Sunday, 10 February 2013

Doctor Who (Game B) Session Write-up - Das Metallreich Part 3


N.B. What follows is a prose narration of the events that took place in a roleplaying game session. It can be regarded as a kind of Doctor Who fan-fiction, except that all the events are driven by occurrences in-game and is presented in first-draft quality. It is not intended to fully recreate any events or characters from any previous Doctor Who episode, book, radio series or comic, with the exception of some iconic villains. Even The Doctor is a reinvention, starting out as a first-regeneration Timelord with little history; Perhaps how the Doctor may appear in a different reality. It cannot, therefore, be wrong on any canonical continuity. It exists within itself and is presented purely for reading pleasure and to inform role-playing experiences. Thank you :)

You can read Part One of Doctor Who - Das Metallreich here. Part Two is here.

Chapter Eight – An Old But Unknown Adversary

    Georgie steadily plodded through the work she had been assigned. Knowing that she was assisting in the creation of more deadly metal robots, she didn't want to make too much effort or do too expert a job, even though she found the work fairly intuitive.
    The lady she had been speaking to caught her eye and gave a subtle nod. Georgie allowed her eyes to flicker with recognition but made no response more obvious.
    After a moment, the lady pixed up a box of parts and tools from the work counter and made to move around the side of the workbench. She seemed to swoon, dropping the box and sending bits and pieces of highly technical equipment scattering across the floor.
    The soldiers rushed over. One of them made a cursory effort to help the lady to her feet, while the other soldiers were clearly more interested in insuring that none of the equipment was damaged. Once all four soldiers were involved in the distraction, Georgie picked up her tray of tools and strode confidently over to the work-group on the opposite sound of the workshop.
    The lady had told Georgie that she would find a man called Klaus, who was known among the slaves for talking about getting away and defeating the robots, but somehow he hadn't been dragged away by the guards yet. He must be a fairly discrete character, Georgie thought.
    The woman had also told her that the trick to switching groups was to avoid be being seen moving. “Once you've made it over,” she had said, “it will take them a while to realise you're in the wrong place. They don't bother to look us in the faces when we're working. I think it's guilt.”
    Once she had arrived at the new group, the slaves already assembled there noiselessly made room for her, not causing any trouble. Many of the people around this table were actually quite fixated on their work, concentrating hard on construction elements that looked very complex.
    While the hubbub over at her previous station died down, she cautiously made some enquiries about which of them was Klaus. After some suspicious looks, the man beside her pointed out Klaus. He was a lot younger than the average worker, although he was by far not the youngest.
    Georgie sidled over to him. “Is it safe to talk, here?” she asked him, quietly.
    Klaus gave a bitter and quiet laugh, saying, “It is not safe to talk anywhere. What do you want?”
    “I was brought here by two guards,” she told him, “but they are, in fact, my friends.”
    A shimmer of withheld excitement crossed Klaus' face. “You mean that there are spies in the castle?” he asked, agitatedly.
    Georgie nodded.
    “That is excellent,” Klaus was struggling to contain his excitement, “Do you have a plan for getting us out of here?”
    “My friends are going to give a signal when they are ready to take over,” Georgie informed him, confidently.
    “Take over?” Klaus said, looking worried and confused, “what do you mean?”
    Georgie gave an I-don't-know-the-details shrug and said, “Kill the guards and free you all?”
    Klaus looked unconvinced. “How many of you are there?” he asked.
    “At present, there are four of us in the castle,” Georgie explained.
    Klaus tried to stifle a laugh, “four of you? I'm sorry but it can't be done with four. We'll all be killed!”
    “There is an American soldier with us and an Englishman who managed to escape London. He is called the Doctor. He is a very powerful man,” Georgie protested.
    “If there is only four of you we will need a doctor!” Klaus hissed, “The problem is no longer the soldiers. The problem is those!” He pointed to the gantry, on which stood the three deadly, black sentinels. “Even if we all banded together and manage to take down enough guards to arm ourselves and make a break for it,” Klaus explained, “those things will just mow us down and there are becoming more and more of them every day. What we need to do is to find a way to stop the robots; to slow them down.”
    Georgie considered for a moment and then looked at the complex machine parts in her hands. “Does anybody check the quality of the parts we make?” she asked, inspiration growing in her mind.
    “Yes,” Klaus replied with a warning tone in his voice, “and vigorously at that. A few people once tried sabotaging the parts. They discovered the sabotage and took the work-groups into the yard. They couldn't know who had done it, so they led a man up into front of the group and shot them in front of everybody. They did this two more times, with a woman and another man. They made their point. Many of us will risk ourselves to fight back, but when your actions cause the death of those around you, it is a different matter.”
    “But it shows they have a weakness – something they are afraid of,” Georgie reasoned with him, “does that not give people hope? If they need workers, they can't kill everybody!”
    “There is little hope here. Few will be convinced to follow your plan,” he told her, “In any case, sabotaging parts would take days to show an effect, even if you are successful.”
    Georgie stuck her chin out, proudly and stubbornly. “I refuse to believe there is no way!” she said, “even if we have to lay down our own lives for the cause.”
    Klaus could see her determination and smiled. “There is something,” he told her. “When we first started working here, they used to allow us a wireless to listen to music while we worked. On the day the Metallensturmtruppen first appeared, all of our radios were taken away. Do you think this is significant?”
    Georgie thought. This level of technology was beyond her. “Perhaps the radio frequencies affect them?” she suggested.
    Klaus nodded, “Many of the parts we have worked on appear, to me, to be radio-based controls. I would assume that they are susceptible to radio interference.”
    “Perhaps we can steal enough parts to make some sort of transmitter?”
    “Possibly,” Klaus nodded, carefully, “it is dangerous, through. They may need us to build their machines, but I'm sure they could still manage without a large number of us.”
    Georgie was determined. “It would be better than giving up,” she said.
    Klaus agreed.  “I will speak to some others and we will see what can be achieved.”

    “Yes. You look like you must be The Doctor.”
    Commandant Jurgens was prowling up and down in front of the Timelord, leering.
    “I was told to expect you. I wasn't totally sure what to look for, but I'm sure it must be you. You have nothing to say?”
    The Doctor considered an appropriate response, for a moment. “You have a good, deductive mind,” he replied, eventually.
    Jurgens sneered, victorious, before turning his attention to the American. He looked between the two captives for a moment, before speaking to Conrad quickly in a flurry of fast and complex German.
    Conrad's basic language training had not prepared him for this. Jurgens stared at him, waiting impatiently for a response. Conrad looked at The Doctor, helplessly.
    The Doctor repeated the words to Conrad, who finally understood it as, “you are here with the American Flying Troops, are you not?” The Tardis' translation matrix making the speech perfectly clear to him.
    Conrad remained silent, but Jurgens could see that he had understood the question. “Curious,” the Commandant began, “I speak to him and I can see that he does not understand. Yet, you repeat exactly the same words I have spoken and he can understand you perfectly. Can you explain this to me? Is it one of your magic tricks?”
    “Who told you to expect me?” The Doctor asked, neatly avoiding the question.
    “Our glorious leader knows all about you, Doctor,” Jurgens told him. “He has encountered you many times in the past. We were told to expect an appearance from you at some point and to be watchful for your plots and your sabotaging ways.”
    The Doctor racked his brains for a past encounter which could give him a clue. He could think of nothing. The Doctor had, comparatively, barely begun his travels around the wider universe outside of the influence of Gallifrey – his home planet. He'd had a few disagreements along the way, but never made an enemy of this scale.
    He tried to coax a bit more information. “Your leader is?”
    Jurgens stiffened with pride, “Our leader is the glorious Fuhrer!”
    “Adolf Hitler?” The Doctor ventured, racking his brains for his knowledge of Earth history.
    “Who the hell is Adolf Hitler?” Jurgens replied.
    “Ahh,” said The Doctor. His suspicions were confirmed that history was seriously off-kilter.
    Looking again, he could see that the Nazi's office was not quite right. There was fascist iconography every, but other accurate historical details seemed missing. It was like a film set, dressed by someone with only a surface knowledge of the era.
    “Our leader indicated that you were normally so irritatingly talkative, Doctor,” said Jurgens, a little disappointed, “but I seem to be struggling to get a word out of you. It is no matter. Whatever you intended to achieve by coming here, we now have you in our custody and we will extract information out of you over the coming days.”
    “Would it be possible to meet your leader?” The Doctor asked, ignoring the threat.
    Jurgens laughed, “I'm quite certain that once we report your presence here, the Fuhrer will wish to come and speak to you themselves.”
    “Splendid,” The Doctor replied.
    “Guards!” Jurgens shouted, a little irritated by The Doctor's bravado. “Take them away. And tend to this one,” he indicated Conrad, who was beginning to sway slightly through blood loss, “he is bleeding on my carpet.”

    A bell rang for the eventual end of the tortuously long shift. Georgie followed the other slaves out of the workshop and into a low, dim common room, which was set about with bunks and bedding. The ceiling was low and the ground underfoot was mostly earth. It reminded her of the places used to grow mushrooms and it reeked of inadequate toilet facilities.
    Despite Georgie's hopes that it would be a haven for free discussion, there were two guards posted in the room to keep an eye out for trouble. While the workers made themselves comfortable, Georgie kept a keen eye on the soldiers who, to her relief, eventually tired in their vigilance and began beginning chatting between themselves.
    Klaus came over to where she was sitting. “I've had a word with the others,” he said, “They're not sure how much faith to put in you and these friends of yours, but they do agree that if they can pull some components together, we can build something. If we can find somewhere to keep the parts, that is.”
    “Is there a midden, we could hide the pieces there?” Georgie asked.
    Klaus pulled a face, then chuckled quietly, “It's certainly somewhere the Germans won't look.”
    Building a transmitter seemed like a bit of a desperate hope to Georgie. It would take time and they really needed a quicker plan. “What about the guards?” Georgie asked, “Are any of them local that may have friends or family among the prisoners?”
    He shook his head, “None of the guards are from the village. They didn't even bother drafting us. They just wanted us for slave labour.”
    “Any that could be turned?”
    “A risky strategy,” Klaus told her, “Most of them see it as just a job and can't really be bothered with us. They never speak to us.”
    Georgie sighed, she was desperate to find an advantage in her situation. “Is there any way I can volunteer for special duties?”
    Klaus flashed her a horrified look. He explained, “Well, it disgusts me, but some of the prisoners have given their bodies to the soldiers in return for extra rations and a proper wash but it's not really...”
    “That is not what I meant,” retorted Georgie, affronted, “I am trained as a nurse. They must need someone to take care of the prisoners?”
    “They may well need you,” he nodded, “There have been medical volunteers before. But it isn't any lighter a workload than what we're already doing. Some prefer it to the workshop, though.”
    “Good,” Georgie responded, her mind made up.
    She walked carefully up to the guards, who noticed her and turned immediately, their faces full of suspicion.
    “I have medical training,” she told them, “I wish to volunteer for other duties.”
    “You are a trained nurse?” the guard asked her.
    “Yes.”
    “Very well. Return to your bunk. We will report this and somebody may come to fetch you in the morning.”
    The guards waved her away with their guns, indicating that the conversation was at an end.
    Georgie wandered aimlessly through the bunk-room, taking in the human tragedy she saw around her. There were a group of people sitting and chatting, making the best of a bad situation. She sat down to join them.
    They were surprised to see Georgie. They believed the raids on the village had ended, taking everybody of value, so to see a new face was refreshing, although they were sad she had been snatched.
    They talked about their memories of life in the village. Some talked with low voices about being separated from children or young siblings that they have not seen since they were brought here.
    Georgie was thinking. She desperately needed to communicate all she had learned to The Doctor, but wasn't sure how. Either way she knew she should commit the information to paper, in case something happened to her, or she was only ably to slip a note.
    After some coaxing, she managed to get a scrap of paper and pencil from one of the prisoners, who had a stash secreted in her bunk. Trying not to draw the attention of the guards, Georgie scribbled down a note about the robots and their weakness to radio frequencies.
    She turned her attention to the mystery of the other prisoners that had been taken away. How had these slaves been separated from children and loved ones and not seen them since? The castle didn't look that big.
    “Is there anywhere else that prisoners are kept?” Georgie asked the group.
    “We don't know,” said one, “but there was a lady that used to be in service at the castle. In the old days...”
    Georgie asked where she could find this woman and was directed to her. She approached her carefully and engaged in a little social chat, before asking about her memories of life in service at the castle. The woman was pleased to talk about the old days before the war.
    “When it started, they laid us all off at the house and took it over. They came down to the village looking for slaves. I was the only one of the old staff that was still young enough to be considered for work. The place is very different, now... The soldiers here, I think they have to not care, in order to cope with the situation.”
    “Are there any secret passages in the castle?” Georgie directed her, eventually, hoping that her question would come across as idle curiosity.
    “Oh, you're straining my memory, child,” the woman told her, “Remember that I haven't worked here since I was a girl! But, I do remember that there was an underground passage leading from the kitchen to the wine cellar. It was a shortcut, more than a secret passage. I think they stopped using it and built the new cupboards in front of it, a few years before the soldiers came.”
    “Do the Nazis know about it?” Georgie asked.
    “I shouldn't think they'd bother with it,” the woman shook her head, “The wine cellar doesn't lead anywhere out of the castle.”
    Georgie smiled. The wine cellar was where The Doctor's Tardis was located. She could begin to see a way out of this place.
    “I don't suppose you don't know about an armoury then?” Georgie asked, a little jokingly.
    “Lawks, no!” the woman replied, “The only weapons I remember were the decorative ones on the walls. The master used to keep hunting rifles in his study next to the kitchen, but that's the Doctor's surgery now.” Her tone turned serious, “I hope you aren't thinking of being silly. The soldiers are just working boys like everybody else. Doctor Kruger's a good soul. He's the only man I've seen stand up to the Commandant. A shouting row, they had, about the work going on here. You'll be okay with him if you've volunteered for nursing.”
    The woman bid her goodnight and Georgie decided it was time to sleep.

    In the castle, The Doctor and Conrad were taken to separate, but adjacent rooms. There was a single guard posted between the two doorways.
    The castle doctor went into Conrad's room with him and tended to his injuries himself. He worked expertly, removing the bullet fragments and stitching the wounds closed. By the time he had finished, Conrad felt much of his former strength returned. He hit the bed and fell in to a deep sleep.
    In contrast, as soon as the Doctor was left alone he began prowling the room. For a Timelord, sleep was an optional undertaking, used to explore the mental possibility of subconscious thought, rather than a biological need to rest and organise thoughts.
    These days, The Doctor had avoided even voluntary sleep. The dreams that came to him were full of visions of the day he had gone magma boarding. Once more he remembered the heat of the lava and the screams of his dying companions...
    He shook away these thoughts, searching the room for options. It had clearly once been a bedroom, converted to a cell for militaristic purposes. Makeshift bars had been bolted over the windows, inside and out. He stared at the lock of the only door into the room. He tried, unsuccessfully, to form a mental image of the mechanism within the lock, hoping to be able to use his telekinesis to open the door.
    Frustrated with his failure, he slumped on the edge of the bed, just staring at the door. Without his Sonic Screwdriver there was no way out of this room, unless it was opened from the other side.
    But, the Doctor thought to himself with a sudden smile, that might just do.

Chapter Nine – Back into the War

    The night passed uneventfully.
    As Georgie finished partaking of the meagre rations handed out to the slaves, two burly soldiers came to fetch her and take her to the castle doctor's surgery. She was being commissioned for nursing duties.
    They went into the main house to a room down a short corridor from the main hall. “Doctor Kruger,” the soldiers announced as they walked into the room without knocking, “we have a replacement nurse for you.”
    Doctor Kruger waved them away without even looking around. Once they had gone he turned to face Georgie, wiping his hands on a towel and looking her up and down, sizing her up.
    “You have done nursing?” he asked, curtly, “What experience do you have?”
    Georgie raced to think of an explanation that would make sense in this strange world. “I trained in London, several years ago,” she said, “before the … umm … disaster.”
    “You hardly look old enough!” Doctor Kruger exclaimed, “Never mind. You can make yourself useful. Most of the patients here are due to have their dressings changed. You can wash your hands in this sink. There are aprons in this cupboard.”
    Georgie wanted to ask more, but Doctor Kruger turned away from her and went back to his work, silently.
    Georgie set to work in the surgery, changing the dressings of various patients in the small number of beds they had. While she got to grips with her duties, she was studying any equipment that could be used. She noted that Doctor Kruger had a wireless set, silently sitting on the side. Much of the other equipment Georgie didn't recognise. She didn't know if it had been invented after her time, or whether it seemed alien, like the metalworking equipment in the workshop.
    “Why don't we put some music on to cheer the patients?” she suggested, brightly.
    “If you must,” Doctor Kruger replied, curtly, “I don't object to music.”
    “Thank you, Doctor,” she said with a smile, “Obviously, I am a slave and they do not allow us music in the workshop, even though it may raise our spirits.”
    “Hmmph,” muttered Kruger, “I think they are more worried about giving those metal creations headaches.”
    “Really?” Georgie replied, sensing a raw nerve, “Do you know much about them?”
    “Do not speak to me about those machines. It is inhuman.”
    Georgie changed tack, not wanting to cause Doctor Kruger to close down on her. “Are you from around here, Doctor?” she asked.
    “No. I am originally from Lichtenstein.”
    “You have family?”
    He paused for a moment. “I had a family, once.”
    “I know what you mean,” Georgie said, thinking back with sadness, “I used to have a family.”
    Doctor Kruger turned to look at her, for the first time since she had first arrived, “Where are you from, frauline?”
    “I was from Nottingham, originally,” Georgie said, truthfully, “before we moved to the Transvaal, before having to come back because of the war.” She realised she needed to invent a little more and said, “But when England was attacked, our family escaped to France.”
    “You were lucky,” Doctor Kruger told her.
    “My working experiences as a nurse began on that ship, really,” she lied, translating her real experience over from the Boer conflict, “I learned the hard way to deal with the dying and the injured.”
    “I'm sure you've seen terrible things,” Doctor Kruger said, sympathetically, “I just hope you don't have cause to see the terrible things I have witnessed in this place.”
    “I doubt there is much here that can shock me.”
    Kruger tutted, “I should think that you can't even imagine the horrors that are committed here.”
    “You want a bet?” Georgie replied, defiantly, “I have held the hand of a dying man, while he tried, uselessly, to push his own intestines back into his body.”
    “It is one thing to deal with the injured, or the casualties of normal warfare,” Doctor Kruger told her, firmly, “It is quite another to be forced into inflicting things upon people quite deliberately.”
    “You mean experimentation? Surgery?” she asked, leading him on.
    “All manner of horrors,” Kruger face seemed to glaze over as he remembered. “I tried to stop it, but what is one voice against the might of the war machine?”
    “There must be many other scientists who feel the same way as you, Doctor Kruger?”
    He sneered, “Most of them are too excited by the opportunities that this war is giving them to progress science. They do not stop to think about the moral consequences of their choices. I know it is a terrible thing for a Doctor to say, but I am glad that Doctor Von Klein's creations turned on him and killed him in his lab. It is just reward for the things he has done. I may not be able to stop what they are doing, but I will have no further part in it, even if they threaten to kill me.”
    “Is inaction not the same as supporting them with your silence?” Georgie ventured, outraged.
    “How dare you speak to me like this?” Kruger said, suddenly turning on her, “Do not forget that you are a slave. Get back to work!”
    “I am a person, Doctor Kruger!” she challenged.
    “There are no people, anymore,” Kruger said, sadly. “There is only meat for the grinder and material for the machines.”
    Georgie got up to walk away, but turned and said, “There is always hope, Doctor.”
    “Hmph,” Kruger snorted, “If you can show me some, I would grab it with both hands.”
    “Look at these patients,” Georgie appealed to him, “I could consider them my enemy, could I not? In spite of what has happened in my own country I am still here, hoping for the best. Is that not something? Why go on, otherwise?”
    “I vowed to protect life, I am bound by my vow,” Kruger replied “Anything else is for stronger men than myself. I lost the moral high ground in this castle a long time ago.”
    He fell silent.
    After a while, Georgie asked him, “Doctor... have you treated any strange patients lately?”
    Kruger shrugged, “Only that spy that was brought in with gunshot wounds last night.”
    “A spy?” Georgie asked, suddenly hopeful, “What was he like?”
    “American, blond, strong-looking.”
    Georgie's heart raced. He was talking about Conrad, surely! She decided that she must know if he was okay. “Does he need any medical attention?”
    “His dressing is probably due for a change,” Kruger told her, “You can save me a job by doing it for me, if you're curious. The room is on the first floor, to the end and right along by the windows. You'll see the guard outside who will let you in.”
    Georgie strode quickly up the stairs and along the corridor to the cells where The Doctor and Conrad were being kept.
    To her surprise, the corridor was empty. There was no sign of any guard.
    As she approached, she could see two doors hanging open. Inside one was a guard, totally unconscious on the floor.
    The Doctor and Conrad had gone!

    Earlier that morning The Doctor had waited in his cell, vigilantly, all night, listening to the sounds in the corridor. His patience had eventually been rewarded by the sound of the guard returning to their rooms carrying trays of breakfast.
    With ease, The Doctor used his telekinesis to lift himself over the doorway. It was little effort for The Doctor, whose mental strength allowed him to lift weights far greater than he could ever manage with his meagre muscles.
    He hovered above the door, waiting. Duly, the keys rattled in the lock and the door swung open.
    As the guard stepped into the room, The Doctor dropped from the ceiling and crashed down upon the guard, knocking him unconscious.
    He listened. There was no sound from the corridor. The guard must have been alone. Good.
    The Doctor searched the guard's inert form. There was no Sonic Screwdriver, to The Doctor's disappointment.
    He recovered the keys from the door and let himself into Conrad's cell. Conrad awoke with a start, but quickly felt a wave of relief that The Doctor had secured their freedom.
    As they stepped out of the rooms, Conrad saw the body of the guard. He bent down and took the side-arm, a Luger, from his belt.
    The Doctor put his finger to his lips and Conrad nodded, understanding. They slipped down the corridor and headed downwards to the main hall. If no-one recognised their faces, they still looked inconspicuous in their German uniforms. Even Conrad's bandages simply made him look like any other wounded soldier.
    They found their way back into the kitchen. There was a workman beavering away at fixing the broken door to the back of the main house. Conrad decided not to speak, feeling that his weak German skills may give them away. The Doctor saw Conrad's hesitation and asked the man to let them pass.
    Outside, they could see the Jeep in which they had arrived, still parked not far from the workshop where they had left it. The fuel tanker was also there, wedged against the stone wall.
    Two soldiers were staring at the tanker, scratching their heads. They seemed to be trying to work out how to move it.
    The Doctor and Conrad shared a conspiratorial look and approached the soldiers.
    “Can we help?” The Doctor asked them, innocently.
    The first soldier pointed, explaining, “that's wedged good and proper against the stone work, that it. We need to get it mobile somehow, so we can wheel it back into the yard.”
    “If I might make a suggestion,” The Doctor offered, “I believe there is a chain in the back of that jeep. We could haul it away from the wall.”
    The soldiers looked at each other, incredulously.
    “Why didn't you think of that?” the slightly older soldier said to the other, slapping his chest with an oily rag, “Bloody idiot.”
    “While we do that,” The Doctor said, giving Conrad a sly wink, “don't forget to get your wallet from the truck.”
    “Yes. I'll just do that,” Conrad replied, remembering that his Radium Pistol was stowed under the seat.
    “You get on with that,” The Doctor continued, “while I find us some crowbars to help these fine gentlemen lever the cab away from the wall.”
    Conrad felt a wave of relief as his hand grasped the familiar shape of the Radium Pistol under the seat. He tucked it into his belt, hidden under his stolen uniform jacket.
    He put the Tanker's gearbox into neutral as The Doctor helped the soldiers attach the chain and tow the cab free from the wall. The soldiers were grateful as The Doctor and Conrad helped them to wheel the Tanker back, carefully, into a safe spot. The soldiers quickly and expertly replaced the tyre that had been shot out.
    Once the soldiers had walked off, waving their thanks, Conrad moved to start the engine, enthusiastically. The Doctor placed a warning hand on his arm.
    “What exactly are we doing?” The Doctor asked him, for clarity.
    “Same plan as before?” Conrad suggested, “Drive the truck into the workshop and blow it up!”
    “But I don't have my Sonic anymore,” The Doctor warned, “Plus, Georgie could be in there, as well as all the other slaves. Without the Sonic I can't overtake the speaker system to warn everybody.”
    “You can't get a new one?” Conrad asked.
    “If I was in my Tardis,” The Doctor suggested, “I could cobble a new one together from parts.”
    “There may be tools here? Can you do anything with those?”
    The Doctor considered, “I may be able to put something together...”
    “Let's go, then!” Conrad said.
    They found a group of soldiers on a break, smoking and playing cards and asked them for directions to a tool-shed so that they could do some minor repairs on the jeep. The young and credulous soldiers directed them to a small hut, full of spare parts and tools.
    The Doctor scanned the shelves, racking his brains for the basic attributes which made up the Sonic Screwdriver's basic operations.
    “It's not going to be pretty,” The Doctor told Conrad, “but it will be something!”

    Georgie was looking up and down the corridor in the main house, frantically, for signs of The Doctor or Conrad. She listened at some other doors along the corridor, but couldn't hear any other prisoners. As she moved along, past the windows, she spied something out in the courtyard. She glimpsed Conrad and The Doctor slipping furtively into some kind of shed.
    Calming herself, Georgie headed down the main stairs. She managed to orient herself to the direction the shed must be in and found herself heading out through the kitchen. Along the way she made a mental note of the shelves all around the kitchen walls. The passage to the wine cellar must be behind one of them!
    She headed outside and strolled over to the shed. As she walked in, The Doctor was triumphantly holding a gnarled metal gadget in the air.
    “Doctor!” Georgie exclaimed, happily, “Where have you been?”
    The Doctor smiled broadly to see her again. “We had a bit of trouble,” her told her, underplaying the events, “We got captured.”
    “What are you doing?” she asked him.
    “I'm just having to construct a new Sonic screwdriver, because my old one was taken from me. It's a big bigger than the old one,” The Doctor exclaimed, testing it with a cheerful buzz, “but it should do for now.”
    “I have important information, Doctor,” Georgie told him, eagerly getting out the information she had while she had the chance, “I found out from the other prisoners that the wireless radio sets were taken away as soon as the Robots appeared! Doctor Kruger suggested that the radio waves interfere with them, somehow, causing them to break down. There is a radio in the surgery. As well as lots of equipment I can't identify.”
    “That's very helpful,” The Doctor replied, encouraged.
    “I have prisoners willing to help with the effort if we can only signal them,” Georgie continued.
    “Well, we were planning to drive the tanker into the workshop and destroy it,” The Doctor said, “Your information gives us an excellent alternative plan. It might be best to look and see what equipment the good doctor has that could be of use.”
    As they walked back into the house, towards Doctor Kruger's surgery, Georgie pointed out the shelves behind which may be a hidden passage to the wine cellar. The Doctor nodded, considering the possibilities.
    As they walked into the surgery, Doctor Kruger looked up with a start, recognising the prisoners from the previous night.
    The Doctor accosted him, “I was wondering if I could take a look at your equipment, Doctor?”
    “Ah,” replied Kruger, “you're the spies. You've escaped, then?” He looked pointedly at Georgie.
    “Do we need to knock you out, Doctor Kruger?” The Doctor asked him. His words were kind, in spite of the implied threat. They had no wish to get Doctor Kruger into trouble.
    “There is no need,” Kruger told them, “Take what you wish. If you fail in your mission, I will simply say that you had me at gunpoint.”
    The Doctor, Georgie and Conrad began searching the surgery for useful equipment. Doctor Kruger suddenly spoke up.
    “Do you think you can get everybody out?” he asked, hopefully, “The soldiers, the slaves and the … medical experiments?”
    “Medical experiments?” The Doctor asked, intrigued.
    Kruger swallowed, guilt rising like bile into his throat. “Go through the door at the back of the workshop and you will see what I mean. If you can rescue those who are still able to be saved, you will have addressed a great evil that I helped. Please.”
    The Doctor nodded, gravely, “Very well.”
    From the surgery, The Doctor found a surprisingly advanced hand-held x-ray device. “I can't imagine those robots will like having this fired at them, after a bit of a boost from the Sonic,” he ventured. “Don't forget the wireless,” he told Georgie. He also spotted a very advanced Vibro-scalpel, another anachronism is this time period. The Doctor pocketed this, carefully.
    “So,” Conrad summarised as they strode out of the surgery with their stolen equipment, “we control the robots, sound the alarm to evacuate people, dash into the experimental lab and try to release anybody there and, meanwhile, drive the truck into the workshop, ready to be detonated?”
    The Doctor turned to Conrad, “when you saw those blueprints, you don't happen to remember the frequency that the robots' radio components work on?”
    Conrad considered, studying the photographic image in his mind of the creased blueprint, covered in technical data. “Yes,” he replied eventually, telling The Doctor the frequency, who fed it into his lashed-up Sonic Screwdriver.
    “Can't we bring the Tardis up here?” Georgie asked, thinking that it would be a powerful asset.
    The Doctor considered, carefully. “There's something very funny going on here with Time,” The Doctor said, remembering the very shaky journey that had caused them to land here, “I'd really rather not add any complexity to a dangerous situation. The way the Tardis is behaving I'd struggle to land it with any accuracy. We could end up anywhere. Or any when.”
    “But,” Georgie suggested, “you could broadcast the evacuation signal from the Tardis?”
    “Now that is a good idea,” The Doctor replied, “this new Sonic Screwdriver is a bit of an unknown.”
    “You two go,” Conrad told them, “I'm going to head back to the jeep.”
    “What for?” The Doctor asked.
    “I feel all wrong in this outfit,” Conrad said, indicating the Nazi uniform. “I need to suit up!”
    The Doctor smiled.
    “Besides,” Conrad explained, “I'll prep the truck and made sure we're ready to go.”
    The Doctor quickly identified a loose set of shelves and pulled them away in a fluid motion, revealing a set of stone steps heading down into the ground.
    Conrad turned to Georgie and unholstered the Luger he had taken from the guard. “Here,” he said, handing it to her, “take this.”
    Georgie took it, gingerly and nodded a thank-you, before following The Doctor down into the hidden passage.

Chapter Ten – Two Hearts Break

    The stone passageway was damp and full of stale air. The Doctor and Georgie must have been the first people to walk down it in years.
    It was completely dark, save for the pale light of the ramshackle Sonic Screwdriver's flickering 1930's era bulb.
    Eventually, the passage came to an end behind one of the massive wooden barrels full of wine. They eased around the edge of it and found themselves in the brightly lit cellar beneath the castle.
    There stood the Tardis, as blue and as beautiful to the Doctor's eye as any summer's day on Earth.
    They slipped inside and Georgie was surprised at how immediately at ease she felt inside its comforting, but confusing, walls.
    The Doctor's hands skittered over the controls on the central dais. He scanned the castle and found a frequency that would piggy-back the electronic speaker system.
    “Perfect!” he announced, “as well as sounding an evacuation signal, I can put out an inaudible sound which should paralyse those robots! Plus, with a little psychic boost from the Tardis, nobody will be able to resist the evacuation order!”
    “What about this device, Doctor?” Georgie asked, holding up the handheld X-Ray scanner.
    The Doctor took it and pointed his cumbersome Sonic Screwdriver at it. There was a bit of a wobble and a flash and then he hefted the scanner back over to Georgie.
    “A little bit of tinkering needed,” he explained, “but at close range that should fry one of those robots.”
    “Ready?” he asked Georgie, his fingers poised over a button on the Tardis console.
    Georgie nodded, biting her lip.
    The Doctor hit the button and all over the castle, to soldier and civilian alike, came the irresistible command to evacuate.

    Panic rippled through the slaves' workshop. The soldiers, too, seemed conflicted between their duty to guard the prisoners and their instinctive desire to run.
    The prisoners were also struggling. Some of them began to flee into the courtyard while others were immobilised by fear, convinced that either the soldiers or the robots would begin shooting them, if they moved.
    It was Klaus who recognised Georgie's hand in events. He had enough initiative to tip the balance and get the prisoners moving. Once he'd convinced his own group to run, it began an avalanche of escape, in which all but the most terror-stricken prisoners fled from the workshop and kept running. They sprinted all the way out into the courtyard and past the panicking guards at the gate.
    The soldiers were also running, by now. There was an urgency in the evacuation order which seemed to compel their feet, forcing them to run as far from the castle as they could manage.
    Conrad heard the alarm and saw the bodies streaming out of the workshop. He revved the motor of the tanker and pushed the truck forward. The panic-stricken soldiers were too disorganised to challenge him. The tanker crashed into the workshop, smashing into workstations and tipping over tools and materials. The few remaining slaves who had been immobilised so far, too scared or too institutionalised to run away, now seemed to be woken up by this titanic terror, and ran from the workshop to escape the careering fuel tanker.
    The black robots, the Metallensturmtruppen, were not responding to the escaping prisoners. They seemed to be swaying back and forth, clutching at their heads and evidently in agony from the electronic interference as well as their audio-based sight being blinded by the emergency klaxon which filled the room with sound.

    The Doctor and Georgie ran back through the passage as quickly as they could and bounded out into the kitchen. They also crashed into a soldier, who seemed suddenly very familiar.
    It was the Apothecary. He recognised them at once and blurted out, in a mix of relief and desperation, “Doctor! All the workers have escaped, but I still can't find my daughter!”
    “There's one place still to look,” Georgie said, catching the Doctor's quickly darkening face. “The experimental lab.”
    The Apothecary's face filled with hope, “you must take me there!”
    As they ran across the courtyard, Georgie pointed and shouted, “Doctor! The Jeep!”
    The Doctor nodded, “we may need it to get away quicker!”
    The three of them jumped into the jeep and they drove it into the workshop alongside the Tanker, ready for a quick getaway.
    “Doctor,” Conrad said, greeting them, “I've found the door to the lab, but it's sealed with some kind of electric lock.”
    The Doctor didn't say a word. He just strode purposefully toward the door and pointed the Sonic Screwdriver at it. It burst open in a shower of sparks and The Doctor kicked the door open.
    “My god,” was all he could say.
    Even though he was expecting the worst, the inside of the experimental lab still came close to breaking both of The Doctor's hearts. Despite his love for humanity, the horrors he saw there shook his faith in humanity's worth as a species. He knew that, in the years to come, he would struggle to let go of what he had seen here.
    The low, dark room was full of surgical tables. On each of these was a human body, or what was left of them. Pipes fed into them and computer consoles beeped and monitored the effects of drugs, surgery and other invasive techniques.
    At the back of the room, hanging on a maintenance scaffold was one one of the black robots, the Metallensturmtruppen; the Metal Stormtroopers. The main breast plate was not fitted, exposing the hollow cavity inside.
    Placed inside the shell was the body of a child. Her own arms and legs had been surgically removed in order to fit the body inside the metal shell.
    “Doctor Kruger was right, wasn't he?” Georgie asked, the words almost sticking in her throat.
    “Does this mean that all the robots we've been fighting have children inside?” Conrad asked the Doctor, quietly.
    He nodded silently.
    “The missing villagers...” Georgie stammered.
    “They must have failed to master the radio controlled artificial intelligence,” The Doctor explained, slowly, “and turned instead to human controllers. It's monstrous. This technology is way beyond them. Beyond even the tools we've seen in the workshop and surgery. The skill required to interface flesh with machinery is decades away.”
    “Why would anybody create that technology?” Georgie asked, aghast.
    “On my world, technology such as this was once regularly used to replace missing limbs, or to provide mobility to those with birth defects,” The Doctor told her, “It was eventually swept away by genetic manipulation, but it lasted for years. There is no good or bad technology. Only how people use it. And your people always seem to use it for the most unforgivable evil.” He trailed off.
    “Can they be saved?” Georgie asked.
    The Doctor examined the limbless child in the robotic suit. “The child is still alive,” he said, “I don't have the means to restore the limbs that were taken, but the child could survive, with help.”
    “What can we do?”
    The Doctor considered, “Doctor Von Klein believed he was creating a means to provide mobility to the sick. With a bit of tinkering, this suit could still serve that purpose and eventually the child's brain will assume control if its functions.”
    The Apothecary's face was ashen, taking in the implications of this revelation alongside his daughter's disappearance. He was searching from table to table, but could not find her among the victims.
    The room fell suddenly silent. The Doctor's evacuation siren had been cut off.
    “We should get out of here,” Conrad said, the change suddenly spurring him into action, “I vote we get out of here and blow the entire place away.”
    Georgie could see Conrad's logic but was torn. “Doctor...?” she asked, searching for guidance.
    The Doctor swallowed and said, quietly, “One. We have to save at least one.”
    Georgie searched around the papers scattered on the tabletop near the exposed robot. “There are papers here describing the medical procedure,” she said, “Can you use these to get her out?”
    The Doctor looked at them and said, simply, “yes.”
    Using the Sonic Screwdriver, The Doctor released restraining clamps in the robot body and gently lifted the child's fragile and limbless torso down.
    He strode out of the laboratory in silence. Eventually the others followed him.

    Back in the workshop, they could see that the robots seemed to be a bit more able to see now that the siren had ended, but they were still struggling with the hidden radio interference. Seeing their arrival, the cyborgs feebly attempted to lift weapons to aim at The Doctor and his companions.
    The Doctor regarded the ailing cyborgs with sadness in his eyes.
    The cyborgs started firing, their shots going wild and wide.
    “Quick!” The Doctor said, “Any stray shot could detonate the tanker! Get aboard the jeep.”
    He passed the child to Georgie while Conrad jumped behind the wheel of the jeep. Georgie placed the child carefully on the back.
    “I'll buy us some time,” The Doctor said, morosely and led the Apothecary over to stand beneath the gantry. Slowly, he raised the x-ray device up to directly beneath one of the cyborgs that was firing its weapon, blindly. Gritting his teeth he pressed the button.
    There was no flash, or sound, but the cyborg froze, suddenly rigid and crashed to the gantry floor.
    Georgie turned away and snapped her moistening eyes shut.
    “Georgie!” Conrad called, snapping her out of it, “you'll have to take the shot!”
    She nodded and carefully took the Radium Pistol from him.
    The Doctor started to move back toward the jeep.
    “Wait!” said the Apothecary, refusing to move, “we still haven't found my daughter!”
    The Doctor shook his head, sadly, “I'm sorry. Surely if she was here, we would have found her by now?! If she's alive, she may have already been evacuated! You must come with us!”
    All the colour drained from the man's face. “I can't,” he said and before The Doctor could stop he he had burst out through a small door in the side of the workshop and disappeared deeper into the castle.
    The Doctor was about to give chase when a shot from one of the other Metallensturmtruppen landed very close to his feet.
    He ran toward the jeep, waving. “Just do it!” he yelled.
    Conrad hit the accelerator and the jeep lurched forward as the Doctor dived into the passenger seat.
    Despite the swaying, Georgie levelled the Radium Pistol at the tanker and squeezed the trigger. A ball of green energy blasted out of the weapon and sailed towards the tanker's fuel container. The green light seemed to radiate across the metal flank as radioactive energy spread into the fuel within.
    A wave of heat and light washed over the escaping jeep as the tanker erupted into a ball of orange fire and black smoke. They seemed to be driving away from a wall of flame which poured out of the workshop entrance and incinerated every scrap of technology within. Holes punched out through the metal roofing and fire engulfed the main house and the fuel dump behind.
    A second explosion blasted out as the fuel dump ignited, shattering the back of the castle's main house. The building collapsed into a pile of dust and red-hot bricks launched through the air, exploding like grenades where they impacted into the castle walls and courtyard floor.
    The shock-wave overturned the jeep, spilling The Doctor, his companions and the unconscious child into the courtyard. Fire spread quickly around them and The Doctor realised they were in danger of getting cut off.
    “We need to get back to the Tardis!” The Doctor shouted.
    Conrad argued, “what is this Tardis? We need to get out of the castle!”
    “I think the kitchen route will be on fire!” Georgie guessed, looking at the main house which was, by now, a raging inferno.
    “The Tardis is our best way out, I assure you,” The Doctor told Conrad, “Based on the layout of the castle, it must be this way...”
    The Doctor pointed to a door in the bailey wall. He tried it, carefully. It was locked.
    Georgie pulled the Luger out of her belt and emptied the magazine into the door. With a single kick, the door fell open.
    The Doctor, nodded, approvingly and picked up the child from beside the stricken jeep. “Let's go,” he urged and they headed through the door.
    It led into another courtyard. Fire was spreading all around them, but it definitely looked like the courtyard in which they had originally found themselves after leaving the wine cellar.
    They hurried across but realised they were being confronted by a familiar figure.
    Standing in the centre of the courtyard, ringed by fire, was Commandant Jurgens.
    He raised a shaking and smouldering arm at them, holding his pistol. “Doctor!” he yelled in a croaky voice. “You will not defeat us again!”
    The Doctor waited to see what he would do.
    A look of determination came into Commandant Jurgens' eyes. “The Fuhrer will deal with you personally,” he announced.
    The air around Jurgens seemed to glow suddenly. His head flicked back as his body was consumed by a luminescent aura. When he face dropped back to stare at them, his eyes were aflame with a blue gleam.
    “Doctor!” came a strange, otherworldly voice from the possessed Nazi, “Once again you have returned to me and once again you have ruined my plans. I will see you destroyed.”
    The Doctor still had no idea who this alien presence could be.
    “20 years I have waited for you to return,” the alien hissed, “and now I will have my vengeance on you!” Jurgens' eyes flashed.
    The Doctor noticed a little beep from the Sonic Screwdriver. His interference signal had been negated, somehow.
    There was a crash of burning boxes from nearby. A black metal arm raised up out of the flames and grabbed the wall for stability. One of the Metallensturmtruppen hoisted itself to its feet and lurched towards them.
    Conrad quickly aimed his Radium Pistol and fired, once.
    A sickly green glow spread out over Commandant Jurgens' chest. The blue light in his eyes died as he dropped to the floor.
    The black cyborg advanced upon them all with murderous intent. The Doctor, Georgie and Conrad backed away steadily. Conrad raised a shaking arm to fire at the hybrid machine, unsure if his energy weapon would even work against this shielded monster, thinking of the poor child inside.
    He was about to fire when a charred figured lurched through the flames beside him and knocked his aim astray.
    “No, you mustn't!” yelled the figure.
    It was the Apothecary. He ran forward and put himself between the group and the deadly machine.
    The Metallensturmtruppen seemed to stop at the sound of his voice, confused. There came a whining, grating noise from inside the shell, followed by a distant and tinny voice.
    It simply said, “Fa...ther?” seemingly conflicted between smashing the Apothecary with its arms or embracing him.
    The Doctor hoisted the X-Ray device and fired a low-powered shot. The mechanical limbs of the cyborg seemed to freeze and it fell to the floor with a clatter.
    The Doctor passed the Apothecary the Vibro-scalpel he had liberated from the surgery. The old man carefully sliced open the edges of the carapace and gazed in conflicted joy at the face of his tragic daughter. He stroked her cheek, tenderly, overjoyed to have found her, in spite of her injuries.
    Georgie asked, desperately, “Doctor, is there anything you can do for her?”
    “We need to get out,” Conrad shouted, as a section of the bailey tower crashed down, “this whole place is coming down around us!”
    “Get her to my Tardis!” The Doctor ordered.
    Georgie and the Apothecary picked up his daughter, still inside the robotic suit. It was surprisingly light, Georgie thought, the metal must weigh hardly anything. They headed quickly over to the wine cellar steps and raced along the passage to the Tardis.
    Conrad stopped in surprise and shock. “Doc,” he said, “there's no way that box will save us when the castle collapses!”
    Georgie tutted and muttered, “Americans!” under her breath.
    “You'll see,” The Doctor told him with a wink, pushing the door open.
    Conrad stood and stared, incredulously.
    “He's right, you know,” Georgie said and followed The Doctor, carrying the Apothecary's daughter inside.
    Conrad stepped inside to the cavernous Tardis control room, suddenly taking in the expanse of blinking lights and the low hum of machinery. “Wow,” he exclaimed, “This is massive!”
    The Doctor nodded, proudly, “It even has a swimming pool.”
    Georgie placed the metallic husk down carefully and raced over to The Doctor's side by the console. “Do we need to take off?” she asked him.
    He shook his head, “No need. The interior of the Tardis exists within a totally different universe. This castle can collapse around us and we will barely feel it.”
    Georgie considered this, thinking back to the flight here which had been so rough and had injured her. “What was that shaking when we came here, then?” she asked him.
    “That was something else,” The Doctor said, “Something very disturbing.”
    “Doctor,” the Apothecary pleaded, “My daughter... I know she'll never walk again, but is there anything you can do?”
    The Doctor nodded and instructed him to help him through to the Tardis' medical bay with his daughter and the other child victim.
    Meanwhile, Georgie and Conrad stood in silence and listened to the banging and clattering as the castle collapsed around them.

    The Doctor and the Apothecary had been gone for a long time. The sound of destruction from outside had long since ended.
    Eventually, The Doctor reappeared with a surprisingly jubilant expression on his face, wiping his hands on a towel.
    “Well,” he announced, “I'm rather pleased with that. Using the robotic technology, along with a few bits and bobs I have lying around the Tardis, we've done a pretty good job on both of them. Fully dressed, they'll both pass for human. Although I'd suggest she keeps to herself if or when the Bikini gets invented. I doubt humanity will be ready for cyborg sunbathing. Still, in most other respects, she has her life back. They both do. A kind of life, anyway...”
    “The best we can give her?” Georgie suggested. The Doctor nodded, sadly.
    The Apothecary was standing behind him. “That is all any parent asks for,” he said, gratefully.

Epilogue

    Conrad approached The Doctor, who was studying the Tardis' displays.
    “Doctor,” he said, “I need to see that the robot factory is destroyed. That is my mission, after all.”
    The Doctor pulled a few controls on the console. “I daren't try de-materialising the Tardis before we've dropped the Apothecary and his daughter off,” he explained, “Who knows where we could end up! But, I think moving 100ft straight up is safe.”
    He pulled a lever and The Tardis lurched upwards, exploding out of the smouldering rubble which had covered it. He pulled a second lever and the exterior door swung gently open, revealing a sunny afternoon.
    The Doctor strode over to the doorway with Conrad and stood on the edge. The Tardis was hanging in the sky, about 80 feet above the ground.
    Spread out below them was the shattered remains of the castle. A few sections of wall were intact but, for the most part, the castle was a complete ruin.
    “I think you can tick that box, Captain,” The Doctor told Conrad with a smile.
    “Well then,” Conrad said, offering The Doctor a hand, “I should return to my squad. Doctor, it's been a pleasure!”
    The Doctor ignored the hand and walked back over to the Tardis controls. “Of course your mission is only half complete, Captain Seager...”
    Conrad gave him a quizzical look.
    “There's still there question of where that technology came from.?” The Doctor explained, “and I'm sure your army would thank you for uncovering the root of the problem?”
    “But I'm expected back!” Conrad protested, “If I don't return I'm either MIA or AWOL, neither of which I want telegraphing home to my girl, Jenny!”
    “But this is a Time Machine!” Georgie interjected, “just like the one in Mr Wells' novels! We can return you whenever you are needed back! Or even a couple of days before, if you want a day off!”
    “A Time Machine?” Conrad exclaimed, “Where the hell would you have gotten a Time Machine?”
    “That is not the question,” The Doctor replied, enigmatically, “The question is: is the Captain amenable to persuasion? What do you say? Do you want to see this mission all the way through?”
    Conrad considered these words as he watched through the open door. Trees sailed by  as The Doctor guided the Tardis skillfully down the hillside to the village. It had been a remarkable adventure, he thought, and this Tardis would be an amazing asset in the ongoing war...
    In the village, the streets were full of delighted people, hugging each other and shouting with the joy of reunion. In front of amazed faces, The Doctor landed the Tardis carefully and neatly in front of the Apothecary's house.
    The daughter and the other cyborg child were led hypnotically into the house. The Doctor gave the Apothecary a kind smile. “Their minds will return to them,” The Doctor assured him, “they haven't lost those.”
    “I will do what I can to find the child's parents,” the Apothecary promised, solemnly.
    The Doctor gave him a knowing look. “And if you don't,” he suggested, “there is plenty of room at your house?”
    The Apothecary smiled at him as he stepped out of the Tardis and into his home.
    The Doctor flicked a switch and the Tardis door closed quietly behind him.

    Thank you for reading. I hope you have enjoyed this adventure, based on the actions of a roleplaying group playing Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space by Cubicle 7.

    The Doctor, Georgie and Conrad Seager will return in Gods of War (2012 Christmas Special).

    Christopher J Jarvis, 9th February 2013

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