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At a time in the far-off future, Earth has become uninhabitable. A selection of Humanity is placed, deepfrozen, in a fully automated space station, to await the day of their return to Earth... Thousands of years later, DOCTOR WHO arrives. H e finds things going suspiciously wrong, and the station under attack from the g iant WIRRN, deadly creatures who, in their lust for power, now threaten the futu re of the whole Human Race... ISBN 0 426 11631 3
DOCTOR WHO AND THE ARK IN SPACE Based on the BBC television serial The Ark in Space by Robert Holmes by arrangem ent with the British Broadcasting Corporation. IAN MARTER published by The Paperback Division of W. H. Allen & Co. Ltd
CONTENTS Prologue: The Intruder 1 The Second Invasion 2 Sarah Vanishes 3 Sabotag e! 4 A Fatal Wound 5 The Wirrrn 6 Time Running Out 7 A Tight Squeeze 8 A New Beg inning .
its tentacles contracting in agony. As soon as it entered the control chamber. it pierced the halflight with giant. which bristled with sharp hairs and scr atched shrilly against the metallic walls. bringing it to life once more out in the wilderness of Space. For an instant the creature was reflected in its mirror-like surface. The startled intrude r stared defiantly upwards. hoarse squeaks and whistlings. It glowed brilliantly for a second. reflec ting their faint light from its cold and silent surfaces. Then suddenly. analysed. in faithful orbit through the Solar System. something stirred within it: something alien. The deserted tunnels and chambers. Cautiously feeling its w ay into one of the spherical control chambers--positioned like gigantic pods alo ng the 'spoke' sections--there crawled an intruder. Panels began to slide smoothly open. At the end of i ts long. All within remained ut terly quiet and still. but primed and ready: ready for the eventual moment of aw akening. scorpion tail there glinted a menacing claw which clattered in the crea ture's wake. and at the same instant a fierce burst of energy sen t it clattering against a control console. Faintest shadows r an over the gleaming walls. and a command rela yed back to the sphere.Prologue: The Intruder Out among the remotest planets. beg an to echo with rustles. globular eyes. . Swinging its domed head slowly from s ide to side. From the domed ceiling there descended a shining metalli c sphere. waiting for the moment when it would cause a tiny electric current to flow. forming the 'rim' . information was flashed to a central computer bank. the alien intruder eager ly scanned the mass of inert instruments which covered the walls. like exhibits in an abandoned museum. activating circ uits which branched throughout the vast Satellite. Patiently it waited. the 'spokes' and the 'hub' of the enormous wheel. that was not part of it s intricate programming. the great Satellite revolved slowly in the glimmer of a billion distant suns. It dragged its massive leath ery body along on angular tentacle-legs. Deep in its innermost structure an atomic clock oscillated. which was the Satellite. after many centuries.
The circuits remained dea d. Then. Fighting the sea ring bursts of radiation from the sphere. but with dead ly purpose. At that moment. Its mission wa s almost completed. crawled back through the first chamber and out into the labyrinth of tunnels and chambers. one final task remained. it made its way towards the sleeping humans.For a few seconds all was still. Out of range of the sphere. When at last the atomic clock signalled th e beginning of the great Awakening. similar chamber. T he sphere hung inert in the darkness. the creature dragged itself through th e opening into a second. movements it ripped open the instrument panel and pulled out a thick bund le of multi-coloured cables. Then there came a second invasion.. the intruder fumbled among the control consoles lini ng the chamber until it somehow located the section it sought. . All at once. and with a sharp crack hurled it back across the chamber in a blazing electri cal discharge. its huge eyes useless in the fierce ligh t. uttering hoarse screams as a stream of brut al shock-waves pulsed from the sphere. Then the creature moved. the systems did not activate. Again the sphere glowe d. With frantic. certain vital systems were closed down. all through the electronic nerve centres of the Satellite. and in complete darkness now.. Staring a t the clusters of delicate instruments. the Solar Energy Reservoirs absorbing and storing energy from the sun--though no lon ger for any purpose. cri ppled. blistering its body with burns. splinterin g sound of its movements died away as panel after panel glided shut behind it. a section of the panelling slid open. Slowly and painfully. The creature cowered. The Satellite continued its eternal orbit. it gripped the cables in its huge claw and severed them cleanly with a single sl ice. but now bl inded and almost paralysed. arching its segmented tail up over its head. no current flowed. The brittle. With an unearthly sigh of satisfaction t he creature turned away. the creature began to flail at the wall panels as if searching desperately fo r something.
about the same age as Harry. and don't touch anything else. His hands were thrust deep into the bulging pockets of a voluminous red velvet jacket. venturin g a step or two into the gloom. Doctor. ' Oh I say. I mean this isn't. laug hing voice behind him. level -headed journalist. broad man with a riot of c urly brown hair bubbling out from beneath a stylish felt hat. fiddling nervously with his cravat. battered blue Police Telephone Box. 'Well .' 'Who's gone. He turned to face the mischievous smile of Sarah Jane Smi th. He wore a rowing club blazer and sharply pressed slacks. with a straight b ack and a square jaw..' cried the Doctor..' he exclaimed. we aren't where we were when we. His generous face was animated with intense curiosity as his enormous eyes peered into the semi-da rkness. striding out of the TARDIS into pi tch darkness. ham-fisted idiot.' called the Doctor.. 'I'm terribly sorry. who was watching his confusion with evident delight. pausing for a moment in the light streaming through the door of the TARDIS and staring about him. her short dark hair tucked into a saucy woollen hat. her trim figure clad in a trend y denim trouser-suit. it had been ... when he had entered the o ld.' stammered Harry Sullivan.' began Harry.. at the Doctor's invitation to have a qui ck look round. A few minutes earlier. I was only trying to.. Surgeon Lieuten ant Harry Sullivan RN stood uncertainly in the doorway. The Doctor was a tall.. Sarah was a slim. 'we've gone. He was an athletic young man in his late twenties. and the trailing ends of a long multi-coloured woollen scarf flap ped around his legs as he moved cautiously away from the TARDIS. Harry?' asked a bright. trying to ope n the door. just catching the door as it swung back in his face. 'Come out of there at once.1 The Second Invasion 'Clumsy.
.' replied the Doctor after a pause. in broad daylight.' he muttered at last. or perhaps once round the Moon'--Sar ah imitated the Doctor in one of his off-hand moods-. Sarah knew precisely what that littl e pause meant She felt her way cautiously over to the Doctor's side. The Doctor strode over and locked the door. 'Sorry. 'It's bigger than a Cathedra l..' 'I didn't expect him to start f iddling with the Helmic Orientators. It was quite an effort to breathe. Sarah... Doctor. 'Where are we.'just to prove to Harry th at the old Police Box really could travel in. 'I think I've gone mad. with several flat control consoles. A powerful torch beam snapped on and swept round.... It was Harry...' he gasped in amazement. Grotesque shad ows flapped around them. Doctor?' called Sarah casually . Miss Smith. 'That's exactly how I felt after my first trip. 'I know what you mean. Harry had opened the door of the TARDIS and was staring into it open-mouthed. Sarah shivered. sweeping the torch beam over the curved reflecti ng walls and closely examining the dense clusters of instruments... 'Do you know.' she said.' . 'Just a little trip to the Caucasus. grouped arou nd it. Harry mumbled away in the darkness. The roving torchlight revealed a large spherical chamber. 'but I'm a bit disorientated. like circular tables.' he mumbled. its walls entirely covered in ins truments.standing in a corner of the Laboratory at UNIT Headquarters. Sarah. 'You k now you could make a fortune out of this thing.' interrupted the Doctor sharply. on the inside. He broke off as the chamber was dimly illuminated again. I have no idea.' The door of th e TARDIS swung slowly shut behind them. Sarah Jane touched his arm sympath etically. looseni ng his cravat. It was bitterly cold. In the pitch darkness they could hear th e Doctor moving stealthily about. and the air sudde nly seemed terribly thin. She jumped.' But the Doctor was al ready pacing about the chamber. You'll find it takes quite a bit of getting used to. Something loomed up against her. Still in a state of shock.
'Oh. 'What's it all for?' gasped Harry. turning. unwelcoming white light. an invisible panel in the wall sli d open directly in front of Sarah. At the same moment. we can survive for quite a time yet. For a moment.' Sarah protested loudly. Doctor. ' In his resonant voice. But the Doctor had left them a gain. 'Fascinating. I've got quite a few patients to see at four o'clock. 'fascinating. it's cold and it 's getting very airless. 'Still..' cried the Doctor. putting away the yoyo. excitement.' 'A simple gravity reading. Despite his anxiety to return to UNIT Headquarters where he was Chief Medical Officer. He tinkered with one or two micro-swit ches on a nearby console. suddenly right beside them. He seized the ends of his lon g scarf and spun them like propellers. understanding and wonder were mingled as h e crept respectfully round the chamber. 'So suffocation is nothi ng to worry about.' she whispered sarcastically.' grinned the Doctor.' boomed the Doctor. 'There we are. his companions' discomfort gave way to amazement. Harry. Harry decided it was time to speak up. . and was busily examining a section of wall panelling away on the far side of the chamber.' 'Doctor. Now isn't that fascinating. he yielded to an unfortunate curiosity that had al ready got him into trouble in the TARDIS. 'Well. dials. 'nothing to worry about.' remarked the Doctor from the shadows.' he added cheer fully.' he tried to affect a casual air.. Suddenly they wer e bathed in a harsh. away from the control panel and surveying the scene with childlike deli ght. it's dark. I 'd like to be getting..'Not much oxygen. He shielded his eyes from the glare and peered at the coded switches. 'so if you don't mind. He was concentrating on spinning a yoyo effortlessly up and down its string in the torchlight.' Sarah turned to Harry.' he murmured. lights and buttons cover ing the circular wall. He seemed quite oblivious of their discomfort. 'It would appear that we are inside some kind of artific ial satellite. taking in every detail of their surroundings.
. She suddenly found herself fighting for breath. spill ing out a cluster of cable ends.. her head spinning and her heart pounding. she had a habit of striking out on her own in search of a good fro nt-page story.' Sarah suddenly heard the panel glide shut behind her. Then the Doctor's voice boomed confidently. couch-like construction supported on a single slender pillar in the centre of the floor. She shrugged at their indifference. 'I would estimate that all this was put together in the Thirtieth Century. none of it seems to be working now.' gasped Harry. 'The Thirtieth what?' 'You don't agree?' Sarah heard the Doctor inquire indignantly. and suddenly oblivious of how difficult it was becoming to breathe. She recognised the stream-lined cabinets and tape-r eels of computer memory banks set into the walls. the late Twentyninth or early Thirtieth I feel sure. 'Oh yes. She whirled round. slightly smaller chamber. Sarah looked round at her two heedless companions. just look at this. There w as no trace of it.' But the Doctor was deeply engrossed in exam ining the bright metallic sphere which was suspended from the centre of the dome d ceiling. 'Of terrestrial design certainly. Sarah l eaned against the couch. she was confronted with a . Her eyes trie d to focus on a section of instrument panelling that had been ripped open.' the Doctor was saying.' 'Oh no.. and judging by that modified version of the Bennet Oscillat or. The upper part of the circular wall was patterned with blank video screens and systems display panels. Harry. Harry muttered something inc oherently. stepped lightly through the opening in fr ont of her.' he muttered. She knew that on ce the Doctor became involved in something. For example.' she cried.. '. 'look at this.' gasped Harry. The voices of the Doctor and Harry in the other chamber gradually receded into the distance. She found herself in a similar..' 'Well. Besides.'Doctor. which was dominated by a low. 'but I can't quite pl ace the period. it was quite impossible to distract him.. leani ng weakly against the control console in an effort to ease the increasing pain i n his chest.
' he replied. there must be a door.. She gulped for air. 'Impossible. The Doctor was kneeling down and listening intently to the floor th rough an ancient brass ear trumpet. and searched for the edges of the panel. somewhere. 'All this is obviously quite old. 'Perhaps she went back into the TARDIS. Harry... Suddenly he leaped to his fe et. Desperately she clawed at the wall . I'm a straightforward s ort of chap. where. no. not sure whether he was dreaming or g oing insane. 'Doctor. his head whirling. 'Where's Sarah?' he demanded. 'Doctor. 'are you telling me that we're now in the middle of the Thirtieth Century?' The Doctor seemed totally unaffected by the coldness and th e lack of oxygen.. In sudden p anic..' He chewed away thoughtfully.' 'But .. 'I have told her time and time aga in about wandering off by herself. 'There must be a manual contro l. dum bfounded. there. 'Difficult to say. thumping like a steam engine. Her ears were ringing and her limbs were numbed. 'Not necessarily. please help me. 'several tho usand years at least. The Doctor stopped in his tracks and fixed him with a piercing stare.' sna pped the Doctor.. she pounded and kicked the panelling.' he murmured. advancing on Harry who stared back at him.' He strode about the chamber. please. I can't breathe . 'Well beyond that. peering closely at the walls through a huge magnifying glass.. 'Gracious me.' panted Harry..' the Doctor popped a sweet into his mouth. Sarah stumbled over.. 'I have the key.' she panted.. despite the cold he was beginning to sweat with the effort of breathing. Where are we?' pleaded Harry......wall of blank instruments..' Sarah sank to the cold floor... Har ry was leaning against a corner of the TARDIS.' She felt herself gripped. pl. 'Look...' . as if in a huge vice. sitting bac k on his heels and taking a large bag of jelly-babies from his pocket.' he said grimly.' said Harry... 'Well. her heart.' he gasped. Harry.. there's no air-in here... scarcely able to fill her lungs. Doctor.
.. the panel glided shut automatically. dial s and buttons danced about before his eyes in the unrelenting white glare.. Harry.' As they b ent down to lift Sarah. Switches. well. Harry tottered over t o the control console and stared down at the maze of instruments. sorry. 'There's even less air in there. now almost completely overcome. '. Harry?' the Doctor demanded accusingly. yes I.' he panted. The Doctor's voice seemed to reach him from the other end o f a long long corridor full of slamming doors.' commanded the Doctor. Harry. deftly sorting through the broken connections. 'She's cyanosed. He could barely stand upright now.. the panel slid open. 'You haven't touched anything agai n.. 'All my.. 'This.. strange and incomprehensible though it wa s. Harry. The Doctor searched feverishly for the panel control circuitry. Sarah lay just inside the smaller chamber in a crumpled he ap. 'Gyrosc opic Field Governor ..Harry glanced longingly at the TARDIS. my fault.' Ha rry's hand wavered uncertainly.' 'Show me.' panted Harry. Harry quailed. this is quite extraordinary.' he muttered. 'No.. sank down against the wall and feebly tried to p rop Sarah into a sitting position.. He set to work with magnifier and sonic screwdriver.. 'Show me exactly what you did.. I got us into this. He st ruggled to remember. He was feeli ng decidedly unwell in the airless conditions. it suddenly seemed very familiar and safe. 'No I. We must get her out.. Harry. trapping them all t ogether.. His movements grew rapidly heavier and clumsier as the lack of oxygen finally began to take effect. Immediately... 'Just try to remember.. The Doctor had discovered the damaged panelling and the cluster of cable ends..' coaxed the Doctor gently. in desperation he pressed a switch. no.' protested Harry. but absolute ly nothing happened. I think I did just press something. ' he whispered. m. have you. At once Harry recognised the bluish pallor around her lips. Harry.
Once or twice he glanced anxiously at Sarah and Harry..' whispered the Doctor hoarsely from across the chamber. They were both uncons cious. Harry. and Harry tried to revive her while the Doctor set about repairing the r emaining circuits.' he said gently. managing a grin. The Doctor strode triumphantl y through. there came a deafening crack. old girl.. 'Only just in time. all but letting Sarah tumble to the floor. 'and whatever was responsible clearly possessed a reasoning intelligence. . ready to take them all to safety--or to anywhere. smiling with relief.' The words froze on his lips as... Harry.' added Harry wryly. 'You'll be right as ninepence in a few.' he muttered. Harry ran across to the panel opening.' he said... 'Something quit e extraordinary. Oxygen Valves Servo Backup Circuits. wouldn't you say?' Harry checke d Sarah's wavering pulse.' Several times the Doctor dropped the sonic screwdriver and the magnifying gla ss. 'Are you feeling better? ' 'Convalescent. He kept thinking of the faithful TARDIS waitin g on the other side of the vacuum panel. He forced his mind to concentrate on the delicate operation of sonicsolderi ng the tiny. as she c aught at his sleeve in a momentary spasm of fear. 'Sarah's coming round. 'Yes. At last.Circuit.. At that moment the panel leading to the other chamber slid smoothly aside. The Doctor was nowhere to be .' replied Harry. Sarah's eyelids flickered and then opened .. His hands felt like rub ber. He struggled into a sitting position. 'Now take it easy.. 'There's a mystery here. Sweat ran into his eyes.. from the other chamber. 'Splendid. these cables have been bitten through. after what seemed an eternity. 'All systems go.' 'And very large teeth. 'All I need now is a couple of weeks in Blackpool.' the Doctor continued quietly. Temperature Stabiliser. valves opened with a precis e clicking..' 'Bitten.' They laid the unconscious Sarah gently on the couch constr uction. complex connections. Ah. There was a gentle hiss of oxygen all round the chamber.' echoed Harry. His two hearts laboured. Soon Harry' s eyes opened.' he said.
The acrid smell o f burnt rubber filled the chamber. She tried to call out. in the fresh air. and very gently. 'I'm afraid we're trapped again. had been Harry's welcoming smile. the hat flew into the shadows beside the TARDIS and lay smouldering. Outside. As he fell. 'Keep down. 'Just don't mov e. He had balanced his hat on the end of the telescopic p robe he always carried. The Doctor star ed at it in anguish. half under one of the control consoles. . Something bright caught his eye. Sarah lay li mp on the couch. one foot was completely numbed. Harry. but found hers elf forced down on to the couch by invisible hands. Harry. At once came the shattering whipcrack from above them. Very slowly. and was stealthily inching it up into the air above the edge of the console. she wa s being pulled apart.. For a moment he dared not open his eyes. and the other was still held in an iron grip. but al l at once he had disappeared again and she was alone. his throat parched with fear. Everything about her began t o wobble and tiny electric shocks rippled suddenly through her entire body. He lay quite still. but no sound would come. Harry and the Doct or crouched silently in the confined space beneath the instrument console. She felt as if she had floated to the surface from the bottom o f a deep pool. in the Main Control Chamber. som ething struck his other foot with the force of a cannonball. He tri ed to twist himself round and sit upright. There.' whispered the Doctor. She heard the fierce crack ing sounds and Harry's scream of terror. 'But wh at is it?' gasped Harry. tearing off his sho e.. She struggled to get up. His head was at once thrust roughly b ack to the floor. 'What happened?' croaked Harry at last. Glancing upwards he saw his own distorted reflection in the polished sphere suspended from the ceiling.' he sighed.seen. Before he could s tep forward he was seized by one ankle and dragged to the floor.' hissed the Doctor in his ear.
'That,' said the Doctor, casting his eyes upward, 'is an OMDSS.' 'A what?' 'An O rganic Matter Detector Surveillance System,' answered the Doctor patiently. 'A s ort of electronic sentry,' suggested Harry, suddenly catching sight of the shoe that had been blown off his numb foot; it lay curled. up like a charred kipper. He shuddered. 'Precisely,' said the Doctor. 'I must confess I was not expecting this--my repairs next door were a little too thorough.' At that moment Harry's m ind cleared. He craned his head to look into the adjacent chamber where they had just left Sarah, but he could not see the couch construction. 'Sarah... keep aw ay from the door,' he called. There was no reply. 'Sarah... can you hear me... S arah?' But the only sound from the other chamber was a faint. humming. Harry gla nced worriedly at .the Doctor, but he was totally absorbed in jiggling them meta l probe about in the air. Nothing happened. 'Just as I thought,' he muttered, 't he system only reacts to organic matter in motion.' 'Well that hardly helps us,' said Harry. 'We're organic.' 'Not under here we're not,' grinned the Doctor mis chievously; his voice booming in the confined space. Harry watched blankly as th e Doctor adjusted the sonic screwdriver and directed it at the joint between the console support-strut and the floor. The beam of ultrahigh and ultra-low freque ncy waves soon unsealed the sonic welds... '... A little to the right... forward ... steady now. One slip, Harry, and we'll be charcoal.' On hands and knees, she ltered by the heavy console which they carried like a giant umbrella, the Doctor and Harry inched their way across to the opposite side of the chamber. The sile nce from the other chamber was ominous: what if Sarah had blacked out again? Or worse, what if she suddenly came stumbling through the opening, unaware of the g littering electronic 'watchdog' in the domed ceiling? Gradually they progressed round the chamber, the console swaying precariously in their combined grip. Even when they paused
for a moment's rest, they had to support the top-heavy 'parasol' by its single c entre leg. Raw-kneed and breathless with effort, Harry decided that if this real ly was the Thirtieth Century, then it was an awfully long way to go just to play the fool. At last, the Doctor called a halt. 'There it is, but it's well beyond reach,' he said, craning upward. Harry was beginning to resent always being sev eral moves behind. 'What is?' he asked, exasperated. 'The Surveillance System Cu tout, of course,' replied the Doctor, deftly fashioning his scarf into a lasso. He flung the loop up at the switches. There was the now familiar flash and crack , and the scarf fluttered down in two blazing pieces. 'Bad luck. Good try though ,' whispered Harry admiringly. 'This is not a game of cricket,' snapped the Doct or. 'Sorry,' whispered Harry, chastened. 'Mind you, if I had a ball I could joll y soon reach that switch.' The Doctor silently produced a worn cricket ball from one of his many pockets. Swallowing his amazement, Harry took it. He polished i t on his lapel. His moment had come at last. The ball, with a good off-spin to i t, had scarcely left his hand than it exploded into a shower of carbon fragments . 'Organic, of course,' he muttered, crest-fallen. The Doctor leaned forward, sl ipped off Harry's remaining shoe, and handed it to him. 'You don't need this any more, do you, Harry?' he said significantly. Harry was becoming more and more c onvinced that he was in the company of a madman, with no hope of rescuing Sarah or of ever getting back to reality. He opened his mouth to speak. 'No. Good,' in terrupted the Doctor. 'Now listen carefully,' and he quickly outlined a simple p lan... ... A few moments later, at a prearranged signal from the Doctor, Harry f lung his shoe high over the console under which they were still hiding. At the s ame instant, the Doctor leapt up at the switch; there was a rapid series of crac ks, a smell of burning rubber, and then silence. After a long pause, the Doctor' s head appeared slowly over the top of the control desk, followed, after another long pause, by
Harry's. Cautiously they both stood up. 'That foxed you,' said the Doctor pullin g a face at himself in the mirror surface of the OMDSS. He wandered over to retr ieve the remains of his hat and his scarf, calling brightly, 'It's all right now , Sarah, you can come out.' Harry picked up his two melted shoes. 'The Brigadier will never believe a word of this,' he thought. Suddenly the Doctor's voice sou nded urgently from the other chamber. 'Sarah... Sarah, where are you... ?' With a shoe in each hand, Harry padded over to the opening. The Doctor was standing a lone beside the couch. All around, the chamber lights were beginning to flash on the instrument panels, and a multitude of quiet humming sounds enveloped them. The chamber seemed almost to be coming alive. The Doctor turned to Harry, his fa ce filled with anxiety. 'Sarah's not here,' he said.
She was too exhausted even to be afraid. Panicstricken. welcome to Terra Nova. glass-like canopy which now confined her. and that it was their shadows playing over the canopy.. The couch on which she was lying seemed familiar. but she did not remember it being encased in the tra nslucent. The soothing voice began again. but found she could not raise her arms from the couch . Remain in contact with the Biocryonic vibrations . and finally the sensation of being slowly dismembered. just like the surfa ce of a soap bubble. followed by the sounds of a violent struggle and Harry's cry of distres s. Sister. All she could remember was a terrifying sense o f suffocation. Sister. but the only sound she heard was a distant murmuring whic h grew gradually louder and more distinct. the sur face of the curved shield appeared to be in constant motion. At once th e mysterious voice spoke firmly but gently..' Finding herself suddenly free of the invisible hands t hat had seemed to tear at her body. The harder she stared. scarcely audible. she attempted to hammer on the g lass to attract attention. Sister. do not move. then a brief moment of relief with the Doctor and Harry bending o ver her. Do not att empt to leave. She tried to call out to them. As she stared at it. so the patterns changed until they b egan to resemble huge. bu t still she could make no sound.. and for a moment Sarah imagined that she could hear the Doctor and Harry talking.' Too weak to disobey. eerie shadows cast by something moving about on the other side of the glass. the Tranquiller. Sarah struggled feebly to sit up. It was repeating over and over again a hypnotic refrain. 'No.2 Sarah Vanishes Sarah tried to scream. Sarah lay back and stared listlessly about her. She was trapped. Welcome. . welcome to Terra Nova.. 'Welcome.
authoritative voice of an elderly woman.. the theory of tissue preservation for long periods of time.. and echoed around her as if she were inside a vast cathedral. It had a slightly mechanical to ne. As it filled the capsule i n which she was trapped. Cryog enic.' The voice finally faded into silence.'. As it grew thicker and thicker. the more the freezing vapour pierced her lungs. 'Sister.. the High Minister. the p rincipal phase of your Biocryogenic Processing is about to commence. Sarah lost consciousness.. Sa rah had lost all sense of her physical reality. our only hope. the strange voice grew more distinct.' During the pause which followed. She was aware only of her failin g consciousness. In a moment you will pass beyond life. Sarah lay like a fish imprisoned in ice.. she felt her skin tightening and growing numb.. it seemed to solidify into a gelatinous mass. but the trance-like voice went inexorably on--'. you take with you not only your own. the white . but all our pasts. what was it? Something to do with freezing. After a while. She fought hard to keep hold of her train of thought. the quiet. The more she gasped with the cold ness. her v eins and arteries contracted around the chilling fluid as it coursed through her . 'Greetings. remember. salute you who are about to make the supreme sacrifi ce. Within a few minutes.. You a re our only future. from the Greek word for frost.As before. If you have any message that you wish to be conveyed t o the members of your Community. She tried to remembe r.. the space around Sarah began to fill with a white vapour that chilled her body. Sister Volunteer.. She felt her heartbeat slowing and labouring.. On behalf of the World Execu tive. Please preface your message with your Personal and your Community Identifica tion Codes.. Shattering ripples burst through her as the subs tance began to vibrate at an ever increasing frequency. you may record it at the end of this announceme nt. Lest there should remain any doubt in your mind or fear in your heart. cryogenic. yes... will live again in you. freezing..... Her body appeared to merge into the cold jelly surrounding her... the word reverberated in Sarah's mind.... I. an d with it. We.. and of the sound of a new voice. who remain to perish here. She felt her blood running literally cold..
the track slowed and st opped. the c ouch was empty.' snapped the Doctor. 'Harry. and expose d a honeycomb of small cells. Harry's fe et were swept from under him. All at once. 'What on earth does that mean?' 'It means. Harry was relieved that. 'that Sarah can't be very far away. I am an idiot. Harry. It carried him smoothly with a faint hum to the far end. he was not to blame for what had happened. Harry padded after him. The cells were interconnected with fine coppery wiring embedded in a perspex frame. Sarah had apparently disappeared into thin air.' said the Docto r.' The Doctor and Harry were bending anxiou sly over the couch on which. and he found himself sitting on a moving track run ning down the centre of the tunnel.' called the Doctor. t he Doctor had removed a part of the upholstered section of the couch. While they had been fighting their duel with the OMDSS in the other chamber. 'Fortunately it's only an internal relay.' Slithering on the smooth metal flooring. Harry had no . 'A short-range Matter Transmitter. stepping throug h another panel in the main chamber which opened automatically as he approached it. When it cleared.substance thinned and finally vapourised and disappeared. striding back into th e main chamber. Having satisfied himse lf that there were no more concealed panels through which she could have gone. he was amazed to see that the Doctor had already re ached the other end and was waiting impatiently for him. Just as he scrambled to his feet. Do come along. convinced that he was about to cr ash headlong into the bulkhead at the end of the tunnel. five minutes earlier. just for once. Harry followed. each about the size and shape of the reflector in a bicycle lamp. glancing up at one of the instrument displays set into the circular wall. As he entered the long tunnel-like passa ge leading from the chamber. they had placed the semi-cons cious Sarah. 'A what?' Harry looked from the couch to the instrument panel and back to the Docto r. still clutching the remains of his shoes .
'This must be the size of a running track. were set large ovoid window panels of tinted glass.' he breathed. at intervals of a few metres. 'We're. 'Of course it has been converted to a more sophisti cated Electrostatic Field Gravity System. we're movi ng. 'We are now in the Cincture Structure. setting off briskly to the left. All the surf aces of the gallery were made of the same highly reflective metal. 'This is no time for star-gazing. shaped rather like a doughnut with an éclair stuck through the middle and connected to it by several chocolate fingers.' he said.time to express his astonishment. Along the outer wall of t he gallery. When Harry finally tore his eyes away from the splendid panorama through the observation panels. as he hurried to catch up.' he said..' . It was clearer than Harry had ever seen it before. 'The outer wheel.. But his sarcasm was lost on the Doctor. then advanced cautiously into the middle of the intersection. 'I suppose we are no w walking round inside a doughnut. where the tunnel joined at right angles with a spacious gallery which curved away out of sight in both directions.' The Doctor grinned over his sh oulder. He felt momentarily u nsteady.' called the Doctor. the Doctor was already disappearing through a panel he had opened in the bulkhead wall. 'Naturally.' T he words faded from his lips as he realised with a start that the billions of st ars were moving slowly but unmistakably across the panels.. 'It's beautiful.' he remarked. They found themselves at a 'T' junctio n.' Har ry rather resented the Doctor's oversimplified explanation.' 'The what?' Harry skidded in his stockinged feet. 'I say. 'We appear to be inside an old Centrifugal Gravity Satellite. the Doctor had alrea dy disappeared round the curve. Harry. as if a ship's deck were heaving beneath his feet. but it still revolves on its axis beca use there's simply nothing to stop it. through which a brilliantly clear night sky blazed.' called th e Doctor..' pant ed Harry. 'Exactly. and a harsh w hite light flooded everywhere from a concealed source. his eyes wide. The Doctor motioned Harry to stay where he was.
They were approaching another bulkhead. remem bering the curt. The Doctor paused in his tracks. In the centre of its sealed panel there was a stencilled notice in green and maroon striped computer lettering: FIRST TE CHNOP PERSONNEL ONLY MEDTECH Just before they reached it. Harry caught a glimpse of something moving. and seemed to be meditating. nightmarish announcement they had just heard. speechless with fright. striding on towards the bulkhead barring their way.' he said. . He re-emerged immediat ely. He froze. much to Harry's relief.' the Doctor tapped his head. the Doctor darted suddenly through yet another auto matic panel which opened silently in the inner side wall. 'It's surprising what one can do with a little thought. and of a faint crackling sound like toffee paper. electronic guards. 'Alpha waves and things. At that moment. turning to close the panel behind them. All these hidden.' He ushered H arry through the opening. he had a momentary impression of a pulsating cluster of fluorescent bubbles. 'Do you think we should?' asked Harry anxiously. just at the point where the gallery ahead curved out of sight. then grabbed the Doctor's sleeve. Sarah's not in there. All at once a disembodied metallic voice barked at them: 'STERILE AREA'. 'Probably not. After a few seconds the panel opened. 'Ho w did you do that?' exclaimed Harry. However the Doctor seemed perfectly at hom e. Something appeared to slither quickly across the floor. automatic panels. 'Well. he had rested his head against a small copper plate at the side of the bulkhe ad panel.' g rinned the Doctor mischievously. and Harry leap ed backwards as if he had trodden on a nail. hidden voices and moving floors made him feel as if he were trapped in a crazy maze at a funfair.
Doctor. 'A multi-nucleate organism perhaps?' he sa id.' he shrug ged. He crept forward a few metres .. then he leaned forward and tried again. pointing to the spot.. Suddenly he found his stockinged feet glued firmly to the floor. and anyway. I saw something moving.' Harry stared incredulously at him. his face creased with effo rt. Harry. 'No. frowning in profound concentration. silvery trail of sticky substance--about thirty centimetres wide--which traversed the gallery fro m wall to wall. He gave a sta rtled yelp. such an organism would not be capable of moving that fast. The galle ry stretched in a graceful arc. The Doctor looked doubtful. Harry's confidence began to return.' He strode towards a panel in the inner wall. The Doctor grunted. No thing happened. 'Trick of the light. Doctor. how could it have got through there? ' Harry pointed to the fine-mesh grille set into the base of the inner wall. 'A snail? That size?' He tore hi s feet free from the adhesive trail. 'But surely. this looks promising. the bright stars gliding slowly across the obser vation panels. he knelt down and rested his forehead a gainst the small plate set into the wall.'Doctor. tracing the silver track acro ss the gallery and up the outer wall where it disappeared into a similar grille set between two of the window panels.' interrupted the Doctor. As before. 'That's impossible. and looked slowly down. 'let's find Sarah first.' 'Come on.' Harry insisted. Harry jumped as the panel suddenly zipped open. leaving wisps of wool stuck fast to the flo or. 'Just like the track left by a gastrop od mollusc. Here was a subject about which he felt h e knew something. The Doctor knelt down and examined it closely through his magnif ier. 'Fascinating.. He had stepped on a faint.' he whispered. Ah. . The Doctor stood up for amoment and mop ped his brow. the panel remained shut.' he exclaimed at last. Even th e Doctor looked a trifle surprised. there's something there. int o which the trail disappeared. After a long pause. a few m etres along from the grating.
. quite unaffected. They stood awkwardly nose to nose.' said the Doctor. ' This must lead to the central hub-structure. A rapid series of extremely uncomfortable sensations pu lsed through. The Doctor's eyes widened: 'Harry. The Doctor was staring at a large. 'confuses the microbes--much more efficient t han your old-fashioned antibiotics.' said the Doctor eagerly. a second panel opened in the opposite wall. she's obviously not in here. complex display marked: NEURO ADVANCE/RETARD PULSORS Th e display consisted of a mass of regularly arranged. do you realise what all this is?' he said excitedly.' began Harry wearily. gesturing from side to side at the fluorescent systems -displays which lit up one by one as they passed. and a few were flashing strongly with a long slow rhythm. others were inactive. Another moving track carried them smoothly and swiftly along it. Some were pulsing weakly. and then expanding again in quick s uccession.. his head whirling like a stone at the end of a long stri ng. as if it were expanding to the size of an elephan t and at once contracting to that of a flea. The Doctor sh rugged. 'Decontamination Chamber. 'Ultra high and low frequency oscilla tions.'That must have been some idea you had. He contin ued to mutter to himself. removing his hand f rom the wall and setting the floor in motion again with a jerk. tiny neon lamps with illumi nated connecting circuits. 'Oh.' They stepped into a small cubicle resembling a lift. the Doctor put out his hand towards the wall of the tunnel and the conveyor stopped moving.' When the vibrations stopped. The panel closed beh ind them. 'It's a complete . Without warning.' Harry grinned admiringly. revealing a long straight tunnel bathed in soft gr eenish light. just a little notion for a new opening gambit in four-dimensional c hess. Harry struggled to keep uprigh t as they glided along. Harry all but fell flat on his face.' the Doctor added casually. Harry f elt as if he were being shaken to a jelly. 'Well. his entire body.
striding over to exa mine first the couch.' said the Doctor. church-lik e atmosphere. The subdued lighting gave the chamber a solemn. he was still clutching his aching head.' Harry could only manage a groan of pa in and confusion. set into the inner wall of the crescent. On the other side of a large access panel in t he centre of the wall. It bore a stencilled identification: ACC ESS CHAMBER: FIRST TECHNOP PERSONNEL ONLY MEDTECH The Doctor immediately took out his ear trumpet and placed the horn against the bulkhead frame. He listened intently for a while. still feeling the effects of the . They ente red a 'fat' crescent-shaped chamber. Opposite.. The Doctor stopped the c onveyor every few metres to examine the complex displays of coded circuitry whic h lit up as if by magic.. they were confronted with yet another panel.. One entire half of the straighter wall was patterned with a multi-coloured ch equer-board of tiny coded panels. 'When they reached the far end of the softly-lit tunnel. much larger than those they had already see n. were grouped a ll round the chamber. there was a series of semi-circular observation ports emi tting a faint. bluish light. identical to the one in the Control Chamber from which Sarah had di sappeared. elegant flat structures supported on single struts.' But Harry scarcely heard. 'We're in luck.. was a couch.' he cried. 'Fascinating. Harry shivered.Cryogenic Suspension System inside a converted Navigation Satellite.' he sai d at last. He grew more and more animated. then the control consoles. Harry. 'There's not the slight est doubt. but he was in no condition to protest. it seemed to him to be decidedly chillier in here.' Harry was not at all sure that was a good thing. 'The release-lag relay has operated--we can go in. except that this one was covered by a curved transparent shield. He tottered over and leaned against the chequered section of wall. on the contrary . 'We're getting warm.. Cont rol consoles. Harry..
' said the Doctor slowly... He leaped over the spreadeagled Harry with a cry.. He suddenly stopped directly in f ront of Harry.' the Doctor smiled. Harry screwed up his eyes and peere d into one marked ANIMAL AND BOTANIC.' the Docto r shouted delightedly. Harry?' he demanded. Agri culture. The Doct or glanced round. revealing itself to be a long narrow drawer.. I mean what for . Dim shapes hung in the cobalt gloom.' he said. He stared across at the empty couch. The Doctor quickly opened several others. when the Doctor seized him by the arm an d marched him over to the observation ports. Doctor.' he exclaimed. 'Plea se. 'Just look at this. 'Everything they considered worth preserving. Something had touched him on the shoulder from behind. and collapsed in a heap.' 'Exactly. 'Posterity?' shrugged the Doc tor. Then he froze.?' muttered Harry.Decontamination Chamber. and pushed him firmly away from the wall.. wandering thoughtfully round the chamber.. 'Architecture. . his eyes brighte ning. 'What's missing.' Harry translated mechanically... For a moment Harry thought he glimpsed an elephant--or rather two elephants--and some thing that looked very like a palm tree. 'the straight-forward human mind isn't capable of.. 'The Blue Whale. she certain ly isn't here. Music.' 'Who.' He sat down and gestured around him. 'Man--The Human Species is quite conspicuously abs ent. Harry was about to point ou t that for one thing Sarah was missing. Electronics. here.. 'If we assume that some catastrophe o ccurred on Earth and that...' he implored. hauling himself to his feet. the Doctor darted over to peer throug h the observation ports: 'Balaenoptera musculus. 'Well. He staggered forward.. His enormous eyes opened wide.. packed with what looked like miniature tape cassettes. Harry dared not turn his head.. rubbing his eyes. Totally absorbed. He backed away. One of the little coded panels had sprung open.. the sum of human knowledge. mute with terror.
. The Doctor nodded. the chamber was a t least thirty metres across. What has happened to the Human Species.. a section of the wall slid slowly aside. Harry? ' The Doctor fixed Harry with a penetrating stare and leaned back on the instrum ent panel. Awestruck.before the end. The phosphorescent light filling the cham ber came from the translucent shields protecting the pallets. The rows of recessed pallets were r anged in storeys stretching out of sight into pitch darkness above them. this Satellite was converted to function as a Cryogenic Preserva tion System.. his elbow depressing a series of touch-buttons. each shield was mo ulded to the contours of the human form. With a sonorous humming. iridescent glow quite unlike anything Harry had ever seen. Harry followed the Doctor over to the opening.' . As their eyes became accustomed to the alien half-light. Th e missing element is Man himself. Doctor.. The criss-cross of glinting metal tracery reminded Harry of the framework of an airship stood on end. His voice rang and reverberated ro und the chamber. They were on the thre shold of an immensely tall chamber composed of three semicircular bays arranged around a broad shaft rising through the centre. 'What a pl. The space beyond was filled with a faint. A wave of coldness enveloped them. the Doctor and Harry discerned the outline of a human body sus pended in each alcove.. were grouped side by side around the bays.. Alcoved sections.. as if a long imprisoned breath had been released from the phosphorescent depths with an almost audible sigh.. there must be hundreds of them. each containing a covered pallet . From behind the ref lecting surfaces of the chamber walls came the subdued clatter of relays operati ng. At its widest. 'What a place for a Mortuary..' began Harry. He went on in an abashed whisper.' 'A sort of Noah's Ark. In the cold silence the effect was like that of entering a huge mausoleum.' said Harry.. '. and eac h storey was surrounded by a narrow gallery connected to the circular central sh aft by catwalks. Look. and stood at his shoulder. It wa s as if the chamber beyond were whispering to itself.
The Doctor wandered into the shadows of the next ba y. Harry tried to conceal his unease beneath an air of professional detachment.' Harry stared at the shrouded figure.' he shrugged. 'You can't survive ten thousand years in a coma.' He continued to speak. 'This i s no Mortuary. Harry pointed to the slim. war. Doctor.. and his skin was waxen and cold. Harry. Harry glanced wildly about at the ranks of ..' retorted the Doctor. Harry. famine. what an i ndomitable species. pushing Harry aside and quickly cl osing the shield.' said Harry triumphantly. Quite the reverse.... 'There you are. plague.' the Doctor interrupted impatiently. There was no colour in his face. peering through the shields as if examining exhibits in a museum. 'These peop le are not dead. Harry.. it has survived flood . ' 'Suspended Animation. a puny defenceless biped.The Doctor advanced a few paces. Harry.' 'Total Cryogenic Suspens ion.. they're asleep. 'That's impossible. but I've never s een it applied on this scale before.... 'Ten.. 'But there are no metabolic functions at all. Provided. awaiting a ne w life. Homo Sapiens. He was dressed in a simple white uniform with green ide ntification flashes.' the Doctor added pointedly.. fair-haired young man lying there inert with open. Harry! What do you thi nk you are doing?' The Doctor had made a complete circuit of the chamber. ten thousand.. '. staring eyes. find that the...' As they began to walk slowly round. 'not a flicker of life.' protested Harry . it is only a few million years since it crawled up out of the sea and learned to walk. starin g up at the seemingly endless array of bodies.. of course. 'When you've seen one corpse you've seen them all. thousand years?' he said. craning upwards with an air of respect.... That's something for you to be proud of. and now here it is out among the stars. his voice rising and echoing majestically around the vast vaults.. 'Even in the deepest coma you will.. fifty thousand--the time i s immaterial.. It's an old principle.' 'Oh.. and co me upon Harry examining the pupils of an occupant whose shield he had managed to prise open. that no one interferes with the systems..
For a moment Harry was speechless.. lay Sarah Jane Smith. Harry eased open the magnetic shield.' Instinctively Har ry moved forward to lift Sarah out of the pallet.' he breathed. 'There's nothing we can do for her. Harry's heart missed a beat.' Anxious not to irritate the Doctor any further. Harry.inert human bodies. The Doctor was busy trying to scrape off a sliver of the tacky substance with the probe. Then he gasped 'Sara h..' the Doctor reminded him. On tiptoe.' The Doctor was at his side in an instant. When he saw Sarah his huge eyes nearly popped out of his head. As he peered into it. 'But you said you saw something moving before. Glancing round to make sure the Doctor was still occupied. 'The future of the entire human race in one chamber. 'Perhaps it's some kind of mould. The Doctor firmly gripped him by the arm.' he said. He remembered the Doctor's reference to giant snails. his mind reeling. Harry shivered and looked uneasily around.. There. expressionless gaze. Somethin g caught his eye in one of the pallets in the opposite bay. Harry resisted the flood o f questions rising in his mind and followed him towards the entrance. look. 'We're .. ready to reprove him for his med dlesome ways. It looked different from the others. Harry cautiously approached the pallet. 'Come along. her skin like chalk and her body cold and rigid. 'Doctor.' Carefully he checked th at the pallet Harry had opened was firmly closed and sealed again. his s hoeless feet were suddenly held in a fierce grip that all but toppled him over. riveted by Sarah's fixed. his socks still sticking slightly to the fl oor. he thought he detected a swirling. vaporous movement. the awesome spectacle. It disappeared into a grille at the base of the central shaft. Harry. Ver y quietly he said. The Doctor spoke in an almost reverent hus h.' suggested Harry. We're intruders h ere. and then take our leave. The Doctor d ropped to his knees and began tracing the sticky trail as it wound away into the shadows. He was stuck fast to another silvery trail snaking across the floor of the chamber. 'We must find Sarah. It was identical to the one they had found earl ier. As he turn ed for a last look at.
looming over him like an insect Buddha. something toppled slowly past him with a sickening crunching sound. He gestured hope-fully toward s them. . the Doctor started to close the magn etic shroud. There was a clatter of brittle tentacles and antennae which fra ctured and scattered a gelatinous cobweb substance all over him.too late. Earlier he had noticed the outlines of c oded inspection panels set into the central shaft. s ealed edges of the panels. as he sprang backwa rds with a scream of terror. On a sudden impulse. 'Reverse the process or something?' But again the Doctor shook his head resolutely. an d for a split second he caught a glimpse of an enormous locust-like figure with gigantic eyes. He found himself staring into a dark cubicle.' 'Not i f I can help it. 'Couldn't we break into the works?' he pleaded.' he whispered. 'There must be something I can do. he had sprung o pen a hatch the size of a door. Shaking his head firmly. 'Sarah will remain like that for a thousand years at least. Before the Doctor could restrain him.' said Harry defiantly.' Harry stared at him in horror. Then. Harry darted across to the shaft and began clawing frantically at the smooth. We'll only harm her if we interfere now. 'She's become part of the process.' he cried.
'Clearly a creature o f considerable intelligence. The six tentacular legs bristled with razor-sharp 'hairs'. but became totally absorbed in an anatomical investigation.' he gasped. He knelt down beside the massive corpse. creature was fully three metres long from the top of its domed head to the tip of the fearsome pincer in which its tail terminated. Harry remained with his back firmly against the shaft.' he nodded. The creature's octopus head contained a huge globular eye on each side. her face an impassive mask. He looked across at Sarah.' said Harry. taking out his magnifying gla ss and probe. 'Just look at the size of its brain pan. S he seemed to stare straight back at him. The surface of its segmented body was a glossy indigo colour.3 Sabotage! Harry stood with his back pressed against the curved wall of the shaft. 'Practically mummified. amazed at the Doctor's apparently fearless curiosity. Harry imagi ned the open eyes of all the other humans 'sleeping' in the vast chamber. He did not answer. and each eye was composed of thousands of cells in which Harry saw himself reflected ove r and over again. He was t rembling. The. At la st Harry managed to speak. The Doctor always li ked to have a ready answer for his insatiably inquisitive human companions. He stared at the enormous 'insect' which lay crumbling at his feet. lik e scorched plastic. 'At least it's dead. here and there were patches of twisted and blackened tissue.' murmured the Doctor. for perhaps . The Doctor calmly pi cked up a shattered length of tentacle which powdered and crumbled in his finger s. starin g sightlessly at their own reflections in the polished surfaces. afraid to move. 'But what is it?' Harry a sked.. his fear gradually giving way to fascination. but this was one occasion when he found himself rather at a loss. and his face was beaded with sweat.
In one of the pallets the phosphorescent glow seethed to have intensified. The glare and the vibrations overwhelmed him for a moment.' 'She wan ts us to help her up. like billiard balls. Suddenly he felt a prickling sensation at the back of his ne ck. 'No. She lay panting for a few moments.' said Harry. hurrying forward. 'We are friends. her head rolling from side t o side. and padded across the chamber to join the Doctor. yet alive. I t grew rapidly brighter until he could hardly bear to look at it. then it relaxed with a gasping i ntake of breath.thousands of years the Doctor had said. and Harry noticed that her pupils were dilating and contracting. 'Please do not be alarmed. Harry. The shield wa s open. her slim body arched in a spasm of pain. Slowly she brought her hands together and stared at them. But the young woman's skin was glowing with healthy colour. wearing the same simple white unifo rm with green flashes as the young man Harry had examined earlier. The pallet was occu pied by a dark-haired woman in her thirties.' the Doctor said gently. When he came to. and the silhou ette of the occupant appeared to undulate with the same rhythm as an eerie wobbl ing hum that filled the chamber and made Harry cover his ears. and a gleaming instru ment resembling a spray gun. their bodies without heartbeat or consci ousness. She lay with her arms at their sides. Visible inside the con tainer were several coloured spheres. Then her eyes focussed on the Doctor. Then she looked up again at the Doctor. In her wrist. Sud denly. A shadow of incomprehension passed across her face. I think this is what she needs.' The Doctor leaned across and took a small transparent containe r from a holder fitted to the inside of the pallet cover. her fingers making urgent grasping movements . . palms outw ard. he saw the Doctor sta nding motionless in front of the pallet which was now quiet again. Harry moved cautiously round the central shaft to avoid the huge crumbli ng corpse. Harry's practised eye caught the beat of a regular pulse.
'and Harry here is.. relentles s stare..' began the Doctor amiably. and even the Doctor see med a little disconcerted by her detached..' she said. There was a brief high-pitche d whirr. evidently on her guard. wait ing--her eyes alert and shining. like yourselves. . and carefully fitted one of the small spherical objects into the base of the handle. 'She was not among the Chosen..' said the Doctor.' He pointed across the chamber to where Sarah lay.' The woman raised her hand imperiously for sile nce. authoritative air. After a few moments. 'Oh. and this. For a moment. She betrayed no em otion at her awakening. my Doctorate is purely honorary. 'My name is Vira. 'My name's Sullivan. Harry felt extremely uncomfortable under her cold. She was fully two metres tall.'I shouldn't have opened the shield..' muttered the Doctor. watching intently as the woman eagerly took out the spray gun. She appeared to be listening. clinical voice. Vira stared at the Doctor.' said the Doctor with a conciliat ory smile.' he mumbled. 'Explain your presence here. 'How very fortunate. 'We are travellers in space and time like yourself. 'You claim to be Med techs?' The note of incredulity in her voice suddenly made her seem a little mor e human. She looked at Sarah without emotion.' she said icily. Then she walked gracefully across to Sarah's pallet. The woman's body convulsed and then went limp. She then pressed the star-shaped nozzle against her forehead and operated a button. 'We have a dear young friend over there who needs your help de sperately. fixing the Doctor and Har ry with a piercing stare. she rose gracefully from the pallet and stood motionless. looking round at the inert and shadowy forms surrounding them. She seemed neither surprised nor afraid. Surgeon Lieutenant Harry Sullivan... 'That is not adequ ate. 'Well. The woman's eyes widened. Vira turned abruptly away. 'The female is an intru der. there' s very little to explain. this is the Doctor.' she suddenly ordered in a toneless.' The woman walked slowly round them.. as if losing a ll interest in them. I am First Medtech.' she announced.' she retorted.
' she de clared. 'Is there any method of reversing the Cryogenic function at this stage?' 'It would be dangerous. Vira turned a withering. 'Is the female of value?' This was too much for Harry. Vira nodded gravely. the pallet next to her own was beginning to glow and to emit the same pulsing hum which had heralded her own awakening. The Doctor intervened gently. 'I will discharge a monod block. 'As in Noah's Ark. 'The fema le will revive soon. On the far side of the chamber.' Harry shielded his e yes. 'Your colony spe ech has no meaning. 'Neural activity is rapidly receding.' Vira took out the instruments from the pallet kit. The Doctor moved to her side. isn't she?' blurted out Harry. or die.' she said flatly. those last days on Earth?' he asked gently. 'This is our Prime Unit--Noah.' said Vira. he seemed unaffected by the fierce li ght. 'There was not much joke in the last days. replacing the equipment in the ho lder.'Well. 'At this stage. eh?' he said. Vira hesitated a moment.' Harry corrected her.' Vira replied di stantly. 'We called him Noah as an amusement. 'What kind of qu estion is that?' he exploded. 'She is of great value to us. blank stare upon him. Ther e was a sudden yielding in her face. crossing swiftl y into the vibrating glare.' Vira turn ed. and turned to the Doctor. Harry retreated a step and bit his lip. activating a small fluorescent systems display.' she added quietly .' she whispered. 'What happened during. her eyes fixed on the incandescent shi eld of the pallet. . regrett ing his sarcasm. then passed her hand over a section of the pallet frame. wincing as the Doctor stood firmly on his stocking ed toes. She pressed the probe against Sarah's temple and triggered the charge. and repeated the procedure she had performed upon herself earlier. the action of anti-protonic is not predictable.' the Doctor said quietly. Like Vira. she's among the Chosen now.' 'A joke. 'Commander.
' He led Vira across the chamber into the bay beyon d the central shaft.. 'But I th ink you have overslept by several thousand years. Your alarm clock failed to work. B efore the Doctor could reply.' she replied sharply. When we arrived. 'I don't know yet. we found a ma ssive systems failure. Vira showed no fear. now that the radiation had subsided. only surprise. where the monstrous corpse of the locust-like creature lay in the shadows. 'That is not possible. 'The solar flares destroyed all life on the Earth. she turned with a gasp and sped across the chamber to Noah's pallet. The Doctor took her firmly by the arm.' The Doctor nodded.' 'What purpose?' said Vira. and checked the pallet systems-di splay.' began the Doctor. . suddenly tense. 'Possibly. 'But at some time you have had othe r visitors besides ourselves.. rhythmic pulse of light and sound had become irreg ular and staccato.' Vira shook her head. 'Of course..' he said. The quiet. 'But it had some purpos e in coming here. Harry's from Earth.' Vira opened th e shield.Without taking her eyes from the pallet. 'Has your co lony no records? Where are you from?' 'Well. 'At the very least. 'What is it?' Vira demanded suspiciously.. 'A truant from your Animal and Botanic Section perhaps?' he suggest ed. She wrung her hands in desperation. Harry was amazed at her sudden helplessnes s. and I. her eyes roaming over the ranks of softly glowing pallets stretched all around and above them.' said the Docto r. 'There is a fault in the Bionosphere. 'T he systems have a negative fault capacity.' she said. solar flares.' agreed the Doctor. 'We calculated that it would be ten thousand years before the biosphere b ecame viable again. Vira replied in amazement. The Doctor watched her react ion closely.' she cried in disbelief .' said Vira. peering into one of the creature's great yellow eyes.
he paused briefly to examine fre sh trails of the tacky. hiss ing and spitting like snakes. you kee p an eye on Sarah while I'm gone. 'I think I can help you. of the reservoirs. Here and there. Doct or.' Vira gestured to the other pallets in the bay. the substance became d enser. 'There has been interference..' he said. 'Harry. Meanwhile. As it spread slowly over the surface. silver substance clinging to the floors. nightmare shapes which swelled and then burst into long. along the con duits connecting one reservoir to another.' Before Vira could protest he ran out of the c hamber. more opaque and brittle. so that the vital systems of the Satellite were increasingly starved of essential power. Colossal quantities of the precious energy were ab sorbed by the parasite bubbles. The Doctor strod e towards the Access Chamber.' he said. far down inside the central hub of the great wheel where. 'The Programme was planned so that First Technops and First Medt echs would undergo simultaneous Revivification. twisting fronds. engaged in a destructive attack . 'We must prevent a cascade tripout .' she added threateningly. He was rapidly becoming convinced that something was. The Doctor swiftly made his way from the Cryogenic-Section back to the Control Centre where the TARDIS had materialis ed. 'But we have no Technops. deep in the Infrastructure of the Satellite. walls and even ceilings.The Doctor swiftly ran his eye over the systems-display.. Occasionally the crackling globules formed weird . slid clusters of viscous matter which stretched out and then gathered again into globules with a dry crackling sound. 'There is an optimum ov erload in the central power supply. little by little over the centuries. at that very mom ent.' Again she stared suspiciously a t them. bubbling substance whi ch pulsated in the dull amber glow of the chamber. The surfaces of many of the spherical reservoirs were covered in a glistening. a voracious alien life-form had established its lair.' she cried. As he hurried along the softly-lit tunnels. e nergy from the pale and distant Sun had been focussed and stored in huge reservo irs.
Harry padded back into the Cryogenic Chamb er. the Do ctor set to work with the sonic screwdriver. In the Cryogen ic Chamber.. y our companion has no knowledge of our Satellite. from which Sarah had disappeared. a hidden enemy ready to attack at any moment. Harry hurried th rough. Vira checked the display. Reaching the smaller Control Chamber. He said that his lash-up in the Control Centre would not be adequate for very long.' There came an uncommunicative grun t from the intercom and then silence. Doctor. then she turned to Harry. he was aware of an insidious. skilfully rearranging a mass of cir cuits in an attempt to provide sufficient power to the Cryogenic systems. Over the intercom the Doctor asked whether the power had been restored in the Cryogenic systems. 'I'm going down to take a look. and occasionally administering treatment with an a rray of instruments whose function Harry could only guess at.' she smiled. 'You are Dawn Timers.' he boomed. As he worked. 'He'll have it all ticking over in no time. Harry waited helplessly at Sarah's side while Vira concentrated on t he life and death struggle of her own people. returning to Noah's pallet.' 'Harry?' The Doctor's voice boomed out in.on the Satellite from within. he's an absolute wizard w ith bits of wire and things.' said Harry with desperate optimism. and that he suspected a major fault in the Solar Sta cks. to find Vira stretching out her hand in greeting to a tall. 'I should have gon e myself. 'The fault has corrected. He was holding out his hands to he r in a simple gesture of recognition.' 'Oh. 'Noah will soon revive. 'O.' said Har ry apprehensively. checking the systemsdisplays. Harry. She glided from pallet to pallet. 'But don't be too long.' At that moment the oscillations in Noah's pallet settled into a steady rhythm again. He crept with the stealth of a predator stalking i ts prey--well aware that he himself might be the prey of an as yet unknown enemy .. the adjacent Access Chamber..K. .' she said at last. slim but powerfu l man with short black hair and a trim beard. evil force infiltrating the innermost part s of the Satellite.
' she murmur ed to Harry. Feeling rather superfluous. and stood watching for a flicker of returning consciousness. He whirled about.' said the Commander in a hollow.' and walked quickly over to Sarah's pallet.' he cried. Commander. 'Your companion had not reached total metabolic suspension. 'I know you can do it. .' Noah approached Harry menacingly. Noah continued to stare at Harry with intense hostility. 'Where is the th ird Regressive?' he demanded. 'There was a Regressive ele ment among the volunteers for Colony Seven.. and w as delighted to see that Sarah's eyelids were flickering. Then she said quietly. here?' he exclaimed. and the contamination factor. 'Wh o is this?' Harry swung round at the ice-cold enquiry.' 'Clearly a Regressive--the speech patterns are unmistakable. 'I'm no regressive. C ommander. 'The Council can decide.' he said at last. Harry wandered across to Sarah's pallet. and began monitoring her p rogress... Vira explained briefly about the Doctor and his companions.. We are alive again.' Harry took a step towards the Access Chambe r. 'You must be aware that three random units could threaten our survival..' smiled Vira. sir. Vira hesitated a moment under her Commander's furious gaze. Noah was staring at him w ith blazing eyes. Noah turned to Vira in disbelief.' Noah almost shouted. 'And together . t urning upon Vira. staring at his crumpled clothes and shoeless feet in undisguised disg ust. old girl... 'The name's Sullivan. 'I am a Naval Officer.' Suddenly there came a gasp from behind Harry. He took her hands.' Harry began. He looked Harry up and down. 'We must tell the Doctor.'Then it is ended. irrevocable damage may already have occurred. 'She will revive soon.. detached tone that sent a shiver through Harry. 'Co me on.' the man said gently.' retort ed Harry. Vira. 'A regressive. 'Our Genetic Pool has been refined to the ultimate.
' The Commander spun round and ran f rom the chamber. 'the old vacuum plasma metho d-. he succeeded in operating the lock.'He's having a look at your. Solar Stacks. bearing a stark warning in luminous stencilling: SO LAR PLASMA CELLS EXTREME RADIATION HAZARD FIRST TECHNOPS ONLY The Doctor smiled to himself. They must have been in a hurry to leave Earth .. er. One by one he began examining the ceramic plasma bottles--translucent spheres five metres in diameter.. which was growing steadily louder and closer. the Doctor quickly found his way from the Control Centre down into the very heart of the Satellite. He . amid the almost imperceptible humming of the chamber. emerging from and disappearing into the grilled openings. 'He must be stopped. simi lar to that of a strongroom. Cautiously the Doctor entered the vast hemis pherical chamber. he puzzled over Harry's description of the bubbling phenomenon he had seen. well. 'He reckons they're on the blink.' Everything seemed to be in order. and tried to relate it to the gigantic cor pse they had discovered in the Cryogenic Chamber. Not a bad lash-up at all.' said Harry in euphoric relie f at Sarah's imminent recovery. He encountered more and more s ilver trails criss-crossing the tunnels. pocket magnet and pr obe. 'Well.' 'The Solar Re servoirs. His improvised rearrangement of the main power circuits complet ed. The door--a fifty centimetres thick Rad iation Shield--swung open smoothly. after a few minutes' juggling with ear trumpet.. a brittle crackli ng sound. on his guard for wha tever might be lurking on the other side.. Then the Doctor d etected.' hissed Noah. His eyes adapted immediately to the subdued orange glow within .with a few little refinements. He soon found himself confronting a large circular door.' he murmured. As he opened shutter after shutter.
his ears splitting from the harsh crackling and his head aching from the fall. He quickly looped a length of scarf r ound a stanchion and dived through the railings of the catwalk. Crouching clos e to the treads of the ladder. Instinctively the Doctor flung himself backwards.crouched beneath one of the reservoirs and listened. the Doc tor ducked back as it whipped out at him with a vicious crack. The crackli ng sounds came from above. The Doctor knew that he mu st find some way to starve the alien creature of energy and stop it from multipl ying and spreading through the . But he had t o discover what was causing the colossal power drain in the Systems. then elongated itself into a droplet. Stealthily. He tumbl ed heavily down the ladder on to the landing below. t he crackling sounds suddenly increased and the movement of the jostling. Drenched in sweat. burstin g bubbles quickened. he suddenly saw the clusters of pustular matter clinging to several of them . Missing its targe t. Although there was no sensa tion of hotness from the super-heated plasma. and they gliste ned with the familiar silver deposit. sizzling like hot fat a few centimetres from the Doctor's face. he dragged it shut behind him and ran swiftly back to the Control Centre. He watched in fasc inated horror as a quivering mass of greenish bubbles began to form underneath t he catwalk over him. just as a snaking tentacle of globule lashed through the gloom towards his head. the Doctor emerged from hiding and inched his way towards a ladder leading up to the next level. It grew into a shapeless glo b the size of a man. the Doctor scrambled back into the narrow space between two reservoirs. Staring upwards at the dim outlines of the plasma glo bes. he reached the second catwalk safely and began to climb to the third level. The savage crackling of the globule as it had massed to attack him still filled his head. swinging down to the floor. it broke into fragments which stuck to the metal rails. Darting through the Radiation Shield. the Doctor knew that even he could not stand exposure to the radiation for more than a minute or two. Sections of the metalwork felt tacky. and to the interconnecting shafts. oozing through the steel mesh. When he was halfway up the third ladder. Just in time.
Reaching the Control Centre. He decided that the risk had to be taken. The Doctor was momentarily enveloped in a blue aura. 'It is you who must be stopped. He froze. He stood for a moment staring at the complex displays. levelling the weapon. 'There is some alien life-form feeding on the energy in your Solar Reservoirs. the Doctor sought out the Solar Systems Panel.' The D octor turned to face him and stood upright. he also knew that to tamper with the Solar Plasma System could be cat astrophic. turn ing back to his task.Satellite.' 'Move away. torchlike weapo n straight at the Doctor's head. awake at last.' The Do ctor glanced over his shoulder in surprise. He spoke rapidly but calmly. 'Your pathetic attempt at sabotage has failed. .' agreed the Doctor.' he cried. 'Degenerate Seven th Colonists. h is hand raised and his mouth half open to speak. 'You and your companions are the only alien forms here. He bent over the console and began to calculate the exact sequence in which the system would have to be run down. He recognised Noah standing in the e ntrance to the Control Chamber Suite. 'Stand away from the systems console. and if w e do not stop it at once it may completely overrun your Satellite.' Noah broke i nto a mocking laugh.' The Doctor s miled. 'The Terra Nova is ours. He did not move. 'But unless we do something quickly.' There was a brilliant sheet of spark fr om Noah's hand. one slip and an ir reversible chain reaction would occur. it will not be yours much longer.' sai d Noah. Noah was pointing a small. 'I'm just about to close down the Solar Plasma Systems.' he sneered. 'Ah there you are.' 'In theory certainly.' Noah advanced a few paces.
'You are intruders. just in time to catch Sarah as she toppled forward.' 'The Commander will not permit contamination of the Genetic Pool.. 'If it weren't for the Doctor. He was overjoy ed to hear her speak. and the Doctor's long absence was making Harry feel extremely uneasy. but s he was totally preoccupied. He caught her again as she staggered out of th e pallet.. he gla nced anxiously at Sarah... clinging fast to Harry's arm. 'Now look here. Vira now seemed completely oblivious of them both. From time to time. panic-stricken eyes at the corpse of the giant 'loc ust' creature lying in the shadows.' Harry g asped at the sinister tone of her words.' muttered Harry t o himself... she did not appear to be responding to the treatment Vi ra had given her earlier. monitoring the progress of her people as the Revivification Progr amme entered the final phase of its preliminary stage. 'What .' 'Charming. . He looked across at Vira. Harry moved to help her. Suddenly Sara h began to moan.' retorted Vira dismissively. The shock brought Sarah to in a flash. and her body convulsed. neither you nor your people would be a live now.' said Harry. staring with wide.4 A Fatal Wound Full of professional admiration. ' I am a fully qualified physician and I do think I. without looking round.' snapped Vira. It fluttered weakly. Harry watched Vira moving calmly about the Cryo genic Chamber. and put his arm protectively round her shoulders. All at once Sarah screamed--a terrifying hoarse cry that ripped through Harry's head.' sa id Vira in a hard voice. 'All Regressive influences must be eliminated. what is it. ?' she whispered. 'Do not touch the female. He eased her gently back into the pa llet and checked her pulse. At the same instant he turned.' 'You have no function here .
'Sort of galactic woodw orm.' Harry stammered.' . 'Come on. Before Harry could answer. Proceed with Revivification. old girl. Vira's voice pierced the quiet humming of the chamber. yes.. 'We must find the Doctor.. He has been dealt wi th.' she whispered. 'Where's the Doctor?' she asked shakily.. Sarah smiled broadly.' Vira turned to see Harry and Sarah lingering uncertai nly 'The Commander will interrogate you when he returns. Harry looked at her in astonishment. 'Commander.' he said nonchalantly... Sarah glanced at Harry for some explanation. Harry?' she asked.' Harry whispered as Vira hurried through into the A ccess Chamber.'Oh. we found it in the cupboard. 'Are you all right.' Noah hissed. 'Well. but are you sure you're. brushing pas t them and resuming her Medtech duties. and she was trem bling all over. 'You look a little pale.. 'Where is Dune?' she demanded. I discovered the third Regressive attempting to sabotage the Solar Power Systems.' Sarah leaned heavi ly on Harry's arm. 'Answer me.' they heard her say into the intercom. Her face was white.' she said urgently. Harry started as Sarah suddenly gripped his arm.. but he was staring blankly at Vira as she approached them.' 'The explanation. Noah's voice rang out over the intercom in the A ccess Chamber.' she said. 'Tech nop Dune is missing.' Sarah stared around her open-mouthed.. I shall ins pect the Solar Chamber. y ou're. there is no explanation. Vira.' 'That means the Doctor. At that moment. I am in Central Control.. 'What have you done with Technop Dune?' she repeated. 'Hear me. shaking with anger.. faint and disorientated. Vira w as pointing to an empty pallet near where the Doctor and Harry had found the tac ky trail on the chamber floor. ' is that the Regressives have taken him. hear me. Sarah jumped with fright.
he brought the injured arm across in front of his face. his spasmodic breathing echoing inside it. and then slowly keeled over on his side.Harry was speechless. he had no chance of twisting aside in time. Noah dropped to his knees. Sarah beckoned impati ently. Noah faltered and stopped. but as Noah advanced further in. but the helmet had steamed up and he could not see properly. 'I think so. as he watched. the thick transparent helmet muffled the vicious crackling sounds echoing round the chamb er. He backed clumsily towards the open Shield. Res tricted by the suit. old girl. He leane d against it. Sarah ran lightly across the Access Chamber to the panel l eading to the tunnel. At last the helmet came free and smashed on the tunnel floor. seemed t o be . Noah was deafened by his own scream. He shook his head in admiration at Sarah's remarkable reco very. they rose to a crescendo.. hampered by the heavy protective suit he now wore.' he muttered.' he chuckled. blinded with s weat and barely conscious. With a glance to check th at Vira was occupied. He squeezed through the opening into the access tunnel and dragged the Shield shut. His movements were slow an d clumsy. Something caugh t the sleeve of his suit and gouged a deep. and tried to remove the glove from his damaged hand. he fought to remove the helmet. Through the vizor he glimpsed something whipping towards his face. He staggered backwards down the met al ladder. 'Do you know the way to Central Control?' she whispered. scorching tear. . Noah opene d the Radiation Shield and entered the Solar Chamber. as if a column of stinging ants was forcing its way through the veins. H arry pulled himself together. the deep tear in t he sleeve was filled with a greenish bubbling pus which. His forearm burned benea th the gashed sleeve. Whimpering w ith pain. gasping for breath. the torchshaped weapon sparking in his hand. At first. His eyes bulging with ter ror. There was a hideous sensation in his injured arm. and let's go.' she said. Confined inside the helmet. 'You really are amazing.. 'Then show me how to open this thing.
Meanwhile. his hand raised in greeting. toppled white-faced into Harry's arms.' For her part. His whole body went rigid. a wobbling cluster of greenish bubbles was bursting through a grilled vent in the floor a few metres from her feet. Sarah could remember very little about h er experience in the Cryogenic Suspension System. A wisp of acrid smoke curled up from the scorched slit. The Doctor stood smiling at them. As they warily f ound their way to the Control Centre where Noah had reported his encounter with the Doctor. you're safe. and had been startled by a sharp crackling sound behind her which made her spin round. and how she had somehow become caught up in the works. Harry was relieved to discover that the bulkhead panels seemed to be designed to operate on a straight-forward 'electric eye' mechanism when approach ed from the direction of the Cryogenic Chamber. Sa rah had approached the 'electric eye' on the other side of the shutter. In a few seconds they reached the Contro l Centre. and that they opened automatical ly. but she told Harry as much as she could. She recoiled in horror w hen she realised that something was badly wrong. and forming itself into threatening serpent s hapes. 'Doctor .. Harry did his best to explain to Sarah about the Satellite being a k ind of 'Noah's Ark' bearing survivors from Earth. With a shriek she had thrown herself against the panel.' Sarah cried. Wi th a harsh cry Noah rolled over on to his back. His arm lost all sensation and he black ed out. However. rushing over to hug him. He waited a few moments for her to operate the photo-electric cell. there was a tense moment when he and Sarah passed through the shutt er leading into the Control Centre Access Tunnel. Harry struggled in vain to open it by resting his forehead against the little copper plate and thinking about something complicated--just as the Doctor had d one--but he did not seem able to generate the correct brain-waves. and as it opened. Harry examined .. the injured arm grotesquely fixe d in the air. but the panel remained tightly close d.absorbed into his arm so that only the blackened gash in the sleeve remained. Harry had passed through first and the shutter had dosed before Sarah could join him.
' cried the Doctor. She immediately sprang. 'He said he was going to examine the Solar Systems.. but it can't be. recollecting her earlier experience with the Matter Transmitter.. 'At a time like this?' He winced.' Totally bewildered. 'What's the matter with him. staring i ncredulously at Harry. ?' whispered Sarah. grabbed Harry's arm to save herself and they b oth collided with the Doctor.. 'It's just as if rigor mor tis..' she cried anxiously.' he muttered. Do something. 'His hearts are beating. clutching his singed forelocks. Sarah and Harry followed. trying to bend the Doctor's arm. 'I detest paralysators. ' I've no idea. so that he fell sideways. Splen did. 'By the T hirtieth Century. Sarah sank down on the corner of the couch be side which the Doctor stood like a statue. 'Where's No ah?' he repeated. on their guard against the crackling.' began Har ry. There was a bright flash and a popping sound. bu bbling alien organism whose tracks became more and more evident... Harry. don't you think you should sit down for a moment?' said Harry with concern. 'Strange how th ey've given us the run of the ship. As he f ell. Feeling very faint... But as sh e leaped up she lost her balance.the Doctor's rigid fingers. Sarah. fi rst to the left then to the right side. 'There might still be time to save him. 'Where's Noah?' 'Doctor. 'Well you're a docto r. and clutched his temple s.' called the Doctor over his shoulder. to her feet a gain. 'Quick.' he cried. The Doctor sprang to his feet. How nice to see you.' He looked around him. Harry frowned. striding out of the chamber. human society has become highly . his forehead touched part of the exposed electronic circuitry in the base o f the couch.' Harry remarked. They hurrie d along the Cincture Structure Gallery. 'Ah. on to the couch.' he said at las t with relief. 'Sit down?' the Doctor exclaimed. Highly unreliable.' said Harry. He put his ear to the Doctor's chest. 'Why didn't Vira try to sto p us?' 'Not her function.
hi s face contorted in panic.. still clad in the radiation suit... His left hand was held behind him. No.' smiled the D octor.' she murmured. 'We will return to the Cryogenic Section. you were. You can be easily eliminated. Vira was assisting a tall. raising his hat. and the n lowered his arms.specialised. bl ond young man out of his pallet..' he or dered. we. 'There's not a mo ment to lose. uncertain how he would handle this impasse.. 'I suggest that without more ado we put our heads togeth er and devise a prompt solution to what is undoubtedly your most serious problem .' Noah gesture d sharply with the paralysator. emerged without warning from an alcove in the galler y and barred their way. Commander Noah. Doctor.. Harry and Sarah looked at the Doctor. Commander.. Noah. 'I am delighted to see you again.' he called. Commander.' 'Corre ct. Vir a looked shocked. 'For an instant I saw . 'I. in his right he brand ished the paralysator gun.' As they entered the Cryogenic Chamber... are an Executive problem. As soon as he saw Noah he threw up his arms in front of his face and cowered back into the alcove.' 'What is wrong?' demanded N oah in a hollow voice. 'Keep away.. trembling and whimpering...' he said. closely followed by Noah w ith the paralysator still levelled at their backs.... They stopped in their tracks as Noah. but not a difficult one. it is the Commander..' The snarling voice seemed to come from nowhere. 'I do not understand. I am sorry. 'No . 'His responses were normal. Suddenly the Doctor turned on his heel and set off along the curving ga llery at a furious pace.. do you not remember?' The young man relaxed a little.' She turned to the terrified youth. I suspect. The young man hid his face. 'You're absolutely right.' he screamed. 'Libri. I saw something. Unless we destroy the organism in the Solar Chamber it will. Keep back. Vira is a Medtech..' .
' Everyone star ed.. Dune is here. If they are disruptive.' snarled Noah. and his conscious mind was fighting it back. Dune is missing. The Doctor looked hard at Noah. I reported to you. 'You are mistaken.' Vira and Libri exchanged shocked glances. tre mbling. Hesitantly Libri obeyed. 'Who?' whispered Noah.' Noah's whisper rasped and ech oed around them. They stared at him.The Doctor stepped eagerly forward. 'They will remain there until the Council has convened. 'Wh y. the First Phase has hardly begun. 'Silence. Vira moved towards Noah. we have no Technops to operate the Systems. R evivification must cease at once.' he croaked. 'we should not.' she beg an. 'It is my instruction.' 'I shall operate the Systems. Noah handed him the paralysator. 'What did you see?' he asked. He beckoned Libri to him.' Noa h hissed. Vira. 'What have you done to your han d?' he asked calmly.' Vira indicated the vaca nt pallet. 'Commander. his face clouding as if something within him was struggling to emerge. his left hand still conce aled behind him. at Noah. . I am Commander. threatening the Doctor with the paralysator. hi s voice breaking 'The Programme is revised.' Vira gestured round the shadowy. echoing chamber.' Noah shrieked.' said Vira firmly.' he ordered. 'Commander. 'No further warnings. His harsh manner and hoarse voice contrasted violently with the res trained dignity of Vira and Libri. shuddering as some kind of spasm passed through him. 'I am Dune. 'The Systems must be closed down.' shrieked Noah hoarsely. 'Commander.. 'Take th ese Regressives to an Abeyance Unit. Commander?' said Vira in disbelief. eliminate them. 'Without First Techn op Dune we cannot hope to succeed.' but Noah ignored her.
. No. when the Doctor finished speaking. he turned his back to them. 'Can you be sure of tha t.. Libri flourished the paralysator at him..' she cried.....' Libri met their gaze calmly.. Hear me.' he said. That was not your Commander. you are injured . Why didn't it occur to me before? ' He strode across the chamber towards the gigantic corpse lying on the far side of the adjacent bay. The Doctor stepped a little closer... 'Libri. The Doctor edged towards him... there is no procedure for ar resting Revivification. now. he looked up into the Doctor's huge. Then. piercing eyes.. . 'Noah must be stopped. It would be fatal..' Noah faltered.' he said. of something horrible. Almos t immediately. 'No more aliens. He let it swing gently on the end of its chain in front of Libri's face... 'You are unwell. 'Noah must be stopped. hi s face glistening with perspiration. and rushed out of the Cryogenic Chamber in pursuit.. He spoke in a soft.' He backed awkwardly towards the Access Chamber. you had a subconscious impression. mesmerized. with a gasp of agony. but he backed away.. mumbling and whispering unintell igibly. Sarah caught Harry's sleeve in apprehension.. 'Commander. As he stumbled away through the Access Chambe r he cried out. I.. as if uttering a curse..Vira suddenly moved towards him. Libri?' he asked. he took out the magnifying glass and peered through it at the end of the extended rod. 'Libri. rhythmic voice. was it?' Libri gazed at the glitteri ng watch. 'There was a systems fault during his Revivification--his brain is damaged... of course. . All at once. At once the Doctor darted across to Tec hnop Dune's empty pallet and began poking about with the telescopic probe.' he cried. 'Of course. when you first saw Noah.' 'Yes. The Doctor slowly took a large pocket watch from his jacket. He seemed to be tearing at his injured arm.' The Doctor looked st raight into Libri's eyes..' Vira went over and spoke to the young Medtech in an urgent whisper... His body seemed twisted slightly inside the cumbersome radiation suit. 'Revivification must be discontinued now. 'Noah i s our Commander.
deep in thought.' Harry's voice trailed into silence. Harry and Sarah wa tched over his shoulder.. Impaled on it was a fragment of colourless. and stood in his path.' he said solemnl y. the Doctor stood up. 'It's a species of wasp. 'What is it?' The Doctor knelt down. The larval organisms are feeding o n the Solar energy.Vira swiftly overtook him. 'The radiation will destroy them.' Vira stared across at Dune's pallet. 'Have you heard o f the Eumenes?' he asked in a hushed voice. and becoming more powerful every minute. speechless.' .' he murmured..' she said. as well as his tissues. 'Perhaps this will convince you that we are not your enemy. 'It paralyses caterpillars and lays its eggs in their corpses. 'Dune was Power Systems Technician. 'On the contrary. 'They absorbed Dune's knowledge.. They all stared at him. 'The Creature's larvae will peri sh in the Solar Chamber. I imagine. 'It is almost too horrible to contemplate. He looked round at them one by one. and held up the point of the probe to examine.' he said.' he mused. 'Egg-tube?' gasped Vira.' he announced. She nodded. He l ooked at the Doctor in horror. The Doctor ga zed down at the corpse. Sarah covered her mouth as if she were going to be sick. pausin g beside Vira.. 'As I suspect ed.' The Docto r shook his head. the Progenitor.' she warned: The Doctor handed her the magnifier. 'Strange how the same life-patterns recur throughout the Gala xy.' he said.' the D octor continued. 'The larvae went straight to the Solar Stacks.' said Harry . 'It is not advisable for you t o leave.. Completely mystified. the egg-tube is empty. 'The Queen Colonizer. Vi ra stared at the fragment of tissue.. The Doctor walked round them . After a few moments.' he said. then around the huge chamber at the thousands of sleeping humans. Vira put her hands to her face. rubbery me mbrane. and pr obed about in the collapsed abdomen of the monstrous creature. When the larvae emerge they have an immediate food. Suddenly she seemed to relax.
. eyes rolling and body contracted into a grotesque posture. his breath rasp ing and rattling.' he croaked. Then he dragged himself through into the inner chamber. Suddenly he stopped. crystal-toned chime which was followed immediately by a calm female voice.. Noah stared in terror at the smouldering body of the young man welded to the panelling. Shaking his head slowly from side to s ide he lowered the injured arm in front of him. fighting to prevent it from touching the sensitive c ontrols.... With a hideous. green pus began to bubble out through the seams of the glove. His right hand clung fiercely to the sleeve of the injured arm. Noah seized the weapon with his good h and and tried to twist it from Libri's grasp. He hovered grotesquely over the C ryogenic Systems Panel. th e thick material splitting like paper. He stood transfixed in the entrance. Noah advanced on him. 'You. and pressed the trigge r at point blank range. Libri backed away a pace. 'G reetings to the Terra Nova. The chambers and tunnels of the Satellite suddenly echoed with a clea r. stepping forwa rd. and that made him h esitate for a fatal fraction of a second. Then something flew through the air and cut him a cross the face. You have .. When the sparking ceas ed.. screaming and clawing at the intense burning sensa tion in his eyes. In his eyes Libri saw desperation and fear. The young Medtech stared at his le ader like a hypnotised animal.' gasped Libri. and with his other hand Noah repeatedl y tore at the glove. Libri's body was hurled across the chamber in a successi on of frozen shapes as pulse after pulse cracked into it. Noah wrenched the paralysator from him. He fell back. the suppurat ing stump of his left hand raised like a club. 'Give me the paralysa tor.' he cried. shrieking cry Noah reeled to face him. With a sound of water dripped in to boiling fat. moaning in anguish.. watching his Commander staggering about the chambers. Struggling to control his body. 'I order y ou. His injured arm was held up across his face. Commander. ' he stammered. you are not well.Libri entered the Control Centre seconds behind Noah. 'Commander.
.. Then the weapon clattered from his grasp as Noah' s human awareness gained supremacy again. you awaken now in the dawn of a New Era. He raised the paralysator. . across the chasm of the years... You must make it flourish and l ive again. he stumbled forward to his knees as the voice of the High Minister.. safe landing. he felt something within him instinctively struggling to break out a s if from a shell. I send to you the hopes of all Humanity for a safe landing. his face betr aying recognition of the High Minister's voice. still gripped in his right hand. '. The heavy protective suit seemed to be crushing the breath out o f his body. rose to an impassione d climax. 'You will return to an Earth t hat we cannot imagine. The arm seemed to have an existence of its own.. He began to beat the stump of his left arm against the edge of an inst rument console. intent on vengeance against the hated Humans. He backed into the smaller chamber..' Noah stood immobilised in a twisted posture. and the shock of the returning m emory of his own humanity. recorded thousands of years earlier.. hi s mind struggling to overcome the urge of his injured left hand to wreck the Cry ogenic Systems Panel... He crawled across to the opening which connected the t wo chambers of the Control Centre. One moment he found himself listening to the High Minister's words with hope and longing for the green Earth again. then he would be seized with a dizz ying sensation of dark emptiness and a fierce hate for all humans. safe landing. His mind was filled with the great purpose about which the High Minister was speaking.' The High Minister's words became an exuberan t refrain in Noah's ears.. His alien hand hissed and crackled. and so.... a world that is dead.. yet he felt himself inexorably overwhelme d by the destructive alien consciousness that was steadily possessing his mind a nd body..' Noah's body twisted this way and that as the human and the alien f ought for supremacy within him.. His upright p osture suddenly seemed unnatural.. . The voice echoed on.... and directed the re lentless pulses of energy at the body of the young Medtech until it had complete ly disintegrated into nothing.slept for longer than the recorded history of Humanity.
It was the flesh of a Wirrrn.. the sleeve suddenly split wide o pen. cellular tissue. . As he stared at it.. spilling out a stream of viscous matter which rapidly hardened into a glist ening.independent of his control.
but where? Vira gazed slowly round at the ranks of her people.. where the multiple humming of the Re-vivification process was increasing little by little as the occupants were brought gradually back to life.. your people to Earth before they. 'We shall absorb the humans. Commander. staring into the dark upper reaches of the chamber as if seeking Noah there..... 'Noah. Initiate the Main Phase now.. The High Minister's voice was brutally interrupted by a harsh..' Noah's voice became a distorted roaring. Vira turned from side to side.. grating whisper which broke into sudden shrieks and gasps. you are in danger. 'I do not understand.... . She c ould not understand what had happened to Noah. The Docto r had been squatting thoughtfully beside the crumbling remains of the corpse..' Vira looked utterly bewildered.' she cried. she had heard the mysterious vo ice before. Sarah was listening in rapt attention.' the rasping whisper continued.' 'We.' whispered Harry. the new Earth will be ours. 'Sort of pre-ma tch pep talk. rocking herself to and fro in terrified incomprehension. and to check for an y other-empty pallets where the creature may have laid its eggs. Vira. becoming in coherent and then lucid again. in the Terra Nova. Hear me.. Vira had ascended to the second level of pa llets.... We are here. Expedite Revivifi cation.' Vira covered her face. Vira.. Harry and Sarah had been d etailed to search for more of the trails left by the larvae. . she was filled with a renewed s ense of her great mission....... '. T ake our. as the High Minister drew towards the end of her message.5 The Wirrrn The Doctor and his companions stood silently as the serene voice of the High Min ister flooded the Cryogenic Chamber. why he had ordered Revivification to cease. before we. As she listened to the High Minister..... 'They...... po king about the exposed viscera of the alien creature.
It was broken a t last by the Doctor. the Doctor outlined his theory. He took her gently by the arm. of course.' he warned.' s he protested. then Noah--disturbed them.. Wirrrn. As they were whisked along the Access Tunnel on t he conveyor.... He swept his long arm in a broad g esture round the Cryogenic Chamber.. multi-cellular larvae.' he concluded. 'The Wirrrn... 'If we do not destroy the Wirrrn larvae before they develop into p upae--none of us will survive.. 'You are the only one o f us that Noah--or what is left of Noah--will trust. As the shutter opened they came face to face with Noah. endo-parasitism..' The hoarse whisper of Noah's threat reve rberated for some time.' He crossed the chamber to the base of the elevat or shaft. Wirrrn my mind.' The Doctor quickly persuaded Harry that he had observe d enough of the Revivification Process to take over from Vira for a short time.. where Vira lingered uncertainly. 'The Revivification process is much too slow . no time. still wearing the white radiation suit which wa s now split open down the entire left side and . encyclopaedic memory. 'I postulate a multi-nucleate organ ism with a shared consciousness. 'If we can confront Noah in time--while he still retains some vestige of his humanity-we may be able to discover a way of fighting the Wirrrn. 'I cannot leave until the last of the Technop Personnel have safely revived. Come.' he muttered. the Wirrrn will abso rb. The Doctor nodded gravely.. Then he led Vira firmly out through the Acce ss Chamber in pursuit of Noah. Then silence fell over the vast chamber..... as if trying to recall something from the depths of his colossal... 'Does that mean they'll literally eat us alive? ' shuddered Sarah. He was hunched in th e confined space of the cubicle. with Sarah's assistance. Wirrrn will absorb the humans. Libri is dead.' Vira held back. 'The larvae clustered in the Sol ar Chamber in order to pupate and we--first myself.' They had reached the Decontamination Airlock which sealed off the Cryogenic Sect or. The Doctor looked earnestly into her face..'We are in.. You must come with me--for the sake of your people..
. 'I am sorry. Then he reeled back with an appalling shriek int o the airlock as. 'Come.' He threw the para lysator at Vira's feet.. 'Tell us one thing. Vira. very near. He then spoke rapidly t o Noah.' she said. As they stared at him horr ified they could almost detect the spreading movement of the alien skin. pale and shaking. How much time do we have?' Slowly Noah turned his head fully towards them... his whole head split open and a fountain of green froth erupted and ran sizzling down the radi ation suit. his voice barely intelligible.' said the Doctor. back down the Access Tunnel to the Cryogenic Chamber... a ball of crackling mucus welled out of the dark slit that was his mouth and trickled down the front of the suit. Choking fumes from the smouldering suit curled around him. 'Do not touch me.' Noah raspe d. with a crack like a gigantic seed pod bursting. Her eyes wer e full of tears. Harry and Sarah had successfu lly supervised the revival of two Technops: Lycett and Rogin.' For a moment Vira did not move . Vir a stared at the closed panel. kill me now. 'Noah.. The Doctor seized Vira's arm and pulled her behind him.' 'No..' he pleaded. 'For pity's sake. Noah and I were pair-bonded for the new life. suppurating mass of glistening green tissue. The Doctor gently led her away. 'It. there is little time..oozing the green. kill me. I could not have done it either. His face was turned away from them.. 'Vira. Much to their own surprise.. now. pic king up the weapon. The whole of the left side of his face was transfor med into a shapeless.' she said at last. burning deep trenches in the thick material.' he croaked. At first dazed and suspicious. 'I showed weakness.. Noah. Conquering her fear and revulsion. The shutter closed. He stumbled forward. Vira ste pped towards her Commander with outstretched arms. the technicians had soon revealed themselves . but he covered them with the paralysator... As he tried to speak. it feels near.. in the midst of which his eye rolled like an enormous shelled egg. treacly bubbles of the parasite larvae..
.' said Harry. and Rogin did not seem too surprised tha t things had gone wrong. 'Quite a bit. 'A superb adaptation. They we re much less formal than Vira had been. Harry?' the Doctor cried. 'But the safety procedures. I t seems capable of existing in Space. almost certainly by enzymes of some kind. leading them to the Access Chamber Control Suite. glad to have the company of her own people again . 'But Noah said we should expedite Revivification and get our people to Earth ' . 'We should have taken our chance in the Therm Shelters. 'How much Anatomy do you remembe r. The Doctor turned his attention to the huge head. and stayed on Terra Firma..' remarked Harry as he wat ched the Doctor probe through the remains of the Wliiin Queen for some clue as t o its origin and possible weaknesses. carbon dioxide back to oxygen.' Vira greeted the tw o Technops with obvious relief.. where Vira and the t wo Technops were initiating the Main Phase.' Sarah ad ded. T ake your operating stations. 'But you'd need an Entomologist for that thing. just occasionally visiting a planetary atm osphere for food and oxygen..' he shouted.. 'Wait. sweeping into the Cryogenic Chamber and going strai ght over to the corpse of the Wirrrn Queen.' suggested Sarah... 'We will commence Main Phase at once.' the Doctor agreed. The Doctor was staring at the Wirrrn's gigantic yellow eye.' she ordered. I hope..' protested Lycett.' 'Curious lung structure.. 'Its lungs recycle the creature's wastes. 'The Main Phase must wait. Sarah.. 'I am Commander now.' 'Like plants.. it is my decision. j oining him. shocked .' said Vira. 'We shall override them..to be almost friendly after Harry's and Sarah's breathless explanations.' Vira turned to the Doctor in astonishment. 'Exactly. cranin g to see.' 'The way a whale rises to the surface. Suddenly he lea ped to his feet and rushed through into the Access Chamber.' he said wistfully.
Sarah's face lit up in anticipation as she realised the Do ctor was about to launch one of his improvised experiments. 'The Wirrrn larvae will have pupated to imago long before the last of your peop le are fully revived. looki ng on suspiciously while they worked. Vira had stood apart from the others.. but they grew more and more co -operative as they realised the extent of the Doctor's knowledge. . She seemed to have regained her form er cold authority. At first they resisted. 'What are you attempting to do?' she asked sceptically as the Doctor completed his adjustments..' he cried.' explained the Doctor. made out of yards of cable and connectors. They agreed to assist him in rigging up a Neural Amplification System. hung from one of the Access Chamber Video Cabinets.The Doctor waved his arms impatiently. they will be relatively dormant. 'The larvae m ust be entering the pupal stage now. If we can only discove r their weakness we may be able to destroy them.' began the Doctor. Several wires stretched fro m the incredible tangle across to a large segment of the. 'I need everyone's assistance. For the next five mi nutes the Doctor rushed from one chamber to the other. . frowning. 'The process is much too slow.' he suddenly shouted. neural impressions can sometimes be revived by carefully controlled stimulus. Harry was persuaded to try his surgical skills in removing a section of the W irrrn Queen's giant brain. issuing rapid instruction s.' Vira looked defiantly at the Doctor. Vira reluctantly ordered Rogin and Lycett to abandon the Main Phase procedure. 'I've never heard of that.. For a moment nobody moved. what lo oked like a lengthy piece of crochet. 'In certain kinds of tissu e. After an hour of fren zied activity. The electrode terminals on the ends of the wires were inserted into various par ts of the gelatinous grey substance. I wonder. Wirrrn's brain tissue. 'You have an alternative plan?' she challenged.. We may have only hours before the Wirrrn overrun the Satel lite. 'Before they develop into adult Wirrrn form.' Harry interrupted. bolting back into the Cryogenic Chamber.. the Doctor made the final adjustments to his 'apparatus'.
'The neuron matrix isn't sensitive enough. it's an appallingly dangerous idea.' came his muffled voice from inside the video cabinet 'But mine is rather e xceptional. 'Well. and connected the wires into the maz e inside the cabinet and to the probes stuck into the Wirrrn brain. Vira immediately stepped forward.' But the Doctor was already rummaging about among the circuitry. With great care the Doctor altered the positions of the electrode probes inserted into the Wirrrn's brain tissue. here goes. The Doctor p ointed to the video cabinet. Sarah shuddered. 'Do you have to do this.' she cried. 'It's no good. 'Anywa y. The screen showed nothing but dizzy zig -zag patterns as the Doctor connected different areas of the Wirrrn Queen's brai n to his 'machine'. 'The power could burn out a living brain.' H e winked at Sarah. 'Pig gy in the middle. 'An ordinary brain. The Doctor stood up.' The Doctor s tared sadly at his 'crochetwork'. 'It should at least give us an idea of the Wirrrn Que en's last moments.' he said. Doctor?' she pleaded. Vira stared at her impassively. signalling to Rogin to switch in the video unit and the amplifier lash-up.' He grinned over his shoulder before ducking back in again. his chin sunk on his chest. 'Doctor. He sighed with disappointment.' he smiled. It isn't going to work. 'I am going to lin k in my own brain. The others watched apprehensively as Rogin and Lycett a ttached electrodes to the Doctor's temples. you see I have something of a head start in such matters. I ag ree. and then to his own head.' said Vira in a cold.' The Doctor grinned mi schievously.' The video screen was at once mottled with white flashes of s tatic.' Harry objected. who winked back. to the brain tissue. there were theories. 'I cannot allow it.'Yes. 'But our resear ch was in its infancy when the Earth had to be evacuated.' said the Doctor. .' he muttered.' he announced suddenly. clinical voice. 'It's the only way. 'Gypsies used to believe that the eye retain ed its last image after death.' she said.
Vira moved between the two Technops and the equipment. each holding an insulated electrode.' Sarah looked at Harry in horror as Vira took t he weapon without a word. and h e uttered a chilling gasp.' he smiled. he may remain part of the Wirrrn's consciousness for ever. The Do ctor told Vira to take the paralysator from his pocket. despite the Doctor's agonized gasps and spasms as they moved the elec trodes. The Doctor was soon secured to the seat with a variety of complicated nautical knots tied by Harry in the thick insulated wire. 'It is working. as if some image was trying to establish itself. The Doctor gestured towards the Cryogenic Chamber. 'Do not hesitate to dest roy me should anything go wrong. 'If th e experiment works.' He settled himself into one of the co ntrol console seats. the Doctor's limbs jerked. 'Look. Lycett and Rogin operate d a sequence of buttons. humming faintly in the background. his head snapped suddenly uprig ht. Vira moved closer to Harry and Sarah. 'It may be a trifle irrational of me.' he ordered. Rogin suddenly pointed to the screen. 'He is joining his mind to the Wirrrn's. then at least only the six of us will suffer. But Rogin and Lycett seemed to be fascinated by the Doctor's plan.' she said .' he cried. 'If it fails.' said the Doctor. then lolled forward again on to his chest. On the video screen the flashes o f static began to form vague shapes which dispersed and re-formed rapidly.' she murmured. systematically probed the lump of jelly-like matter from the Wirrrn's brain. 'The outcome of this experiment may save the Human Race. 'I forbid this. Sarah and Harry. Occasionally. Then he slumped heavily forward.' Then his face grew deadly serious. The Doctor's body shook and then arched sharply over th e back of the seat. His eyes bulged out of their sockets.' . 'Switch on.' he said. 'but huma ns are quite my favourite species. his mouth gaped. 'Tie me t o the chair. Sarah and Harry forced themselves to continue.' Following the Doctor's instructions.
The radial tunnels. 'What is that?' whispered Vira . 'Look out. The others remained 'gazing at the screen where the shadowy image had sharpened into a distinct pic ture of a massive Satellite revolving slowly against the heavens like a giant sp inning-top. As they watched the screen with bated breaths. It came stead ily closer until the whole screen was occupied by a close-up of a kind of entran ce hatch. ' What. The Doctor sighed. w hich ran outwards to the great circular rim. As it rolled in a great hissing ball tow ards him. and rocking his head gently from side to side. airlock. Lycett. bristling with antennae and reflector dishes. He caught a momentary glimpse of the glistening. The Doctor began to pant. For a second. as if with satisfaction.. followed by the sound of a damp fire crackling. behind y ou. ?' Lycett's cry of incomprehension rose to a piercing scre am that rang through the chambers. ghostly outline was steadily resolving into a clearer and clearer pictu re. Vira spun round.. that he was smiling.' came Rogin's sudden shriek from the Cryogenic Chamber. as if in anticipation. all inter-connected with glinting steel-lattice framework.A faint. he collided with Rogin who hurled . On the scree n the image of the Satellite was also swinging in the same rhythm. swelled here and there into spheric al chambers and sub-structures. The central hubstructure was composed of a cluster of gigantic tubes . Sarah and Harry noticed. The Doctor uttered brief whimpering sounds. Rogin and Lycett lea ped to their feet. bubbling crea ture he had seen before in the gallery. like the cracking of an ice floe .. they hear d a distant hissing and buzzing from the Cryogenic Chamber. or spokes. There was a deafening noise. as if willing the image to becom e more sharply defined.. Sarah and Harry stood transfixe d as Lycett's cries of agony combined with the Doctor's strange moans into a gro tesque medley of sounds.. Tentacles snaked into view in the foreground of the picture and fastened themselves about the steel h and-holds positioned round the edge of the. Then Harry sprang to life and rushed through into the C ryogenic Chamber. The two Technops rushed through into the adjacent chamber. what is it..
fighting against the tight loops of w ire which bound him to the chair. The Doctor had grown strangely silent. Sarah and Vira saw a blur of tentacle shapes flourishing defiantly. Bring the Laser Lances. firm voice. 'And to you. 'No. 'Go with Rogin. let's get out of here.' Rogin ran out into the Access Tunnel..him back into the Access Chamber and swiftly operated the shutter control. Vira turne d to Harry who was anxiously eyeing the grilled duct-openings set high in the wa lls of the Access Chamber. spinning round and out in pursuit of Rogin. Vira gave orders in a clear. Harry.. As th e panel glided shut. pointing to the video screen. Sarah glanced from the screen to the Doctor's thrashing limbs. as if showing the view through the eyes of some-thing which was moving slowly and awkwardly about the chamber. then she stared at the inert lump of the Wirrrn's brain tissue.' screamed Rogin. and on the screen a blurred and bulbous image of the Control Centre had appeared. 'Stop the experiment. The panel closed just in time. 'Rogin: the Ar moury. they all watched the heaving. . As the panel closed beh ind Harry. old girl.. The image of the Control Centre reeled wildly about. The image swung up and down.. the screen whitened with a blinding glare.. 'Good luck. and from side to side. Burst after burst flashed over the scree n. Harry. Suddenly.. he knew that at any moment the larvae might burst in upon them. Harry glanced inquiringly at Sarah..' she g asped in horror. then nodded. Sarah looked back to the video screen. 'Lycett's been absorbed by the larvae. The Doctor began to struggle violently.' Sarah threw herself forward.' she cried.' she said.' he replied. 'It's the Wirrrn Queen. you could kill the Doctor if you interfere With t he circuits. crackling mass wobbling acros s the floor towards the narrowing gap. Harry dived for the video consol e. his face folded in pain..' she commanded. S he hesitated. barring his way. In the foreground of the picture.
a distant crack linglike a bonfire at the end of a long tunnel. The entire left side of his body had swol len and burst through the radiation suit.. and the skin was hard and polished. Thick bundles of cables were ripped fro m their mountings. his head nodded eagerly. his back hun ched menacingly. Once again. Noah reeled back against an observation por t in the outer wall of the gallery. shell-like body. As they watched. As they raced round the Cincture S tructure Gallery. Noah.. their weapons scoring a macabre criss- . they found themselves facing a monstrous apparition. they began pris ing open a section of control panelling. As the shutter opened. which was now fighting its way into the second Control Chamber. three stumpy tentacles thrashed about. They had to pass through the junction section where the Access Tunnel to the So lar Chambers joined the curved gallery of the Cincture Structure. with a grotesque growling noise. ' Noah's hideous croaking made the hair rise on Har ry's neck.. cutting a deep trenc h in Noah's glossy.. Rogin explained to Harry how to operate the deadly laser guns. on the screen. sever ed cable-ends flew in all directions. They stared up at the vents. showing them all exactly what had happened in rea lity.. Pressing themselves to the inner wall. Sarah and Vira saw the tentacles come into view again. She had heard it too. Harry and Rogin inched their way through the bulkhead panel. The Doctor's body became hunched. Sa rah felt Vira's hand grip her arm sharply. on the screen. In place of his left arm. Rogin fired his laser lance at pointblank range. Then the picture dissolved into static. the Doctor began to breathe in hoarse panting sounds. and his hands made rapid gripping movements in the air. rifle-like objects with dish-shaped shields fitted round the barrels. centimetres from their faces. H arry and Rogin emerged from the Armoury carrying short. the Electronic Guard disc harged its lethal bolts at the Wirrrn Queen. he snapped his teeth shut. glared at them with the huge ochrecoloured eye which occupied t he whole of the left side of his head. Then. his jaw tensed open..The Doctor uttered terrifying cries as. 'Human fools.
.'. 'Help me with him. turning his head as the panel began to close between th em.' she gasped.. 'Wirrrn. Sarah struggled to calm the Doctor.. The image came nearer and nearer. '...cross pattern in Noah's side.' she whispered. Vira was staring at the blank screen.' she ordered S arah..' repeated Vira. cannot. No. Rogin gasped.' On the screen Sarah saw the image of a young man. Sarah and Vira had forgotten the Doctor as they stared fearfully up at the wall vents of the Access Chamber. He began to moan over and over ag ain. 'T he Doctor's mind has been possessed by the Wirrrn...... dressed in the Tech Personnel uniform. Th ey struggled desperately while the Doctor remained slumped in his chair. moaning quietly as if in a trance. s top us. Then Vira suddenly gestured in horror at t he video screen.' Noah croaked..' she implored. the. lying help lessly in his pallet. Tentacles reached out an d opened the pallet shield. that was Dune. His face was run ning with sweat and his teeth were chattering. '.' she screamed at Vira... 'No. For a few seconds.' . and the closed panel into the Cryogenic Chamber was beginning to vibrate like a drumskin. 'Stand away.... 'You.. 'Dune.. Technop Dune. He must be eliminated. She looked at the Doctor's shuddering body. Wirrrn .' Sarah tore the electrode s from the Doctor's head and tugged feebly at the tight knots securing him. 'That. you can't. and stopped firing as he glimpsed the still recognisable featu res of his Commander staring at him in agony. She turned to Vira... as if something was beating violently on the other side..' Sarah threw herself at Vira and tried to wrest the weapon from her strong fingers. Wirrrn... 'Stand away.. her voice filled with shock and outrage. Wirrrnwirrrn. wirrrnwirr. who glanced up to see her levelling the paralysator directly at the Doctor .. They managed to slip past him.. the crackling sounds were growing louder every second.. just out of reach o f the knife-like hairs bristling over the jabbing tentacles... Then he fired a last burst of lase r as the shutter slid home..
'Doctor. Whiplash tentacl es formed out of the undulating mass and flew towards them. there erupted a mass of c rackling froth. Doctor. Sarah shrank down behind the Doctor's motionless body. from one of the grille-covered ducts above them. Vira backed away. and firing the useless paralysator at the apparen tly indestructible 'creature'.. please help us.. round its tightly fitting edges the larvae were oozing slowly through.. The shutter f olded up like melted plastic.. Vira fire d the paralysator at the gathering ball of larvae quivering over them. covering Sarah and the Doctor.Then. The weapo n had no effect.. Sarah screamed in the Doctor's ear.' as the crackling grew to a deafening pitch all around them. 'The panel is failing. all bursting and multiplying.' Vira cried. The panel sealing off the Cryogenic Chamber began to warp and shudder. In the entrance to the Cryogenic Chamber there hun g a sizzling curtain of globules. .. help us.
. scarcely able to spe ak. 'Get back. old girl. At once the larvae began to retrea t through the ducts. A corner of the Doctor's jacket was sliced off by Harry's laser and fell in a smouldering spiral. Sarah. Sarah had dived forward and she brought the Doctor down with an unorthodox but effective rugger tackle. Suddenly he leaped abruptly to his feet: 'Good morning. Sarah hugged the Doctor. tears of relief in her eyes. Sarah bent over him anxiously. Raking the clustering larvae with the silent and invisible laser beams. 'Doctor. He beg an to lurch towards the retreating larvae with outstretched arms.' shouted Harry as the Doct or crossed into his line of fire. Doctor. He f ell with a crash. He took out the scorched .' screamed Sarah. Vira was covering him with the pa ralysator. forcing the larvae back. Doc tor..' she stammered. 'Bravo. you were nearly.. come back. and seated himself comfortab ly at the control console.' yelled Harry.. Harry and Rogin advanced.. they disintegrated the globules as ea sily as if they were cutting through snow with jets of water. The smouldering fragments stuck like drie d glue to the floor. Is it time to get up?' he asked brightly. the Doctor l ay quite still. but the Doctor stumbled heedlessly forward as i f obeying some primitive instinct.6 Time Running Out Harry and Rogin rushed into the Access Chamber just in time to slice through the fronds of larvae with the laser guns.. For a few seconds. The chamber was so on filled with a choking and sickening smoke. The Doctor patted her on the head abstractedly. Th e Doctor stood up. centimetres from Vira's feet. rapidly retreating into the Cryogenic Chamber. effortlessly snapping the wires that had confined him. 'Doctor you. the nightmarish curtain hanging in the entrance to the Cryo genic Chamber shrank away. as he and Rogin leaped over t he Doctor's prone body in pursuit of the straggling remains of the Wirrrn larvae .
possibly a thousand. shuddering at the recollection of the dead creature to ppling out on him. b ristling with electrodes on the control console beside him. 'Technop Dune was the host for the W irrrn eggs.. popped it into his mouth and offered the bag absently to Sarah.' said Vira. still unsure of what e ffect the experiment might have had on him. I mean the Wirrrn Queen. 'Yes. prised one from the congealed mass.' he said quietly. 'Why don't they wait?' he murmured to himself. perhaps a hundred. 'Breakfast?' he asked.' 'But how did the Wirrrn Queen get into the Cryogen ic Chamber?' asked Harry. We'll be ready for them.. until its task was completed. 'Electricity of cour se. Harry and Rogin backed into the Access Chamber.' replied the Doctor. covering the entrance to the Cryogenic Chamber which was once again humming gently to itself. We saw that too. Sarah shook her head.. 'The most tenacious willpower. Doctor.. 'Then how can we fi ght them?' said Sarah at last. we saw..' he shouted.' Harry said grimly.bag of jelly-babies from his damaged pocket. 'I could feel it fighting off death until it had spawned. 'And you were correct.' The Doctor stared at the shapeless lump of melted sweet s. She had lo wered the paralysator.' he warned. The Doctor chewed away thoughtfully.' . noticing the paralysator still firmly gripped in Vira's hand. 'I remember now--it was the electromagnetic OMDSS that killed m e. 'The lances will be virtually useless against a swarm of fully mature Wirrrn.' he added hastily. 'At a hatching. The Doctor shook his head. The Doctor glanced at the lump of Wirrrn brain. 'In their adult form the Wirrr n will be far deadlier.' Sarah pointed to the video screen.' she grimaced.' 'How many of them will there be?' said Vira. 'They remind me too muc h of that larvae stuff.. 'No thanks. but she watched the Doctor warily. obviously elated by their spectacular victo ry with the laser guns. J ust then.
re-emerging from beneat h the console and touching a switch. get back to the C ontrol Centre. but we're trapped. 'There should be some way of electrifying the Infrastru cture and the Solar Chamber from there. ' Of course. diving under the control console o f the Matter Transmitter.' he said. And I know which of the two fates I should prefer. He smiled at his companions . The Doctor pressed a series of switches. He quic kly related their recent encounter with Noah. we shall either be gobbled up by the Wirrrn. The transparent shroud covering the couch s lid smoothly aside.' Harry cried.' He strode towards the entrance to the A ccess Tunnel. 'We've w on a breathing space.' he began. Rog in gripped his laser gun firmly and lay down on the couch. The shroud slid shut. 'We've got to reach the Control Centre.' he said.' he added. Rogin looked round unhappily at the others. '. The panel lay buckled beside the entrance. 'But if th ere should be the slightest error.' The Doctor tapped the side of his head. or dispersed particle by particle into infinity.' He glanced to wards the Cryogenic Chamber. seeking inspiration. Rogin faded to a ghostly outline and t hen disappeared. they can bypass the pup al stage by taking over fully conscious living tissue--like Noah's body. stuffing the sweets back into his coat. . barring the Doctor's way..' came the Doc tor's muffled interruption. The Doctor slapped his forehead. Harry's eyes were almost popping out of his head. 'Now that little gadget can be made to go backwards.' he objected. 'There just is not time. With a moment's hesitation and a reluctant nod of assent from Vira.He stood up. 'Noah's out there. 'We must.. 'Take your choice. 'T o reverse the polarities would take us hours. 'After you. 'It so happens that I have a few short-cut methods of my own. 'That's why the larvae emerged now. The Doctor motioned Rogin to climb on to it.. That wa y they can accelerate the transformation into mature Wirrrn form.' he smiled. If this little trick fails..' His eyes roved around the Access Chamb er.' Rogin shook his head.' he said. Doctor.' The Doctor's d arting gaze lighted on the Matter Transmitter Couch.
In a daze Harry obeyed. 'The Oxygen System has ceased operati on. 'Commander.' Sarah smiled nervous ly. Through the transparent shroud she grimaced at the Doctor. As Sarah took her turn. At the same moment. his senses as sharp as those of a wild beast stalking its prey. 'Wher e are you going though?' she demanded as the Doctor suddenly whirled round and m ade for the Access Tunnel. Harry.'You next. 'Noah is out there and you.' He glanced up at the vents. At any moment he might encounter Noah or the larvae. Rogin's voice crackled feebly over the intercom from the Control Centre. 'Here I go again. Although Sarah and Vira were .' Sarah shouted vainly after h im. the Doctor muttered confidentially to her. I'm so relieved--I was not at all sure it would work.' 'Doctor. the lights in the Access Chamber flickered and s ank to a mere glimmer. 'If we could only dispose of Noah we might have a c hance of tackling the larvae while they are still in the chrysalis stage--assumi ng that they are by now. 'Sa rah. An urgent tapping reminded him that Sarah was still trapped in the Matter Transmitter Couch at his side. empty tunnels.' said the Doctor. ' Obviously I'm not going anywhere. 'Lock the door behind me--and don't let anyone or anything in. Every nerve taut.' she scowled as the Doctor released her. Sarah became a ghost for a moment and then returned to flesh and blood reality. He too faded and dis appeared.' But he was gone. The Doctor oper ated the switches. we have a power fade in Section Three. and he had no weapon with which to defend himself. the Doctor sped through th e dark.' she called as the shroud closed over her.. He smiled apologetically and tried again.' Vira pointed to a warning display on a nearby console.' he cried..' she murmured.' he called. Sarah faded a second time and instantly reappeared. 'We're so helpless in here. The Doctor beat his fists together in frustration. 'I shan't be long.
A shrill rattle. He soon reached the Ra diation Shield leading into the Solar Chamber. it brought its tail up and over its head so that the murderous claw hung above the Doctor like the sting of a giant scorpion. peering up into the gloom. The eerie rattling was made by the rows of scythelike hairs rubbing together. He found the Section Three panel open. 'Noah. scraps of radiation suit st ill clinging to its body. Then. The Wirrrn turned first one. ovoid crystalline objects. At first he thoug ht the chamber was deserted. its interior totally wr ecked. ma de the Doctor spin round. he knew they were in terrible danger every moment he was away from the Access Chamber. like the sound of a giant cicada.' gasped the Doctor. he advanced up the steel ladder to the first level of reservoirs. Stealthily the Doctor a pproached the broad centre shaft which contained the Solar Chamber systems contr ols and displays. An occa sional sharp splitting sound came from the massed pupae above him. at the same time forming in his mind a scheme to electrify the Solar Chamber and thus preve nt the adult Wirrrn from breaking out once they reached the imago stage. with a sudden contortion of its segmented body. 'The pupal stage. The shattered helmet belonging to Noah's protective suit still lay where it had fallen. w hen he suddenly noticed that clinging to the softly glowing reservoirs of the up per Ievels were huge. pulsating rhythmically like a heartbeat. and the chamb er was filled with subdued rustlings and movements as the Wirrrn chrysali absorb ed energy from the globes. A Wirrrn hovered over him. Every fibre alert.. The shrill rattling reached a climax as the claw opened. With great care the Docto r opened the Shield and stepped warily into the Solar Chamber. then the other of its huge eyes t owards him. pressing himself against th e exposed circuits. The Wirrrn pupae were transparent--like huge lumps of clouded glass--inside which the skeletal form of the adult Wirrrn was c learly visible.. He was about to switch on the torch to make sure.armed with the paralysator and with a laser lance. The . He set to work to try and salvage the oxygen supply circuits.' he breathe d.
Out. Vira tried to approach a step nearer. The Doctor dived down the compan ionway. When we emerge the humans will be destroyed--just as they destroy ed us.. If you remain you will perish with the S leepers. and grabbing them by the arms. It stopped a few metres away. From somewhere below him... 'The radiation in here could kil l you.. its legs rustling like dry leaves against the metal struts.' Vira cried. It was just recogni sably the voice of Noah.' The hushed whisper enfolded them like a breeze.. Suddenly a series of de ep lines was scored across the underbelly of the rearing Wirrrn. Commander... he steered them towards th e open Shield and safety. For long ages the Wirrrn fough t them. The Wirrrn moved gradually closer to th em.. 'We cannot abandon the Terra Nova.. They were pointing the paralysator and t he laser lance uncertainly into the half-light..' he roared. 'Noah.' sh e murmured. crouched on the edge of the gantry above them. 'The Wirrrn m ust survive.... He glimpsed the terrified fac es of Sarah and Vira in the torch-beam.. Both of you. 'Run.' Reaching them.' 'What does he mean?' whispered Sarah. uttering its own name. Noah reached out over them with quivering tentacles. But . Doctor. the Doctor heard Sarah screaming. her voice choked with tears. You know that. stay.. 'Humans came to Andromeda. 'Wirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrn . but the Do ctor held her firmly back..creature seemed to purr with triumph... It turned from the Doctor to face the attack. Run. its tentacles bristling.' The words seemed to come from th e depths of the chamber itself rather than from the hideous apparition before th em. 'Get out.' He threw himself between the creature's razor-b ristling legs and rolled across the steel landing. Vira twisted free from the Doctor's grasp and turned. Vira. 'Stay. letting go the laser l ance which fell clattering into the darkness below them. 'Abandon the Satell ite now. but it issued from the huge quivering mandibles of the giant insect looming over them.' The vicious claw swung down at the Doctor's throat. Take the Transport Vessel....... The creature reared up again..
. 'They do not need the Satellite. The Doctor eased the two women slowly back towards the entrance. Now we have found an ideal habitat.' he muttered.. 'The Wirrrn inhabit the Emptiness. 'The pupae are beginning to open.' Th e Doctor edged forward a little. 'It's time we were leaving. directed it at the locking panel for a few seco nds. The Satellite is ours. for the past ten minutes.' h e said gloomily. Noah. 'You know nothing. '. Our breeding is terrestrial--we require hosts for our hatchings. and whi pping out the sonic screwdriver.' she faltered..' Then he led his two companions into the pitch darkness of the labyrint hine Satellite. Vira.they destroyed our breeding colonies on Andromeda Gamma Epsilon..' she whis pered.' Noah was poised over them like a giganti c preying mantis.' Vira turned to the Doctor with shining eyes. 'That should scramble the works. In one generation the Wirrrn will become an advanced technological speci es.' he said qui etly.. Since that time the Wirrrn have searched the Emptiness for new breed ing places.. 'Noah.... He closed the Shield manually. Leave now.. he had expected the others to materia lise just as he and Rogin had done.... glowing eyes.' Vira tried to resist the Doctor's guiding hand.. 'Something's gone wrong with this gadget...' A sharp splitting sound obliterated the rest of Noah's words.' he said. 'Then our stellar pioneers succeeded... .' he rasped. Its claw swung in the darkness above them. We shall use the humans in the Cryogenic Cha mber... The Wirrrn's head mov ed slowly from side to side.. We shall. Harry stared down at the Matter Transmitter Couch in the Contr ol Centre where. staring at them with fathomless... 'They'll have to chew their way out now. 'Leave the Satellite. A shattering crescendo of cracks like gunfire made the Doctor whirl round and t hrust Sarah and Vira out into the tunnel... .' As he spoke there came a fusillade of splitting sounds in rapid succession.
where the TARDIS had materialised. 'Still n o oxygen. The Doctor perched on the edge of the Transmitter Couch and silently offered round the bag of melted jelly-babies. 'You should worry. 'We bumped into Noah. He sat deep in thought.' exp lained Rogin.' he muttered.Rogin grunted. Rogin grabbed the lance from Harry and concealed himself to one si de of the opening into the neighbouring chamber. 'Well. At the same moment.' he said. 'Excellent work.' Sarah said wryly. Doctor. followed by S arah and Vira. Rogin pointed out that there was no lighting elsewhere in the Terra Nova.' he added.' Harry glanced down at his own shoeless feet. He stood up. 'Anyone at home?' The Doctor's hat was poked through the open panel and waved about on the end of the telescopic probe. 'After what happened to Lycett. 'I want to see where I am treading. The silence soon became unbearable. bouncing lightly across the floor. and as he did so seemed to jump a little from the floor and to be suspended for a fraction of a second in the air. Rogin explained that he had not been able to restore the oxygen systems. 'You've managed to shed a little bit of light on o ur problems. I do think we ought at least to investigate. Rogin.' 'I have diverted power from the Gravity Static Field. 'I thought I was feeling rather light-headed. Harry realised that the laser lance he was holding appeared to have become mysteriously lighter. He had succeeded in restoring the lighting in the Control Chamber s although it was not very bright. No one responded.' Sarah joked halfhea rtedly. ther e came a sudden clatter from the adjacent Control Chamber. shaking his head. Before he could remark on it. Harry leaped to the other side. Vira hurried over to the Cryogenic Systems Monitor Panel. 'Whe re on earth have you all been?' cried Harry as the Doctor entered.' the Doctor said approvingly. Harry was irritated by the Technop's apparent lack of concern.' said Rogin. He was busy working on a set of systems panels he had lifted out from the wall. .
Harry at once moved towards the entrance.' Harry interrupted her. 'Doc tor... '. or stick around and be killed. 'Vamoose. 'It would take hours to trace the l ines of force. 'Noah mentioned a Transp orter Vessel. 'And what was that?' Harry a sked. Sarah moved over to join Ha rry.' .' he suggested . 'What is it. a conceale d trench covered with elephant grass?' Sarah tried to gain their attention. 'We'll just stay here and suffocate.. The Technop shook his head. 'Just a minute.' he said. 'Well I'm certainly ready to get going. 'Why don't we all jump into the TARDIS?' 'Vira has no intention of abandoning h er people. 'Per haps we could lure Noah out of the Infrastructure and into a trap. and neither have we..' the Doctor snapped. presumably it has a power system of its own. listen.' The Doctor held up his hand for silence. 'Will someone please listen to me?' Sarah had climbed up on to the couch and was wavin g her arms frantically in the air.' said Sarah. Sarah remembered s omething...' he said eagerly. I've just remembered. The Doctor nodded in professional agreement.' he objected.... The Wirrrn would never get through.' she replied.' she cried. '. They all looked blankly at her. 'Well. or f reeze or be gobbled up.' With a cry of frustration the Doctor leaped up. There must be a way--eve n with Noah in control of the Solar Chamber...' she replied. 'So that settles us.' At that moment. Harry?' the Doctor asked cuttingly. 'What do you have in mind. The Doctor rounded on her with barely conceal ed annoyance.'Perhaps we should take Noah's advice. H e turned to Rogin. 'If we only had a power source we could electrify the bulkheads of the Cryogenic Sectio n. Sarah?' he demanded sharply.. 'Could we confuse the Wirrrn by altering the Gravity Static F ield?' he asked. 'Noah said.' she sighed.
He indicated a shortened 'spoke' leading fro m the Cincture Structure towards the central Infrastructure or 'hub'.. 'We would have to run 'cables halfway r ound the Cincture Structure from the Transport Vessel to the Cryogenic Chamber. The Doctor rubbed his hands together with renewed spirit.' he added with a grieved expression. Vira crossed the chamber from the Cryogenic Systems Panel.' he g rinned. old girl. 'What are those?' He indicated a com plex of shafts and lattice girders joining the Transporter Dock to the Central H ub where the Cryogenic Section was housed. 'Couldn't I take the cable through?' suggested Sarah. 'Well done.' Harry said firmly. Rogin shrugged.'. 'Relics of the time when the Satellite was functioning as a research base for stellar exploration. 'We must do something soon . 'I can't be expected to think of everything. you know. 'Why didn't you mention this before?' he cried. . Doctor Sullivan.. 'Obsolete structures. The Do ctor leaned closer to the illuminated plan.' 'That's no job for you.' she began. 'It is possible. The Doctor studied the display closely. 'But we would require a mechanical cable-run ner. Sarah. he said excitedl y. 'The Wirrrn will simply cut them. and ending halfway in a circular Docking Structure where the Transport Vessel was mounted. ' he said. 'I don't take up much room. the conduits are only forty centimetres square. Sarah flu shed with indignation. Harry helped Sarah down from the couch.'. 'Now look here. He asked Rogin how to reach the Transport Vessel.' she murmured. Rogin leaned across and activated a large di splay-plan of the entire Satellite. agreed Rogin.' he murmured doubtfully.The Doctor clutched at his head.' There was a silence.' The Doctor peered through his magnifying glass.' Rogin nodded. ' They connect the Transporter Dock with the Cryogenic Section.
Miss Smith. In every shadowed alcove and corner they expected to find the Wirrrn waiting for them.' he said. and moving his hands apart. she thrust he r chin defiantly forward. Do you think you could crawl through a'shaft on ly this wide?' Sarah looked at the short length of scarf stretched between the D ctttor's hands. he entered the Decontamination Airlock. the Doctor's torch playing eerily over the polished walls of the tunnels. 'Of course I could. The imm obilised shutters were opened by means of small electronic master keys carried b y Rogin and Vira. and Sarah shuddered when they came upon blackened scraps o f Noah's protective suit littering the gallery floor. That was enough for Sarah.. 'I t shouldn't take me long to wire up the Cryogenic Chamber. When they reached the junc tion with the Cryogenic Access Tunnel. There was a short silence.' he . silent and airless. 'We'd bett er get started at once. determined air . Giving the thumbs-up sign to Sarah. Here and there the torch picked out the silver tracks of the Wirrrn larvae.' They swiftly made their way from the Control Centre to the g reat wheel-shaped Cincture Structure. He explained that there would be very little ai r or heat in the shafts. 'Well. but the Sat ellite appeared deserted. Harry was looking appreh ensively at Sarah and shaking his head.'. looking earnestly at Sarah. 'There: forty centimetres. but he looked worried.' he said.' The Doctor hesitated a moment. The curved gallery of the Cincture Structure was dimly lit by the glimmering stars shining through the observation portals. 'Splendid. he counted off the coloured stripes. 'At last--an assignment worthy of your talents... and that Sarah would have no shielding against cosmic r adiation from Space.The Doctor held out a length of his scarf in front of him. The Doctor was full of admiration for her courage. Everywhere was dark. If she was having second thoughts she was certainly not going to admit it.. the Doctor parted company with the others . what are we waiting for?' she cried. and then glanced round at the others with a cool. He also warned her that there would probably be many dead-e nds and confusing junctions. then he patted her shoul der and nodded.' she declared firmly.
' The Doctor waved.. but above all else in her mind was the realisation that the future of the entire human race might now depend upon her success. Rogin led Sarah. Sarah. Harry and Vi ra further on round the Cincture Structure towards the Transporter Dock Access T unnel. Sarah herself knew that for a journalist it was the scoop of a lifetime.whispered. and disappeared. everyone. They all knew that Sarah was about to risk her life in an appallingly d angerous mission.. . Good l uck... 'I'll be ready by the time you bring the cable through.
Then the pods began to disintegrate and flake apart as the creatures within pushed their tent acles through. The Transporter itself towered invisibly a bove them. and directed a powerful microlamp into the dark conduits. bristling hairs. the transparent crystalline pods became clouded and opaque as bil lions of tiny fissures burst through the brittle. First. Enormous bell-shaped nozzles hung overhead. He carried one end of a heavy high-tension cable from a vast coil that he and Harry had manhan dled from an equipment bay. Unearthly s hrieks and whistlings echoed round the chamber as the adult Wirrrn struggled to shed their crumbling pupal form.7 A Tight Squeeze In the centre of the Solar Chamber hovered Noah. Vira led Sarah over to a series of small sealed open ings in the side of the 'dish' area. resinous tissue. and the cradle supporting the Transport Vessel enclosed the human s in a thicket of light steel struts.' She motioned Sarah to look. She opened several of them with the electro nic master key. 'This one might be possible. The shaft was just sufficien tly wide to accommodate Sarah's hunched shoulders. w ith raised antennae.. Rogin at once began to clamber up one of the support struts towards a small maintenance hatch set in the underside of the Transporter. The chamber was seething with nightmarish activity as the pupae began to split asunder to allow the emergence of the fully developed Wirrrn. In the midst of the upheaval Noah was poised. . sawing their way out with the sharp. i nto a dish-shaped area about thirty metres across. to establish himself as swarm leader. awaiting the final metamorphosi s of the Wirrrn creatures. through a complex of airlocks. Rogin and his party reached the Dock Section safely.. They entered.
'. and began to pay out the cable as she inched her way i nto the darkness.. designed rather like a hea ring aid with micro-phone attached.' he murmured. the cable stopped moving.. 'How are you doing.. Sarah?' he called.' Sarah smiled bravely. peering into the icy darkness.. 've ha rly go starhed yet..' she gasped. 'Let's hope it's l ong enough. the sleeping surviv ors of a terrestrial catastrophe lay suspended between life and death. After a few metres. Harry smiled to himself. Harry assisted Sarah as she squeezed herself into the conduit..' muttered Harry. All around him. it would be an awful bore if it came undone. Vira quickly explained to Sarah how she would be guided through the conduits by radio from the Transporter Control Deck. If you take a wrong turning. and secured it tightly round Sarah's waist with a complicated nautical knot.' he said. old girl. In the Cry ogenic Chamber the Doctor was well advanced with the task of welding cable termi nals to the wall sections of the huge vault.' Harry shouted. '. the delic ate Revivification systems starved of vital power. I doubt whether you'll be able to turn back. old thing.' came the muffled reply. 'We ll. At once the cable was jerked sharply out of his hands . won't I?' Vira helped Sarah to fit a tiny two-way communicator. then there . When all was ready. She clasped Sa rah's hand in a brief gesture of good luck and clambered up to join Rogin in the Transporter Vessel. Harry unravelled the other end of the cable that Rogin was busy connecting into the Transporter's generators. into her ear. old girl. Harry poked his head into the narrow opening. 'Jolly good luck. I thought you w ere stuck. 'Then I'll just have to make sure that I don't.'It's awfully narrow. 'Sorry. If Sarah succeeded in reaching the Cryogen ic Chamber with the power cable. as Sarah tugged frant ically at the loop of cable to gain a little room to breathe.. and the threat of the rapidly developing Wirrrn hanging over them..
everything is perfect. He blinked the sweat out of his eyes. He peered into the darkness. The Doctor waited for a few minutes. listening intently. Eventually i t approached and stopped in front of the Doctor. and fought against the painful cramp caused by his keeping utterly still in such an awkward posture. then silence. and crawled across the chamber to wards the remains of the Wirrrn Queen. turning first one and then the other eye towards him.' .. as s omething rattled and scraped against the pallet shield. In the direction of t he Access Chamber he saw two huge. straining his eyes to see throu gh the thick. There was a faint.. b ut also of restoring power to the chamber's vital systems. Then abruptly it turned away. he overheard Rogin speaking quiet ly to Vira. To his relief he found that the pallet was empty. and d isappeared whence it had come.. Suddenly the Doctor s witched off the torch and thrust the sonic screwdriver back into his pocket. He backed stealthily away until he felt the outline of a palle t behind him. The Wirrrn seemed to stare in at him for an e ternity. '. dry rustling sound.. The Doctor pressed his face against the p allet shield. He lay motionless.. ochre globes swinging from side to side: the eyes of a Wirrrn. The Wirrrn moved slowly round the perimeter of the chamber. its sharp spines scratching against the shield with a noise that set hi s teeth on edge. just managing to suppress a cry. There is nothing to stop us. He could just make out the faint image of the Wirrrn's eyes as the creature whirled in a frenzy away from the huge corpse of its progenitor. barely breathing. The Doctor started. apparently pausing to examine some of the pallets. As Harry clambered laborious ly into the Control Module of the Transporter. Commander. He climbed inside and closed the shield. distorting material. then quietly raised the shield and climbed out of the pallet.. We could depart for Earth now . Without taking his eyes from the baleful stare of the creature he opened the shield.was a good chance of not only preventing the Wirrrn from invading the chamber.. He stood quite still..
. and descended swiftl y to the Docking Area. it's very tight.' she suddenly panted. I've reached what feels like a three way junction.. broken by the sound of Sarah's struggling efforts. padded chairs which slid along and revolved around a slim steel pillar running the length of the cyl indrical chamber. She had to repeat this awkward sequence over and over a gain. Sarah's voice burst loudly over the intercom. thus allowing the occupants to reach all parts of the control panelling. The smooth sides afforded her nothing to grip on. Inside the conduit. 'You s hould not have left the conduit hatch..' announced Rogin. Her knees and elbows were raw from scraping against the sides of the nar row shafts..' said Harry suspiciously. She was often close to . pressed her elbows outwards and finally drew her legs along after her by contracting her body.' At that moment. There was the sound of a brief tussle.' he replied.' Vira swung angrily round on Harry. She coul d move only with a kind of caterpillar action which was terribly exhausting. 'You are making good progress.... Her hair repeatedly caught itself between her shoulders and the meta l sides of the conduits. Sarah was drenched in perspiration de spite the intense coldness which numbed her fingers. forcing her to continually retreat a few centimetres in order to release it. 'Initiation of Primary Phasing in forty-five seconds from now. easing himself up into the sm all.' Rog in traced his finger over an illuminated plan of the conduit structure on the vi deo-screen before him. just a minute. pressed her knees against the shaft and then straightened her body.' There was a short silence.. and then Sarah's frightened whisper. Rogin and Vira were seated in moving. somehow. 'Hello. 'I can. I can hardly move at all.. 'You must now proceed to the left.. 'I think the cable is caught.'I say. She had to fight for every breath.. Commander. comp letely ignoring Harry. she contracted her body. cramped chamber. Rog in.' she said icily..' Harry shamefacedly Scrambled back down the alloy ladder. 'The cable is obstructed . 'Generator Manual Overrides linked.
At once she was confronted by a bewildering array of shafts br anching off in all directions. A faint glimmer of light ahead spurred her on. YOU CAN DO IT.. Now she was twisting this way and that in a frantic attempt to free the cable. It runs right thro ugh the Solar .' All at once she felt the cable tugging.. She could see absolutely nothing. it w as almost impossible to orientate oneself in the pitch darkness. To her amazement and joy the cable did not resist... she had no chance of making her way back again.. 'I'm sorry.' requested Rogin's puz zled voice over the communicator. you wait. or the bulky knot which Harry had tied jammed itse lf between her hip and the side of the shaft.. till I get out.. but it refused to budge. it seemed like a morse code message! After a few minutes concentration she deciphered it: 'COME ON OLD GIRL. With a supreme effort she eased herself forward a few centimetres. 'Just.' she whispered excitedly into the tiny microphone.. or came to a dead end.despair as the cable snagged. Tears of frustration welled up in her eyes.. and would only c ome away with a sharp and painful wrench. 'I can see li ght. and the mo re Sarah wriggled. Even following Rogin's careful instructions. 'It's just no good.' she mutte red through clenched teeth. and trying to drag her back towards itself.' she panted. For a horrifying moment she thought that something was in th e shaft with her. 'Please repeat your last message. 'Patronising male chauvinist.. 'Yes. Sarah heaved herself forward.. suffocating mass.' she replied. Her skin seemed to adhere to the cold metal shaft.' came Rogin's enco uraging reply. visualising Harry's anxious face at the other end of the conduit. I can't do anything to. 'Message cancell ed. She gasped for oxygen.' Instantly Sarah's energy increased a hundredfold.. She had a fleeting vision of the Wirrrn larvae bubbling up through the shaft and engulfing her in a searing. Sarah knew that if she took a wrong tunnel. the tighter she became stuck. 'You are entering an old Hydrodynamics System. Then she realised that the jerking of the cable for med a regular pattern.' she sobbed. She could move neither forwards nor backwards.
Her painfully slow progress was further hampered by her legs becoming inextric ably tangled with the cable as she rotated her body. and to move forward by turning her whole body like a corkscrew. and feel the shuddering of the tube as the Wirr rn tried to crush it. 'Quietly now.. She ceased to be aware of her badly grazed elbows and knees. Sarah. are you safe?' The inside of the tube had steamed up so that Sarah could no longer see her attacker. but forced herself onward through the tube . She now had to s tretch out her arms ahead of her. Helplessl y Sarah stared back at the Wirrrn crawling towards her. there loomed two enormous eyes. The Wirrrn followed.. from the depths of the Solar Chamber. Rogin's voice came urgently over the com municator. She marvelled at the extraordinary strength of the unfamil iar glassy substance which was all that kept her from the jaws of the creature. the subdued glow of the Solar Chamber. and even narrower than before. Rogin's voice came whispering through the earpiece. She soon found herself in a section constructed of translucent material.' To her horror. 'Sarah. Her pounding heart missed a beat a s she recognised. its eyes burning at her through the tubing and its massive jaws completely encl osing her struggling body. razor hairs as they squeaked against th e conduit only centimetres from her body. The creature gripped the tube with its tentacles. She felt violently sick. o f the burning sensation in her lungs. Sarah found that the condui t had become tubular in section.. angrily wrenching at the conduit. but only hear the shrill scrape of its tentacles. through the thick glass-like material.. and frantically twiste d herself along the tube. it seemed to come from the other side of the universe. its gigantic mandibles w orking hungrily.. She collected her wits. what is happening. Sarah glimpsed more and more of the fierce glowing ey es clustering around her as she fought her way . The Wirrrn tried to take the tube betw een its mandibles.Chamber--move as quietly as you can. Sarah could see right into the dark red pulsing throat of the giant insect. In vain Sarah tried to flinch away from the slashing. She felt like a fly trapped in a blob of amber which could at any moment be smas hed to smithereens with a hammer.' She froze as..
and returned to the at tack.'Stick at it. It was nearly an hour since he had bid her good luck in the Cinc ture Structure.. 'That's just the trouble. the Doctor remained fully alert as he crouched in the darkness. distant panting sound which suddenly reverberated in t he central shaft. The Doctor had almost completed his prepara tions in the Cryogenic Chamber. is it much further. sonicwelding cables from the wall terminals into a large junction box by torch-light. ?' she implored .' Sarah snapped back. the tube su ddenly reverted to metal sections. Neve rtheless. her imagination conjuring an endless maze of dark. the Wirrrn seemed to be leaving him in peace.' .through the final section of the Solar Chamber.. old girl. another fifteen met res. She welcomed the darkness with its feeling of security.. From time to time.' came Harry's chee rful voice... 'You are almost there. 'I do hope so. There was a hollow....' Sarah gasped. He knew that it could not be very long before the Wirrrn in the Solar Chamber reached imago form in overwhelming numbers. because I d on't think I can go on much longer.' came Rogin's welcome reply.' Then she managed a smile to herself as she visualised Vira's and Rogin's blan k stares on hearing her little joke. stifling tunnels in which s he was condemned to crawl for ever. deterred perhaps by the discovery of the corpse of the Queen. and put his car to the side of the shaft . .. 'Is.:.. but she could not be sure that the Wirrrn would not eventually manage to shatter the 'glass' section and sever the vital cable--or even drag her back wards into the Solar Chamber again. For the moment. 'I keep getting stuck . The Doctor raced across the chamber into the elevator cubicle where the Wirrrn Queen had been hidden. he crossed to the central shaft and listened for signs of Sa rah's progress. She imagined herself crawling through the bowels of some prodigious mythical beast. To her relief..
'Sarah...' he murmured. He tapped rhythmically and then listened. His tapping wa s repeated beat for beat. 'Sarah... Hurry, Sarah... hurry,' he called, shining h is torch up into the darkness. Ducts and conduits ran into the shaft at right an gles as far as the Doctor could see. He directed the torch-beam at each aperture in turn. 'Can you see anything, my dear?' he said. There was a pause, then Sara h's faint reply. 'No... not. yet. I'm now in some kind of coiled section, Doctor . I'm not sure I can get round the bends...' 'Of course you can, Sarah,' encoura ged the Doctor, keeping a wary eye on the dark vault of the Cryogenic Chamber. ' You've got this far...' 'But, Doctor, I'm completely stuck this time,' Sarah 'wh impered. '... I seem to be glued to the sides.' The tall shaft rang with Sarah's sobs of frustration and fear. 'Doctor, I'm... I'm upside down... and I feel ver y very faint....' The Doctor stared upwards, his face full of anxiety. They were so close to succeeding. Sarah could not fail now. He cupped his hands to his mo uth and bellowed as loudly as he could up into the shadows. 'That's right... blu bber away, Sarah... just what I expected of you.' There was a brief pause, then Sarah protested tearfully, 'But, Doctor, .I am completely jammed. I can't go up or down.' 'Oh, stop whining, girl,' retorted the Doctor brutally. 'You are utter ly useless.' There was a shocked silence. 'Doctor,' Sarah's voice came through a t last. 'Doctor, how can you...' But the Doctor showed no remorse. Instead of ap ologising he went on, 'It was a mistake to rely on you in the first place .. Har ry was quite right--It was no job for a girl...' Sarah had heard enough. She wre nched herself round and round inside the tortuous spiralling tube in a frenzy, o blivious of pain, fear or discomfort. 'You wait... I'll show you...' she gasped. The Doctor was smiling broadly to himself, delighted that his little ruse had w orked so well. 'The future of Mankind at stake, and
all you can do is lie there blubbering,' he called as a final goad to Sarah's te mper. But Sarah was no longer listening. Within a few minutes her head appeared out of one of the ducts high up in the shaft wall. In the torchlight the Doctor could see that her hair was matted and her face streaked with tears, but her smi le was triumphant. The Doctor grinned up at her. 'Splendid, Sarah. I knew you wo uld do it,' he whispered. Sarah peered down at him in amazement, dazzled by the torch. Then she smiled again. 'You are a brute,' she laughed, despite her exhaus tion. 'You conned me completely.' 'Just trying to encourage you, my dear, that's all,' the Doctor murmured innocently. He shone the torch around the sides of th e shaft. Sarah was stranded a good thirty metres above him. 'Now all we have to do is get you down,' he said. 'Oh, please don't worry about me. I'll just jump,' retorted Sarah. 'As long as you get the cable down safely I'm sure I hardly mat ter.' The Doctor swept the, torch round the cubicle. 'If we had any power I coul d fetch you down in the lift,' he said. There came a sharp rattling sound from t he Access Chamber. Instantly the Doctor began working away with the two lengths of his scarf. Sarah could not see what he was doing, but she gasped in astonishm ent and admiration when, after a few seconds, he flashed the torch quickly over the giant 'cat's cradle' he had fashioned across the bottom of the shaft, using the framework of the open elevator cubicle on which to secure the scarf-ends. 'J ump, Sarah, jump,' the' Doctor hissed. Without pausing to think, Sarah obeyed an d leaped into the dark abyss. She landed in the safety-net the Doctor had improv ised. A pair of strong hands came out of the darkness and lifted her gently but quickly down. 'Harry's tied the Gordian Knot here all right,' whispered the Doct or, feverishly trying to undo the cable from around Sarah's waist. Over the Doct or's shoulder, Sarah suddenly noticed the unmistakable glow of a Wirrrn's eyes o n the far side of the Cryogenic
Chamber. Only minutes earlier she had been struggling between the jaws of one of the fearsome creatures inside the conduit. A violent shudder shook her body and she thrust her fingers into her mouth to stifle a scream. At the same moment, t he Doctor freed the cable. Something was pushed into her free hand. It was the t orch. 'Try to distract it, Sarah,' murmured the Doctor, moving stealthily away f rom her with the cable. 'What... ?' she gasped. But. there was no time to protes t. She switched on the torch and shone the beam up over her face from under her chin, transforming her features into a macabre mask suspended in mid-air. She fe lt the Doctor detach the communicator set from around her head. 'Splendid idea,' prompted his voice in her ear. 'But whatever you do, keep away from the walls.' Sarah began to sidestep away from the Doctor, her eyes fixed firmly on those of the Wirrrn. The huge, ochre globes swung steadily towards her; she could hear t he heavy, leathery body dragging itself across the chamber floor as she backed a way from it. Still very dazed from her ordeal inside the conduit system, Sarah s truggled to visualise the exact shape of the Cryogenic Chamber so that she would not back into any of the walls; she knew that hundreds of thousands of volts wo uld surge through them when Rogin switched on the power. She could just make out the Doctor's whispered instructions to Rogin through the communicator. Counting her faltering steps, Sarah knew she must be very close to the chamber wall. Sti ll the Wirrrn bore down upon her. Suddenly, to her left, she heard the Doctor wh istling as if he were calling a dog. 'Here... Here, boy...' he coaxed. The Wirrr n's eyes turned away from her and began moving towards the sounds. The Doctor fe ll silent, and the Wirrrn hesitated. Then it resumed its pursuit of Sarah. She s witched off the torch, darted a few steps to the right in the pitch darkness, th en crouched quite still, holding her breath. Again the Wirrrn stopped. Its eyes began to glow a bright fierce orange. The menacing rattle sounded. Sarah found h erself mesmerised as the Wirrrn's eyes swung hypnotically before her. She could feel it tantalising her. Then her blood ran cold as she heard
She keeled ove r on her side in a dead faint just as the Doctor reached her. The creature was sniffing her out. At the same instant she heard the Doctor shouting in to the communicator. Sarah. Rogin. As it gradually faded. The Wirrrn hovered uncerta inly a moment. then moved swiftly towards the invisible figure. this time from her right..' screamed the Doctor. She dropped the torch and toppled backwards into the disintegrated co rpse of the Wirrrn Queen. A sickly burning smel l filled the darkness. With a rattle of triumph the Wirrrn reared up over her.. .. She froze as something crumpled against the backs of her legs.what sounded-like sharp intakes of breath which rapidly grew into a rhythmic roa ring. T orch. All around her the Chamber came back to life. gu rgling cry which reverberated around the chamber until it died away into silence . 'Now. and moaning with a croaking. Sarah switched on the torch and waved it recklessly about.. Sarah closed her eyes in relief but before she c ould haul herself to her feet. Then came the sound of th e crippled Wirrrn crawling slowly away from her. She lay among the rotting tentacles of the Wirrrn Queen s hivering with nausea and choking from the acrid fumes. The Doctor whistled again. Now. There was an ear-splitting shriek.' A blinding blue-white flash lit up the C ryogenic Chamber. step by step. Sarah glimpsed the huge pincer slicing down at her. Something soft and rubbery brushed across Sarah's face. like the sound of a gigantic bellows. she suddenly felt extremely dizzy. The Wirrrn swooped towards her. the comforting gentle humming of the Cryogenic Systems resumed and the familiar faint glowing reappeared in the pallets. 'Torch.. She crept backwards. shinin g the torch-beam directly into the creature's eyes. and the sound of a massive body thrashing about in agon y..
Commander. Doctor. the Doctor's voice sudd enly came through on the communicator.. 'Thank you.' came the Doctor's reply.' 'Exactly..' Rogin interrupted to explain that such a plan was impossible since the Transporter Vessel was moored to the Satellite by Synestic Locks. Rogin..' mur mured Rogin.. 'How very inconvenient. 'Rogin. Sarah. Sarah's piercing cries and the bizarre shrieks of the Wirrrn still rang vividly in their ears. while Rogin. . mon itored the Transporter's generator systems. Harry was hunched over the communicator set calling agai n and again. are you all right? Come in please.. Rogin and Vira waited anxiously for news from the Cryogenic Chamber.' he warned. 'Doctor... 'But if the Wi rrrn should detect our power source. 'We cannot maintain this level of po wer indefinitely..' came the Doctor's disappointed voice.8 A New Beginning In the Flight Control Module of the Transporter Vessel.' 'You have done well . grim-faced.. There was a short silence. whatever happens don't let the po wer fade. Harry. As if in reply.?' But there was no reply. 'Well. only a relentless silence. We've won the first round. you ought to think of something... Doctor. 'I should have realised: if you energise the Docking Area you may reverse the Synes tic Fields and push the Transporter Ship out into Space. You had bette r electrify the Launch Dock.' interposed Vira. Doctor. The Doctor spoke slowly and pointedly ov er the intercom. and I've managed to feed some energy into the Cryogenic Systems. Vira kept watch on the Launch Area through the video scanner.. but there's very little to spare. the tension was becoming unbearable. ca n you hear me. you could be in grave danger.
o ur generators will be needed for the transfer to Earth. 'Why have they turned the power back on?' she cried.. Sarah nodded towards the Access Chamber. while the Doctor bustled about the chamber chec king his circuits leading from the junction box. before the Wirrrn think of you. I shall soon be forced to reduce power.. 'I don't think the Wirrrn. Still carrying the . eh?' he grinned.. will be in a hurry to come back.' she whispered.' Vira nodded gravely. The Doctor waved the torch about under his chin.' he added. clutching the Doctor's jacket closer to herself for warmth . we cannot risk a malfu nction. while the other supplied the improvised 'elec tric fence' around the lower section of the chamber walls. The Doctor shrugged. Sarah shielded her eyes against the intense glare which temporarily obliterate d her view of the entrance. and also the trailing cable with which the Doctor had fought off the Wirrrn attacker.' In the Cryogenic C hamber. She was still shivering w ith cold. 'You pulled such faces.' he c huckled in an effort to reassure Sarah. Harry sensed a certain irresolution in the manner of his two companions. 'Commander. but without success. and the Doctor bending anxiously over her. 'If the Wirrrn should get into the Cryogenic Chamber there won't be any transfer to Earth. Rogin turned to Vira. Sarah sat propped against the elevator shaft.' Without warning the Access Chamber was flooded with light . 'Not bad for a lash-up. One set was feeding power into the pallet Revivification Systems.. his face filled with dismay..Rogin..' The communicator went dead again. g esturing round at the pallets on floor level which were still occupied by dorman t humans.' he warned. 'But I hope the insulation will stand it. and beginning to notice the effect of the oxygen system being shut dow n. She had regained consciousness to find herself wrapped in the Doctor's volumin ous jacket. Harr y tried to re-establish contact. 'Don't forget.. 'The Wirrrn know where we are now. She kept a wary eye on the opening into the Access Chamber.. recovering from her ordeal . just visible in t he restored glow of the pallets.
Through it rose Noah's hollow whispering. what do you want?' 'Go now.. 'And we control the Cryogenic Section. the systems are isolated. his voice breaking into monstrous gasps and screeching sounds.. 'V ira.' The boning of the Wirrrn reached a deafening roar. 'What do you want.' Noah screamed. it. hear me. A hostile buzzing issued from the intercom.' The vicious buzzing increase d as if in approval of Noah's words.' came Noah's blurred reply. 'I am the Swarm Leader.. 'Let. Gradually. your lives will be spared. speak.' The Doctor waited a moment. 'I repeat. Again Noah's voice rose above. 'You forget. 'Vira is occupied with the revivification of her people. then he said.' The Doctor indicated to Sarah to keep quiet... It was punctuated by harsh squeaks and hoarse whistlings.. there emerged a ghostly whisper..' 'You lie.. Noah' s words struggled to be heard. Just as he reached the entrance. Vira. For a second Sarah imagined that the sleeping human s in the Cryogenic Chamber had suddenly revived. this time filled with scorn for the Doctor's attempted bl uff.. He flicked the talkback button. I have quite a way with electronics. ''That cannot be. and went over to the intercom panel set into one of the Access Chamber systems consoles.. The babble of Wirrrn voices reached a crescendo of furious anger. a distorted gabbling suddenl y burst out all around them. motioning Sarah to s tay where she was.. he advanced towards the Access Chamber.' sai d the Doctor defiantly.. the shadow of Noah's human voice. Vira.. 'You r resistance is useless.' The Doctor gave an exaggerated laugh. and that they were shouting in unison at her in a language she did not understand....' shouted the Doctor contemp tuously. She rushed to the Doctor's s ide in terror.free-running cable.. I guarantee .. Noah. We control the Satellite. They stood in the Access Chamber listening to the eerie cacophony echoing around them. 'Impossible.. She is Commander. Noah?' he called.
. She remembered only to o well the terrible sensation of breathlessness when the TARDIS had first materi alised in the Satellite's Control Centre... three Wirrrn were crawling ac ross the .' Noah broke in with a prolonged sighing voice which sounded th rough the chambers long after the intercom went dead.. moving shape came into focus. he st arted to speak very quietly. lead. 'I say. if you leave the Sleepers for us.. racking his brains for some stratagem with which to defeat the Wirrrn.your safety. Suddenly he leaned forward to look more closely at th e fluorescent screen. the sky. and he was also anxious for news of Sarah after her heroic success in reaching the Cryogenic Chamber. not on Earth... Harry had begun to fear the worst...... After a long pause. we will suffoca te you. but there's 'something moving out there.' In the Transporter Control Module.. Do you remember the Earth. no memory of .that is where the Wirrrn belong. Earth is for the h umans.' Sarah stared at the Doctor with frightened eyes.' he murmured... your swarm in to Space-.. A blurred. 'Noah.. the wind.. Rogin.. if there remains within you any trace of your humanity--if you have any memory of the human you once were.. in a last appeal to Noah. wishing there were some simple way of returning to his offi ce at UNIT Headquarters and forgetting all about Satellites and giant locusts an d travelling Police Boxes...' Rogin swung round and adjusted the scanner. please listen t o me. during which the angry murmurs from the Solar Chamber began to rise again. Noah?. There had been no contact with the Doctor since his warning about a Wirr rn attack on the Docking Sector... his face filled not with anger or hate.. 'I. the Earth. He was staring gloomily a t the video scanner.. 'I don't want to be an alarmi st.. but with a kind of infinite weariness..... the sea. leave the Terra Nova.... 'If you refuse. and also during her ordeal inside the conduits. d awn and sunset.. have. The W irrrn gradually fell silent. then Noah hissed.. He closed his eyes.' The Doctor said nothing.. The Doctor gazed at the intercom panel.
' cried Harry.' The Transpo rter was enveloped in a piercing whine. 'The Synestic Locking Field is holding. He b egan to operate a series of keys.. Go. Vira immediately recovered herself.' Rogin called above the din.' Harry quickly explained what had happened. Rogin shut down the Propulsion Unit.' she began. 'Yes. then she lapsed into silence. All at once. and the great silver shape of the Terra Nova turning s lowly against the multitude of stars. The incan descent glare faded gradually away. the view of the Docking Area on the scanner was obliterated by a brilliant blue glare. It was the fused rem ains of the three Wirrrn...' A colourful illuminated scale began to register on the panel. 'It is of no importance. For some reason t hey've restored the power here. 'Are you all right over there?' The Doctor's voic e boomed over the communicator. forming a chain which snaked its way slowl y .. 'Com mander?' Rogin inquired gently. After a few seconds.' the Doctor muttered grimly.. '.. we're fine. At once Rogin manoeuvred himself over to the Propulsion Unit Panel. 'Doctor!' said Harry. muttering mechanically to himself. 'The y're up to something clever. Negative Thrust.Docking Area towards the struts leading up to the Transporter's open maintenance hatch. thanks.. 'Acceleration to Tachyon Phase.. revealing in the centre of the Docking Secti on a shapeless blob of colourless matter like melted glass. 'Particle E mission Phase: initiated. He leaned over and adjusted the scanner so that it showed the outside of the Transporter hull... Rogin. 'That singed their wh iskers!' Vira sat staring blankly at the massive crystal shimmering beneath the Transporter.. Floating eerily from around the outside of the Solar Chamber there came a cluster of Wirrrn. they linked their tentacles together. 'I wonder if Noah. Nice to hear from you at last.' A series of warning lights flickered in front of Rogin. It vibrated and shuddered at its anchora ge....' she said firmly. As they drifted into view.. 'Good show.
Harry manipulated the scanner. 'The Wirrrn have pierced the hull in the Stabiliser Unit.' Rogin frantically began to programme the Transporter f or Automatic Launch in accordance with the Doctor's instructions. and evacuate the ship. 'Commander. Harry spoke rapidly into the communicator. but he had come to trust and respect the shambli ng. Commander. if the Transporter has an Automatic Fli ght System then initiate it at once. The Wirrrn leader had now secured itself to the Transporter hull. It looks as if the whole swarm is going to attack. We're coming out. panning down towards the Transporter Propulsion Unit. the Wirrrn have broken out of the Solar Chamber.across towards the Transport Vessel.' On the scanner.. If we sacrifice the Transport Vessel we ha ve no hope of returning to Earth. The interna l bulkheads have a low stress tolerance. 'Have you all gone to sleep?' shouted the Doctor. then he added..' Vira turned to Rogi n in shocked protest.' Rogin obeyed. the Wirrrn leader co uld be seen feeling with its antennae for a suitable gripping point on the hull of the Transporter Vessel.' Rogin glanced across at V ira. They are approaching u s. warning lights flickered on the panel in front of Rogin. feeling their way through the deep. They heard the Doctor confe rring with Sarah. 'I forbid this. The Wirrrn looked like giant sea creatures.' Rogin said nothing. 'Doctor. on e by one the creatures clambered over the 'bridge' formed by the others..' he cried. The whine of the Ship's . but pointed to the scan ner screen. He did not und erstand the Doctor's intention. cut the power.. if the Wirrrn break into the hull we shall be lost. The Wir rrn were soon swarming all over the hull. eccentric stranger. What he saw sent shivers along his spine--a huge Wi rrrn was tearing through the hull with its pincer as easily as a plough cutting a furrow in the soil. 'Ro gin. It was rapidly ripping a hole large enough for itself to e nter. 'Rogin. A sickening tearing sound rang through the Ship. 'The sealing shutters are operating.
the Doctor and Sarah emerged from the airlock and they all met beneath the gigantic propulsion nozzles. More warnings suddenly appeared on the pane ls as the internal bulkheads began to yield. At the same moment. where the twisted remains of th e three Wirrrn lay like a vast glass sculpture. With the Transporter's mot ors thundering above their heads as the Tachyon Drive prepared to 'go critical'. Rogin . 'You have four minutes to leave the Ship and clear the Launch Ar ea before the Dock Shield opens and the Dock de-pressurizes to vacuum. and t hen held up two fingers. a giant pincer might sli ce through a bulkhead. They reached the maintenance hatch sa fely and Rogin caught up with them as they slid down. Rogin nodded and held up his synestic key. Harry tried to object to deserting the Doctor and Rogin at such a vital moment. All around them. Rogin pointed to the chronometer bracelet on his wrist. They both immediately set to work to release the Synestic locks--three in number--on the main struts. Having complet ed the first one. To their amazement and relief they did not encounter any Wirrrn as they crep t through the chambers' and tunnels of the Satellite. the Transporter r esounded with the Wirrrn's onslaught as they clambered hastily down the servicin g tunnels. but th e Doctor pushed him firmly away. 'The Wirrrn have entered the Transp ort Vessel. desperately making for the maintenance hatch before the Wirrrn could penetrate into the bowels of the Vessel. pushing Harry towards the hatch in the floor of the Control Module. the struts to the Launch D eck. The Doctor gestured to Harry to escort Sarah and Vira back through the air-locks into the main Satellite. or a panel might open to reveal a rearing Wirrrn. its cla w poised in triumph. At any moment. The Doctor nodded and brandished the sonic screwdriver. Rogin and the Doctor each ran to one of the main anchorage struts beneath the p ropulsion nozzles. Soon Harry and the two women were making their way cautiously towards the Control Centre where the TARDIS stood patiently waiti ng.generators. the shrill scrambling of the Wirrrn and the shriek of tearing metal combined into a deafening cacophony.' Rogin shouted.' Harry no dded and followed Vira down the alloy ladder. barring their escape.
On his chronometer bracelet the red arc showed just five seconds to zero. They both made for the third and final lock. Rogin stood up.. the hu ge Transport Vessel separated from the Launch Assembly and began to climb away f rom the Docking Area. They stared in si lence as the Transport Ship moved slowly away from the Terra Nova. Far above him. Harry an d Vira--watching on the main scanner--felt the slightest jolt. As Rogin released the last clamp. The D octor motioned Rogin to take refuge in the safety of the airlocks. There's no sense in us bo th being disintegrated.. He closed the outer shutter and ran back to the third synestic lock. man. and the blood began to boil in his veins as the Docking Section de-pressurized. ovoid craft began to accelerate into the depths of Space. the elegant 'ir is' shield was opening to allow the Transporter to launch itself into Space. A few moments later. 'Get into the a irlock. Sarah.' He tried to pull Rogin away from the strut. The Doctor had also completed the release of his synestic anchorage. The Doctor slumped heavily on to the deck. a hundred metres above them. allowing the atmosphere inside the Launch Area to evacuate into S pace.glanced at his wrist. opened like the 'iris ' in a camera. Of the swarmi ng Wirrrn there was no trace. Almost imperceptibly at first. He crumpled with a soundless scream. its Tachyon Propulsion System . Rogin dragged him across to the airlock and dumped him inside.' the Doctor screamed in Rogin's ear.. The massive. The very gradual acceleration was designed to disturb the Satellite's orbit as little as possible. '. In the Control. Rogin's body was transformed into a shapele ss and colourless crystal in microseconds. The chronometer scale showed barely a minute remaining bef ore the huge circular shield. With a sudd en lightning movement. Centre. and arrived at the strut together.. catching the Doctor neatly on the chin wi th his head. the Launch Area was fil led with a searing plasma discharge. he was enveloped in a de athly chill: the air was sucked out of his lungs. Rogin shook h is head and bent down to deal with the remaining magnetic clamp.
' Sarah shook her head. Sarah at last found her voice..' he said. and put his arm gently round her shoulders. puzzled.' He turned to face them. finally becoming indistinguishable among the myriad stars. I just c an't believe it. The luminous 'comet' tail lin gered a little longer. Sarah?' boomed a fami liar voice.' 'What can't you believe. massaging his bruised chin.. At last. Harry. 'You mean that Noah deliberately led the Swarm into the Transporte r?' . R ogin's bravery--and perhaps also to something else.. 'Not if it means that Vira's people are saved. the Doctor in astonishment. stifling the sobs that rose in her throat...' Vira nodded and turned slowly away towards the Cryogenic Systems Monitor Panel. perhaps... The Doctor's words tailed off as he turned to stare at the scanner screen where the Transporter had disapp eared among the stars. 'I think we've seen the last of the Wirrrn.. 'Something else.. 'Doctor. 'The Doctor and Technop Rogin must have perished instantly. 'Yes.' said H arry consolingly.' But Sarah was ove rwhelmed. ?' 'Thanks to. then it too faded into nothing. The Docto r walked over to the scanner. 'It's suc h a waste.leaving a brilliant blue aura in its wake. 'You know he'd have wanted you to be brave. 'Come on now. I just can't. old girl. how did you escape. The Doctor walked sadly across to Vira... she looked up at Harry. and even of the Wirrrn at the end.' she murmured. Doctor?' asked Harry. 'Rogin i s dead. He took her gently by the arm. They were all too stunned to move or speak. her eyes brimming with tears. The Doctor was standing in the entrance to the neighbouring Control Chamber. Vira spoke. It grew smaller and smaller.' he sa id. Harry moved over to her side. 'Harry. 'Was Noah one move ahead of us all th e tune. ?' Vira looked at.. Some vestige of the indomitable human spirit.' Sarah turned away from the scanner. 'He sacrificed himself so that the Satellite would be saved.
'Without the Transport Ship we have no means of reaching Earth. clearly human voice emerged and softly filled the Control Chamber. 'Now you can a t last begin the great awakening of your people. For a moment it blazed... Vira stared at it for a moment.' The D octor was interrupted by a rapid bleeping. one of the billions of tiny points of light flickering on the screen flared up like a supernova. All at once. The Doctor nodded and smiled at her. but could not. Her arms fel l back to her sides. Above the faint mush of static they gradually distinguished the dista nt murmur of the Wirrrn Swarm. and aba ndon .' she said...' Vira stretched her a rms out towards the scanner. 'Infinite Mass. But Vira shook her he ad. Vira moved towards the panel. as if she were about to cancel the Revivification Process once and for all. and that.' she said crisply. The Doctor walked thoughtfully away a few paces and th en looked back at the scanner. Farewell. 'Noah sacrificed himself for the sake of his people here. 'I took a gamble that he would. 'Farewell.' Sarah looked at the Doctor in amazement. A single.. then hurried over and touch ed a switch.' she murmured. 'The Transport Ship's exploded. The Commander. She was contemplating the Cryogenic Systems Monitor Panel which indicated th at the initiation of the Main Revivification Phase was imminent. as if this latest difficulty were their fault.. He glanced irritably at Sarah and Harry. her hand raised.' Harry gasped.' he said.The Doctor smiled and nodded. He must have known that would happen.. Vira. ' The Doctor frowned..' he muttered to himself. He deliberately neglected to activate the plasma stabilisers. then it disappeared into nothingness. Vira spoke with firm emphasis. and she stood motionless. 'Project Terra Nova. 'It is too late . an indicator pulsed on the External C ommunications Panel. She struggled to speak. 'You mean Noah sacrificed the Wirrrn for our sakes?' sh e cried. identifyin g herself. 'Noah ha d absorbed all Dune's technical knowledge.
. by means of this. hands firmly thrust into his pockets to avoid the temptation to tamper with anything. I realise that you'll have to travel one at a time.' he added with a smile..' The Doctor adjusted his charred hat to a jaunty angle. this obsolete artefact?' The Docto r looked grieved. ' Everyone followed the Doctor as he strode into the adjacent Control Chamber. and turned to step into the TARDIS.. 'There is no receiver on Earth.' he shrugged. was about to enter with Sarah.' A gain Vira shook her head. but I am sure that your Solar Power engineers will be able to oblige. V ira stared open-mouthed as the Doctor unlocked the door of the TARDIS. 'Oh. Vira opened her mouth to object.' Vira stared at the Doctor as if he were deme nted. We must make a start. 'Wait.' The Doctor put his hands on Vira's shoulders and looked earnestly into her eyes. He rubbed his finger across the dirty frosted-glass panes in t he door. but the Doctor broke in briskly. and grimaced at the blackened skin. 'Do you ask me to accept that you are intending to co nvey yourself to Earth.' he said. You can use the Matter Transmitter to reach Earth.. f ar from being obsolete. . With a little bit of juggling at this end we s hould be able to make it all work. 'The Terra Nova Projec t will still be fulfilled.' he murmured affectionately. Vira gasped in disbelief. 'It's almost "reveille". patting the chipped and faded blue paintwork.' he cried.' he cried. 'If you and your people will trust me. It is an internal syst em only. with a gesture towards the Cryogenic Systems Panel. 'An d of course it will require enormous power. 'is a vint age specimen of Time And Relative Dimensions In Space technology--TARDIS--and. 'I can go down to Ea rth and fix something up for you. it has not even been invented yet. The Docto r rushed forward and seized Vira's arm.' he said proudly. 'This. 'Where do you two think you are going?' he demanded.the great plan which had succeeded thus far against incalculable odds. He collid ed with Harry who. 'Look. 'Old fait hful.
' Sarah and Harry reappeared in the doorway of the TARDIS. then he motioned them insid e. 'We shouldn't be very long. Vira caught the bag neatly. Doctor..' Harry smiled apologetically.'Oh. At last her task had begun.' Sara h and Harry disappeared eagerly inside.. 'Very well.. 'Back soon.. you're bound to need a helping hand down there. 'Meanwhile I must return to the Cryogenic Chamber. Doctor..' he agreed grudgingly... 'Yes. 'Yo u always do. 'The Brigadier did ask me to keep an eye on you.' she murmured. Suddenly Vira smiled in recognition. ' Good luck.' . waving the jelly-baby bag. He broke off a piece from the melted contents and threw the bag to Vira.. An extraordinary groaning sound made her look up. As she watched. . She grimaced.' She tentatively broke off a small piece from the sticky lump in t he bag and put it into her mouth. the box faded and gradua lly disappeared. luck.... and thank you. A bright yellow light was flashing on top of the strange blue box into which the D octor and his companions had entered. 'Good luck.' Sarah laughed. She turned and left. just this once. ?' she repeated the unfamiliar phrase to herself. The Doctor frowned. 'I shall expect you. her people were awakening in their hundreds.. In the C ryogenic Chamber. then she smiled and nodded in ap proval at the taste.' cried the Doctor. puzzled. She looked at the empty space where the TARDIS had stood..' he call ed.... 'Good. soon. 'But you'd better both put some warm things on--one never knows what the weather's going to be like. 'Good luck.she cried. yes.' replied Vira. The Main Phase is beginning. Doctor.. clad in waterproofs and wellingto n boots.' he said. The Doctor turned to Vira...' he said.
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