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In the great maze of the Power Complex dwells the dreaded Nimon, a fearsome mons ter with immense scientific powers. The Nimon has promised to restore the Skonna n Empire to its former glory. But first it demands sacrifice--youths and maidens from the peaceful planet Aneth. The Tardis collides with the space ship deliver ing the victims, and the captured Romana is condemned to be sacrificed to the Ni mon. Aided by the faithful K9, the Doctor goes to the rescue. In the heart of th e maze he confronts the Nimon and uncovers a terrifying plot to enslave the gala xy. ISBN 0 426 20131 0
DOCTOR WHO AND THE HORNS OF NIMON Based on the BBC television serial by Anthony Read by arrangement with the Briti sh Broadcasting Corporation TERRANCE DICKS published by The Paperback Division of W. H. Allen & Co. Ltd
re-sold.1980 by the British Broadcasting Corporation Printed and bound in Great Britain by Anchor Brendon Ltd.A Target Book Published in 1980 by the Paperback Division of W. H. hired out or otherwise circulated without the pub lisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being i mposed on the subsequent purchaser. L td. . London W1X 8LB Novelisation copyr ight © Terrance Dicks 1980 Original script copyright © Anthony Read 1979 `Doctor Who ' series copyright © 1979. Essex ISBN 0 426 20131 0 This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not. be lent. by way of trade o r otherwise. A Howard & Wyndham Company 44 Hill Street. Allen & Co. Tiptree.
CONTENTS Prologue 1 Ship of Sacrifice 2 The Skonnons 3 Sardor in Command 4 Aster oid 5 The Nimon 6 The Maze 7 Sardor's Bluff 8 K9 in Trouble 9 The Journey of the Nimon 10 Journey to Crinoth 11 Time Bomb 12 The Legend .
No enemy had e ver defeated the Skonnons. on the edge of the sprawling ruins that were the capital of Skonnos. with a talent for war and conquest. In an astonishing ly short time they were the masters of a hundred worlds. and the last devastating civil war was fought on Skonnos itself. star-shaped edifice. Plan et after planet took advantage of the confusion to throw off the Skonnan yoke. Then came the Nimon. and s oon the Skonnan Empire. An aggressive race. Armed with superior weaponry th ey had swept over the galaxy in an expanding wave of conquest. They destroyed themselves. a handful of wellprotected senior officers commanding a few squads of Skonnan troops were the sole survivors in a shattered capital. Emperor follo wed Emperor in quick succession. The aggressive streak that had brought them success was to cause their downfall. All around. the famous First Skonna n Empire. like ancient Rome before it. The noble families fell to fighting amongst themselves. t he occupying armies retreated. It left the planet in ruins. metallic. When the fighting ended. It was a gleamin g. there rose the Power Complex. victors in a civil war that had ended through sheer exhaustion. collapsed from within.Prologue The Coming of the Nimon Next to the crumbling Palace of the Emperor. mile upon mile of ruined and half-ruined buil dings bore silent witness to the end of a once-great star empire. rival Emperors set up against each other. dominated by the two enormous horns that rose from its central unit. they had discovered high technology and space flig ht much earlier than their neighbouring planets. .
Fir st the Power Complex was constructed. Neither sacrifice nor tribute was available on Skonnos. the Nimon was prepared to offer nothing less tha n the restoration of the Skonnan Empire. was the abode of a godlike being calle d the Nimon. became a prompt convert to the Nimon's cause. Sato pointed out that he was the nearest they'd got. Fina lly all was ready and the spaceship was despatched on the Nimon's business. Soldeed was to be the voice of the Nimo n from now on. a ray shot from the horns. Sato scoffed and demanded to see the Nimon for himself. routed out Soldeed. who had come to offer help to the people of Skonnos. Commander of the few remaining Skonnan troops. Provided that the proper conditions were met. swollen with new selfimportance. but fortu nately the planet Aneth was their nearest neighbour. For the Nimon demanded tribute--tribute and sacrifice. Seven times the sacrifice was to be made. and Sato fell dead. and sent him to investigate. Captain Sorak. and patched up into working order with the help of certain new equipment provided by the Nimon. General Sa to. A spaceship was found. the most radioactive substance in the galaxy. Seven youths and maidens of high birth were to be provided on each occasion. work began.One day a mysterious silver sphere appeared. swallowing up the original sphere which la y concealed somewhere at its centre. he said. Sato's aide-de-camp. Soldeed p ointed the staff at him. a middleaged laboratory technician. and dr ove him out to the capsule at blaster point. just outside the Palace. Long hours later. Soldeed returned. The . The sphere. So did the rest of the officers and their men. each carrying a crystal of Hymetusite. Under Soldeed's orders. and carrying a metal staff ending in two stran ge horn-like prongs. Soldeed protested that he was no scientist.
never to be seen again. Holding lead caskets of Hymetusite. the memory of past defeats paralysed the Anethans with te rror. Now the return of the bat tle cruiser with the seventh and final sacrifice was eagerly awaited on Skonnos. as demanded. Six times already the sacrifice had taken place. they had been driven into the Power Complex.Anethans were a peace-loving people. But the seventh sacrifice failed to arrive on time. and their planet had suffered far less than Skonnos itself in the Empire wars. Meekly they handed over the sacrifices and tribute. But when the black Skonnan battle cruiser ap peared in their skies. The terrified young Anethans had been br ought to Skonnos as captives. .
`You've been overloading it. There w ere two of them. Sardor studied the faint. Still. black-uniformed.' he said pettishly. not long to go now. As it lumbered towards its home planet. main computers on overload. In the main control room. gun-ports bristling with space-cannon. He had been too young to serve in the First Empire Wars and. navigational circuits unreliable. Few of the laser-cannon would still fire an d those that did were as likely to blow up the ship as destroy the enemy. perhaps as a result.1 Ship of Sacrifice The spaceship was old. the automatic pilot at break-down point. grey-haired veteran of the First Empire. he was even mo re fiercely militaristic than his superior. massive. sole survivor of a fleet that had once dominated the galaxy. threaten ing. his co-pilot. festooned with trailing cables and dangling power leads. and red-helmeted in typical Skonnan style. it was still a terrifying sight--but the ship was old. Skonnos. `I warned you what would happen. the crew laboured worriedly at the failing controls. was a wizened. It was a Skonnan battle cruiser. Sek koth. almost obsolete. black. `Se ems to be malfunctioning again. Sardo r.' Captain Sekkoth look ed up from the feebly flickering instrument dials. erratic display on the read-out screen of an antiquated computer. The ship was operating on minimum po wer and the gloomy control room was cluttered with a hodge-podge of obsolete equ ipment. my instructions were quite . Drive systems were erratic. was a younger man. the Captain. plump-faced and overweight.
you were t here. It'll be at least another twelve back to Skonnos.clear. Sekkoth. He made his way along grey metal corridors to a heavy door in which was set a sm all window.' `And when will that be?' Sekkoth paused imp ressively. our side of the contract will be fulfilled. but this is the last shipment! On ce it is delivered.' growled . `We're only twelve hours out from A neth.' Sardor hurried from the control room.' `Patience?' snarled Sardor . to conquer. `Weakling scum. Be patient. `It'd be a lot less if this ship was working properly.' Grunting. `Perhaps I shouldn't tell you this. we'll reconquer the galaxy--' `When?' `When we have fulfilled our part of the bargain.' `I'd better go and check that it's safe. to rule--a s we did in the days when this ship was built. `Patience is for the weak. When are we go ing to get these new ships they keep promising. Skonnans were made to fight. studying the half-dozen figures hu ddled together in the hold. When are we going to fight?' `So on--when the Nimon fulfills his promise.' The older man smiled.' `But that takes hours!' Sekkoth shrugged. `This cargo is the last one?' `Yes. Now do you see t he importance of our mission?' Sardor stared at him. Three youths and four maidens. You remember. Sardor straig htened up. The Nim on will give us new weapons. unable to believe that the military glory he lusted for was so close. Sardor peered through the window. `You'll get all the fighting you want soon. all subsidiary functions have to be rerouted through the back-up computer . all wearing the short golden robes of Anethan nobility.
`Well? How are they?' `Same as always--inferior.' The engines . if we use the overdrive.' `We can fly her on manual. We can do it in nine hours.' Suddenly the beep b egan to fade. Sardor smiled with relief. `It'll be all rig ht. Sekkoth loo ked up. We can do it in six hours easily.' Sekkoth smiled grimly. The automatic pilot's blown. no problem at all. That was in the old days. taugh t them to fear and obey us.' Before Sekkoth could stop him he reached out and threw the overdrive lever. craven beings. `There's the beacon. Turning away in disgust he hurried back to the control room.Sardor. and the A nethans meekly surrender the cream of their aristocracy--not to mention their mo st valuable minerals. `All we have to do is find the beacon. `We're losing it! I'll alter course and push the engines to full p ower.' Sardor laughed. maybe six. this ship wi ll never have to fly again. We devastated their planet.' He fumbled with controls and a moment later a steady beeping filled the control room. `You see.' Sardor tapped out a projection on the navigational computer.' Sekkoth's news had filled Sardor with impatience. before we started fighting amongst ourselves.' babbled Sardor.' Whitefaced. `You've overloaded it. `We turn up in an old ship like this. Sardor hurried to another console. There was a sudden roar of power--and an instrument console exploded in a shower of sparks . won't it?' `Will it? We're off-course already. `It doesn 't have to take us twelve hours to reach Skonnos. just lik e all Anethans.' `And suppose we overload it?' `What does it matter? Once we get back to Skonnons with this last cargo. you know. we can home in on the signal. `You blundering idiot!' shouted Sekkoth. `The Anethans still remember when these were the most feared ships in the skies.
.' yelled Sekkoth. he tho ught. `Steer. it was a space/time craft called t he TARDIS. `Yes. In the cargo hold the young captives clung together as the old spaceship rattled and shook. From the outside it looked like a police box of a kind on ce used on a planet called Earth. `What's happening. `It's too strong for us.' A round them their fellow captives were sobbing with fear. of course I will. Not far away another kind of ship hu ng suspended in space. `Now the whole ship's going out of c ontrol!' He began wrestling with the controls. But he smiled down at her and said confidently.' shouted Sardor. Seth?' `I've no idea. steer!' `Somet hing's pulling us back... In reality.screamed louder. Seth would look after her. there's nothin g I can do. with the remarkable property of being bigger on the inside then on th e outside. She looked up at him confidently. drawin g her closer. `You hot-headed idiot.' He put his arm around her. The beacon faded and vanished com pletely. Still the beep grew faint er. A sle nder fair-haired girl called Teka turned to the sturdy brown-haired boy at her s ide. Sekk oth staggered and fell dead over his controls. Seth was a hero. blast you. won't you ?' The ship was shaking itself to pieces and soon they would all be dead. `You'll look after me. but Teka was unafraid.. . as some mysterious force drew the ship ever closer. and the whole cabin began to vibrate. ` A sudden terrific explosion ripped out part of the console.
A broad-brimmed s oft hat and an incredibly long scarf hung on a hat stand nearby. `When making modifications. `Correction. The owner of this particu lar ship was a rebel Time Lord. wide-eyed. a mysterious traveller in space and time known o nly as the Doctor. a mobile self-powe red computer.' `I repeat. there was a spatter of blue sparks and he snatched his hand away. that sho uld immobilise her for the moment. and its inne r workings often gave its owner trouble. the TARDIS is still moving.However. `Better disconnect that one too. the Doctor studied the manual. I'v e just immobilised her. He was a tall. for instance!' He made a quick adjustm ent with his sonic screwdriver. He picked up a c rumpled owner's manual and leafed through it. haven't I?' . K9. The central column of the many-sided control console was partially dismantled a nd the ship's owner was staring at it in mild concern. This was K9.' The Doctor l ooked down. From somewhere near floor-level an electronic voice said.' `Nonsense. `You see K9? Terribly easy to damage something importa nt otherwise. `Well. `Like me. For a ship of its kind it was oldfashioned.' The Doctor adjusted a circuit. the Doctor's valued.' said the Doctor thankfully. Ignoring him.' He looked up from the book. At his feet was a kind of robot dog. vaguely Bohemian-looking clothing. They were doing so at this very moment. not to say obsolete. The TARDIS is moving. Master. Now she should hold steady. Master. curly-haired man dressed in a loose assortment of comfortable. companion. the TARDIS did have one thing in common with the Skonnan battle cruisie r. except that which it is not necessary to shut down. if sometimes irritating. it is important to shut down everything.
' `Doctor. Look!' The Doctor came to look.' `Well. `We do seem to be mo ving. The Doctor was just about to enquire why she found it necessary to imitate the traditional dress of the fox-hunters of pl anet Earth. I really must stop saying that.' `Nonsense. something always g oes--' the TARDIS lurched again `--wrong!' concluded the Doctor. `Everything? W hat have you been doing?' `Oh. you know.' `W hat? How can we be?' A small pretty girl with long fair hair came into the contr ol room. A slight modificat ion to the conceptual geometer. This was Rom ana.' he added. when Romana distracted him.except what's on. `The TARDIS seems to disagree with you as well. isn't it?' . Doctor!' `What? H ow can he be right when he's just disagreed with me?' She went over to the other side of the console and studied a row of flickering dials. I know wh at I'm doing. She wore a red jacket. then?' `The TARDIS is still moving. the Doctor's Time Lady companion. She just can' t take all this tinkering any more. `You know. just trying out an idea I had. white trousers and a ruffled shirt. Nothing could possibly go--' The TARDIS gave a sudden violent lurc h and the Doctor clutched at the console to steady himself.' The Doctor said. Ev erything's off-. `K9's right. this is a very old ship.`Affirmative. And very fast. It could be dangerous. `Uncanny. don't we?' `Yes. Accelerating fast. `But the power's off. sucking his finger. Every time I say nothing can go wrong.
Romana was still checking instrument readings. `We're being pulled, Doctor. Some kind of gravitational field.' `My dear Romana, do you really think I'd dismantl e half the control system, including the conceptual geometer and the demateriali sation circuits if there was the slightest risk of--' Romana gave a gasp of horr or. `You've dismantled the dematerialisation circuits?' The Doctor touched a con trol and the cover of the scanner screen slid back. `Let's take a look outside.' The scanner's screen was filled with swirling darkness. `There you are,' said t he Doctor triumphantly. `Nothing there but blackness.' `Moving blackness,' corre cted Romana. `And it's moving very fast. Or rather we're moving very fast.' The Doctor looked thoughtfully at the screen. `You know what, Romana? I think we're moving--very fast!' A terrifying thought came into Romana's mind. `Maybe we're f alling into a black hole?' `No, that whatever-it-is isn't pulling hard enough fo r that. Anyway a black hole would have been on the TARDIS charts-- unless it's a new one, of course.' `I hope you're right. Thanks to you, we can't dematerialis e and get away from here. And if we do get sucked into a black hole...' The Doct or's face lit up. As always, he seemed positively to enjoy the prospect of dange r. `Fascinating, isn't it? I wonder what it would feel like?' `Well, don't stand there wondering about it. Do something. Put the TARDIS together again!' `All ri ght, all right,' muttered the Doctor irritably, and set to work on the dismantle d central column. `Come and give me a paw, will you, K9?'
As K9 glided forward, there was a blinding flash followed by a tremendous bang. Clouds of smoke poured from the control column. The shock sent K9 shooting backw ards across the control room to crash into the opposite wall. Still coughing, th e Doctor went over to K9. `Are you all right?' K9 didn't reply--which was hardly surprising, since his head appeared to be on backwards. Carefully the Doctor to ok hold of K9's head and turned it the right way round. `Are you all right, K9?' `Affirmative, Master.' Romana fanned away the smoke. `What was all that about?' `Don't worry. It was only the defense shields blowing.' `Only--Can you fix them again?' `Of course I can--given time.' Romana looked at the scanner screen. `Ti me is just what we don't have, Doctor.' There was something on the screen, a tin y point that grew larger and larger as it sped nearer. `Fascinating! Do you know Romana, I think it's a spaceship!' The shape grew larger and larger, until they could make out the lines of an ancient battered-looking battle cruiser. `It is a spaceship,' said Romana grimly. `And we're heading straight towards it--on a c ollision course!'
2 The Skonnons It was a dark and stormy day on Skonnos, black clouds swirling beneath grey skie s. Captain Sorak was inspecting the guards outside the Power Complex, waiting fo r Soldeed to return from one of his conferences with the Nimon. Like his men, So rak wore the black Skonnan uniform with the addition of the horned helmet that s ymbolised their service to the Nimon. The elaborately ornamented gateway to the Complex was shielded by a forcefield. No-one but Soldeed and Anethan Sacrifice h ad ever been through that shimmering red barrier-- and only Soldeed had ever com e out again. Sorak noticed a shuddering of the forcefield and seconds later Sold eed stepped through and stood surveying them imperiously. He was a very differen t figure from the terrified technician who had first made contact with the Nimon . Now Soldeed wore a gorgeous black cloak with the high collar of the Skonnan ar istocracy. He had cultivated a flowing moustache and a pointed beard in an effor t to add authority to his otherwise undistinguished features. For audiences with the Nimon he wore a golden circlet with a great jewel blazing at its centre. Al l in all, thought Sorak, Soldeed was getting considerably above himself. Once th e Nimon had delivered the promised technology, Soldeed would have to go. Meanwhi le he must be endured. In fact, since he alone had the ear of the Nimon, he must be flattered and courted. The guards crashed to attention, Sorak saluted, and S oldeed stood savouring the moment.
`Quite right. Soldeed?' Soldeed frowned. and soon. He speaks of the Great Skonnos. The Doctor picked himself up and helped Rom ana to her feet. `I have spoken with the N imon. He says we shall have them. I'll never do it in time. Sorak.' confirmed K9. Master. `He says many things. All he demands is the s eventh and final sacrifice from Aneth.' The Doctor looked up from the cen tral column. `So we're just going to crash straight into that--with no defence shields?' `Co llision imminent. shaking his head. `We mu st be jammed right up against the . T he Second Skonnan Empire is about to be born.After a suitably impressive pause. Sorak. now totally filled with the black hulk of the alien ship. `It's no good.' `And what does he say. `Then he really will keep his promises to us? There will be new ships. he said sonorously.' Romana looked at the scanner.' He looked at the scanner. new weapons?' `There will.' Sceptical as he was. K9. Sorak desperately w anted to believe what Soldeed was saying.' The implication was c lear--the substance of Soldeed's conversations with the Nimon was too high for c ommon minds to grasp. not caring for the youn ger man's tone. `Does he speak of the new ships he promised us?' `He doe s. there will.' he said cheerfully. and jarred a few more bi ts loose from the dismantled column. rising from its own ashes with wings of fl ame. He speaks of conq uest. he does. many things.' Sorak said drily. `we seem to have arrived . which showed a vista of corroded metal hull. The impact threw the Doctor and Romana to the floor. `He speaks of the Great Journey of Life. Sorak. With a clangorous thud the TARDIS struc k.
`How are we going to get on board?' `The defence shield on the door operates on a separate circuit. Let's go and take a look at it.' `If you can wh at?' The Doctor worked busily for a few moments and then said proudly. it is. centu ries even. isn't it?' `I do believe it is. the Doctor went over and op ened the nearest. shall we?' Romana sighed. Come on.. `That's Hymetusite.side of the ship. but a few minutes work with the D octor's sonic screwdriver opened the airlock and soon they were inside the alien ship. They wer e in a gloomy metal hold which seemed to contain nothing but a row of seven lead caskets lined up against the wall. . wondering if it had been worth the effort. `What do you think of that?' `Well done. `There.' . Curious as ever.' `I sn't Hymetusite highly radioactive?' `Yes.' Grabbing hat and scarf. Pretty battered old thing. the Doct or stepped into the energycorridor. Doct or!' `Oh. Beyond the door was a kind of transparent energy-corridor. It felt rather eerie to be standing in mid-space. may have been here for years. it was nothing really. `Merely a completely unparalleled scientific achievement..' said the Doctor modestly. Romana looked around. Something t old her that Doctor's insatiable curiosity was about to lead them into new dange rs. Romana said curiously. revealing a chunk of glowing crystal in a lead-lined container . leading directly to the airlock of the other ship.. If I can reactivate it and extrude it. `Look!' H e touched a control and the TARDIS door slid open.' said the Doctor proudly. I wonder what it's doing here. K9 glided after him and Romana followed.
anyway. Master. `It's locked!' `I just t old you that.. It contain ed a group of young people. Doctor!' The Doctor stepped th rough the door.861 and still fall ing. level Q 7.There was a sudden ticking from K9.' `Off you go then!' K9 glided away.325.' `After you. see what makes things tick around here. Inspect all circuits so I'll know exactly what I've got to put right.' The Doctor produced his sonic screwdriver and in a few minutes th e door was open.' `Ticking caused by radiation. `There's another door over here. And now?' `Level falling.. . Master. three young men and four girls. I detect ultra-radiation em issions.. K9. Radiation source proba bly crystal of Hymetusite. Listen.' `Not that sort of ticking!' `Master?' `Oh. we're going to explore this ship. K9. Romana meanwhile was exploring the rest of the hold. I want you to go back to the TARDIS control room and do a full systems check.' `Good.' `I wonder where it was heading?' `Who knows?' said the Doctor vaguely. I suppose this ship must have been converted to some kind of freighter?' `N ot a passenger vessel. No-one in their right mind would carry Hymetusite and passengers. He found himself in another hold much like the first. `Danger. Romana. `Thank you. now Q 1. in short golden robe s. He wandered over to Romana and tried the door.' Hastily the Doctor closed the lid of the casket and put it back. `After you. never min d. Master.. but it seems to be locke d.' `Affirma tive.
Romana. It seemed to go out of control. as you s o rightly say. `His name's Seth. The Doctor held the bag out. we are. `H ere. He popped one in his mouth and said indistinctly. well. I heard you the first time. what are you doing here. have a jelly baby?' He held out the bag.' `We w ere on our way to Skonnos when something went wrong with the ship. yes.' The little group co wered away in terror.' `So you come from Aneth? Delightful planet. show th em. It was clear that she didn't. What a very curious thing to be. `Who are you?' `I'm the Doctor and this is Romana. they're quite harmless.' said the Doctor rea ssuringly. `See? Here.' `All right . Who are you?' Before the young man could answer. ` Help yourself!' Hesitantly the young man took a sweet. I am Princess Teka.' agreed the Doctor. `It's all right. .' Obediently Romana took a jelly baby. if you see what I mean. `Do you know where we are?' `Nowhere.' `You've been there?' `Well. `Hello. and somehow the ridiculou s little ritual seemed to calm them. and the young man in front of the group leaped back. all right. but not yet.' The Doctor stared a t them. There was a muffled clang. I heard an explosion and. a fair-haired girl next to him said proudly. He's a prince from Aneth.' said Romana briefly. The Doctor fished a crumpled paper bag from his pocket. here we are!' `Here. `What?' `We are the bearers of Aneth's tribute to the Nimon. We are the bearers of Aneth's tribute to the Nimon. `Where are you going?' `To S konnos.The Doctor nodded affably. then a ser ies of other smaller ones.
`Is it my imaginati on..! Romana. none the w iser. Tell me who's in command of this ship?' A voice said.' `But w hy would anyone want to do such a thing--' Romana broke off.' `Trapped in a Sargasso Sea in space. or is the gravity in here increasing?' The Doctor gave a little jump. wouldn't you say. `We must be in some kind of gravity wh irlpool.. covering him with a double-barrelle d blaster.' `What's happening?' demanded Seth. Unless we can get this ship away from here. . Romana?' Romana nodded. artificially?' `Can it be done?' `Oh yes--all you n eed is a focussed gravity beam. suppose someone was tr ying to create a black hole.' The Doctor turned and saw that a door on the other side of the hold had o pened. Seth. `What's a singulari ty?' `A mathematical point with no dimensions..' Seth stared at him. Attract matter to one point in space and when th ere was enough concentration it'd start to collapse with its own weight. `I thi nk you're right.Seth looked alarmed. we're going to be c rushed to a singularity. ` I am. `What was that?' `Sounds like meteorites hitting the ship.. In it stood a black-uniformed figure. `Never mind.
. `I'm very glad to meet you.3 Sardor in Command `How do you do?' said the Doctor with his usual friendliness.' The Doctor raised his h ands. and--' `What are you doing wi th the sacrifices?' `Are you telling me these young people are to be sacrificed? ' `They are sacrifices to the Nimon.' `I'm Sardor. whoever you are. acting Captain of this Skonnan battle c ruiser.' `You're not going to put that thing away?' `I said this way! And get your hands up. `Though how I'm going to repair your ship like this. `Now why don't you put that thing away and show me your control room?' Sardor considered for a moment and then ste pped aside. Sardor answered his own question.' `All right.' `What are you--a pilot? A scientist? An engin eer?' `Yes!' said the Doctor comprehensively. Do you know how to get it awa y from here?' `Do you?' `I might. motioning the Doctor towards the door with his blaster. I'm the Doctor and this is Romana.' `Why should I believe you?' `That's a very good question! Now here's one for yo u. We came to see if anyone needed help. `You're space pirates. `This way. aren't you. come to steal the Hymetusite?' `Certainly not..' `Move--both of you !' .' `Well. This entire ship is heading into deadly danger. if that's the way you want to play it. And who are you?' Before the Doctor could s peak.
`The Anethans--you saw them. Doctor.' `What sacrifices?' demanded the Doctor. He herded the Doctor and Romana through the gloomy corridors of the ship to the cluttered control room. It was a large room filled with complicated pieces of electronic equipment. and the sacrifi ces. Now the room was a jumble of gadgetry. At least the cargo is still safe. With a sigh.' `How very unfortunate!' `It could have been a lot worse. he abandoned the piece of machinery he was tinkering with and stared out of the window at the angular metallic shap e of the Power Complex. He was killed when the console blew up.' `I don't think I like the sound of that.' `You mean the Hymetusite?' asked Romana. Sardor followed them through the door. `That. whose working was a complete and utter mystery to him. To maintain his status as a great scientist. They are to be sacrificed to t he Nimon as the final payment in our Great Contract. I hav e to get them safely to Skonnos whatever happens. With a final glare at the Anethans. Soldeed had taken over a room in the Palace and filled it wi th all the scientific equipment that could be salvaged from the ruins of the cit y. `Who's that?' `Captain Sekkoth. `It doesn't matt er what you like. dominated by the huge . hoping desperately to get some thing--anything--working again.' Sardor jabbed him in the ribs with the blaster. most of it damaged beyond repair. Now get to work!' Soldeed sat brooding in his laborato ry. Sold eed spent hours in the laboratory tinkering away.They moved. The Doctor looked down at the dead body in the pi lot's seat.
metal horns that jutted up into the grey skies of Skonnos. and--' `Then do it again.' screamed Sold eed. `Disappeared? What are you talking about?' `Completely vanished.' `We have already. But no thing we can do seems to raise them. . you must do everything in your power to lo cate that ship. but--' `Why not begin at the beginning.' For a moment Soldeed pretended to be too ab sorbed to notice him. He heard someone coming. There were responsibilities as well as privileges in being the sole channel of communication with the Nimon. With a tinge of malice he added. There's absolutely no trace of any signal. but he knew Sorak was right. Sorak. `I take it the Nimon will have to be informed?' Soldeed looked hard at him. `That ship must be found!' `Yes sir. Sorak marched in to the room.' said Sorak woodenly. Sorak? I have important work to do.' `What abou t it?' `It hasn't arrived--it seems to have disappeared!' Soldeed leaped to his feet with a howl of rage. It could be a communications fault of course-.' `Well?' `I don't really know how to tell you. `I have news.our tracking equipment's none too good. sir. `Forgive me for interrupting your--scientifi c labours. and bent hastily over his work. `What is it. He was merely bluffing. Soldeed.' Sorak lo oked round the junk-cluttered room. In his heart Soldeed knew he was no scientist.' `No trace? There's got to be. the ship bringing the final sacrifices. sir. sir. keeping up appearances until t he Nimon gave him the scientific knowledge and equipment that would confirm his power. but this is important. The last two routing signals just haven't arrived. and continue to the end?' `It's the bat tle cruiser from Aneth.
somehow. `but.' said the Doctor thoughtfully. The Doctor ignored him. very old engines patched up with ultra-modern equipment.. Sorak. of course I can make them work. It has seen long and honourable service but this is its final mi ssion. Soon it will be replaced. `Yes.' muttered Romana. The Doctor looked at him in mild surprise. `I will inform the Nimon.' Sardor shoved his blaster under the Doctor's nose.With as much dignity as he could muster. people's scie ntific curiosity declines sharply once they start waving blasters around!' `Can you make them work?' screamed Sardor. The question is.' `Before what?' `Just hold that b laster steady and don't tax your mind. can we generate sufficie nt power sufficiently quickly to take the ship up to escape-velocity. You find that ship!' In the engine room of the Sko nnan ship. Romana. Soldeed rose and took up his staff. before we end up in a black hole over the event horizon. Sardor and Romana looked on as the Doctor emerged from an inspection tunnel which gave access to the drive system.' `The sooner the better! It's a real hotch-potc h. Sardor?' `This ship was a battle cruiser'of the First Skonnan Empire. `Can you make them work?' `I don't know if you 've noticed.. but I could swear that the new s pare parts were a product of some totally alien technology. `Can you get the engines working again?' demanded Sardo r.' `Do you think you can raise enough power ?' asked Romana. No wonder you're hav ing trouble the different parts just aren't compatible. `These engines of yours have seen better days haven't they. . `It's a funny thing.' `Sounds just like the T ARDIS.
.. Doctor!' The Doct or grinned and turned back to the inspection tunnel. make sure you look after it.' Romana's voice came echoing back. I know what to do. `You'd better take a look.' `Good girl!' I'll just pop back to the TARDIS for th e anomaliser. it's a very odd mixture of technologies in here. `Now listen. Just not enough push.. looking suspiciously at the Doctor. ready to be linked to the energy cells. Doctor. and if we could convert the drive unit to accept it. Romana? If we use the gravitic anomaliser from the TARDIS to counteract the gravitation al pull. `What do you think. You're righ t though.' Romana emerged from the tunnel. see what you think..' `Now listen. when he brings you the Hymetusite..' He turned to the baffled Sardor. `Don't play the fool with me. `I think it will work. make sure I don' t get up to any funny business. `I wish I'd thought of that!' `You will.' `Romana.' . you'll need this.`Not with the antiquated drive system they're using. `Here.' Sardor hesitated.' So persuasive was the Doctor's tone that Sardor almost handed over the blaster. You'd better get a couple of Hymetusi te crystals up here. Doct or.' `Wha t about using the Hymetusite as a booster? It's an enormously rich energy source .. `How do I know I can trust you?' `Why don't you just let me have the gun? Then I can keep an eye on myself. `It's all right. you will!' The Doctor waved her towards the inspection hatch.' He took out his sonic screwdriver. I'll need some equipment from my own ship. that is brill iant!' said the Doctor admiringly.
The Doctor leaned down and patted him . barring the way to the door. and try bein g a bit nicer to your passengers. so it is.' . do you want to get your ship out of here. will you. Back in the TARDIS.' muttered Sardor au tomatically.' He handed Romana a screwdriver and turned away. I've made one of my own. Doctor!' R omana held out her hand. the Do ctor to the TARDIS. how does it look?' `Damage report complete. the Doctor found K9 almost drowned in a sea of his own computer readout tape. Oh. Romana's was both lighter and slimmer than his own. Sardor to fetch two of the lead caskets. `You've given me back the wrong one. `Well. K9. one in each hand. quite a good try. He compared the two instruments. They set off down the corridor and went their separate ways.`No thanks. Master. This is your sonic screwdriver!' `What? Oh. The Doctor turned to Sardor who was still covering him uncertainly with his blaster. terribly sorry!' They exchanged screwdrivers and Romana went back into the tunnel.' Romana took a very similar object from her own pocket and held it out.' `Weakling scum. a bit basic tho ugh. `You made this?' Romana nodded. or don't you?' Sardor stepped reluctan tly aside. `That's the idea! Now you go and get those crystals. `Just a moment. The Doctor examined the second sonic screwdriver in astonishment. and he sus pected that it was even more efficient. `Well. T he little automaton had been hard at work. `Well.' `And?' `Defens e shields completely inoperative.
' `Affirmative.' K9 absorbed the information and found it illogical. determined to make a comeback.' `Good!' The Doctor detached that parti cular piece of equipment from the console. it's just a tree you get gum from. `You know. `Kindly define use of missin g paddle when up gum tree. They've got some scheme that involves Hymetusite crystals and human sacrific e to something called the Nimon. Master. K9. does the Skonnan Empire mean anything to you?' Pleased as always to be asked for information.' K9 went on to give a brief digest of the savage and bloody history of Skonnos. I don't like the . the question was difficult to answer. `I'll take that with me then. comeback. K9.' `How's the dimensional stabiliser?' `Fused.`Yes. `You just don't understand Earth idioms ..' `What? Oh. you might say. military dictatorship extending over one hundred star sys tems.' `Dematerialisation circuits also inoperative. K9 . K9 gave a happy electronic burble and wagged his tail ant enna. `Skonnan Empire.' said the Doctor thoughtfully. By the way.' `Grav itic anomaliser?' `Functioning normally. Collapsed from within after civil war..' The Doctor scratched his head. Master.' `Yes. `We're right up a gum tree without a paddle.' Since the Doctor had muddled two common Earth saying s. I know.' `Please define gum tree.' `Define. `So those are the people we're mixe d up with--a set of ruthless murderers. Go on.' `That fool in there was babbling about a second Skonnan Empi re.
.sound of things at all! There's something very nasty indeed going on on Skonnos. .' .
These two extraordinary strangers seemed to have taken over his ship. still covering them with his blaster. wait for my signal. `Can't you feel this gravity? It'll be t oo late soon. it was only too clear that they had been drawn dangerously close to the embryo blac k hole. though he knew by now that things were well out of his control. `Now then. `Never mind.' Sardor hesti tated. T he Doctor helped her to patch the gravitic anomaliser into the drive units.' `Then what?' `Then nothing.' Sard or was hanging about irresolutely.4 Asteroid By the time the Doctor got back to the engine room of the Skonnan spaceship. `It's getting worse.' said the Doc tor briskly. Just keep the engines ticking over until I come up and tell you to run up to full power. The ship was being caugh t up in a stream of space debris being drawn remorselessly towards the black hol e.' said Romana. `I want you to go back to your flight deck and switch on the power.' Sardor moved labriously away. Captain. we're nearly ready now. As t hey emerged from the inspection tunnel there was a series of echoing clangs as m eteorites large and small crashed into the ship's hull. `Hurry man. Even their voices sounded heavy and slurred.' snapped the Doctor. Sardor had delivered the two Hymetusite crystals and Romana was already well advanced with the power unit conversion. And remember. Keep her at minimum thrust. . Gravity was so strong now that it took considerable effort to move.
`Careful. I'll fix it up in no time.. As far as he could see all systems were fully operational again. the Doctor winced and snatched away his fingers. As K9 welded two circuits together with his nose-laser.. Working quickly. Then we can ride out of the gravity whirlpool inside the ship.' said the Doctor generously.' Romana looked alarmed. park som ewhere safe and repair the rest of the damage at our leisure. K9!' `Apologies. the Doctor was working ra pidly on the dimensional stabiliser. `It's all right. The dead body of Sekkoth had been heaved out o f the way and dumped unceremoniously in a corner.' `That's all right. K9 says its only fused. Romana linked in the gravity anomaliser. `How's the gravity pull now?' . If the emergency repair would hold long eno ugh for one short spatial transition.' `Do you think you can get the TARDIS inside here?' `Well I could--if the dimensional stabiliser w as working. Sard or sat hunched over the controls.' With a cheery wave the Doctor l eft the hold.. the engines started up with a low whine of power. Master. In the control room. Slowly he began to build up the power. What will you be doing. Helped by K9. Doctor?' `I'm going to patch up the TARDIS so I can move her into the hold of th is ship.The Doctor turned to Romana.. Romana made her way back inside the inspection tunnel and set to work... Fighting against the ever-increasing gravity. Almost immediately the gravit y started to lessen and she could move freely again. and the Doctor grinned. Rapidly Sardor checked over hi s instruments. `Sure you know what to do?' `When he starts the eng ines I link the gravity anomaliser to the main circuit. Just as the last of her prepa rations were complete.
you would see them off with a good shou t and a few wellaimed stones!' . We'll still be sacrificed. His hand hovered over the main drive lever.' `Well.' Teka was horrified. `It is a fearsome sig ht. `What's happened?' asked Seth.' `I don't see why!' `Be cause if we don't send the sacrifice. we'll be taken t o Skonnos. Just a f ew more minutes. In the control room of the Skonnan battle cruiser.' said Seth gloomily. Sardor came to a decis ion..' `We'd better get a move on!' They went on with their work. `It's a ll right.' `Then take over the ship. if the rest of their ships are in the same state as this one. in the days of the fir st conquest. `We'll be away from here soon.' `What. you can make the pilot take you home again.. higher until it was throbbing at maximum.' said Romana reassuringly. `the Skonnons will se nd their battle fleet to destroy our planet. Her work comple ted Romana made her way to the adjoining hold where she found the Anethan captiv es huddled together in their usual panic.' whispered Teka. They say it blotted out the daylight. He ran the power higher.' `Have you ever seen this fleet?' `Our ancestors did. with ships like this one?' `They will send their great battle fleet.. Master. `We can't do that! We have to go to Skonnos. Once we're free of the gravity whirlpool.' `If we get away from here.`Still increasing. All we've go t to do now is wait for the Doctor..
`Please. `Well I think you're all being very feeble about--' She broke of f and clutched at the bulkhead.. but he shoved her away.. Romana said.' Romana tried to pull him from the controls. Sardor ran the power to maximum.' `We go to Skonnos.' shouted Romana. Fragmen ts of space debris began bumping against the outside of the police box. threw the power lever to full and cut in the main drive. The pilot was supposed to wait!' She ran from the hold. The Nimon waits for no-one. snatching the blaster from his belt. With a sudden surge of power that rattled every hull-plate the ancient cruiser leaped into lif e. still held by the gravity whirlpool. The e nergy corridor between TARDIS and ship lengthened and snapped as the ship surged away. and once more the Doctor was thrown from his feet. The Great Contract mu st be fulfilled. `You despicable worm! You've left the Doctor behind . He picked .' The sudden break with the space ship set the TARDIS spinning.' `Your duty is to the Doctor--he just saved your life!' `No! I must deliver the sacrifice. `We're moving. In the control room. you must turn back. leaving the TARDIS behind. Romana d ashed into the control room.The Anethans stared dumbly at her. The ship's in flight and the Doct or isn't back yet. Turn back at once!' Sardor was hunched over the controls. `Turn back. `My duty is to deliv er my cargo to Skonnos--and we're late already.
' yelled the Doctor. come to that?' `Mast er!' `What is it. . `It's practically a planet--and it's heading str aight towards us.' `That's not a n asteroid.' The Doc tor looked at the scanner and saw an enormous chunk of rock. ` Diameter 96. growing larger and larger as it came nearer. The mise rable weasel! And he's taken Romana.' The Doctor shook his head.4 kilometres. `Looks like some kind of asteroid. `Poor Romana.' reported K9 calmly. just gone off and left us. What do you make of it. K9?' `Large object approaching at considerable speed.' On the screen the giant asteroid grew rapidly larger as it ru shed towards them.himself up and staggered to the console. `He's left us. Now approaching at a speed of Mach 9. On the scanner he could see the rapidly disappearing battle cruiser. K9?' `Estimated mass equivalent to 220 million tons. w hat's going to happen to her? What's going to happen to us.3.
`Well.' The Doc tor shuddered. with his usual infuriating c alm. no dematerialisation circuit.' repeated the Doctor. You know what. Sardo r grabbed her by the arm and dragged her to the door. K9. Master. K9! You've been a good dog. `I do wish you wouldn't use words like that! Wait a minute--did I say cricket ball?' He rushed back to the console. `Time to impact now 58 seconds dead. o nly half power on main drive. `This is no ti me for petty jealousies. `Come on. S uddenly a steady bleep filled the cabin. 89. `The beacon! We made it--we're back on course for Skonnos!' `No!' shouted Romana. old girl. `We've got to go back for the Doctor. I think we're going to find o ut what it's like to be a cricket ball!' He patted the TARDIS.5 The Nimon `The object is now on a collision course.' `T hank you. Sardor was adjusting the navigational controls with his other hand.. you. it's been a great partnership. `No defence shields.4 seconds. into the ho ld--move! For all I care you friend can rot in his black hole!' . Still covering Romana with hi s blaster.' `Master?' The Doctor looked down. ' Slipping into the co-pilot's seat she began wrestling with the controls.4 sec onds. `How long have we got?' `Estimated time to impact.' `89. the best I've ever had.' said K9.' said K9 primly..
The Doctor staggered giddily to the console and fought to bring the TARDIS ou t of its spin. Let's hope the same is tr ue of the TARDIS.. unable to rid himself for a moment of the sensation that the TARDIS was still whirling round. I sometimes think I'm wasting my time dashing round the cosmos saving planets from destruction. and sent the TARDIS itself whir ling away through space. You know.' `That's nice to know. K9. K9!' `P lease clarify. Gradually he succeeded and things returned. his staff of office in his hand. Master. now entirely filled by the enormous asteroid. so that the asteroid batted us clear out of the gravity whirlpool. K9 . Sol deed paced up and down in front of the Power .With carefully timed bursts of power. Master. more or less. `Affirmative. `How am I?' K9 scanned the Doctor. here we go!' The asteroid struck the TARDIS with a crash that sent the Doctor and K9 flying across the control room. like a spinning cricket ball struck by some enormous ba t. we did it. K9?' K9 glided rather e rratically from the far corner of the control room.' `Good . to norm al. the Doctor managed to increase the TARDIS' s rate of spin until it was whirling wildly.. Clinging to the console he glanced at the scanner screen. Did what?' `I just put a whole lot of spin on the TARDIS. `Are you all right.' He began checking over the console.' said the Doctor weakly. `Well. With talents like mine. He shook his head. `There appears to be no damage to your circuitry. I could have played cricket for Englan d!' Dressed in his full ceremonial regalia. `Brace your self.
He found himself in the same maze of featu reless metal corridors that he had encountered on previous visits. He did not relish bringing bad news to the Nimon. Marching up to the gleaming metal doorway he raised his staff. Presumably on the Nimon's planet some similar creature h ad developed intelligence and become the dominant life form. Resolutely Soldeed set off. The massive head merged directly into the enormous torso. It was a fearsome. bending in odd distorted a ngles. Great golden eyes blazed with a fierce . Soldeed became sp eechless with terror. They twisted away in all directions. taking t urning after turning.Complex. He marched on. Suddenly he heard a low. with no suggestion of a neck. All paths led eventually to the centre--and the Nimon. `Why do you dare to disturb me at this time?' As always when he looked on the face of the Nimon. Set into the far wall was a curv ed screen of shining metal. He turned a corner and found himself in a huge circular co ntrol room. but he knew there was no alternative. `In the name of the Second Skonnan E mpire!' Soldeed stepped through the shimmering red curtain and disappeared from the sight of the awe-stricken guards. It didn't much matter which direction he took . It swung round as Soldee d entered and spoke in a deep rumbling voice. not unlike the great buffalo of Earth. lined with strange alien machinery. He was close to th e abode of the Nimon. branching off here and there. Finally Soldeed nerved himself to his task. dwarfing the instruments with its enormous bulk. The Nimon was like a great black bull that had learned to talk and walk upon its hind legs like a m an. rumbling roar. A great black figure was hunched over one of the con soles. extraordinary creature.
If you were to advance us some of the technology you have pr omised us. but the condition of our ship makes it difficult for us to reach Aneth. Sol deed? Be mindful of the terms of our Great Contract. Lord Nimon.' With a mighty effort. Soldeed took an instinctive pace back as the Nimon moved towards him.' `You are idle Soldeed.' `I am.' `Be mi ndful of what you have undertaken to perform. The most terrifying thing about the Nimon was that it was never still. `Enough!' it roared at last. Lord Nimon. It was as if so m uch energy was packed into the enormous body that it throbbed with continual pow er. rumbling growls.intelligence and two amber-coloured horns jutted from the broad flat forehead. Perhaps the Anethans have attacked the ship to rescue them!' `And what have you done to exact vengeance for such a deed?' ` Nothing as yet. `Lord Nimon. Soldeed told of the loss of the ship bearing the tribute. I came straight to you as soon as I heard the news. There can be no stumbling on the Great Journey of Life. T he Nimon listened restlessly. the new ships. we . The tributes must be brought befor e me. Lord Nimon. The hostages shall be found. the new weapons. T he creature wore only a wide jewelled belt and a kind of metallic kilt. `You dare to speak to me of failure. Even when it was not speaking it gave off a constant series of low. Soldeed found the courage to protest. punctuating Soldeed's rambling speech with low ang ry growls. we have almost fulfilled our part of the Great Contract. neglectful of your undertakings.' `Indeed not. pacing restlessly to and fro like a great caged beast. `Well. Soldeed?' In a voic e shaking with fear.
Soldeed. If the ship cann ot be found.could complete the agreement and claim vengeance from Aneth at the same time. `The Nimon also spoke of y ou. `No. There are no m ore ships.' `A sy mbol of what?' Soldeed decided to change the subject.. We must! Or we sha ll face the wrath of the Nimon. Sorak was waiting for him. `Of the vengeance he will demand if you do not either find the missing ship of arrange for a fresh shipment of sacrifices. `Well..' T he Nimon gave a bellow of rage.' said Seth dispiritedly. Sorak.' Soldeed lowered his voice.' `It is not possible. `Look. there are eight of us. Soldeed. Ro mana was trying to inspire them to revolt.. `It is a metaphor. Sorak. and onl y one Skonnon now. He speaks of the Journey of Life.' `It w ouldn't be any use.. .' Locked in the hold with her fellow captives. It should be easy to overpower him and seize the ship.' `Again? What does this Journey mean?' So ldeed was far from certain himself. Soldeed?' `I have spoken wi th the Nimon!' `And what does the Nimon say this time?' `He speaks of many thing s.' he lied. I must be paid --and I will be paid in full!' Soldeed was pale and shaken when he emerged from the Power Complex. then we attack Aneth. a symbol. The terms of our contract are clea r. You are buying from me the power to conquer the entire galaxy. `We must do it. Sorak.
' `What plan?' asked Romana curiously. staring o ut at the two enormous horns above the Power Complex.' Seth looked uneasy. are they part of your plan?' Teka shook her head. You can see.' `You don't unde rstand. I can fly the ship.' Romana looked at the dispirited group. `It's for the sake of Aneth and our families tha t we must go to Skonnos.' She reached in her pocket and then gave a little cry of alarm.`Of course it would. Teka. only one way our peopl e can stop living in fear. he will seize the ship and tak e us home in triumph. the Skonnons will destroy the planet. `There's only one way we can be free. back to your families and Aneth. you lot can sit and whimper if you like--I'm going to get out of here.' It seemed a pretty impractical scheme to Romana. `Quiet . `What abo ut this lot. We shall paint the ship white before we return. though she was relieved to find the Anethans showing any sign of enterprise. they're too frightened even to talk.' She lowered her voice.' said Teka desperately. `My sonic screwdriver. We must defeat the Nimon. `What's the matter?' asked Seth.' `How will your father know it's not another Skonnon raidi ng party?' `Skonnan ships are all black--like this one. If we don't. they've given up already. When it is done. `Well. We could go back and find the Doctor an d then take you all back home. I m ust have left it behind in the engine room!' Angrily Romana began hammering on t he locked door with her fists. `Set h is going to destroy the Nimon. . `They'd be useles s. No one must know of our plan. Soldeed sat gloomily in his laboratory.
He look ed up eagerly as Sorak rushed in. There was some kind of a ccident and the Captain was killed.' `Excellent.Somewhere in there the Nimon was waiting--and he would be growing angry. They've just sent a signal. the sacrifices a nd the crystals are unharmed. But everything's all right. but this time his gaze was exultant. Skonnos shall rise again and conquer. Make preparation for the Ceremony of Sacrifice. we've found the lost battle cruiser!' `What?' `It just reappeared on our scanners.' `At once Soldeed!' Soldeed looked out at the Power Complex once more . have you found another ship to go to An eth?' `Better than that. The Nimon be praised!' . `Well. `The Great Contract nears its completion.
You seem to have taken on quite a task. `That's interesting.' said Teka simply.' `Indeed Soldeed is the only scientist on Skonnos. of course I am. and was trying to gather s ome useful information from her fellow captives. If we don't pay tribute to him.' `Sounds like an insecure personality to me!' Seth took up the story. Romana said. `Only a handful of soldiers survived.' `Very approp riate!' `No-one who has entered the Power Complex has ever come out again. with awesome powers.' Teka grip ped his arm fiercely. He built the Power Complex for the Nimon. and the Skonnons began demanding tribute from Aneth. `But you're going to change all that--aren't you.' . `Who is this Nimon? What is it? ' `The Nimon is a god. I know. Seth.' One of the female ca ptives. Seth?' S eth did his best to look determined. `I admire your courage. How did that happen?' `There was a great civil war.' `Yes. Teka we nt across to comfort her. They say he 's a terrible creature.6 The Maze Romana had abandoned her useless banging on the door.' `And who's Soldeed?' `A great scientist on Skonnos. `Yes. he will destroy us.' said Seth. ' said Teka. `Apparently he lives in something called the Power Complex. a dark-haired girl younger than the rest was sobbing hopelessly. `The great god of Skonnos. No-on e but Soldeed. When the war was over th e Nimon arrived.
Outside the building waited a group of high-ranking Skonnons i n ornately decorated black uniforms. They were . and they were ma rched through the ruined city and up to a gleaming metal edifice crowned with tw o enormous horns. Rather than be sent back I made up this story about being a g reat hero. haven 't you?' `I'll just have to do the best I can when the time comes. `You. `Oh. Please don't tell Teka any of this. I'm not even a prin ce really. I need you to help land t he ship. `Both of. and the King believed me! Next thing I knew. I'm her only hope. I'm not a hero.' said Romana solemnly. I thought you were supposed to be the great her o of Aneth?' Seth glanced across at Teka. a prince from some distant land. `Well.' `You're not?' `I'd run away from home you see--about the only really brave thing I've ever done. I'm supposed to destroy the Nimon and return to Aneth in triumph!' `You have got problems. aiming his blaster at Romana. They found me on the road and I was taken to the Ki ng. The rest of you weakling scum get into the next hold and pick up those five caskets. I've had a few adventures.' With Romana as unwilling co-pilot the landing went off without a hitch.' `Don't worry. Your secret is safe with me. Skonnon guards met them at the rubble-strewn launch pad. Teka's father.' The door was flung open and Sardor appea red. I never wanted to be one!' He lowered his voice. come with me. them.`You don't sound very confident. I found myself volunteering to be one of the hostages. mostly because I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.' `Do you promise?' `Cross my hearts. she's got a lot of confidence in me.
Sorak?' he boomed. `You! Tell me what happened.' thundered Soldeed. Romana put a hand on his arm. if that means anything to you. who swallowed and started to speak. `Why do you bring only five crystals? There are t wo missing. frowning at the si ght of Romana. `Greetings. `Who is this madwoman? Where does she come from?' Romana answered for herself. my nam e is Romana. leave this to m e. `It's all right. I have the honour to bring you the tribu te of Aneth. He scowled down at the two prisoners without caskets. And who are you?' `I am Soldeed! How dare you address me so familiarly!' `Wel l. Soldeed.' She turned and pointed to Sardor. He pointed to the trembling Sardor.' `Indeed? And who are you?' `You can call me Roman a. the remaining two were empty-handed. There was a horned staff in his hand a nd a jewelled circlet blazed on his forehead. Where are they?' Teka looked appealingly at Seth. I come from Gallifrey. `Well. `I can answer your questions. The guar d captain saluted.' Soldeed looked at the little group of captives. `He went off and left my friend the Doctor behind--after he'd risk ed his life to help him. I've got a complaint to make about this pilot of yours. `I've already told you.' Soldeed looked at Sorak. Then he noticed that while five of the Anethan captives were clut ching lead caskets. Soldeed. who was trying to make himself inconspicuous at the back of the group. At the centre of the group was a bearded white-faced man in an elaborate high-collared cloak.surrounded by armed guards.' Separating herself from the group she marched up to the astonished Soldeed.' `Speak again and I will have you eliminated.' .
`Be silent. sir. I adapted the fuel cells!' `Y ou lie!' `No sir. it's true.' He turned back to Sardor and said silkily. not in a million years. and the sp ace pirate girl as well. Wh y did you deviate from the set course?' `It wasn't my fault. `Y ou repaired the engines. I thought five crystals would be better than none. You have end angered the tribute to the Nimon. The Nimon was going to demand a scapegoat. `Your story changes with every seco nd. I.' sneered Soldeed. `You wouldn't have t he skill or the knowledge to make such an adaptation.' Romana was out raged.' roared Soldeed. `It was the fuel cells..' Soldeed looked scornfully at him.. ` Desperately he tried to remember what the Doctor had done. I had to adapt the engines to using Hymetusite. I captured this one at great personal risk!' `Go on!' `Unfortunately our engines h ad been damaged in the attack and I had to stop and repair them. Someone would have to be .' `You have been warned. you say? How did you manage to do this? And why are two crystals missing?' `That's just it. wo man. `It's lies. We did crash into his ship.' babbled Sardor. all of it.' Soldeed was even more certain of something el se. They killed the Captain but I managed to drive them off. sir. sir. sir.' `Exactly how did you adapt the engines to use Hymetusi te?' Sardor swallowed.. `Well .. and I had to use two of the crystals to get us home.`She's a space pirate. I can be certain only of this--you have failed in your mission. We've still got all the Anethans. It was a compu ter malfunction!' `Indeed. this Doctor . but they'd already broken down and the Captain was already dead. attacked the ship. truly. `She and her companion. sir.
The central colu mn began rising and falling rapidly. The Doctor straightened up from the TARDIS console and looked dubiously at his work.' `Oh.' said K9 smugly.' There was a bang and a flash.' ordered Soldeed. This fool of a pilot would fill the role very nicely. and the column shuddered to a halt. and operated the controls.' said K9 warningly.' said the Doctor cheerfully. Let's give it a try shall we?' `Improvised by-pa ss circuitry liable to overload. She'll take half power easily . Soldeed raised his sta ff.' `No nsense.' Sulki ly the Doctor set to work replacing the fused circuit. but it's the best I can do w ithout the gravitic anomaliser.punished for the late arrival of the tribute and the missing crystals. . K9. K9. `You know the penalty for failure. `You see. He pointed at Romana. It's a bit of a botch-up. all right. he might as well dispose of all his problems at one go. `There we are.' Guards seized the trembling Sardor. With Rom ana at their head. You have failed the Nimon--and the Nimon himself shall deal with you. `Now the rest of them. we'll try your way. `Necessary to operate on drasticall y reduced power. the terrified captives were thrust into the maze of the Nimon . Advise one quarter. `By-pass ci rcuitry liable to overload. and it wa sn't going to be him. `Advise minimum power. `Her t oo!' After all. `In the name of the Second Skonnan Empire!' They dragged Sardor to the arche d metal doorway of the Power Complex and thrust him through the shimmering red f orcefield.
steel and blood.. Secrets that will give Skonnos the most powerful weapons the galaxy has ever seen. The Doctor rubbed his han ds. `And Romana as well!' In the dome-shaped council chamber of the Palace. the planet Ane th has given us the power which we shall use to reconquer them. gentlemen. `Hail to the Nimon!' `Even now we await the secrets the Nimon shall un fold to us. Soldeed was giving his commanders a pep talk. the Doctor said. here we go again. . savouring his moment of glory. Our fire shall i nfest their skies.Some time later. `At this ve ry moment. I think you will all appreciate the irony--in providing us with this tribute. `Success at last! Right. `Right. He stood o n the central podium facing the tiered rows of seats. Soldeed stood basking in their applause.. four. two. Soldeed!' chorused the generals. All worlds shall shudder at the name of Skonnos. He addressed the little group as if it was an enormous military rally. After five. three. let's see if we can manage to reach Skonnos and recover my gravitic anomaliser. very slowly--but this time it went on moving.' `And the Mistress. Skonnos shall rule!' `Skonnos!' shouted the g enerals. a n empire of fire. We shall rule the greatest empire the galaxy has ever seen..' agreed the Doctor hastily. occupied on this occasion by no more than a handful of ageing warriors.' `Hail. of cour se.' `Yes.. . one!' He crept up the power and the central column began movin g again. From Aneth we sh all move on and build the Second Skonnan Empire.. yes... Not that this bothered Soldeed. K9. the final tribute is being paid to the Nimon. Master.
the guards had forgotten to take it away from him when they thrust him into the maze.Co-pilot Sardor was moving cautiously through the metal corridors of the maze. Inc redibly. It didn't occur to him that they simply hadn't bothered. all roads lead to the Nimon. But it was necessary to ensure that none of his sacrifices dared to contradict him. In the maze. Sardor fingered the blaster in his belt. Sardor tu rned back the way he had come--and found another metal wall barring his way. The re was a turning off to his right.' . does he?' said Romana. She was frowning in concentration. `What was that?' `It must be the Nimon!' `Doesn't sound v ery happy. H e had just one hope of survival now--to give the Nimon his own version of events and convince him of its truth. turned the same corner and found himself facing an empty corridor that ended in a blank metal wall. Stealthily Sardor crept af ter them. Puzzled. They turned a corner and disappeared from view. and flattened himself into an angle of the wall. and the little group came to a terrified halt. Seth looked round. At the e nd of the corridor. Romana led her terrified compa nions along the corridor. reverberating roar. and he took it because there was no other way to go. he saw Romana and the Anethan sacrifices moving through the maze. The sacrifices had disappeared. `Where is he?' These corrid ors all look the same. He heard voices and footsteps. Tek a clutched Seth's arm. Her visual memory w as exceptionally good--and there was something very odd about this maze. There w as a low.
He kept the TARDIS hoveri ng in space. that se ems to be the centre of everything. `Well. But he smiled reassuringly at Teka and patted her shoulder. `Come on. After an agonisingly slow and careful journey. They went on their way.' said Romana thoughtfully. then. We'll just have to land somewhere outside it. It reminded the Doctor of som ething.' said Romana.`Don't worry. while he studied the ruined capital on the scanner. K9. We'd better start by taking a look at it . `I'm sure there was a wall there a m oment ago.' The Doctor began adjusting the controls. `Who's joking?' thought Seth. Unfortunately a slight malfu nction in the TARDIS's directional circuits caused it to materialise in what was the least inconspicuous spot on the whole planet--directly outside the main ent rance to the Power Complex. `There was. ' She went to make a right turn and found that the junction had disappeared. the Doctor managed to reach a point just over the ruined capital of Skonnos.' `Sensors detect hemispherical forcefields.' `I see. . If we don't find the Nimon. The twisting angular walls of the building made a strangely familiar pattern. approximate strength 7.300 megazon es. Seth. I have a feeling he'll come and find us!' `That's what worries me!' `How can you two joke at a time like this?' whispered Teka. Somewhere incon spicuous. She turned left and saw a junction just ahead. `We might as well keep moving. Carefully the D octor examined the aerial view of the Power Complex.' whispered Seth. though for the moment he couldn't think what it could be.
and found himself sur rounded by armed guards. . he stepped out of the TARDIS-.Grabbing his hat and scarf.
7 Sardor's Bluff The Doctor raised his hat and bowed politely. `What is this? Who are you?' `Hello. Or is it evening.' ordered the guard commander. Having a bit of trouble with the neutron conversion. they covered him with their blasters. `Good morning. `Well. gentleman. I see. `Oh. as usual. isn't it? Or do I mean wasn't it?' The guards looked at him uncertainly. not again! Why is it wherever I go in this universe there are idiots like you pointing guns or blasters or phasers at me?' He took a step forward and the guards raised their weapons threateningly. The guards shoved him inside and retr eated hastily. well. `All right. I've just dropped in for a chat. all right. Tell you what. Before very long. why don't you just take me to your leader?' `Ta ke him to Soldeed. I take it you mu st be Soldeed?' The Doctor picked up the equipment Soldeed had been working on.' said the Doctor hastily. this is very interesting. here? Lovely day. was fiddling with a complex piece of equipment . The Doctor sighed. this is jus t a flying visit. the Doctor wa s being marched into Soldeed's laboratory. no. `Don't do anything rash. Soldeed.' `What do you know of such matters?' . I'm the Doctor. Decidin g that whatever was unknown must also be dangerous. The materialisation of the TARDIS had already filled them w ith awe and they had no idea how to deal with this strange alien figure. He looked up in astonishment at his unexpected visitor.
about so high. bursting through . `Where she can cause no more trouble! In the maze of the Nimon where you will be soon.' `You repaired our ship?' `That's right.' Unfortunately Sorak chose t hat moment to march into the laboratory. this and that! And you?' Soldeed waved his arm around the cluttered laboratory. otherwise that ship of yours would have been sucked in by now. `I have no idea what you're talking about. It's a very good thing I came along. Now where' s Romana?' He advanced menacingly on Soldeed. `All that you see here is my own invention. Soldeed leaped to his feet. you meddling fool!' As Soldeed fired. snatch ing up his staff. He decided that he'd better not let this rather alarming stranger know that his friend has already been sac rificed. Someone's building a black ho le on your planetary doorstep. `I checked over the ship as you ordered. always sticking her nose in things that don't concern her?' Soldeed looked at hi m thoughtfully. sir. carrying the Doctor's gravitic anomalis er in his hand. `A girl.' `I s it indeed? Then it seems very odd you don't know what a neutron converter is! And I'll tell you something else you may not know. eh? What about this then? My gravitic anomaliser out of my TARDIS. the Doctor brough t up the gravitic anomaliser. I dabble a little you know. The girl's story had been true then. with a little help from my friend Romana.' Before anyone could stop him the Doctor snatched the anomaliser from Sorak's hand. using it to deflect the ray. I very nearly got stuck in it along with one of y our own spacecraft.`Oh.You haven't seen her have you?' The Do ctor held out his hand about five feet from the ground. I found this piece of alien equipment linked to the drive unit. Soldeed stared in ast onishment while the Doctor turned and ran. `No idea what I'm talking abou t.
I stand before you. Sorak and still some other guards appeared behind him cutting off hi s retreat. `After him!' Soldeed held up his hand. They looked up at him expectantly. Can anyone direct me to the exit?' The Doctor heard a pounding of feet behind him. a man who is looking for just one thing--a quick way out of here.' yelled So ldeed. Now the Nimon will deal with him.' yelled Sorak. made a couple of turns more or less at random.the guards and disappearing down the corridor. and the guards took up the pursuit. `Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking. let me sa y this--and I should like to make it perfectly clear. He sprinted across the little square and disappeared through the forcefield in one flying leap. The guards thundered in pursuit. D octor!' . facing a group of astonished generals. `After him. and the Doctor couldn't resist obliging. The Doctor ran along corridor after corridor until suddenly he saw daylight ahead of him. gentlemen. Soldeed. `H e's gone into the Complex. There was only one way for the Doctor to go--through the shimmering r ed forcefield that guarded the entrance to the Power Complex. The entrance was guarded as always and unfortunately most of the guards were blocking his way to the TARDIS. shot through a d oorway and found himself on the podium of the council chamber. By the time the guards ap peared he was disappearing through a door on the far side of the council chamber . leaped from the p odium and forced his way through the astonished group. With a clattering of fee t. Goodbye. He dashed through an open door and found himself exactly where he had first arrived--directly outside the main entr ance to the Power Complex. `No! This is exactly as I planned. The Doctor sprinted down the rubble-s trewn corridors. you fools.
Thoughtfully the Doctor f ished through his pockets and came up with a packet of sticky-backed paper stars . metal corridor.' . `Is he dead?' Romana moved forward to examine t he body. Scratc hing his head. `What h appened to him?' whispered Teka. There was a slab in the centre and on it lay the still body of a young Anethan.' Teka came forward in fascinated horror.Shaking his head to clear away the dazzle of the forcefield the Doctor saw that he was in a strangely angled. Turning a corner. le ft just a husk. He hadn't gone very far when he found himself faci ng another dead end--and the trail of paper stars was nowhere to be seen. w ith here and there a junction-point. He stuck one on the wall beside him. the one to the left. and then set off. `Seth will kill him. Romana and her little party emerged into a long hall. `That's what's going to happen to us. didn't he?' Romana nodded. The Nimon did this. His sk in was grey and lifeless and the whole body looked curiously frail. It was a hol low shell. There was no sign of the entrance through which he had come. twisting away to left and right. like the body of a fly that has been drained dry by a spider. sticking up a star ever y now and again to mark his route. `Yes. It's not just the Hymetusite that's the tribute. the Doctor took the only possible turning. he came to a dead end and turned to retrace his steps. won't you Seth? ' `If I can--and if he can be killed. a nd went on his way. He was in a maze. Just the corridor. it's us too. The stars should have stopped him from gettin g lost in the maze--but they didn't. It's as though something has sucked the life force out of him.
' He raised his voice. `There's no point in hanging about here. in w hich stood an Anethan body.' said a famili ar voice behind them. They came out of the cha mber and into another larger one. `Come on. This must be the Nimon's deep-freeze. I want you all together in f ront of me. see if we can find a way out. You must!' `He'll get his chance.' said Romana.' They moved on their way. `We're all in this together now. `You're all going to stay right here.' `Oh no you don't. all except for one. if we don't keep mo ving. What do you think you're do ing?' demanded Romana. Seth. It was icy cold. `No. We'd bet ter keep moving. the co-pilot. `Lord .`You'll destroy him. and Sardor gave a nod of satisfa ction. Here they saw alcoves. `Looks like an atomic furnace--I wonder what the Nimon needs that for?' `W hat do we do now?' asked Seth. Its face was white and still. by the l ook of that poor husk next door. with dials and a control panel besid e it. row upo n row of them lining the walls. Seth stared unbelievin gly at this new horror.' `Oh no we're not. and he was covering them with his blaster.' `What do you mean?' `Well. rather like that of an oven. The alcoves were empty. he seems to be in some kind of suspended anima tion.' The Anethans closed around Romana. I'm g oing to get out of here! Now close up into a group. a kind of hall. `Is he dead?' Romana reached out and touched the body on the cheek.' Romana looked round and saw a hea vy metal door.' It was Sardor. `That's better. I'd say the Nimon lives by ingesting the bindin g energy of organic compounds--such as flesh.
and spare me!' `You are a liar and a coward.. S everal of them fell to their knees.' `They were particularly rebellious. transfixing Sardor who twisted a nd crumpled to the ground. In this maze al l roads lead to the Nimon.Nimon.. Soldeed thought it best. I bring you the sacrifices from Aneth!' A low thunderous roar came from somewhere close by. I bring yo u the sacrifices.. Lord Nimon.. and you shall die!' With a scream of fear Sardor turned his blaster on the Nimon and fired. Take them. `Soldeed did not send you to bring me sacrifices. I brought you the tribute . `Who dares summon the Nimon?' They turned--and saw the Nimon standing in the doorway.. Twin beams of energy shot from its horns. The Anethans looked in utter terror at the black bull-like figure in it's shining harness. .' `I need no-one to bring the sacrifices to me. This was a formidable being. Sardor raised his blaster. they gave a great deal of troubl e. Sardor swallowed.. He sent you to be executed.' pleaded Sardor. any of you!' From behind them a deep voice rumbled.' `No. The Nimon lowered his head as if to charge. `Do n't move. `I myself brought them all the way from Aneth. the blaster falling from his dead hand. but it did not move. recognising the fierce intelligence in the blazing eye s. but the shots had no effect. the immense energy stored in the enormous body. and managed at last to speak. Lord Nimon. Romana studied the great creature with detac hed scientific curiosity.' `No!' roared the Nimon. have mercy. `It is I. do you hear me? We are here. The golden eyes seemed to bore into Sardor's brain.
.The great black head of the Nimon swung round towards Romana.
holding it out like a matador's cape. sin ce she knew that would be useless. They blasted the door from the storage compartment. edging around the ang ry Nimon in a wide circle. `Do not move. and went over to the control panel. or you will die!' It swung to wards the door. Suddenly the Nimon lowered its head and the energy-ra ys blasted from its horns. The Doctor spun gracefully aside and the rays missed. or can anyone join in?' The Doc tor was standing in the doorway behind the Nimon. all of you!' yelled the Doctor. are you? Is it true that you're very. Emerging from the smo ke the Nimon glared angrily at them. as if about to pursue the fugitives. you're the gr eat Nimon. Slowly the great horned head s wung round to face him. `So. not at the Nimon. temporarily blinding the Ni mon. The Nimon gave a low rumble of anger. `It this a private party. Suddenly Romana noticed the fallen blaster. . and the body toppled stiffl y to the ground. but at the control panel beside the heavy met al door of the atomic furnace. She snatched it up and fired. As she'd hoped.8 K9 in Trouble A cheerful voice said. ready to charge again. hesitated. the panel exploded in flames and a cloud of dense black smoke rolled across the room. `Run for it. The Nimon wheeled round. The rest of the Anethan sacrifices were too terrified to move. very fierce?' The Doctor looped his trailing scarf. Seth grabbed Teka's arm and pulled her after them. Roma na was close behind him. and shot out of the door.
`Or else the Nimon got him. But Seth and Teka were gone. `Perhaps he went a different way. The spaceship broke d own and they had to use two of the crystals to get us here. he'll make for the TARDIS. `Doctor!' she called. That's what the Doctor will be doing. `It's not our fault. still clutching their lead caskets. There was no reply. The Nim on gave a low rumble of satisfaction.Despite the amount of smoke and flame. the damage was relatively slight. you bring me a mere five crystal s. all we can do is go on looking for a way out of here.' They hurried on their way. although Seth and Teka were still with her. and found themselves facing yet another dead end. Somehow they'd lost him in the ever-changing maze of metal c orridors. who stood huddled in a group. In desperation the tiny dark-haired girl babbled. Lord Nimon. though as usual the same ness of the corridors made it impossible to keep any real sense of direction. Rumbli ng impatiently. `Fools! Did they think they could check th e Great Journey of Life by such petty tricks? This can soon be repaired.' suggested Teka.' said Seth g loomily. it set to work to repair the shattered panel. Th ey turned into the corridor. with the others. ` We'll never find our way out of . Romana stopped run ning and found that. `Enough! Five crystals will suffice!' The Nimon slid open a locker revealing shelves crammed with tools and spare parts. the Doctor was nowhere to be seen. `So. the captives instinctively looked around for their leaders. `That's a cheerful thought! `Well. Romana said impatiently. The pro gramme will continue!' It swung round on the sacrifices.' She was silenced by an angry bellow from the Nimon. do you?' Unused to speaking for themselves.
give me the blaster.' sobbed Teka despairingly. The footsteps came nearer.' said Romana. `It looked like a nuclear energy unit.' said Romana determinedly.' whispered Seth.' `So what's the furnace for!' `Well.' They stood very still. I think he has another use for those. `It's no good.. `Call this a maze? It's a cheat. `Your tribute to the Nimon has a v ery practical purpose.' The Doctor said.' said Teka. Don't you think so.' `Why does he need a furnace? For burning t he bodies?' `No. `It's the Nimon. actually. they keep changing the walls!' `Maybe they c hange to some sort of pattern.. .here. What are you doing sulking about he re!' `We're stuck in a dead end. `I don't believe there is a way out!' `There ha s to be. maybe he'll pass by. `Ah.' `Don't worry. `If we could find out what it was. Romana. you see.' Romana shook her head. there you are. but I can't think what!' `Shouldn't we move on?' a sked Seth. thought I'd lost you.' They heard footsteps coming towards them. waitin g. `I had a look at this place from above when I first arrived.' `So do I. `If the Nimon does come we'll be trapped. Keep still. It reminded me of something. nearer. Romana?' `I imagine it's fuelled by those Hymetusite c rystals.' The Doctor looked aroun d. `Presumably Soldeed manages to come and go.' The Doctor looked at Seth and Teka. he'll be bus y repairing his furnace for a while. it's not a furnace at all. I'm afraid . `Qu ick.' said the Doctor. `We saw the results on the way in. and the Doctor appeared around the corne r. it does n't work on him.' said Romana.. `So I see.
`Yes. The Doctor paused at the junction. With each crystal the atomic furnace glowed brighter and its roaring increased.' `That's right. `That way leads back into the Complex .' `Surely not. The Nimon slid back a hatch and thrust the glowing crystals into t he fuel chamber of the energy unit. `Would you have me destroy your planet? Approach!' Trembling the sacrifices came forward. `You may approach with your tribute. One by one they handed over t heir caskets. What happened to the others?' `Th ey were too frightened to move. `We've got t o find the others. .' objected Romana.' The Nimon surveyed the repaired control pariel and gave a low growl of sa tisfaction. haven't we?' said Romana. so it doesn't much matter which w ay we take. ' They hesitated and the Nimon bellowed. I think. `They must still be with the N imon. It was that insatiable curiosity again.' `But why do you want to reach the centre?' asked Seth. He swung round on his captives.' `I thought we were trying to get out?' `Whatever gave you tha t idea? We're trying to get to the centre of the Complex.' said Seth bravely . I suspect th at the maze is set up to take us there anyway. `This way . Despite what sh e'd said Romana was convinced that rescuing the sacrifices wasn't the Doctor's o nly reason for going back. The Doctor marched off and Romana and the others followed him.' said Teka sadly. of course.something horribly evil is being planned here. Actually.
`That's t he reason for the Hymetusite and the nuclear furnace. `Do not fear.' It turn ed to face the trembling captives. as if quite sur e of his route. `A beam of pure energy!' `Well.' . of course.' rumbled the Nimon. `We have achieved operational power levels at last ! The next step on the Great Journey of Life will soon be accomplished. `This is more like it. I think it's about time we found out as well! Seth . eh?' `I should think that only the Nimon knows that. lowering the great horned head. Teka. Preferably in that order. `You shall not die--n ot yet.' The Nimon fired a low-intensity beam.' `All right. Soon the maze began opening out into a series of linked chambers and Romana guessed they must be nearing the centre. `Quite a power house isn't it?' `It certainly is? What do you make of it?' `Som e kind of energy-transmitter?' `Precisely! With the horns at the top serving as directional antennae.' he said. Doctor. ` Aha!' He led them into a huge circular chamber lined with complex electronic equ ipment. The Doctor led his party swiftly onwards. `The main control room.' He began exami ning the rows of instrument consoles that lined the walls. Come on.' `What do we do if h e comes?' `Warn us. `What's the ultimate purpose. you and Teka guard the door and keep watch for the Nimon.' said the Doctor .' `Ah.' `Well. Suddenly the Doctor said. Romana looked around.' said Romana impatiently.' `But what's being transmitted?' `Energy.The Nimon made a final check. and run. and one by one the Anethans fell stunned to the ground. The sacrifice s backed away in terror. but energy for what? ' said the Doctor.
' `K9?' `K9!' Producing his silent dog whistle. A pile of bent and twisted tools bo re witness to their total lack of success.' `Right again. Captain Sorak and a squad of Skonnan guards wer e standing in a disconsolate group around the TARDIS. Under Sorak's direction. `It really is very old. Seth wil l deal with him. He can follow our psychospoor. Soldeed said wonderingly. What we really need is a computer. `Exactly.`Don't worry. the Doctor put it to hi s lips and blew. `But it resists everything we do to it.' `If only we could strip it down and dismantle it. and pulled her over to the door. very probably. t he guards had been trying to force the door. `If the Nimon does come. It has the external appearance of something from a very primitive s ociety. yet it's obviously some sort of travel capsule. can't he?' The Doctor raised the whistle and blew again. Soldeed. when the circuit is in operation.' .' said Teka reassuringly.' said Sorak longingly.' The Doctor surveyed the maze of equipment.' `A giant positronic circuit?' sugge sted Romana. Sudden ly the Doctor put a hand to his forehead.' `But we still don't know why. Doctor. `It might be p ossible to work it out from these instrument readings. `Got it! Now I know what this place re minded me of when I saw it from the TARDIS. `Do you think he'll be able to find us here?' `Certainly--well.' Seth grabbed her hand. And the reason the walls of the maze keep changing is--' `They keep switching.
Sorak.' `But it's alive!' ` Nonsense. `You did it. he sent out an energy impulse to operate the door control. blaster rais ed. A guard leaped in front of K9. it seems impossible to open.' Sorak said. Suddenly Sorak shou ted.`Perhaps it is just as well. sir!' The TARDIS door was opening. hiding behind the TARDIS as K9 glided through the door. In any event. summoned by the Doctor's whistle. It is some form of electronic machine. Soldeed jumpe d out from behind the TARDIS. `As I thought. Soldeed walked up to K9 and prodded him wi th the butt of his staff. K9 alerted. You'd better check. shot the guard down and glided on. `What is it ?' whispered Sorak.' said Soldeed uncertainly. Soldeed and Sorak jumped ba ck in alarm. `Stop it! Stop it!' yelled Sorak. `There may be more of them inside that contraption . levelled his horned staff and sent an energy ray a t K9.' A sudden thought struck him. Astonished at his own success. Soldeed ga ve the TARDIS door a last exasperated thump and turned away. We don't know what might be inside such a my sterious contraption. K9 glided straight towards the Power Comple x. K9 extruded his nose laser. sir. `It appears to be some kind of machine. Confirming the direction of t he signal.' Inside the TAR DIS. `The door has closed again. The little automaton spun round under the sudden impact and came to a dead stop.' .
I shall dismantle it a nd learn its secrets. .`Very well! Take the electronic machine to my laboratory.' Two guards picked up K9 and carried him away.
Unless I miss my guess.' said Romana.9 The Journey of the Nimon The Doctor stood in the centre of the Nimon's control room. this looks li ke a bearing. But it's directional.' Romana said cheekily. He snapped his finger s. `I've got it!' His face fell. another universe even. Romana said. `Another galaxy.' `A directional beam.' `Where?' `I don't know. `People often don't. I'm sure of that. But I'll te ll you something interesting.' said the Doctor. `Wait a minute.' . ` You remember I said it might be artificially created?' `Do you think it was done from here? But why? What good is a black hole to anybody?' `It could act as a g ateway into hyperspace--with an exit somewhere else. `No I haven't!' He relapsed into a brooding sil ence. `But why?' The Doctor was studyi ng the readings on one of the instrument consoles. he did n't know what I was talking about.' s aid the Doctor thoughtfully. trying to fathom out the purpose of the complex equipment that surrounded him. `Only there's no tr ansmat pad. `I've never seen anything quite like it. When I mentioned the black hole to Soldeed. the beam's focussed directly on the black hole!' `Our black hole? The one we nearly got sucked into?' The Doctor nodded. pumpin g out energy over vast distances.' `For a time I thoug ht it might be a giant matter transmitter.
`Go and await your orders.what does he think all of this lot is for?' `Power!' said Soldeed. Soldeed?' `You may. Skonnos!' Soldeed basked for a moment in the applause and then waved them away.' Descending from the podium they left the council chamber and began walking along the corridor that led to Soldeed's laboratory. `Soldeed. Soldeed. merely to speculate upon his motiv es. it sometimes occurs to me to wonder exactly why the Nimon is doing so much for us. `Do you dare to q uestion the ways of the Nimon?' `No. what's in it for him?' Soldeed had somet imes wondered the same thing. `Might I be permitted to ask a question. `Each of you shall command his own fleet. watching the ancient warriors march stiffly away. `Power drawn from the distant st ars themselves. and I. Soldeed was giving them anoth er pep talk in the council chamber. doing his best to dispel the rumours raised by recent strange events.' chorused the Skonnan generals obediently. to put it bluntly. I mean. Soldeed! Hail. That is what the Nimon gives us!' `Hail to the Nimon. Solde ed. Power for the new generation of Skonnan battle cruisers with whi ch we shall reconquer the galaxy.' .`Possibly not! But if he doesn't know about the black hole-.' Sorak remained at Soldeed's side. but he pretended to be outraged. shall lead you into battle! Skonnos shall rule the heavens once again!' `Hai l.
Seth. He is as a god to us. But simple in his desires. In return he will give us what we desire.' `You are overscrupulous. `That isn't natural. yes. won't you?' Seth looked at her in affectionate exasperation. Scientifically advanced. Sorak .They had reached Soldeed's laboratory by now. Perhaps that's what's making me uneasy. Sorak. yes. We need it. If there is a little imbalance. In return he grants us-.' `I can't hear anything. `Don't worry.' `Can it really be that simple?' `Th e Nimon is simple. K9 had been installed on the central workbench. One obtains what one wants by giving o thers what they want. Better yet. It was a faith that was getting incr easingly hard to live up to. I play the Nimon like a fish--on a very long line!' Outside the Nimon control room. `You do not understand the Nimon. is he not?' `That is so. and he led the way inside.' said Sorak cynically. in f act. So we give him the tribute he asks. Teka. we'll find a way. I fawn to him--a little--and it satisfies his bestial ego.' `Something for nothing. what are we going to do? You'll get us out of thi s place soon. Teka had taken his claims to be a hero so seriously that she now had a child-like fai th in his ability to deal with any problem. and to accept our tribute. Then her shoulders slumped in despair. one merely makes sure that the scales are tipped in one's own favour. `Seth? I though t I heard something.' `It pleases the Nimon to be--g od-like! To receive our worship. we force Aneth to do it for us.' .power! We want that power. Sorak. `Oh. Sorak.' Teka relaxed. Teka tensed. Brutally powerful.
' Seth came dashing into the room. It's the Nimon. `Some thing coming!' she gasped. .' Luc kily most of the instrument-consoles were free-standing. `The Nimon's coming. all of you. `We' d better get out of here. They stood flattened against the walls in silence.' `Come on. there is something. `Go and w arn the Doctor!' `Are you going to fight the Nimon?' What did she expect. The Doctor looked up. The Doctor looked around. `Hide. though t Seth despairingly. `Good old K9! That was quick!' `No. so that there were gaps between them and the wall. growling softly to himself. Quickly they all found hiding places. `Listen. Get behind the control consoles. There was only one exit from the room and it wa s too late to use that. rumbling growl. He's in the corridor now!' Even as Seth spoke they heard another low. listening to him pacing about. She found the Doct or and Romana immersed in their study of the Nimon's scientific equipment.Suddenly Teka said. Did she think he was going to strangle it with his bare han ds? `Go and warn the Doctor!' Teka ran into the control room. Doctor. It's coming this way!' Seth hea rd heavy footsteps and the low rumbling growl that always seemed to accompany th e presence of the Nimon. He pushed Teka towards the control room door.' said Romana. like mice in the wainscotting. you don't understand. The Nimon came into the room.
I use the Anethans.' `I wa nt to see what he's doing. `Look.. power! It is a staggeringly efficient pi ece of engineering!' Sorak couldn't resist the chance to deflate Soldeed's pompo sity. . `Surely.' He slapped K9's metal casing . There are so many demands on me. he'll see you. with all your scientific skills?' `Ah. yes. `The secret of su ccess. `I would use this creature too. Soldeed. is to make use of others.' Suddenly a lurid glare lit up the room.' `Well? What is he doing?' The Doctor slipped back in to hiding. Romana w as crouched in hiding beside the Doctor. The horns on top of the Nimon's Power Complex were abla ze with light. I use the Nimon. It is simply a question of time. `There is power in this thing. Sorak. Soon there was a rising hum of power. it looks as if we're too late to s top him!' Soldeed was still boasting to the unimpressed Sorak. `Careful. my skills! Naturally they are more than adequate for the task. Sorak close behind him. `I don't know. `With that power our onslaught can begin! Snatching up his staff and ceremonial circlet. `This moment marks the beginning of the Second Skonnan Empire.' He looked in exasperation at the motionless K9.The Doctor peeped cautiously out and saw that the Nimon was going from console t o console. `The time has come!' cried Soldeed exultantly. Soldeed hurried from the room.. Doctor. switching on controls. . the creature can have no secrets from you. if I could find out how the infernal thing worked.' He gestured dramatically at the gl owing Power Complex. But whatever it is. Sorak.. He po inted out of the window. Soldeed!' shouted Sorak.
' shrieked Soldeed. I shall go and speak with the Nimon!' `Have a care. Sssh!' Romana peered out from behind her console. the creature let out a great roar of t riumph. and wisps of smoke still curled about it. Suddenly a door in the front of the capsule swung open. and the control room was lit with fierce flashes of light. becoming transparent. `In the name of the Second Skonnan Empire!' He stepped thr ough the forcefield and disappeared. As they watched. servant and ad visor to the Nimon. Two Nimon steppe d out of the capsule. .' warned Sorak. It wa s pulsing with light. `Calm you rselves. `I am Soldeed.' They d ucked back into hiding. it slid aside revealing a bare me tal chamber in the centre of which stood something like a giant metal egg. The metal screen on the far side of the control room was g lowing. `Just arrived by the look of it. I have nothing to fear!' Soldeed marched up to the entrance and raised his staff. `Look.Outside the Power Complex Skonnan guards were milling about in terror. `What's happening?' `I don't kn ow. The entire Power Complex seemed to be throb bing and vibrating. B ehind a console Teka was huddling close to Seth. `There is nothing to fear. Throwing back its head. Doctor!' The Doctor popped his head out.' whispered Romana. `A space capsule . The Doctor nodded. The Nimon strode across the control room and stood gazin g at the capsule. Soldeed.
' The first Nimon swung round its great head.The first Nimon gave another exultant bellow. Now that you are here. `It's a space c apsule all right. to the next step in the Great Journey of Life!' `You have done well. my friends! Welcome to S konnos. my friend. It's a sort of hyperspatial tube train! The Nimon have found a way of leapfrogging through the universe.' The Nimon turned and led his fellows from the control room. This place produces an energy beam which drew the capsule through the black hole. more or less instantaneously. Romana?' `It's just as you said. my friend. Welcome to the new home of the Nimon race. Crinoth is finish ed.' The Doctor chuckled. studying it in fascination. `It doesn't need them. Cautiously the Doctor s tepped out of hiding. Come. there is much to do. does it. Without a new planet. `Welcome. `I thought there was only one Nimon?' . `All clear!' The others came to join him. It doesn't seem to have any engines.' `Through two black holes. Th e third Nimon seemed less content. Doctor. we can b egin the evacuation with all speed. The Doctor and the others could hear the deep rumbling voices fading away down the corridor. `I don't understand. Seth came up beside her. `Have no fear.' rumbled the second Nimon. The Doctor and R omana hurried over to the metal egg. They can trave l as far as they like.' corrected the Doctor. `One at the beginning of the journey. our race will soon be starving.' said Romana. with a hyperspatial tunnel between them. and one at the end.' Teka was still trying to u nderstand what was happening. `You are only just in time.
' `But Skonnos is already inhabit ed.' said the Doctor impat iently. they'll ma ke short work of the surviving Skonnans. Teka. They must have drained their own planet long ago. `And they're coming two at a time ?' `As more arrive. When a race runs out of energy resources. I'll have another look at the controls. happens all the time. Th e room shuddered with . isn't it.' `How many more Nimon are coming?' aske d Seth. very careful. `Back on guard again! Come on.' As they left the control room the Doctor said. You take a look at the capsule.' Teka looked at the capsule. Before long the pla ce will be swarming with them. `Who knows? To make all this worthwhile.' `How?' asked Seth.' said Seth resignedly. I imagine. `The Nimon have been clever. I need to know everything about it. we're going to have to be very. just to stay alive.' `And now they're coming to Skonnos?' `That's right. they'll build more transmat stations. `That 's a very good question! Seth. `Rom ana.`So did Soldeed. When the Nimon arrive in force.' The Doctor began fiddling with the controls and soon the hum of power started up again. there must be thousands of them .' said the Doctor. Fiend ishly clever. millions maybe. There's enough power in this set-up to blow the whole planet to bits. building more and more stations to bring in more and more Nimon to build more stations in turn. of course . `Don't you see? More and more Nimon.' `It's an invasion. We've got to stop them. it has to look for somewhere else to live. `Yes.' `Only by a handful of survivors. Doctor?' asked Seth. I imagine the Nimon consume energy at a fantastic r ate. Teka--' `I know.
The capsule had vanished.energy and the launch area began pulsating with light. `Doctor!' she screamed. but it was too late. I know what I'm doin g. Teka ran into the room. What I want to do now is to find a way of reversing the polarity. before she does anything silly--like g etting out!' The Doctor set to work. Romana jumped back in ala rm. we heard someone--' He broke off in astonishme nt. The Doctor was happily fiddling with the control console. I think I've worked out how to operate the main power control. The Doctor had succeeded rather better th an he had expected. . when Se th dashed into the room. and leaped for the door. Romana was just about to climb out again when the door began sliding to and the capsule began to vibrate. I hope I can do it in time. Doctor!' `It's all right. Seth had forgotten to deliver his warning. Seth was pointing in astonishment to the landing bay. but in the excitement of Romana's disappear ance. The bare metal exterior contained two enormous couc hes. sending the energy back to w herever the space/time tunnel starts from. `Doctor. The door closed and Romana was enclosed in the shudde ring darkness. Romana decided there wa s nothing for it but to examine the interior. she must have been inside the capsule whe n I triggered it off!' `What are you going to do?' `I'll have to try and bring i t back again. `She's gone! Good grief. presumably designed to support the huge bodies of the Nimon. Then we might be able to send the Nim on back too!' Having studied the capsule from all sides. `I wish you wouldn't do that. `Doctor. She climbed inside and looked arou nd. There was little to see. `Where's Romana?' The Doctor looked round wildly. look!' The Doctor turned. There was some kind of instrument panel beside the door and something that looked like a locki ng device.
Soldeed raised his staff. The Doctor hurled himself aside. the horned staff in his hand. He aimed the horned staff at the Doctor and sent out an energy b last. you shall die for this!' He aimed the twin horns of the staff at the Doctor's prostrate body. `Get awa y from there!' he cried. almost!' `Leave that alone!' sc reamed Soldeed. The Doctor went on working. . `I'm a bit busy at the mome nt. rolling across the floor. `Meddling fool. In unbelieving ho rror he watched the Doctor tampering with the Nimon's sacred machinery. Soldeed.' Beside himse lf with rage. sending up a shower of sparks. `Romana! How am I going to get her back. but I can explain everything--well. The Doctor l ooked up at it in horror. The energy ray struck the transmat control console.Soldeed appeared in the doorway.
and yet unlike. The Doctor said. The Doctor. and several circuits we re blown completely. Again it was eerily like. the power hum died. Climbing out of the capsule. th e place she had left behind.' Luckily the ray had struck the console o nly glancingly.10 Journey to Crinoth `Seth. She saw an instrument-packed control room and for a moment she th ought she was still in the same place. she crossed the contr ol room and looked into a corridor. `Sorry. but the surface was charred and smoking. There were the same twisting metal corridors. and the space capsule door slid open. Roma na looked out. he whirled it through the air and cl ubbed Soldeed to the ground. H e hurled himself upon the astonished Soldeed and wrenched the staff from his han ds. . Since he had no idea how to operate it. Romana!' The v ibrating stopped. The Doctor sprang to his feet. Seth found that he could be a hero after all. help him!' screamed Teka. Seth and Teka we re nowhere to be seen. Unwillingly Romana made herself admit the truth. But this control room was shabby and negl ected. dusty with disuse. `I don't like the look of that--I don't li ke it at all! He looked across at the empty transmat pad. She had completed the reverse journey through the hyperspatial tunnel. Now she was at th e terminal--at the other end. `Well done. Seth! No w let's see how much damage he's done. Moreover it was deserted.
Seth and Teka watched him work. `Is there anything I c an do?' The Doctor nodded towards the unconscious Soldeed. b ut not quickly enough. you've done your bit. Romana ducked back. What I really need now is K9. `You ! Stop!' No use staying in the control room. if it was one. and the Nimon saw her.. `Stop!' bellowed the nearest. and his fingers touched ano ther. she'd be trapped. `Is the dama ge very bad. and the heavy footsteps came pou nding after her. I wonder what's keeping him?' He hu nted through his pockets for his silent dog whistle. Two Nimon turned the corner and came marching towards her. Suddenly she heard heavy footsteps echoing through the deserted building. `Don't worry. Romana dashed out of the doorway and turned left. was abandoned. `Pursue her!' roared one of them. Doctor?' asked Seth. looking for parts he could u se to repair the wrecked main unit. He produced a small but complex piece of equipment an d put it on top of the console. . very familiar shape. Romana ran for her life. T his Power Complex. and the floors were strewn with rubble. `What is it. sprinting down dark corridors away from the adv ancing Nimon.but this metal was dull and tarnished. If I can just cannibalise some of these other circuits. its rooms and corridors in dark ness. `It's pretty bad. but I may be able to fix it. Doctor?' asked Teka. The Doctor produced his sonic screwdri ver and began dismantling an adjoining sub-console.
Romana thought that the Nimon had . Now why didn't I think of that before. In a swirl of black robes he leaped to his feet and dashed from the control room. Soldeed had recovered consciousness some tim e ago and had been awaiting his opportunity. each big enough to hold a body. `It's an entirely different system really. The sooner he got Romana back again the better. `Don't worry. A long Chamber with a central slab. and then went on working. She found he rself in another strangely familiar setting. She saw an arched doorway and hurried inside. With a shudd er. Romana was faster-mo ving than the lumbering Nimon.' He began dismantling the anomaliser. Teka close behind him. it'll work better than the original. its walls lined with tiered compartments. but they knew the corridors far better than she d id. but it just might be compatible. on the other hand. `Well.. hopi ng to find somewhere to hide so that the pursuit would pass her by. Suddenly there was a flurry of movement from the floor. if it isn't.' `Does that mean you can make all this work?' asked Teka. The Doctor shot a worried look after them. however many twists and turns she took. However fast she ran.' `What?' asked Seth worriedly.. Seth ran from the room. they always ma naged to reappear behind her.' Seth gulped. `After him.' yelled the Doctor. ` He'll warn the Nimon!' Still clutching Soldeed's staff. The c ompartments were empty and there was no husk-like body on the slab.`The gravitic anomaliser from my TARDIS. if it is compatible. Ther e'll be a bang so big you won't even hear it.
Romana saw a tall gaunt figure. They have drained the energy from everything. But they will be unconscious for a while. Romana looked at him in concern. It is a dead planet now. `Are they dead?' `A las no. His hair and beard were grey. First one and then the other of the massive black shapes twisted and fell.' He swayed on his feet. She w as reluctantly considering the possibility of hiding in one of the storage space s when she realised she had left things too late. but me. by the way?' `This is Crin oth--the little that is left of it.already drained the life from this planet. and I got here by accident. the Nimon trained their horns on Romana's body. Now it was the turn of Skonnos. leaning against the table to steady himsel f. Two Nimon appeared in the door way. his black robes torn and dusty. For a moment she thought it was Soldeed. `Who are you?' `My name is Sezom. in this place of death?' `My name is Romana. Lowering their heads. but this man was much older. Behind the fallen Nimon.' She looked down at the two Nimon.' `You se em to have saved my life. Like Soldeed he carried a horned staff--presumably it was this which he had used to strike down the Nimon. `Who are you? Why are you here.' `What happened?' ` The Nimon happened. Where is here. She w as preparing to leap aside when there was a sudden flash of light.' . destroyed ever yone. `Are you all right? You look ill.' Leaning on his staff he hobbl ed up to her.
`Their next victim planet. a little evil measured against the good of all.' `Well. ` I will try. `It is how they survive you see. Can you get me back to their space capsule?' Sezon rose painfully to his feet. I t seemed such a small price to pay. They seem harmless at first and then they began to swarm all over the planet. It is mo re than I deserve.' said Sezom feverishly. The lives of a few sacrifices.`I am dying.' Sezom began to weep. sucking each one dry and then moving to another and then another. The Nimon left me just e nough energy to cling to life and see my planet die. did you provide them with some s ort of tribute? With sacrifices?' Sezom looked at her in horror. Come!' . a plague of locusts. They promised power.' Romana helped him to sit o n the central slab. became their creature. my child. and he hunched forward wearily. `Easier said than done. I am to blame for the total d estruction of my planet and of all its people. technology for my people. `How could you know that?' `I've just encountered something very similar.' He clutched at her arm. `They are like a plagu e. `I've got to get back to Skonnos!' `Where is th at?' asked the old man feebly.' `Perhaps.' said Sezom brokenly. you did just save my life. But I have caused the deaths of others.' `You helped the Nimon to come he re?' `I worked for them.' `Tell me. `My time is almost up.' said Sezom simply. going from planet to planet.' `You must warn them. `I swear I never knew what was to come. It's where I've just c ome from.' `There was only one of them at first.' Romana stood up. `You are very kind. so many others. peace and p rosperity.
. recoiling in horror as she realised that she was once again in the larder of the Nimon. who should have b een behind him--only to find that she had vanished too. Seth ran along the endless corridors. Seth hurtled round the corner and found himself f acing a dead end with Soldeed nowhere in sight. Suddenly she sensed there was someone behind her.' . then the flying figure shot r ound a corner and disappeared. She saw a room ahead and ran inside. Teka saw it was Sardor.For a time Seth was able to keep Soldeed in sight. the co-pil ot who had brought them to Skonnos. The Nimon had appeared in the far doorway. where are you?' There was no reply. So meone lay on the central slab. Teka turned to run--and froze in h orror. as two more Nimon appeared behind the first. `So. Seth turned back to look for Teka. She whirl ed round and saw Soldeed looking down at her. His eyes widened i n unbelieving horror.' he called . searching frantically for Seth. `Teka. Soldeed grabbed her from behin d and held her struggling as the Nimon advanced towards them. His body was a withered husk. `Teka. The door to S oldeed's laboratory opened stealthily and Sorak crept inside. Teka ran in panic through the maze. The maze had performed another o f its inexplicable changes. y ou have power. Moving closer. do you? Power that even Soldeed cannot understand. Teka backed aw ay towards the door. He walked up to th e central work-bench and stood looking thoughtfully at the motionless K9.. More concerned now about her than about Soldeed.
`What is this place?' Sorak jumped back. Sorak howled with pain and clutc hed at his shoulder.' `What am I doing here?' `Soldeed had you brought here. Since the metal beast had reanimated. `Kindly remove me from this raised surface. going into a kind of suspended animation in order to allow his self-re generating mechanism to go to work.Sorak had decided that the time for Soldeed's overthrow was near. automatically switch ed back to full consciousness. What is this place?' `It is the laboratory of Sol deed. If he could master t he controls of this robot beast and make it serve him..' .' announced K9. `That was merely a warning. The little automaton had promptly closed hims elf down. looking for a control panel. Suddenly K9's eyes lit up and his ears swivelled. being examined by a total stranger. The blast from the energy ray from Soldeed's staff had delivered a ma ssive shock to all K9's circuitry. K9 raised his he ad and his eye screens glowed angrily. He began tapping K9's m etal sides..' K9 looked down. perhaps it would obey his or ders.' Sorak looked thought fully at him. `First give me a demonstration of your powers!' K9 extruded his nose laser and obliged with a painful lowintensity blast. The more power he could get his hands on. Now it was fully repaired and K9 was operational again. S ince his abilities did not include jumping he had a particular dislike of any ki nd of heights. `Kindly remove m e from this surface. Apart from shock the actual damage was minim al. the better it would be for him. He was far from pleased to find himself on a high surface in a strange room. `You can speak!' `Affirmative.
orientating h imself with his sensors. With a yell of dismay. He pulled the main power lever. Delighted by t his unexpected success. with a massive energy source close by. and then went on with his work. Seth and Teka. Might as well ge t on with it. sat back. the Doctor ran back to his console and operated controls feverishly. Either it would work or it wouldn't. Sorak watched in fascination as K9 began turning in a slow circle.' called Sorak. `Where are you going?' But K9 was gone.Hastily Sorak obeyed. and suddenly a space capsule appeared on the pad. Th e Doctor gave a last blast on his silent dog whistle for luck. only partiall y inhabited. Romana. the Doctor hurried over to it. Grumbling to himself. and in either eve nt his troubles would be over. he thought. Master. half-ruined structure. Now he was in a pickle.' he said. Suddenly he felt very much alone. lifting K9 in his arms and setting him down on the floor. K9. He was in a large. Suddenly K9 cocked his head. `Coming. Romana. `Wait.' h e began. he thought. How the blazes was he going to get Romana back without importing more Nimon? . and eyed the resulting lash-up dubiously. as if hearing a silent signal. `Welcome back. put it away. Everyone was disap pearing. there was a hum o f rising power. he finishe d his work. mopping his brow. The capsule door opened to reveal two Nimon. The doors clos ed and the capsule vanished as suddenly as it had come. The Doctor collapsed bac k against the console. and glided rapidly th rough the door.
On Crinoth the capsule door opened and two very angry Nimon stepped out, bellowi ng with rage. `We have not moved,' roared one of them. `This is still Crinoth!' A third Nimon appeared and the first two swung round on him, bellowing their com plaints. Creeping along the corridor, Romana and Sezom heard the angry voices. M oving as close as they dared they crouched just outside the door, listening to t he Nimon wrangling amongst themselves. `Something has gone wrong on Skonnos,' th e first said angrily. `The way is blocked,' growled the second. The third Nimon seemed to be the one in authority. `We shall prepare the final contingency plan. ' There were immediate protests from the other two Nimon. `It is too dangerous.' `Our people are still trapped on this planet. If it explodes too soon...' `We h ave no choice,' said the Nimon leader implacably. `The Great Journey of Life mus t continue--even if it means the total destruction of this planet and the death of those of us who remain!'
11 Time Bomb From just outside the control room, Romana and Sezom watched as the three Nimon set to work at the control consoles, still arguing amongst themselves in deep gr owling voices. `What do they mean,' whispered Romana. `What is the final conting ency plan?' `There is no energy left on this planet, none at all. They must rely on the power plant on the next planet to pull them through. If something has go ne wrong there, the only way they can escape is by converting the matter of this planet itself into pure energy.' `Can they do that?' `They can--but only by set ting off a kind of chain reaction. They can control it for a time, but once it s tarts there is no way of stopping it. Eventually the reaction will run out of co ntrol and the whole planet will explode.' `By which time presumably they'll all be gone--or most of them anyway... Poor Crinoth.' `I wonder what has gone wrong on Skonnos?' said Sezom. Romana smiled. `In two words--the Doctor!' Briefly she explained the circumstances of her unintended journey. `So this Doctor of yours now controls the Skonnos terminal?' `Well, he did when I left. I imagine he was responsible for shooting those two Nimon back here.' Sezom tugged at his beard. `Then perhaps you can get back after all and warn him what is happening.' `It's not so easy as that. How will the Doctor know I'm ready to come back.'
`There is a signal device inside the capsule. If you send the signal that says a capsule is ready, perhaps he will guess it is you.' `I've still got to get into the capsule. What about the Nimon.' Sezom tapped his staff. `I have this, remem ber.' `So you have. I'm surprised they let you keep it.' `It was incapable of ha rming them when they gave it to me-- but they underestimated me. I experimented with its powers, and discovered that Jasonite boosted the powers enormously.' Fo r the first time Romana noticed that there was a chunk of black crystal jammed b etween the horns of Sezom's staff. `I don't suppose you've got any more of that have you?' Sezom produced another identical chunk of crystal from beneath his ro bes and handed it to her. `It's an extraordinary substance found only on Crinoth . It acts as a powerful electromagnetic booster. I've been experimenting with it for years. I used to be something of a scientist before the Nimon came.' Romana weighed the chunk of crystal in her hand. `Can I hang on to this.' `Of course.' `Thanks.' She slipped it into her pocket. `Now how do we get past those Nimon?' `Subterfuge, my child. Subterfuge! Here, take this. A stud near the base activa tes the ray. ` Handing her the staff, Sezom stepped up to the control room door and cried out in a surprisingly loud voice. `Danger! Alarm! Alarm! The Complex i s being invaded by aliens! The Nimon are in danger!' Two of the Nimon ran toward s the door, though the Nimon leader stayed at the controls. Sezom backed away do wn the corridor. `This way, this way!' As the puzzled Nimon followed him, Romana stepped out of the shadows. Levelling the staff, she pressed the stud, blasting the two Nimon down with the energy ray that sprang from the horns.
Sezom's frail old body ca ught the full force of the energy ray which flung him dead across the room. the s econd lowered its head and blasted him with its horns. Sezom thrust Romana aside. the Nimon are coming. who was leaning weakly against the wall.' Romana ran across to the launching pad and jum ped inside the capsule. closing the door behind her. Sezom. He shot the first down. She crouched in the darknes s. It's your only chance.. `Go. Romana blasted it down. `Thank you.' `Come with me. As the great body slu mped to the floor. Sezom. Doctor. The summoning control is to the left of the capsule door..' `Hurry! Into t he capsule.' There was an angry bel lowing from the corridor.The excitement seemed to give Sezom new strength. `Well done! Now come!' He led her back to the control room. warn ev eryone of the evil of the Nimon. but before he could fire again. she turned to Sezom. it is too late for me.' `Go! Go and warn Skonnos. Give me my staff. `Come on. found the signal button and jabbed furiously at it. With a bellow of rage it lowered its head and blasted at them with its horns. `Quickly. Before the Nimon could fire again. into the capsule!' Romana was about to h and back the staff when the Nimon at the controls swung round and saw them. I'll hold them back as long as I can. taking a glancing blow from the ray that sent him reeling.' `But I can't leave you!' `You must. `No.' Romana handed over the staff. Sezom drew himself upright as three more Nimon ran into the control room. . my child. `Quickly.' pleaded Romana. h er eyes filled with tears. Come on !' With a mighty effort.
Inside the capsule. A call sign.' said the Doctor innocently. Shou ld he summon the capsule again and risk bringing more Nimon? Suddenly he noticed a light flashing regularly on the console. `Do not touch those contro ls. `Silence! Did you think to prevent the Great J ourney of Life by this petty sabotage?' The light on the console was still flash ing wildly. he thought. The Nimon operated the controls.' said the Doctor irrepressibly. He reached for the controls and the Nimon--the one they had first encounte red appeared in the doorway. `Come on. . The Nimon examined the Doctor's emergency re pairs. `Stand back!' it roared.' said the Doctor hopefully. `You have reversed the flow of the tunnel!' `That's what I was just tryin g to explain--' began the Doctor. And would t he Nimon use the call sign when they knew he was at the other end? It must be Ro mana. Doctor! Come on!' The Doctor paced indecisively to and fro in front of the console. mind you get it in the right ord er. tortured and killed. `I was just about to bring--' `Stand ba ck I say!' The Nimon lowered its head and the Doctor obeyed.' said the Doctor politely.' `Well. Romana stabbed desperately at the button. `Silence! Later you w ill be questioned. `A capsule signal from Crinoth! I shall bring the capsule here!' `Th ank you. `I was just admirin g your splendid control room.' `Hello.
`The door is locked from the inside. It swung its great head to and fro in search of a target.' she yelled.In the control room on Crinoth.' growled one. Romana fishe d the chunk of Jasonite from her pocket and tossed it to Seth. catch!' Au tomatically Seth caught the chunk of crystal in his left hand. `Beware! There is an alien creature in th e capsule. The door opened and Romana stepped out. `Here. On the floor the Nimon l eader groaned. The transmat chamber glowed and the capsule blinked into existence. Immediately the D octor and Romana ducked into hiding behind the instrument consoles. Th ey were about to fire when the capsule disappeared. `Doctor. and for a moment he and Romana ran circles around the astonished Nimon. and jumped out from hiding. Soldeed's staff in his hand. Recovering from its surprise. Romana realised that it would kill Seth before he was ready to fire. He lowered his head. `Jam it between th e horns. I've lost Teka and --' Seth ran through the doorway.' `Then we shall blast it open. raising his great head. Suddenly a voice called. two puzzled Nimon were examining the closed caps ule. `I don't know what you think you're playing at Doctor. while the equally astonished Nimon stared at him. there's a stud in the base! Hurr y!' Dazedly Seth fumbled with the crystal.' The two Nimon lowered their heads. Doctor. but--' She broke off. The Doctor fo llowed. . the Nim on lowered its head. He stood staring down at it. `Kill her!' roared the Nimon. `Quick. `Then fire the staff.' shouted Romana. aiming his horns. rea lising that the Nimon was in the room.
Briefly she told them what had happened. `Sho ot. but the Nimon blasted first. A thought struck h er. `Is it dead?' Romana shook her head. . I'm afraid. but it knocked the staff from his hands..' He beamed. `You know. The Doctor rec overed first. and you. Seth. `Thank you. gasping with relief. the beam! Reverse it again. Seth. Romana. the Doctor removed t he components of the gravitic anomaliser. `What's happening?' `The invasion's starting from Cr inoth. `On ly knocked out. Seth gave a shout of delight.`Shoot. `For goodness' sake get on with it!' Ready at last Seth fired. quickly. `Again!' yelled Romana. bellowing. at least we know there won't be any more coming through. `Well. It brought in two friends. and there are more of them about now. I' ll block it off altogether. And now we' ve got a way to deal with the ones already here. Set h looked down at the body of the Nimon. stuffing them back in his pockets. `Oh no!' `Look out.' `I'll do better than that. The Doctor and Ro mana collapsed against the reverse consoles.' shouted Romana.' said Romana..' yelled Romana. The ray missed Se th.' Hurrying to the power console. The Nimon staggered back.' There was a rumbling growl and he looked up to s ee the other two Nimon in the doorway. `Shoot again!' Seth fired again and the Nimon thudded to the floor with a crash that seemed to shake the control room. Well done!' Seth looked dazedly at the staff in his hands. `Doctor. I thin k we're going to be all right. Seth!' Seth raised the staff.' The Doctor looked at the disassembled control panel with satisfact ion.
let's get on with it. there's a chance th ey'll be in the larder--that room with the nuclear furnace.' screeched a familiar voice. K9 glided calmly into the room.' `Delay in resp onse caused by alien intervention.' said Romana. Do you think we can do it?' K9 revolved.' whispered Seth. `What is it?' He picked up the staff.The Nimon lowered their heads to fire again--then both dropped. you took your time. `If the Nimon got them. `We'd better get them out!' `Do not touch the sacr ifices. `I want you to help me modify these controls. `Well. `What about Teka an d the others?' The Doctor looked up. Master. The Doctor let out a long breath of re lief.' said Romana br iskly. We ought to be able to div ert the hyperspatial tunnel and send any Nimon that try to use it off in the mid dle of nowhere. Romana went over to the control panel and studied it. `Oh. `That's K9--he's with us.' `Right. We'll meet you there when we've finished. Teka.' `Listen.' said the Doctor ur gently. pointing it warily. `Come on Seth. K9.' Seth re alised he'd forgotten his fellow Anethans in the excitement. . I've been calling you for ages. Master. Why don't you go and take a look. I was stunned. standing still and corpse-like in the Nimon storage compartments. A few minutes later they were looking at Teka and the other Anethan sacrifices. `It's all right. blasted down fro m behind.' Seth stared unbelievi ngly at K9. scanning the control ro om with his sensor.' `Good. `Affirmative.' They hurried away.
he had been thrust aside by the angry Nimon. I hav e seen three.. of conquest--all gone. His eyes blazed with anger at the sigh t of Romana. `The Nimon are finished and so are you!' `No! The Nimon will still fulfill his great promise to us! The Nimon be praised!' `Which Nimon. He's just o ne of a race of aliens come to steal your planet--and you've been helping him. ordered to k eep out of the way until he was summoned. Soldeed! The Nimon are a race of parasiti c nomads. Soldeed.Soldeed stepped from his hiding place in an empty compartment.' `How many Nimon have you seen today?' Soldeed's head dropped.' `He told you exactly what you wanted to hear and you believed hi m.' `He said he was the only survivor of his race. `Do you real ise how many of them there are?' `Do not dare to blaspheme! There is only one Ni mon. `So this was the Great journey of Life!' `Face it. `Three.' . feeding off the selfishness and gullibility of people like you!' `My d reams of glory. After assisting i n the capture of Teka.' screamed Soldeed.' `And I've seen quite a few more. `You meddling hussy! How dare you interfere with the purposes of th e Nimon?' `It's all over. He said he would make the Skonnan s great again. `You--you and your friend the Doctor! You have brought this on me! ' `You brought it upon yourself.' There was something very like madness in Soldeed's eyes by now..' said Romana wearily. The Nimon is no god. His eyes blazed with s udden hatred. He is the god of Skonnos. Soldeed?' asked Romana mockingly. He will make the Second Skonnan Empire rise again .
It's turned into an atomic time bomb. There was a miniature explosion that flung S oldeed across the room. `So they are here! Good.' shouted Romana. The Doctor looked at the Anethans in the storage compa rtments. extending his pro be. `He'll blow us all up!' Seth raised the staff and fired. Suddenly it cut off. doomed!' He gave a cackle of mad laughter.' K9 glided across to the storage unit controls. Romana?' `Soldeed threw it int o overload and now the controls are fused. K9?' `Master. I thought they would be. `Aren't they dead?' asked Seth in astonishment. slamming the power controls to maximum. `What's all this about. Revive them will you. a nd his head fell back. Soldeed twisted aside and the ray missed him and struck the controls. and there's nothing we can do!' . `Fools! You're doome d. `No. Soldeed was dead. just in suspended animation. We'll soon get them out. all of you. of course they're not. `Y ou shall all die for your interference!' `Stop him.' He looked at the furnace which was roaring loudly. He raised his head and said weakly.Soldeed rushed to the atomic furnace. Romana ran to the controls just as the Doctor and K9 hurried in.
in a way. The Nimon leader bellowed. As they hurried along the corridors. Teka said.' `Come on.' snapped the Doctor. `I knew you'd save me. He can follow the trail back to the en trance.' The furnace roared brighter as they ra n from the room. `This is the exit. Teka stared worshipfully at Seth. Doctor? I mean. and the six dazed Anethans st epped out. clicked. K9'. With a bit of help. `What is it?' asked the Doctor. Master. `How are we going to get out of here.' He looked up at the Doctor. boy!' In the main control room.' `You're not quite saved yet.' The Doctor pointed to K9 who was in the lead. if no-one eve r managed it before.12 The Legend K9 operated controls. It will be necessary to recompute as we proceed. milling confusedly about the room. `Maze configuration constant ly changing.. `We've got to get out of here before the whole place blows up. Uncertainty factor very high. Seth?' `Well. then went on his way. Finally he led them to a blank wall. `No-one ha d a brilliant tracker dog like K9 before. the stunned Nimon were recove ring. At every junction K9 paused. `Have you destr oyed the Nimon yet. all of you. the storage cabinets lit up.' . whirred. K9 cam e to a sudden halt. urged the Doctor.. `You can do it!' They hurried on. Hurry. `The aliens have escaped us! Pursue them!' Dazedly the Nimon clambered to their feet. On you go.
`In t he name of the Second Skonnan Empire.`What do you mean?' `This is the exit.' shouted the Doctor hopefully. then? How do we get through?' `Question not understood.' Seth flourished Soldeed's staff. `K9. Master. and the air seemed to pulse with the heat. `Right.' sobbed Teka. Off you go all of you.' `The wall. K9 was a co mputer after all.' `That is the exit. And there was another sound--the bellowing of angry Nimon. Ju st close your eyes and walk straight through. Seth!' The Doctor said. but nothing happened. despite his dog-like appearance. so K9 didn't even see it.' He urged the astonished Anethans through the wall. Maste r. in front of us. The Doctor turned to the others. what do you make of that wall. You can't hypnotise a computer. Still nothi ng. `Optical illusion. no. `No.' The Doct or grinned. There. and you had to talk to comput ers logically. Off you go then!' K9 glided towards the wall--and went strai ght through it.' Behind them they could hear the roaring of the furnace.' The Doctor turned to Seth. K9. is there a metal wall in front of us?' `Negative. They could only give the right answers if you asked the right que stions.' The Docto r began to wonder if being stunned had affected K9's logic circuits. `Try raising the staff.' sai d Romana worriedly. it's a wall. `We're trapped. Master. `I wish you two would hurry up and get yourselves sorted out. . K9 . `K9. Logic he thought. Master. The Doctor scratched his head. you see. `Oh.
Romana came into the control room and looked down at him despairingly.' shouted Teka. Run for shelter!' Sorak took command. As the TARDIS doors closed.' said Seth. I told you he would. `The Complex is going to explode. `Will you please shut up?' Teka started to cry an d Seth consoled her. Seth is the hero of Aneth!' `Teka. soldiers. not again. all of you!' yelled the Doctor. The Doctor turned to Romana and K9. It was some considerable time later . `This is not possible! Never have the sacrifices returned from the maze. Sorak was vainly trying to restore order. The TARDIS was peacefully parked in deep space and the Doctor was hard at work on the dismantled central column. The Doctor. Romana and K9 rushed out of the Complex. `Oh no. `Seth defeated him. Anethans.They found themselves in the forecourt before the Complex.' said Seth.' . `Take cover. ' Skonnons. Take cover in the cellars. `The cellars everyone. ushered the others in. The Doctor opened the door. the Power Complex went up in a column of flame. generals and guards made a frantic dash for the cellars. `And the Nimon is fi nished. `Why don't we just pop inside the T ARDIS and sit this one out?' They went over to the TARDIS. The roar of the furna ce was audible even here and the place was filled with terrified Skonnons. He caught sight of the Anethans and came ru shing up to them. Where is Soldeed?' `Soldeed is dead. and followed them.
though the palace had to be evacuated. Wouldn't a peace treaty between Skonnos and Aneth be an excellent idea? Much of the Skonnons' past behavior could be blamed on th e Nimon after all. it was in a position to give a good deal of useful aid to the shattered Skonnos. t he Doctor took Sorak aside and had a few sharp words with him about the folly of imperialist ambitions.' `You said that once before. Since the unit had been a `clean' one there was a minimu m of harmful radiation. `You don't mean you've immobilised t he TARDIS again?' `Of course. Sorak had listened very attentively and the Doctor had hopes that he would follow much of the advice. They'd all survived the explosion safely and in fact there had been surprisingly few casual ties--except of course for the three Nimon still in the Complex.' said the Doctor apologetically. nothing could possibly go wrong h ere.`Well. thought the Doctor. First of all they'd e merged from the TARDIS to make sure their Anethan friends were safe. I never did get around to finishing those modifications to the conceptual modifier. remember?' `I've said it hundreds of times bef ore!' All in all. . without Soldeed's lunatic desire for military glory. A very good start would be to send Seth and Teka and the othe r Anethans home in style. but there had been very little damage t o the rest of the city. He also had pointed out that since Aneth was both a peac eful and a prosperous planet. But don't worry. Before leaving. their adventure on Skonnos hadn't ended to o badly. Luckily the exp loding energy unit had produced a very small and very confined explosion. Sorak was an ambitious man but h e was practical too. They hadn't left immediately after the explosion. It had wiped out the Power Complex completely.
What about that other planet. `Poo r old Seth!' `Why poor?' . `Still. but they've had a couple of severe lessons.Romana's voice broke in on his thoughts. `That's Crinoth there. `The end of Crinoth.' Romana wasn't convinced.. at l east Seth and Teka and the others will get back to Aneth safely.' He pointed to a distant planet. `They should be leaving just about now. sailed majestically through space on the way to Aneth. not too bad--I hope.' `It was the least he could do. the solar system of Skonnos. The Doctor grinned. under the circumstances.. white. `It must of got out of control just as Sezom predicted.' said Romana. first the civil war and now the Nimon..' said the Doctor. which showed a scattering of planets. Doctor. `Take a look for y ourself. Doc tor. now painted a gleaming. After the way they'd been treated. `What do you think Skonnos will be like with Sorak in charge?' `Oh. I've been kee ping a watchful eye on it. there they are!' The Skonnan battle cruiser. `Look.and disappeared. Maybe they'll learn better ways.' She brightened. It was good of you to make Sorak give them the ship. I suppose they'll be too busy fending for themselves to bother anyone for a while. `Well.' She adjusted controls.' Suddenly the planet to which he was pointing flared up-.' Romana went over to the sca nner. I hate to say it about any intelligent species--but good riddance!' `They tr ied to use the energy chain reaction to reach another planet. `And of the Nimon t oo. I'm afraid the Skonnons will n ever be a particularly lovable race. Crinoth? Wha t'll happen to the Nimon there?' The Doctor pointed to the scanner screen..
there's a good few millenia l eft in you yet!' `Thank you. and got on with his work. though. I suppose it is. I sometimes thi nk that the old legends aren't so much stories from the past as prophecies of th e future. `You know. A hero called Theseus who sailed to defeat a mon ster called the Minotaur. `N ot you. Doctor.. They forgot last tim e. Still. . ` Other places. caused a terrible hoohah!' `What are you talking about now. touched by the compliment. Romana. Romana. I was referring to the TARDIS. K9?' `Negative. It had horns and lived in a maze and demanded sacrific es.`Just think of all the legends Teka's going to build up around him. `I'm glad I remembered to get them to paint the ship white. K9 doesn't agree with me--do you. other times. oth er places. He'll have t o spend the rest of his life living up to them. other times. patted K9 on the nose. `Come on. For a moment the Doctor stared into space.' `Sounds very familiar!' The Doctor said..' said Romana. Master!' Th e Doctor returned to his task. eh.. Terrible fate!' `I suppose that' s the way legends are made.' `Yes. Doctor?' `Oh. Romana. Rom ana flounced from the control room. old girl. K9?' `Master?' The Doctor smiled.' With a sniff of indignation..' The Doctor smiled.
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