owner wasn't around, which would make it easier to stay hidden. "We can't find them anywhere, sir," one of the Stormtroopers said. He had to be talking to Thalos. "We can confirm that they did land in the whatever-it-is." While she didn't hear what Thalos said, the trooper certainly responded. One of his men had called in their patrol vehicle, and the squad was loading the TARDIS onto it. Looking to her right, she noticed a figure in black also hidden and also watching. The one she was meant to find. Walking up to him seemed foolish, but the troopers were already occupied. The sand muffled the footsteps, but even so the man seemed to realise her intent and turned to look. He shouldn't have been able to see her. A Jedi, then. Her sources were right. "Well, hello," he greets. "You must be Max," she says to him. "DarkRula." It seemed an automatic correction. "But yes, I am," he adds. "The Doctor needs to see you." The vehicle holding the troopers and the TARDIS blasted away to the distance. This DarkRula noted her use of The Doctor at the same time he watches. "Where is he? Is he safe?" "Yes, I made sure of that. Now come on. The troopers might return." Leading her new charge, she heads for the tunnel entrance.
Thalos knew he had this TARDIS in his grasp. There was no possible way for The Doctor to escape him. From what Dalek Rizon had said, this Doctor wouldn't leave without it. It seemed to be something unique. At last though. He found this situation was under control. The Daleks had promised to leave this planet once they had The Doctor. With him gone, they would have no reason to be expanding. They would leave him alone. A flash of light brought Dalek Rizon into being. Thalos jumps. These things still found ways to surprise him. "Thalos! What are the reports of the whereabouts of The Doctor?" "Master, we are trying our best-" "It is not enough. Do not fail or you will be exterminated." Thalos feels infuriated at that. How could he not be doing his best? Trooper patrols were all over Anchorhead. They had found the TARDIS. It wouldn't be long before this was finished. "We have The Doctor's TARDIS," Thalos says, wanting to show this Dalek exactly what he had accomplished, "so he won't be going anywhere. Just let me sort this out, please. I will contact Dalek Command as soon as we have him captured." "One more chance. Use it well, Thalos," the Dalek says before teleporting again. Thalos looked back on his other 'failures'. It shouldn't be a surprise to him that this was his last chance. He sighs. "Yeah," he whispers to himself. "One more chance." He would redouble his efforts. Moving to the meeting room, he tracks the amount of patrols currently searching, and the areas they had already covered. "Get more patrols to Anchorhead," he calls into the comm. "Get them to search those areas the first patrols have already covered. I want them found!"
The Keldabe-class cruiser was within the orbit of Tatooine, resting at the point between the palace and Anchorhead. On the bridge, the remaining Daleks waited with Skirata. They were able to track the town a lot better from up here. "Oh, this isn't good," one of his men says. "What isn't?" Skirata asks in a commanding voice. "One of Thalos' patrols on the northern edge of the town are getting rampaged." Skirata walks up to the station the man was at and looks down at his screen. Sure enough, it shows that one of the patrols were being, there was no other word for it, annihilated. By just one. Behind the cover of the patrol vehicle, two troopers were taking random shots at the figure in black. This figure was working on two others, who were backing away and firing rapidly. Each and every shot was blocked by a double-bladed laser weapon. The vehicle then moves, shoved to the side by an invisible current, crushing the two who were hidden behind it. The lightsaber is thrown at the two still firing. Their helmets fall, and so do they. "Are we tracking communication?" Skirata asks. "Did they call it in?" "We are tracking. They didn't call it in." Skirata turns to the black-plated Dalek. "What would you recommend we do?" "Thalos is a fool with a fool's army," Dalek Zane replies. "We will deal with this ourselves." "Some of my troops are still down on the planet. They could track and disable him." "Uh... Sir? There's something we overlooked." Walking back to the station, Skirata looks at the screen again. The vehicle was moving forward. It was under power. "Two others joined him," the man alerts Skirata. Skirata had to smile at that. "If Thalos has indeed got the TARDIS, that's where they'll be heading. To the palace. And it would probably take a day or more to walk it." "If they have taken the transport," Dalek Zane says, "they need to be dealt with." "Wasn't it in the plan to lead them to Thalos anyway?" Skirata asks. "I say we let them continue. No need to make it so easy on them though." "Should we send some men to attack?" another Mandalorian asks "Have them follow. Once they get onto the Mesra Plateau, disable them."
Thalos had heard the Stormtroopers were coming in, and so was heading for the landing pad. This patrol had this TARDIS that was so important to The Doctor, and he wanted to see it come in. The pad would be a good place to store it. The troopers had already stood the thing up when he entered. And he was surprised. This thing was the TARDIS? A blue oblong box? "Is this some sort of joke?" he asks of the troopers. "What is, sir?" one of them nervously responds. "This the dangerous craft my masters told me about? Look at it! It's just a dirty crate." He pauses, looking up at the words on the top. "What does this say? Police... Public... Call... Box..." "This is the thing that had the sensors off the charts," the trooper informs, still nervous. "Well, if the readings are off the charts, it should have some power inside it. Have you tried getting inside?" "Of course, sir. The door won't budge." "Ah, well. Looks like The Doctor doesn't want us sniffing around his TARDIS. I'm sure my masters can find a way in." "Sir!" "Head back out and continue looking for the target." "Sir!" As the troopers dispersed, Thalos walks back to the meeting room. He needed some time to plan. To block access around this place once The Doctor was brought in.
"Well, this is an interesting development," Skirata says. "Report!" Dalek Zane had moved forward to assert its leadership. "It seems they're trying to get in the back way. The tracking we've set up shows them heading further west than they should be." "Disable them." "Forces in tracking, go in!" Skirata commands. "Disable that craft now!" The strike is quick. The vehicles themselves don't even fire weapons. On the wing of one of the ships, a Mandalorian-armoured woman lines up a sniper rifle. Clipped on at several points, she had the rifle aimed steady. A single shot was all it took for one of the engines on the stolen craft to be destroyed. It starts bucking, losing altitude, and skids into the ground. Only a small pillar of smoke rising from the damaged engine shows it as disabled. A second shot from the sniper targets the front of the craft. The computers inside spark up, which Skirata could hardly see from the aerial surveillance. His forces pull away toward Mos Eisley. "That is how Thalos should be operating," Skirata says. "Effectively." "Now we will watch," Dalek Zane says, "and be ready to pull out should things go wrong."
"Well, that was unfortunate," The Doctor says. "How did it happen, though?" DarkRula asks. He had been sure no-one was following. It was possible it had been a faulty vehicle, but why would something as new as this thing was be faulty in any way. "One thing for it," the woman says. "We walk the rest of the way." "Walk? Seriously?" "If we were shot down, there's no-one around now." The Doctor had left the vehicle to look outside. "It could have been a warning..." "Well, if the warning was to stay away, not a chance." "I agree." "I don't think we're that far off now," the woman informs. "An hour, maybe two." "So long as the place we get to is cooler than the heat out here, I'm game." The three left the vehicle and started to walk, following the direction they had taken in the vehicle. The rocky terrain to the right was where the woman said they were heading. It was a quiet walk, which gave DarkRula time to think. The Ark would be safe, he knew that. The place they had taken it wasn't near any known planets. It would be difficult to track. Also difficult to track was the new location of the Jedi main base. He planned to reach the Da Soocha sub-base as soon as possible. If they didn't have information, he would continue looking. He would travel to all the sub-bases he knew of. Tee Vol couldn't keep him away. They were the ones who had wanted Kronis in the Federation. They had known the risk. But like the Federation, they blamed him for what happened. "Thalos' headquarters," the woman announces. DarkRula had been so lost in thought he hadn't realised they had been nearing their destination. He also hadn't realised the slight pain in his legs and the slight rasp to his breath. They were within a small gorge. The rocky terrain climbed high above them, and in front of them was a hatch. "Right," The Doctor says. "You two stay here. I'm going to have a little chat with Thalos." "No, Doctor. I coming in with you." "Me too," the woman says. "If it wasn't for my directions, you wouldn't even be here." "Oh, for Gallifrey's sake, come on then!" The hatch opens, revealing a ladder. Looking up, DarkRula sees it was a long climb. "Once you reach the top, another hatch is built into the ground," the woman says. "A button near the top should open it." Following her instructions, an opening does appear. Climbing out, he sees the palace. He couldn't help but whistle. "Sweet place," he says. "I'd love to live in a place like this." "Yes, well," the woman says upon climbing up. "Thalos is a rich man. He and his family have ruled these lands for over... Well, it's been a long time." The Doctor also climbs out and looks at the palace. DarkRula looks back on it as well. It was made up of several cylindrical buildings with cone roofs. The colour was roughly the same as the rock it was built upon. Quickly the three run to one of the entrances. From the design of the place, it was clear most of the palace was built inside the rock. Taking the curving ramp down, DarkRula hears the buzz from The Doctor's sonic screwdriver. "I can detect the TARDIS' atron energy," he says. "We should go this way." Pointing to the right corridor, that is the direction they go.
"We have control of the security systems in the palace," Skirata informs. "Well, we can at least see and hear everything going on." Skirata and Dalek Zane had moved to a room off the main area of the bridge. It had a wide array of computer monitors, and each one was displaying a different image from the palace's security system. Two pockets of activity interested Skirata. One was where Thalos was. The other was DarkRula's location. It seemed that Thalos had finally found the intruders on his own system, something Skirata had found as soon as the images had been displayed on screen. "The Doctor, his associate, and let me guess. Thalia." That from Thalos. After being shown the images by the Stormtrooper, he says "I was correct. Never mind. Let them pass. I need a word with them. Especially The Doctor." On the other display, The Doctor exclaims "Oh, how could I be so stupid. No wonder Thalos is after me. He's in league with the Daleks!" "He has figured that part out," Dalek Zane says. "Let's see him try to escape." "Wait... Thalos just entered the landing pad." Skirata looks closer at the display. "He's got the TARDIS there. This is some plan." "As I said, he is a fool." The Doctor had now entered the landing pad, and was accosting Thalos. "Are you insane? You're in league with the Daleks! Let me guess. What did they promise you? Wealth? Ownership of my universe? Untold desires?" "Freedom," Thalos replies. "They have been torturing my people ever since they arrived here. Some event on Kronis' ship, was it? After that, they were more determined to hunt you." "At least he remembered a bit of the history lesson," Skirata quips. "I highly doubt he could say any more about it." "Wait. He seems to know about Rizon." "The Daleks have got me now, haven't you!" The Doctor was shouting to the air. "I know you can hear us. The whole place is bugged." His voice lowers as he says "So why don't you be a good boy and show yourself?" Dalek Rizon appears in front of them, and DarkRula steps forward, exclaiming "Woah, Doctor! How did you know?" "As I said before, I'd recognise this energy trace from a mile away. The Daleks are clever, but not as clever as me." Skirata looks to the side, though it wasn't like he could read a reaction from the Dalek. He knew the Dalek would be wanting to get into the action itself. "And what about you, Thalia? Helping to escort another prisoner away?" "They do not need to die. They are innocent. What happened to you brother? What have you become?" Something nagged at his memory about that line. It took a second before it hit him. This was the scout he had met. The one he had taken to Thalos to deliver her news. The one he had spoken to about lying in wait for the right time to strike. "So this is a family feud, I take it?" The Doctor asks. "Oh, no, Doctor," Thalos replies in his most confident voice. "That would be ridiculous. This is merely business. Isn't it, master?" "This is pest control," Dalek Rizon says. The Doctor starting rambling about some other master he had known, and Thalos cut him off. "My objective is finally complete," he says. "My masters have you and the TARDIS. I am free!" "We lied," Rizon bluntly states. "What?" Thalos' voice had lost all its confidence. He sounded scared. "You have served your purpose." At the same time, three shouts rose. One from The Doctor, stating "No! He doesn't deserve that!" Another from Thalia, who sounded just as scared as her brother "Please! Don't!" And the last thing anyone heard when being sentenced to death by a Dalek "Exterminate!" The laser strike hit him full on, and as Thaila screamed "Brother!" in a drawn out word, The Doctor shouted at Rizon "There was no need for that!" The Stormtroopers had realised Thalos was down, and had started to shoot at Rizon. They had fanned out and were firing continuously at the Dalek. The Dalek was blasting each and every trooper, which stopped one stream of lasers with each one that fell. The feed from the landing pad disappeared. "There's too much interference," Skirata informs. "It should be back up once the battle is won." That battle hadn't taken very long. When the feed returned, Dalek Rizon was smoking from the top. Skirata looks again at Dalek Zane. "Nothing has been lost," the Dalek speaks. "Jump to hyperspace." Skirata gives the command.
"What was that?" The Doctor exclaims. The ice-blue-plated Dalek had been firing upon all the Stormtroopers. All of them had been killed. So who had fired at the Dalek, and with such a precise shot to hit its one weakness? "Aim for the eye-stalk right?" Thalia laughs. "Good thing it worked." "Good shot," DarkRula comments. "Thanks." "You shouldn't have done that," The Doctor explains. "The Daleks were going to take me right to their leadership. It's too late for that now. The only good thing is that they won't be terrorising this planet no longer." "What about my brother?" Thalia asks, and The Doctor could see genuine sorrow in her features. "I'm so sorry, Thalia. It's too late. There's nothing I can do." "I see," she chokes. She needed cheering up, The Doctor thinks. She needs to be taken away from this place. "Come with me?" he asks. "What?" Thalia looks at him. Lost in thought. "Travel with us. There are planets out there we could see." "Thanks, Doctor... But I can't. Someone has to look after this place, and with my brother gone... I- I have to take his place in command." "I see. Well then. The very best of luck to you, my dear." "Thank you, Doctor. You too." "Doctor!" DarkRula shouts. The Doctor turns to see him poking his head out from the TARDIS. "She's cooled down. We can go." The Doctor walks up to him. "Good. Right then. Come on, old chap, let's get going. We've got some important work to do." He turns around. "Goodbye, Thalia." "See ya 'round, Thalia," DarkRula says. "Goodbye both. Just tell me, though. You will be hunting the rest down, won't you?" "Of course we will. And we will add your brother to the list of people we strike for." DarkRula and The Doctor head inside. The door closes, and The Doctor flips a switch. The engine starts up and whisks them away to some place unknown.