Killer Bees Episode Eight;Always the Third Doctor!;Welcome to Jeri's Dr. Who fiction Page!;Doctor Who;UNIT;TARDIS;Third Doctor;Katy Manning;Jo Grant;The Master;Roger Delgado

Killer Bees

Episode 8

Jo set the pry firmly between the bracket and the wall and used all her strength on the crowbar. The Doctor stifled a sound of pain behind his teeth as the chain moved against the seared flesh around his ankle. She set her own teeth and tried again--suddenly determined to get him free even if she did hurt him. She gouged deeply with the pry into the crevice that she had widened with her first attempt, and this time the crowbar served its purpose. The bracket came out from the wall on a long bolt. The bolt was so long that it remained in the wall with the bracket dangling from it, but the Doctor jerked it out of the wall with his hand.

"Done," he said wearily. She helped him get to his feet, but as she did she realized how badly off he truly was. He was too heavy for her to help easily, and she realized that he was going to need help to get anywhere.

"The Clark left me those syringes that you need," she suggested.

He glanced down at the ground and shook his head. "Let's get out of this blasted cell first. I hate the dark," he gasped. "There are steps out there in the light. It will be better there." He stifled a groan as she tried to help him walk.

"You've got to let me just lean on you," he told her. "If you hold onto me very tightly at all, it will precipitate more internal damage--increase the rate."

She instantly loosened her hold on him. "I'm sorry," she said. "I don't understand radiation sickness."

"Let's go," he said, and she helped him as best as she could, but he was leaning heavily on her, and it took all her strength to act as a crutch for him.

"Radiation alters atoms," he explained haltingly as they struggled across the darkness together. "Ionizes the water in the body. Kills a human rather quickly--two or three days after a lethal dose."

"Why would that kill?" she asked.

He gasped in his breath, tried to look severe as he glanced down at her, and then gave up and said wearily, "Remember your science, Jo. Ionization chemically changes water molecules," he reminded her. "It ceases to be water. The body cannot carry out its normal process chemical reactions by relying on altered water molecules of one hydrogen, one oxygen. When the water of the body has had its chemical composition changed like that to hydrogen peroxide, there can be no remedy. Water is the most basic unit of life. It is essential even at the cellular level, and it makes up most of the volume of cells. The body cannot function, cannot carry out its most basic operation without H20. It simply falls apart--from the inside out, and it dries up as it becomes unable to chemically process the genuine water that it takes in."

"That's what's happening to you?" she asked.

He nodded wearily. "More resistant than humans, of course," he said. "My body's natural shielding protects those around me from the radiation that I've absorbed, and that shielding slows down the radioactive and chemical breakdowns internally. But the dose I received was too large. I cannot recover from it." He groaned again. "Oh, how far to the door?"

"We're at the door," she gasped. "Let's rest a minute. Let me lean against the door sill a moment." He nodded at her suggestion, and they both rested.

"Are you afraid?" she asked in a small voice.

"Yes," he said briefly. Then after a pause he added, "It is a loss of self, of identity, or personhood. I know that you grieve because you will be forgotten, Jo. But--in a sense--I will be forgotten, too. All that I value now will pass into oblivion--except for those few people and items who see me through the regeneration and stay with me long enough to revitalize some immediate memory. And there is some danger, of course, that regeneration will not occur. Radiation is pervasive and extremely destructive. The more I put off dying the more I risk a regeneration failure." He looked down at her. His lined face, now pearly in the dimness from a sheen of sweat, was also pained with sorrow. "I so hated my exile when I first came here. I was so alone. Everything seemed bleak and hopeless. I--I owe you so much. I don't want to forget--have the veil come down--" He was interrupted by his own pain as he groaned. "Quickly, Jo. Get me into the light and start the injections."

"Come on." She got his arm into place across her shoulders so that she could bear his weight, but just then a dark figure in the doorway blotted out the faint light from the hallway. Jo stopped.

"No," the Doctor said, his voice filled with a dread she had never heard in him. "No." He tightened his grip on her so that it was almost painful.

"My dear Miss Grant, you have done it again," the Master said in mock admiration. "Somehow slipped the bands of death in order to rejoin the Doctor." He had his favorite weapon in his hand--the molecular compressor. "Fortunately, I have several silent alarms set up around the grounds. I was alerted instantly of your intrusion."

"Whatever you want, I'll do," the Doctor said, leaning so heavily on her that she almost could not hold him up. "But don't kill her."

The Master smiled indulgently at him and then looked at her. "I've already told the Doctor my plans, Miss Grant," he explained. "While I am developing this super weapon, my entertainment shall be to keep him as my prisoner. Not to kill him--for he's dying already--but to kill his friends. "

He stepped closer to them to look them over for weapons, and then he stepped further back out in the hallway to isolate her in the trajectory of the compressor's ray.

"Step away from him, Miss Grant," he ordered.

"She will not," the Doctor said desperately, his arms effectively imprisoning her against himself.

"You've got to let me go," Jo whispered. "He could kill us both."

"Beg for her, Doctor," the Master invited him. "Perhaps I will spare her if you humor my whims."

She couldn't hold him up any longer with his full weight bearing down on her. But he would not let her go. He fell to his knees, and she came down with him. "Let me go," she whispered. "Doctor, he'll kill us both if he has to."

"Do you think I'm afraid of dying now?" he asked. "Don't, Jo. Don't fight me."

The Master slipped the compressor into his tunic and pulled out a much more conventional weapon-a simple handgun. "This is so entertaining, Doctor. I'm actually glad she survived the river."

He took a step closer. "Let her go. She wants you to let her go."

"Jo," the Doctor whispered. His voice lost its desperation and became more urgent, strong, and genuinely persuasive. "Tune him out. It's all lost now. Tune him out and listen to me. I'm here with you. Do you remember Atlantis? You told me then that you were glad to die with me. Give me that same honor. Hold onto me now."

"Don't be an idiot!" the Master snapped. "Any bullet will pass through her first. You canont save her, and you cannot die with her. Let her go. "

But Jo said, "I will." And she yielded to him. She buried her face and head between his neck and shoulder, and he turned to cover her head with his head, held her as close in as possible to make her a difficult target, and rolled his own personality across her. It was a sudden, quick revelation of himself: the quiet part of him that was always still and at rest, which she had seen glimpses of in the past.

"I'm here," he whispered. "I have you. It's all right. I have you."

From a great distance, she heard the Master's voice, but the words were not sensible. The warmth from the Doctor, his breath, and the growing sense of him, his knowledge, his mind, were carrying her away. The cold muzzle of the gun against her neck brought her closer to reality and the nearness of her death, and she heard the Master speak again, but though she understood the tone to be threatening, she could not make out the words as images of Atlantis, of Devil's end, of the lab on a sunny morning at UNIT HQ captivated her.

The gun blast, when she heard it, surprised her because she felt no pain, though her body instinctively jerked and trembled. The second shot was also painless. She heard a great outcry and a thump as a body hit a hard surface.

"Doctor!" Mike Yates exclaimed from the hallway. He entered the room, his gun trained on the fallen form of the Master, which lay sprawled across the dirt floor against the opposite wall.

Mike's surprised glance took in the both of them, kneeling together.

The sound of his voice brought her back as the Doctor's consciousness suddenly faded. "Mike," Jo whispered. The Doctor's arms abruptly slipped off of her, and he fell against her. She caught him and nearly went down under his weight.

"Get him before he falls!" Jo exclaimed, and she and Mike hurriedly caught the Doctor. They carried him between them out to the steps, and hauled him up to the sunlight. Jo pulled out the capped syringes as Mike tore open the Doctor's shirt.

"Can you hear me, Doctor?" Mike asked, taking the first one with a steady hand. "You'll have to help us."

"That's the right one," the Doctor murmured. "Throat first."

Jo glanced down the steps at the dim hallway, but there was no movement from inside. "Who was shot?" she asked, confused.

"I shot the Master twice. Hold his head, Jo," Mike ordered, and she turned back to the Doctor.

Sgt. Benton came around the corner. "All clear?" he asked.

"Get a stretcher," Mike said. "He can't walk." Benton nodded and ducked out of sight.

"What about the Master?" Jo asked.

"He's not going anywhere. I put both slugs into him."

The Doctor gasped but barely winced as the first injection went in. Then he whispered, "Are you sure he's dead, Yates?"

"No, Doctor. Not sure, but I have to attend to you first."

They spread his shirt apart, and for the first time Jo noticed that the clarity of the Doctor's skin was indeed changing. Not as noticeably on his face and hands, but the skin on his chest seemed slightly shriveled, as though he had been in the bath too long, and it was hairless. Mike had a difficult time finding the vein to inject. He performed the other injections, and by that time the medics were bringing the stretcher.

The injections did not seem to have helped the Doctor at all. Jo showed them how to lift him as gently as possible to avoid aggravating his pain.

"Quickly," Mike ordered them as they would have taken him away on the stretcher at a safe pace. "we're all in danger here."

"What about the Master?" Jo asked as she and he gathered up the syringes.

"There's more than one ambulance here. We can send a stretcher party for him."

They came around the corner and hurried after the stretcher crew. "If we're lucky the Master'll be dead by the time we get him in the ambulance," Mike said, taking her wrist and running with her across the wide lawn.

"Mike!" she exclaimed reproachfully.

"He's come to inflict nothing but misery on the Doctor and all of us," he said. "Why was he ever spared? It's time he answered for his crimes."

She was surprised to see an incredible battalion of UNIT soldiers and police on hand. But they seemed to be hanging back. All the vehicles and personnel stood out at the street, behind what looked like an array of portable loudspeakers.

The Brigadier, at the fore of the vehicles and assembled men, shouted at them.

"Right! Get the lead out of your britches!" he shouted at them. And then Sgt. Benton, on his left, pointed toward the house and said with deceptive calmness, "Here they come sir!"

The two stretcher men picked up the pace to a quick jog. Strapped down to the stretcher, the Doctor grimaced but did not protest. Mike, mindful of her bandaged hand, pulled Jo along. From one of the windows of the great house, a shimmering cloud bulged out and then detached itself. It took only a moment for it to resolve itself as a swarm of the bees.

"Jo!" Mike exclaimed in a whisper. They were directly in the path of the submicronic killers.

The Brigadier leaped forward. "All right, lads!" he shouted. "Fire!"

There was a brilliant flash from the devices that had been set up on the lawn. Jo felt the momentary shock and tingle as something raced across her. The swarm seemed to evaporate, but then she realized that they had dropped out of the air like pebbles.

The soldiers unslung their rifles and leaped forward. They raced in formation toward the house. From the front door, a lone figure appeared with a gun, hesitated, and then ran in the opposite direction, fleeing the soldiers.

"Get that man alive!" Yates shouted. "He's the only one left!"

"You heard him men! Bring him back!" the Brigadier shouted. He jerked the doors to one of the ambulances open and looked down at the pale face of the Doctor as the medics brought him up.

"Still alive?" he asked.

"Yes sir," Yates told him. "He should improve again shortly."

"Can you hear me, Doctor?" the Brigadier asked, leaning over him as the medics prepared to load him into the van.

"Get the Master. Where is the Clark?" the Doctor whispered.

The Brigadier glanced sharply at Mike as Jo climbed into the van past him. "The Master is there? That other fellow in the bowler said he was gone."

"He came back," Mike told him. "I put two bullets into him. He's down in the basement."

"Here they come again, sir!" Benton shouted. The Brigadier turned to the new onslaught. "Fire again!" he shouted. Then he muttered, " How many of those things has he got in there?"

The static dischargers flashed again, but this time the swarm was cut only in half rather than destroyed.

"What's gone wrong?" the Brigadier demanded. Out on the lawn, the surviving bees homed in on the running soldiers.

"Fire again, blast it!" the Brigadier shouted.

The Doctor opened his eyes and struggled against the restraints of the stretcher. "The capacitors aren't fully recharged," he gasped. "You've got to let them get to the fifth interval to--"

Obeying the Brigadier's orders, the soldiers at the control panel discharged the electrostatic devices, but what occured was more on the level of a mere camera flash.

"Jo get me out of this!" the Doctor exclaimed, and she quickly undid the straps. "Lethbridge Stewart, don't be an ass!" he shouted as she helped him up. "You've got massive capacitors in those units. They have to recharge fully to be effective at this distance!"

Out on the lawn, the soldier's quarry threw his hands up and screamed as the bees surrounded him. In the next instant he was gone. But several UNIT soldiers also winked out. The small breeze picked up the falling dust and carried it in a gentle eddy.

"Fall back!" the Brigadier shouted at them. "Back to the vans!" He turned to the Doctor and to Mike Yates.

"I warned you the capacitors would have to--" Mike began.

"How long!" he shouted. "I wasn't expecting that he could have produced this many of those blasted things!"

Several more soldiers winked out.

"About ten seconds for capacitors that size," the Doctor said quickly. "Try it now!"

"Fire!" the Brigadier shouted. The discharge units flashed, and the bees dropped out of flight again. Just as they all breathed a sigh of relief, and as the few remaining soldiers retreated behind the portable units, another cloud detached itself from the window of the house.

"That lunatic!" the Brigadier muttered. He looked at his watch. "Steady, chaps," he said.

The Doctor slid off the stretcher and moved to the open van doors. He sat on the edge of the van and watched the cloud as it swirled into a tight formation and seemed to hesitate. Jo sat next to him and also peered out at the swarm. Mike strode out to the control panel and surveyed the lawn. "They're getting ready to turn," he said grimly. "They're going to go out of range."

True to his words, the swarm turned and suddenly burst apart like shrapnel in an explosion.

"Fire!" the Doctor shouted urgently. The soldiers at the panel, poised on a hair trigger, discharged the units. The brilliant flash dropped the bees still within range, but others whirled out of sight.

"Heaven help us!" the Brigadier exclaimed. "They're loose in London!"

"Get us back to UNIT HQ," the Doctor ordered. "We'll have better luck fighting them from there."

"What if more of those things are inside the house?" Yates asked.

"Benton," the Brigadier ordered. "You and a platoon stay here with the discharge units. I want you to get up as many of those watchmacallits off of the lawn as you can. We'll need them for research." He glanced back at the second ambulance crew. "You lads give it a couple minutes and then check the cellar area. With two holes blown in him, I don't think the Master is going anywhere."

"Can he regenerate?" Jo asked.

"Not if the bullets blew either of his hearts completely apart," the Doctor said after a moment. "There has to be something there to regenerate. A body organ won't recreate itself."

"I don't know if my shots were that effective," Mike began. "It was dark down there." Jo remembered the distance that the Master had been thrown by the gun blasts. Devastating power, she thought, and yet there was something that nagged her as she considered the image of his body thrown against the far wall.

"I think he's dead," she said uncertainly.

"Doctor," Mike said. "What about one of those guns you designed before? A capacitive discharge gun that a man could carry? Might give us a chance on a seek and destroy mission against these bee things."

"Talk about it at HQ!" the Brigadier snapped. "Osgood!" he shouted up to the communications vehicle. "Get the alert out. Civil defense has to be notified. The city is under a state of emergency!"

"Right sir!"

The two medics climbed into the ambulance, and the Doctor backed up inside, getting back onto the stretcher. Mike also climbed in, intent on his conversation. There simply was no room for Jo.

"I'll stay behind in the sweep up," she volunteered, but the Doctor gave only a quick jerk of his head as Mike pulled out a notepad to draw out a sketch of what he wanted.

She slid off the back of the van and closed the doors. The vehicles pulled out, lights flashing. Up front, the communications vehicle let loose with its siren. She turned to Sgt. Benton.

"We ought to see to the Master," she said.

"We'll have to watch for those bee things first," he told her.

"There might be a control device on his body," she said. "Maybe we can stop those things before anybody else gets killed."

He glanced at the remaining stretcher party. "What do you lads say?" he asked. "There's some danger of stray bees close by."

One of the stretcher men gazed critically at the lawn and the path to the cellar area.

"We can try at least halfway. Just discharge those things if another swarm comes after us," he said. "We'll duck back if we need to. But if we pass the halfway point, I'd say it's safe."

"Right then, if you're ready, you can go in," Benton said.

They nodded to each other and ran across the lawn with the stretcher between them.

Benton, Jo, and the remaining man at the control panel watched them, but they went around the corner of the house safely.

"I'm going to try to get up a few of those dead bees," Benton said. "Wait here, Miss."

Everybody had something to do but her. One of the other men was busy at the single remaining electrical truck, setting up a large antenna. "What's that for?" she asked.

"Sweep detection, Miss," he told her. "We can see what's in the house. Electrical stuff, I mean," he said. "Might take a few minutes, but this will show us if there are any bees flying around inside."

"Can I help you?" she asked.

"You sure can," he told her. "I'm short handed. Get busy with that tripod over there."

She spent the next several minutes helping him, and she watched him as he operated the equipment. He shouted to Sgt. Benton. "I think the house is clear!" he called.

"Willing to stake your life on it?" Benton asked him.

"Yes sir, I am. There's no abnormal frequency generation in the house."

"Right then, I'm with you," Benton said, unslinging his rifle from his shoulder. "Let's go."

The stretcher men were still not back. Jo remembered the molecular compressor. It would do no good to leave that lying about. Danger from the bees seemed greatly diminished, and so she ran across the lawn on the same path that the stretcher crew had taken.

The door to the cellar hallway yawned open, but all was silent within. SHe came down the steps and poked her head inside the dark hallway. "Medics? " she asked.

The door to the cell where she had found the Doctor was also standing open. She wondered if they had jury-rigged a quick triage station to try to save the Master's life. She stepped inside, and her foot scraped something soft and yielding. She looked down and thought it was a rag. Then her vision adjusted and she realized that it was mroe like a doll. She looked closer and realized it was the shrunken, compressed form of one of the men from the ambulance. Just as she straightened to run out again, a black sleeved arm slid around her throat from behind and pulled her back in a choke.

She gasped in her breath. How could he still be alive? But then Jo realized that, though he stood behind her and imprisoned her to himself with one arm, the Master was leaning heavily on her as the Doctor had done, and warm blood ran from him onto her back and shoulder blades.

"Don't make a sound," he whispered. And his other hand brought up the molecular compressor. "Or I will kill you now."

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