BASED ON A DOCTOR WHO STRIP ADVENTURE FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1967
Trod Unit 06 looked out upon the bleak and battered landscape of his home world, and thoughts drifted back to something more majestic and complete, when the Trod empire’s cities towered over the heavens, beams of sunlight reflecting off their bright metallic structure.
It had taken many years, and sometimes under many human masters as well as ones among their own kind, but finally the once merciless inhabitants of Trodos learned to appreciate the majesty of those structures.
And not just to develop feelings, they also developed a conscience.
They had tried to expand their empire far across the reaches of their known galaxy, but had done so by utilizing most underhanded methods. Cruel methods.
They had no regard for the welfare of other races, their lot in life was to ensure their own interests were accounted for, and any who opposed them would be trodden underfoot.
Trod Unit 06 found time, even in this bleakest of hours, to find some humor in that description.
Only one individual had opposed them in many of their campaigns, thwarting them at every turn, and that had been a meddlesome space and time traveler.
A traveler who was on his way even now to make peace with them.
Over the generations, that sound and sure conscience developed by the Trod collective had driven them to make amends for their ambitious but abhorrent attempts at conquest, the high command had been eager to sign a peace treaty with the remaining races in their sector of space in the Trodos galaxy, this traveler was to represent those races, such was the complete trust they had in him through his valiant efforts to protect those worlds.
He had reached out, and the Trodos collective had accepted the offer. Progress would be made, contact would be established.
But the traveler was more than merely the Trod’s mortal enemy. He had made other acquaintances along the way, ones that had been just as eager to mark their territory with ruthless campaigns of terror and destruction, and they too had been thwarted.
When word spread of the traveler’s attempts to make peace with the Trods, one of these races each conspired to strike hard and fast at the planet of Trodos, a world they had, through some merciful miracle, they had left well out of the sights .
Trod Unit 06 thought hard about the reasons why Trodos had been spared the gaze of this race, and wondered if it had to do with their then-mutual hatred of the traveler. That by making peace with the outer races using him as the go-between, they had violated a sacred and unspoken trust.
Maybe the Trods would have better suited to have struck an alliance with this race so both could have benefited from a galaxy wide expansion.
Mulling over alternatives didn’t seem to matter anymore however, what mattered was the fight at hand.
This race had descended from the heavens and blotted out the crimson sun that had lavished the towers with it’s graceful light, their ships, equipped with incredible firepower, reduced the cities to atoms and ash.
The Trods stood their ground, doing their best to protect their best and brightest, to protect what remained of the supreme collective, but many were outmatched in firepower and strength by this race, which had a lifetime of experience bringing other worlds to their heel.
Fight to the last Trods” Trod Unit 06 bellowed in defiance, his thoughts of what might had been mattering little now. Lines had been drawn, and it was his line that he would valiantly hold.
“Exterminate” cried out one of the grey cased creatures opposed to the Trod, unleashing a bright and deadly energy beam out of a gun attached to it’s chest unit.
The blast surged through Trod Unit 06’s body, causing it to erupt in a bright ball of fire, bringing a quite final end to the reflective creature.
As he lay dying among the brave and the broken, watching his world fall to these callous conquerors, Trod Unit 06’s final thoughts reflected again on what might had been had his race simply threw their lot in with these creatures.
After all, what might in the galaxy could match that of the Daleks?
“The Trods have been successfully disorganized, exterminate all in disarray” commanded the Dalek soldier as it’s kind tore through what remained of the main Trod defense, bringing as many as they could to a complete halt.
A mere hour or so later, the Daleks’ devastating task was done, and what remained of the front line had been decimated
“All Trods encountered have been exterminated” one Dalek reported to it’s superior, coated in a black metallic casing.
“What of the remainder of the Trodos command network?” the Supreme Dalek asked, demanding to know the precise condition of the Trod’s circle of leaders.
“Driven to parts unknown, we will commence planet wide scans immediately” assured the Dalek lieutenant.
“Good” It said, “When The Doctor arrives, there must be no Trods left to sign the treaty. With no alliance, this galaxy and all those who inhabit it will finally fall to the law of The Daleks”
“All is in preparation for our ambush” another Dalek revealed.
“We expect The Doctor to arrive at any given point in time, we must make plans to conceal ourselves” the Black Dalek uttered, addressing the Dalek armada.
“Take cover and await my instructions” it commanded.
“We obey” the army replied in unison.
The Supreme Dalek relayed one final instruction to the ships that were perched on the planet’s soil, ordering them to take off.
“Take your ships to the farthest side of the planet, they must not be visible”
The Daleks commanding the ships did as instructed, and the vessels swiftly disembarked, leaving their leader and the ground forces to await the opportunity to spring the next step of their treacherous trap.
At the farthest edge of time and space, a small blue box drifted through the swirling vortex that encircled creation.
The box itself took the form of a vintage oddity in Earth’s history, that of a British Police Telephone Box.
But the interior of this unassuming and ordinary box was most extraordinary indeed. Much bigger on the inside than outside.
The inhabitants of the box appeared human, they sounded human, they acted human, but their secrets were just as interesting as the precise shape, and indeed purpose, of their traveling vehicle
Three individuals inhabited this box, bigger on the inside and out, two of them were close to the age of the average human teenager, approximately fifteen and sixteen, the third of the party was the oldest, close in appearance to mid forties.
He wore a long hat, looking almost like a funnel, and carried around some kind of instrument in his pocket. A flute.
His appearance was quite clown like, one would even suggest he had the look of a hobo, checkered trousers, black coat, braces attached to his shirt, a most odd fashion sense, like he had been wearing it for many years without keeping with present nor new trends that had come into circulation.
The two teenagers were dressed in plain jeans and turtleneck jumpers, one, a male, was clean shaven and had bright blonde hair. The other, a lean female, sported long black hair.
The teenagers’ names were John and Gillian, and the oldest of the three was their grandfather, The Doctor, a time lord currently in his second incarnation.
They had known him in one of his previous lives, where he had been of a more elderly age and appearance, a most wise and courageous spirit working within the limits of a body that was wearing thin by each passing day.
Their adventures took them across all of time and space, and time did not stand still for them, as they aged from curious and innocent children into able and experienced teenagers.
After a quarter of a lifetime’s worth of adventure, they were eventually returned to their correct time and place, but they never forgot their journey, and when they reconnected with their grandfather many years later, he had, to their statement, changed his appearance and was on a series of missions for his people, the Time Lords.
One such mission was to finally bring an end to the hostile campaign the inhabitants of Trodos had inflicted on their neighbors. A campaign even the Trods themselves were now deeply shameful of and regarded as a mistake.
“Ah we should be arriving at the co-ordinates of Trodos now, let’s see what awaits us” The Doctor said excitedly, switching on the surveillance equipment of his faithful, if erratic, time and space vessel known as The TARDIS.
To the horror of all three travelers, the sight of death greeted them.
The remains of a million dead Trods filled the screen, the landscape was a charred ruin, small fires raged everywhere.
A tragic sight.
“After all these centuries of conflict, surely any chance of making peace with the Trods hasn’t been snatched away from me?” The Doctor said, awash with disbelief.
“Maybe one of their rockets exploded on the ground…that happened on Earth once” suggested John.
“That’s one possibility John” The Doctor replied, “However, the Trods assured the remainder of the galactic senate they would not be testing any weapons while we were on our way. I last got word the senate had called ahead to give them that explicit instruction. They were only to make use of those weapons only in the most crucial circumstances”
“Such as their planetary security being compromised” replied Gillian.
The Doctor nodded.
“Oh, this won’t do at all, I need some time to work this funny old business out” he said, crouching down on to the floor and taking out his recorder.
As John and Gillian looked on, The Doctor played the recorder, producing a charming and calming melody that resonated throughout the TARDIS console room.
“The Doctor’s puzzling a problem alright, make no mistake, when that recorder comes out, you know it’s an urgent matter” observed John.
“John, are you sure what’s happened to the Trods is the direct result of a planetary invasion?” Gillian asked.
“That’s more The Doctor’s theory than my own, but what else do you think could have caused such devastation?” asked John.
“Well, what if there was a rival Trod faction at work?” Gillian suggested, “It may have taken the Trods decades to discusses peaceful terms with their neighboring planets, but what if not all of them were in agreement? That faction could very well have gotten a hold of the weapons and staged some kind of coup. They could be lying in wait for us on the planet ready to take revenge for all the times we’ve stopped their advancements in the past”
John placed his hand on her shoulders, realizing she was getting into quite a state worrying about what might occur.
“Look, I’m sure The Doctor wouldn’t want us mulling over anything we’re not a hundred percent sure about, so let’s just leave him to think about the matter?”
“You needn’t be concerned about that John, I’ve taken all the time I need to reflect on this matter and I’ve decided to investigate further. We’re heading down to the planet” said The Doctor, springing up and placing the recorder back in his pocket.
He walked over to the far right of the TARDIS walls and pulled open one of the roundels, taking out a small device and displaying it to his grandchildren.
“What’s that Doctor?” asked Gillian.
“This Gillian is a blast meter, it will help us detect what kind of rocket or weapon laid waste to those Trods out there” The Doctor explained.
“I get it, if it’s not a Trod weapon, we’ll be able to determine the kind of danger the planet is in” Gillian replied
“If there is danger, will we report back to the senate?” asked John.
“Depends on what kind of danger we’re dealing with John, I have my suspicions, but hopefully that’s all they are” said The Doctor.
The TARDIS soon materialized on the planet’s torn and tarnished surface. The Doctor, John and Gillian stepped out of their trusty box and marched across the murky and muddy soil.
“Be careful, the explosions are bound to have weakened the foundations of the planet, the ground beneath our feet could crumble beneath you with even the slightest misstep” The Doctor cautioned.
The three travelers approached one of the fallen Trods, The Doctor placed the blast meter near it’s body and triggered it. The wait for results did not take up too much time.
The Doctor examined the blast meter, his face told a telling tale. One of clear cut dread. His suspicions from earlier appeared confirmed.
“This Trod has been destroyed by a very special kind of weapon” The Doctor revealed.
“What weapon?” asked John.
“An exterminator” The Doctor replied.
John’s face froze in horror.
“That can mean only one thing…” he said, though he could scarcely believe he was prepared to say it. He had only heard stories of these creatures from The Doctor, never encountered one for real.
There was time like the present it seemed, as all of a sudden all three were surrounded by them.
“The Daleks” The Doctor uttered.
“You are correct”, revealed the Supreme Dalek, “We have exterminated most if not all of the Trodos army. This planet is under Dalek control. You have fallen for our trap, as an enemy of The Daleks, you will be exterminated. EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE”
The Doctor held John and Gillian close to him as the Daleks closed in for the kill.
“Take careful aim, do not give our targets time to evade” the Black Dalek instructed.
“Doctor, can’t we do something?” asked John, trying his best to maintain some composure in light of the terrifying situation.
“I’m afraid this could well be our final end” The Doctor admitted.
Suddenly, and perhaps mercifully, the three could detect a distinct tremor beneath their feet, and soon the land on which they stood came away just as the Daleks opened fire.
“The ground, it must have been weakened by the Dalek’s bombardment of the planet” The Doctor theorized.
“A split second later, and those Dalek rays would have reduced us to cinders” Gillian spoke.
As the Daleks scrambled in an attempt to avoid getting caught up in the landslides, the three travelers took to exploring the spot in which they had landed. It appeared to be a vast corridor stretching for miles.
“This must lead to one of the Trod’s underground complexes” observed The Doctor.
“Luck be our escort tonight” John cheekily remarked.
“Keep down, there are still Daleks surrounding the crater formed by the landslide” The Doctor cautioned as one Dalek took aim at the three from above and opened fire, narrowly missing John as he ducked for cover.
“Can they do anything else from up there?” asked John.
“Not presently John, but it won’t be long before they find some other means of entering this complex. We must find the surviving Trods before they do” The Doctor explained, finding time to locate and dust off his hat, which had fallen off his head when all three of the travelers had fallen into the pit.
“Do you suppose it’s possible that there’s even the faintest sign of anything that’s not a Dalek lifeform?” asked Gillian as the three made their way down the corridor.
“My faith in races persevering in the wake of a total Dalek onslaught always seems to produce miraculous results” The Doctor assured her.
Up above, the Daleks regrouped and assessed the situation.
“Scour the area” demanded the Supreme Dalek firmly, “There must be an entrance to the underground city. We will pursue and exterminate”
The Doctor, John and Gillain eventually made their way to the end of the corridor to find themselves in a large complex surrounded by the surviving Trods.
“There’s no need for alarm my friends” The Doctor spoke, trying to assure his former enemies that in this instance he intended no harm towards them.
He showed them his credentials, the seal of the Galactic Federation, proving that he was on a mission of peace.
“We recognize this seal, and by association, though your appearance has changed, we acknowledge the presence of the one known as The Doctor” spoke the Trod Leader.
“Let us prepare. The Daleks will soon set themselves upon us, time is short” The Doctor cautioned.
He turned back towards the tunnel and stepped forward, he only managed a few meters before Gillian stormed over to him and blocked the entrance-way.
“Where are you heading off to?” she said, expressing concern and just a hint of annoyence that he was willing to jepordize himself.
“I’m going to scout back and alert you of when the Daleks will arrive, I will be fine, you needn’t worry” The Doctor revealed, trying to calm her.
“Seems I could never keep you still even when you were older” Gillian remarked.
“Older?” The Doctor said, almost offended.
“I mean younger..well..you were then, weren’t you? Even if you looked older” Gillian continued, not trying to confound herself but almost succeeding on that front.
“Now look child, it’s all quite clear from a linear point of view if not a physical point of view. I may grow old again, but neither in here nor out there” he said, pointing to his chest and then to the heavens above.
“As long as the universe and all it’s stories, all it’s splendor, stays fresh and enchants it’s inhabitants and invites it’s explorers, the mind with it’s capacity to learn will never run short of age or experience. We are of infinite growth, and so long as something can grow, it will stay young”
“Sounds like you’re preparing me to expect some kind of end if you don’t make it back” said Gillian.
The Doctor wiped a small tear from her cheek.
“Hope is just as important as growth too you know” he said.
With that, he headed back down the tunnel.
Gillian watched him go, her spirits remained considerably dampened and her fear of the Dalek presence high above them had not diminished despite The Doctor’s best effort to elevate her mood to a tolerable level.
“You fear for his life” voiced a Trod.
“It’s that obvious even to a machine?” asked Gillian.
She soon stopped this line of thinking in her tracks, believing it to beyond her place to say.
“My apologies, old habits given my experiences with your race” she said.
“Many have judged my race in the same manner, we are accustomed to it, we are out to prove something to the Galactic Federation. We look mechanical, but we have developed rationality, beneficial logic, we are not as cold and unfeeling as those who have bombarded our planet and left millions of us in ash and ruin”
“Things have sure changed since the Daleks came on the scene. I wonder how many more formerly cruel races will have turned their hands to acts of kindness as a response to their lack of mercy” Gillian mused.
Meanwhile, above the complex, the Daleks’ search for access to the city had proven fruitful.
“We have located an entrance-way” a Dalek lieutenant revealed to it’s supreme leader.
“We shall divide our numbers into specific squads and cover every corner of the city, we will soon corner our quarry. Upon doing so, all are to be exterminated” instructed the Dalek Supreme.
Observing the Dalek units as they searched the city was The Doctor, who was most impressed with the Trod’s ability to keep themselves concealed within the vast complex.
“They must be continually on the move, meaning I might not be able to relocate John or Gillian unless the Trods wish to be found” thought the intrepid Time Lord.
The Daleks soon grew frustrated as their search yielded no results, forcing them to change tactics.
“All Daleks will remain outside the city perimeter, one will enter the complex alone” ordered the Supreme.
As instructed, the lone Dalek entered the complex. It wasn’t long before The Doctor stumbled upon it, keeping close to the shadows so that he wouldn’t be immediately detected.
“One on One, a fair fight awaits, I couldn’t have asked for more” he thought, and swiftly made plans to ambush the Dalek.
The Doctor took his hat off and, with precise timing, darted out in front of the Dalek and threw it onto it’s eye stalk, blinding it.
“My vision is imperred, I cannot see” cried the Dalek helplessly.
The next phase of The Doctor’s plan involved his trusty recorder.
“If I can just patch a high-frequency sound through the Dalek’s audio channels, it will send it out of control” The Doctor said aloud, the Dalek too visually compromised to do much about it.
It’s fate was in it’s enemy’s hands.
The Doctor blew into his recorder, sending forth the frequency through the Dalek’s receptors. As expected, it spun feverishly across the floor,
“I have sustained serious damage! EMERGENCY! EMERGENCY” it cried, desperately trying to patch in to it’s fellow forces, but the commotion was too much.
“What a funny way to carry on” The Doctor said, taking pleasure in the Dalek’s great pains.
As it spun away into the distance, The Doctor was left alone with his conflciting thoughts on the triumph.
“Have I underestimated the Daleks? They never travel alone, what good does it serve them to send one unit in light of the surviving Trods…unless…”
The Doctor slapped himself hard on the forehead.
“You fool Doctor” he thought
The Doctor’s fears were soon proven valid, as the remainder of the Dalek forces swarmed in.
“You are indeed foolish Doctor, we theorized that you or the Trod survivors we seek would not be able to resist compromising your position to remove the threat of even one Dalek scout”
“I’ve played right into your hands, I only have myself to blame”
“Take aim” the Dalek task force leader commanded as it’s forces trained their weapons on the helpless Time Lord.
“At least the children are safe with the Trods” The Doctor though, thinking as always of John and Gillian’s well being.
“Fire” the Dalek ordered.
The Doctor hid behind his hat and braced himself for the end, only to find deathly silence.
He took a peek and found the Dalek firing squad in ruin, reduced to smoldering heaps of metal and singed genetic slop as the creatures stored inside their casing were left exposed and stricken.
The Doctor looked on in astonishment as the Trods moved into position, John and Gillian close behind him.
“You, I owe you my life” The Doctor uttered in elation.
“Follow us, we will show you a secret entrance that will take us back to the surface of Trodos” the lead Trod unit revealed.
Heading back towards the surface, the travelers and the Trods made their way to the location of the TARDIS, where they found a lone Dalek.
“Leave this to me, I’ll immobilize the Dalek” John said.
“How will you manage that?” Gillian asked.
“A little bit of practical ingenuity” John said, picking up a rock, sneaking up behind the Dalek and smashing it’s dome with it.
“There, I’ve got it all covered” John said in triumph.
“I have sustained critical damage, totally immobilized, activating distress beacon, all Daleks report to TARDIS” the Dalek unit uttered as it lay dying.
Gillian folded her arms and looked on at John, more than a little unimpressed.
“You have it all covered do you?” she remarked.
“Quick, to the TARDIS, the Daleks will be upon us in seconds” argued the Doctor, rushing his grandchildren into the ship.
The Doctor urged the Trod forces to join them.
“We must all get out of here” he insisted.
“It is too late and the Daleks are too great in number, you must return to the Galactic Federation and alert them of the Dalek expansion into this region of the sector” the lead Trod instructed.
The Doctor had no time to debate, and quickly headed into the ship as the Trod forces stood their ground and took on the Daleks as they arrived at their location.
Watching the battle unfold, John and Gillian held one another as they were exposed to the horrors of warfare, watching many of the Trods lose their lives battling their oppressors.
The Doctor could sense a rising anger inside of him.
“This is the last occasion I run from the Daleks, when our paths cross again I will find a way of ridding the universe of their evil forever. Theirs will be the final end”
With this mission firmly in his mind, the Doctor operated the controls and the TARDIS dematerialized from the surface of a torn and devastated Trodos.