Shadow of the Daleks;Doctor Who;Liz Shaw;Caroline John;Third Doctor;Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart;Jon Pertwee;Jeri Massi
Shadow of the Daleks
Written by Jeri Massi
UNIT HQ patched through the Brigadier's urgent call to Professor Rachel Jensen. There was no difficulty in assuring her that he was who he claimed to be. He spoke accurately with her about her background and reviewed the process by which she had defeated his attempt to retain her on his staff. He evidenced no hard feelings on the matter, and apparently she didn't harbor any, either.
The problem was that Professor Jensen would not debrief him on the events that had occurred years earlier at the Coal Hill School. It had been an internal incident investigated and resolved by the British military and British Intelligence. She was under an agreement of silence and would not discuss it, not even with an officer of the United Nations.
This cordial but fruitless telephone conversation took place in the front passenger seat of Bessy, while the Doctor sat in the back seat, thumbing through the dossiers. As the Brigadier appeared to be getting nowhere, the timelord started drumming his fingers on the cardboard case and then rubbing the back of his neck in agitation. Lethbridge Stewart knew that his scientific advisor wouldn't be quiet much longer.
At last the Doctor burst out with an exclamation: "Give it here, Brigadier! She may listen to a fellow scientist!"
Lethbridge Stewart passed him the telephone receiver of the portable kit.
"Hallo!" the Doctor said into it. "Now look here, a number of people have been killed up here, with their insides most likely fused right inside them. All we want to know is this: did you ever have any contact with the Daleks? And it won't harm British national security one bit to just tell me yes or no. Because we think we may be dealing with Dalek weaponry, and we've got to find out where it came from!"
There was a brief pause as he listened. "You can just call me the Doctor," he began, but she must have cut him off. Then, his tone more mild, he added, "Well I don't sound like you remember because I'm not quite myself. Actually, it's more accurate at this point to say that I wasn't quite myself when you met me. Not this particular self, anyway."
There was a longer pause, and at last he told her, "My dear lady, you will have to take my word for it. My concern is not the encounter itself, but what happened after the encounter. Surely you were not foolish enough to salvage anything from any wreckage that was left behind. But if you were, you must tell me. Otherwise, we will have to formulate a new theory on what's going on up here!"
Now the pause was even longer as the Doctor listened. His eyes became intent and then thoughtful. "But why would you preserve them?" Then another pause, and he next asked, "And there was actual hardware? Bits and pieces?" He suddenly became angry. "You had to know it was a monstrosity. What right did you have to perform such calculations or to attempt a reactivation analysis?"
Then, still angry, he stopped and listened. He became more calm. "The British government has acted foolishly, and you were foolish to allow any of it. Now we've got to undo things. Somehow, scientists here have gotten hold of it."
Another pause as he listened. The Doctor's eyes filled with recognition and genuine sorrow; then they became resolute. "I have no doubt that Allison Williams is dead, Madam. She did not abscond with the information. It was stolen from her, with the hardware, and she was removed. That way she could not point any fingers, and she would become the culprit herself. A nice piece of work!"
He was then silent, but fuming, as the Brigadier could easily see. But as UNIT’s scientific advisor listened, he relented. "No, I know that it was never carried through. Not by you, anyway. But whatever the consequences from this point forward, if we recover that information and those circuits, we will destroy them. I don't care about the cost or the loss. That technology must not find a foothold on earth. I will not allow it, Madam. And I am a timelord." He took a breath, and then he added, "I'll at least let you know. But I believe that Dr. Williams is dead. I'll be in touch."
He passed the telephone receiver to the Brigadier. "What in blazes was that all about?" the Brigadier asked.
"Rachel Jensen and Allison Williams did assist the British military in 1963," the Doctor told him. "Against an extra-terrestrial invasion, as you had already surmised---"
"Who?" the Brigadier asked. "What was that you called them?"
"Never mind. But the root cause of our troubles is that Jensen and her team recovered bits of the alien technology and actually started to figure out how it worked. She figured out how to step up power delivery to energize the circuits that are able to transmit a slug of energy such as has been used to here. She could not duplicate the circuit technology, but she could power it up."
"And this research was allowed?" the Brigadier asked.
"The project was discontinued. She ended it when she realized that the weaponry could be made to work and had no other applications but destroying life."
"And why is this Allison Williams dead?"
"Williams had charge over the archives where the information and surviving circuitry were kept. One day, 15 months ago, both she and the archived information, as well as the salvaged technological hardware, disappeared."
The Brigadier's jaw dropped. "Dr. Schepansky was the clerk for Dr. Williams."
"Yes, and once she was cleared of any involvement in the removal of the materials, Schepansky cleared off from there and turned up at TSRG."
* * * *
For a moment Liz could feel her own pulse, throbbing so hard that it seemed to beat against the cold muzzle of the rifle that touched ever so lightly against the hollow of her throat.
"You already know all about me," Hawthorne said to her. "I'll beat a woman if it pleases me to do so, and I'll shoot anybody who slows me down or crosses me."
"He never crossed you." Her voice sounded high and frightened. She didn't dare move, but she threw her eyes to the slain Harry.
"That wasn't personal. Just business. He'd have broken down before the end. Want of nerve." He lifted the rifle stock more snugly to his shoulder, the muzzle still at her throat. "At least he didn't see it coming."
For a long moment he squinted down the barrel at her. Liz felt an urgency to close her eyes, but a greater urgency not to move at all, not even to blink.
"Are you afraid Miss Shaw?" he asked, not lifting his head from the firing position.
"Certainly." Her voice still sounded high and frightened. The hard, pulsing beat of her fear was making a solid line from throat to chest. It was reverberating through her. She couldn't swallow.
"What will you do to convince me to let you live?"
"What do you want?" She shut out all the possibilities of what he might say. Hearing it first would make it infinitely worse, but now she knew she wanted to live. She would make herself do whatever he told her to do. And yet in a way, she knew that this would surely lead to her death at his hands. To be submissive to him was the worst possible choice, and yet it was the only possible choice, at least in this situation, when he held all the power.
"Now that's better. That university paper isn't worth much out here, is it?" he asked. "But I think I have everything I want. I've no use for you." He slammed the bolt over.
"Don't do it---" she began.
He pulled the trigger, and by reflex she closed her eyes and slammed herself back against the door of the van. The pulsing in her throat and chest exploded for a moment, and then she heard him laughing, and he seized her around the waist.
"Empty gun, Love," he told her. "Oh, you're all wet. Perspiring out here. Are you too hot in that coat?"
Through the haze of her own shock, she heard the last thing she would have expected: a beeping that reminded her of UNIT for a moment. It was from a small radio. He leaned the empty gun against the van and fished an ear piece from his shirt pocket. Still keeping tight hold if her, he crammed the tiny receiver into his ear. Then he withdrew a slim radio the size of a cigarette lighter from the same pocket.
"Yes?" He paused. "Yes, I've got her and she's safe." Then he paused. "It got messy. There was a bit of a rebellion in the group with me, and I had to put it down. The hard way. There's three bodies out here, and the van." He stopped again, then said, "No, she's the only witness. All right. I understand. She's got one gash on her forehead from hitting the dash when the army lorry crashed, and there's a bit of a bruise on her face, not bad. No, nothing else. All right. She'll be glad. She didn't like it so far. We don't get on well."
He tugged on the small wire of the ear piece to withdraw it, and he slipped it and radio back into his pocket. He looked down at her. "Well there's others that want you even more than I do. Alive and not bruised. Not very bruised, anyway." His eyes focused on the gash on her forehead, and then he traced around it with his finger. "No, that can't be helped. Can't be hidden, either. But it's from the lorry." And then he stroked her cheek, where he had slapped her earlier. "Oh I did that, but it might pass as being from the lorry as well. But that's my mark on you. You won't forget soon, will you?"
"You like hitting women, don't you?" she asked.
"I like hitting women. I like strangling women. I like shooting women." He pinned her against the closed door of the van. "Young or old. Plain or pretty. It's all the same to me. Women."
Then he looked at her eyes, his own eyes deep and thoughtful. She met his eyes and made her own expression as resolute as she could.
"But in the end, when you see what's waiting for you, you'll wish I'd gotten you first and taken care of things out here," he said. "Yes you, Professor Liz Shaw of Cambridge. And I get to watch."
And then he pulled open her coat and stripped it off of her. Before she could fight, with a deft expertise which in itself was horrible, he plucked the coil of rope from the open side of the van into one hand. Even as she tried to turn away and pull back, he used her motion to loop the rope around her wrists and arms. It took him less than a minute to bind her again, far more thoroughly than George had attempted, the cords tight and the knots firm. The rope, she noticed, was coated with a vinyl polish that would leave no marks on her skin.
As he pinned her to the van door again, he pulled out a jackknife from his trouser pocket and flipped it open, the sawed through the extra length of rope and threw it back in the van.
"Oh, not to worry, Professor," he told her. "This is just to hold you so I can drive. I'm under orders about you. No bruises, no marks of any kind."
He jerked her away from the van, opened the second door, then lifted her and dumped her inside.
"Enjoy the ride. You have the whole place to yourself." Then he closed the doors and locked them. She heard him trudge alongside the van and climb into the front. The door closed, and the engine started. With no trouble, the van moved forward. She felt the driver's side tyre climb over one of the bodies, and she suddenly dry heaved. She caught herself back from panic.
* * * *
"Now what about Liz?" the Doctor asked.
"Well we've had a bit of luck," Lethbridge Stewart said as he returned from one last review with the men who'd been charged with removing the ruined lorry. He climbed into the passenger seat of the bright yellow roadster. Now at the wheel, the Doctor glanced back at the rear seat to make sure the cardboard cases were tied down. He shot a look at UNIT's commander. "Yes, we were due for a bit of luck. What is it?"
"Whoever waylaid the lorry took the RT from in back," the Brigadier told him. "It will send out a scrambler signal that the operator has to decode by means of a keypad combination on the operator's board. So whoever stole the RT won't be able to hear our radio communications."
"Oh very nice. It's not as though we're saying anything of importance via radio!" And now the Doctor was annoyed.
"You didn't let me finish. Only the secured frequency is inaccessible. We can feed them all sorts of nonsense over an adjacent frequency transmission. If they'll just keep the radio powered up and listen in on us, we'll find them within a couple hours. We have an excellent chance of rescuing Miss Shaw quite promptly! The lads are working on it already."
The Doctor navigated them over the bumpy ground and onto the narrow road. As they sped towards TSRG, he reached into his pocket and passed several polyurethane bags to the Brigadier. "Here's all the evidence we need about the weapon that they're testing."
"This looks like mere dirt!" The Brigadier opened one of the bags and stirred his finger through the material inside. "Dirt with jagged edges, like crystals."
"That's what you get when one of those energy slugs hits something with the density of earth," the Doctor said over the wind. "But there are the remains of a field mouse in one of the bags. With bits of grass fused right into him."
The Brigadier searched the bags and then withdrew a shapeless mat of fur and dried entrails, embedded with leathery fibers of grass. One fragile ear was still discernible, and a single, miniscule and skeletal paw erupted from the matted fur. "That was a mouse?"
"Just about turned inside out. The energy bolts aren't fine tuned for different masses. When a slug hit the earth where the mouse was nosing about, it liquefied and resolidified the mouse right into the dirt and grass.
Lethbridge Stewart dropped the mouse into the bag and sealed it up. "So that's our proof. But why were they shooting into earth or at field mice?"
"They were shooting at hogs," the Doctor said. "I think the target practice on humans got to be too dangerous. So they settled on hogs--"
"Hogs have about the same mass as humans and share many metabolic similarities, Brigadier. And in acute danger, they react with appreciable similarities in intelligence, decisions to dodge, and the choice to flee or use aggression."
"But the people were killed as they approached the fence!" the Brigadier protested. "There were scorch marks alongside some of the bodies, in an unbroken line from the corpse right through patches of grass. I can understand that the hogs were deliberately used for target practice. But the people must have been fired on because they came too close."
"Maybe." But the Doctor did not sound convinced. "Or it was done to make it look that way. You know, there is one difference between humans and hogs."
"You can lie to humans, and in the right conditions, they'll believe you every time."
* * * *
The burning on Liz's wrists and arms slowly turned to a tingling as the tight cords of rope restricted her circulation. Her hands started to ache, and then they felt cold. Finally, she could feel nothing at all. The numbness crept up to her shoulders. For a long time, she lay silent and rigid on her side, eyes closed. She forced her mind to be still and quiet, refusing to think about what might be ahead for her. Objectively, she knew that people of Hawthorne's psychological make-up would use words with great expertise to rouse her fears and torment her. He was a sadist. Strategically, the best choice was to exclude them entirely. He did not communicate accurate information; he communicated pain.
Yet his hint that some horrible fate awaited her niggled at the edges of her awareness. To judge from the hard, cold facts---his knowledge of when the UNIT lorry had left TSRG and the technologically sophisticated radio he had used---he was working for TSRG. Boyd had probably been right about the vigilantes being led by a TSRG implant. Hawthorne was the implanted agent. And now, to judge from his brief radio communication in front of her, he was taking her somewhere on TSRG's orders.
She was lying with her back to the doors. With effort and some discomfort, she rolled over onto her back, and then onto her other side. She looked at the two squares of sky visible through the back windows.
The sun's rays, weak and dim, emitted from an angle just out of view of the van. They were traveling North or North by Northwest. Her best guess was that he was bypassing the village with a wide berth and taking her to TSRG or to some holding place nearby.
The cold was slowly biting through her numb arms, into her chest. She methodically considered all the possible choices she could make, and then she wondered about the Doctor and the Brigadier. Had they found Boyd yet?
Her mind drifted to the slain men. Their families would worry about them, but from what they'd said about taking her to a safe house, their families might not yet realize that something had gone wrong. The two men who had driven away in the second car would likely report to the group and perhaps narrate the killing of Corporal Boyd and her own capture. But, realistically, she could not expect them to check on the safe house, where ever it was, until at least tomorrow. And they may wait as long as a week, especially if they feared being linked with the killing of Cpl. Boyd.
The van rumbled on, occasionally jostling her on the hard metal floor as Hawthorne drove through ruts and potholes. These bumps and jostles, she knew, were deliberate reminders from him of his presence and control. She realized that there were no more choices. She could only wait and seize whatever opportunities came as the situation developed. But the knowledge that she was tied, helpless, and under his control---though it threatened her with despair and fear---filled her with rage.
Liz had not often felt such powerful anger, but she was glad of it. She felt that she had suddenly found the proper appointment for rage. Fermented against stupid people or inconveniences, it was monstrously out of place, a powerful emotion that would only further complicate bad situations or difficulties.
But against a monster like Hawthorne, rage had found its rightful place. Killing his own friends had pleased him. And killing her, or watching her be killed, would also please him. But Liz, for the first time in her life, wanted to kill. She wanted to kill Hawthorne, even if she had to die anyway. These new feelings of aggression surprised her, but she did not combat them.
But even the warmth of her newfound rage diminished in the cold. For a long time she was simply numb, as darkness covered her, and then she saw lights---outdoor lights. The van abruptly swerved, and she heard the crunch of gravel under the wheels. Men's voices called outside. The van braked to a halt, and she heard him get out of the front seat and slam the door closed.
She could no longer move. The cold and the tight cords had immobilized her. The left door was pulled open, and then the right. She saw silhouettes of men that blotted out the glare from the lights above.
"Here she is. Ready for anything you like." And Hawthorne hauled her out and roughly set her on her feet. Her knees gave out and dizziness swept over her. A strong arm caught her, and a voice snapped, "Don't hit her, you fool! She's had enough! We said safe and in good condition! Get those ropes off, one of you!"
She heard someone saw through the ropes, and her vision cleared. With a sudden rush of burning, the ropes were pulled off and fell away. Her arms fell so quickly that the hard swing reverberated to her shoulders and she couldn't stop a sound of pain.
"Get her inside and see to her," the first voice said.
She saw the familiar black jackets and hats and realized that she was surrounded by three of the TSRG security guards. Two of them hurried her inside a low building. A wave of warmth revived her senses as they passed through the door.
"You won't be hurt here if you behave," one of her captors told her.
She found her voice. "Oh don't be frightened. I'm in no condition to overpower both of you."
"Put her on that chair first. Let's get a look at her."
They had brought her into a plain front room with concrete block walls painted an ugly cream color. There was a teakettle on a wooden stand, a sink, several cheaply made cupboards, and the deal table at which she sat. The two men roughly but efficiently rubbed her arms with hard scrubbing motions, bringing her arms, shoulders, and hands back to life. As her blood circulated again, her head cleared further.
* * * *
In one of the mis-numbered conference rooms at TSRG, the Brigadier stood ramrod straight while the Doctor alternated between restless pacing and a defiant pose of leaning against the table as he waited for Major Redbird of TSRG.
"This Redbird is an idiot! A proper idiot!" the timelord fumed.
"If we take him away in custody, the others may start talking," the Brigadier said. "We've got soldiers at every gate, preventing anybody from leaving or coming in. He may as well meet with us and face the charges."
"You mean you've got guards at every gate you know about!" the Doctor exclaimed. "This place is far too vast for us to learn all its ingress and egress points in two days! And as for Redbird!" And the Doctor shook his head. "I think you'll find him unsurpassed in his willful ignorance, Brigadier. And I'm sure he really is ignorant."
"Even though he's not a scientist, do you think he's really unaware of what's been going on here?"
"Completely unaware? No," the Doctor said. "But has he kept himself deliberately ignorant of the harm done to others, the questionable origin of the processes here, the police-state mentality of the place? Yes. Redbird wants to be a big and important man. But he prefers to avoid any personal responsibility for anything."
"So he's a puppet of others? Who really has control then?" the Brigadier asked. "LeFranq and Schepansky?"
"We haven't seen Dr. Schepansky at all," the Doctor said. Then he hesitated. "Well, not that anybody would admit to. As for Redbird, he's a great, pompous, overblown buffoon of a puppet---"
"Ah, Major Redbird," the Brigadier said quickly as the corpulent and florid Redbird entered the conference room.
"Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart, what do you hope to achieve by barricading in all of us here on the site?" Redbird demanded.
The Doctor spoke, his voice deliberately offhand and annoying. "Put all the rats in a great big box, and see which way they scurry, Major Redbird."
"And who, exactly, are you?" Redbird asked.
"I am the Doctor, and my guess is that whatever monstrous device your scientist is devising, it's requiring an enormous amount or power output."
"My scientists are developing research in accord with lawful NATO agreements," Redbird told him. "If you don't believe me, conduct another search of the labs."
"Thank you, we will," the Doctor said. He straightened up. "And we will start with the dining hall."
Redbird's florid face flushed deep crimson. "The living quarters of the staff are private---"
"No, they're not," the Brigadier said. He pulled out his radio. "This is Track Leader. Greyhound Four and Greyhound Five, initiate lockdown. Alert all racers. Lockdown to proceed at once. All other operations cease, and initiate lockdown."
As the two teams radioed in their affirmations, Redbird's eyes took on a hunted look for a moment. Then he resorted to bluster: "You have no legal right---"
"I have very legal right, Major. As an officer of the United Nations, I am issuing a lockdown order based on the presence of illegal weapons research at this establishment. I am calling in the British Regular Army for support. Your research labs are in violation of their charter and international law."
Redbird started forward, as though to move around him to the door. Without hesitation, the Brigadier drew his gun. "Don't try to leave, Sir."
"Are you arresting me?"
"I am detaining you."
"I tell you, Brigadier, I have no knowledge of any illegal research being conducted at this site!"
"Then since you profess to not know what has been going on under your nose, I am detaining you in order to facilitate our own search of these premises," Lethbridge Stewart said. "You are not leaving this room until I say so, Major Redbird."
"You could make things easier on yourself by telling us what your people have done with Liz Shaw," the Doctor said suddenly.
Redbird's blank and startled look seemed genuine. "What my people have done with her? She's your responsibility."
"Then tell us where Dr. LeFranq is," the Doctor said. "And Dr. Schepansky."
* * * *
Liz heard the van drive off as the two men saw to her comfort in their efficient, graceless manner. A blanket was draped over her shoulders, and she was given hot, sweet tea in a plain mug. The third guard, who appeared to be in charge, entered and checked her pulse, looked at her face, then searched her eyes with a penlight to assure himself that she had not suffered any concussion. He asked her if she was in any pain.
"Do you know that Hawthorne, that man who kidnapped me and brought me here, has killed four people?" she asked.
Her interrogator was a sandy-haired man with a crew cut. He looked at her in tolerant amusement. "Knowing him, I'd say he's killed a lot more."
"And just like that, you're going to let him go free?"
He reached inside his black jacket and withdrew a cigarette case. With the deliberately offhand chivalry of a captor to a captive, he opened it towards her, and she shook her head. He extracted one, closed the case, and tapped the cigarette against it. "He'll get his just reward when the time comes. Big fish first, Miss Shaw, and then the small fry." Then he inserted the cigarette between his lips and lit it. He took a pull on it with the attitude of a man relaxing.
"You've got your own troubles," he said. He exhaled. "You're in the custody of TSRG."
"Yes, I know that."
"And you are charged with supporting international terrorism."
"What?" she asked.
He flicked off ashes over the side of the table. "Why did you publicly support our enemies against us?" he asked.
She sat back and folded her aching arms. "This is a joke. Or a deception."
"You have disrupted the vital operations of a peacekeeping research branch of NATO," he said. "And openly expressed sympathy and collaborated with known vigilantes to support their actions to disrupt our operations."
"Oh I see. And when is my trial?"
He stepped away from her and beckoned to his two comrades. "You'll be taken to a cell and given food. Make yourself comfortable. As soon as you've been processed in our system, you'll be moved from here."
She stood up without protest as the two men stepped forward. "And then what?"
"And then you'll be executed," he said.
The answer, given with a grim and restrained tone of authority, clearly was meant to be taken seriously.
Her mouth opened in surprise, and he said, "We have taken it upon ourselves to protect the free world from extremists and those who oppose the necessary rule of international government."
"Protecting British subjects from the jurisdiction of British law?" she asked. "Poppycock! This is a sham. A game to force TSRG out of Britain so that it can bury its own history here."
"Take her away. See to food for her."
Liz didn't resist as the two men ushered her out between them. They took her to the back room, where a single detention cell waited, with door open.
* * * *
"British Army Regulars will be here by dawn," the Brigadier told the Doctor as the timelord inspected a long, narrow room sparsely furnished with electronic equipment.
UNIT's commanding officer stepped past the two UNIT sentries at the door and looked around. "Is this it?"
The Doctor was using a slender glass rod to poke inside a plastic box on a workbench. "I think so," he said. "But anything really indicative of what LeFranq and Schepansky were up to has been removed."
"Hidden somewhere else, by Jove," the Brigadier said.
"Or put to use." The Doctor glanced up and set down the rod. "The real question is, where is Dr. Schepansky?" He glanced at his ally/ "How did you convince the British Army to supply soldiers?"
Lethbridge Stewart looked guilty for a moment. "Those radiation signatures you spoke of. I let the British military know that there have been a variety of radioactive releases and energy disruptions on this site, not properly accounted for."
A look of genuine admiration lit up the Doctor's face. "Bravo Brigadier. So they're worried about radioactive experimentation---"
"Yes, which is clearly banned. There was no time to convince them of what we're really looking for---a death ray that melts people's insides!"
"Hardly an apt description, but I take your point. Any news regarding the missing RT?"
"I've got two men engaging in spurious radio calls, but nobody's taken the bait yet."
"I think our biggest handle on this entire mystery is the power drop," the Doctor said. "I can't figure out how they're doing it."
"That inductive blackout and those light flashes," the Doctor said. "It all fits with the power requirements of the type of weapon we're looking for. But if TSRG were drawing that much power from conventional power lines---even lines that run 480 volts or higher, they'd black out the countryside and blow up connection boxes from here to the power generation stations. Firing a weapon such as what we're looking for requires a massive, instantaneous power delivery." He glanced around. "And even if Rachel Jensen unwittingly gave this place the design to pull that amount of power through a weapon, where is TSRG getting the actual power?"
"Could they have cobbled up some sort of, well, super battery?" the Brigadier asked.
"Something to store power, possibly, but there's still the problem of how are they creating that amount of available power?" The Doctor rubbed the back of his neck. "If we can find their power source, we can find everything else."
"And perhaps find Miss Shaw," the Brigadier added. He shot a worried look at the Doctor. The Doctor replied with a grim nod.
* * * *
The cell was by no means uncomfortable. It had a cot, with a mattress and blankets on it, and though the concrete block wall had no window, the bars in the front of the cell faced towards the short hallway that led to the front room. The heavy connecting door was kept open so that she had light and a sense of an open view.
A window in the back room just on the other side of the bars would have let in light except night had now come. Liz reckoned the time to be close to nine when she was led in. The guards slammed the cell door and simply walked out. She sat on the cot and waited.
Less than twenty minutes later she heard a car drive up. But her apprehensions diminished as she heard the clatter of plates from out front when the outer door opened. It was merely a food delivery for the shift. One of the men brought her a plate and flatware. She had not eaten all day, and she was ravenous. The food consisted of a piece of very good beef, roasted potatoes, and cooked vegetables. She expected that it was from the kitchen at TSRG.
After another hour or so, as she began to doze again, she heard another car drive up. The man in charge now closed the connecting door so that she could not hear what passed. But the barricade did not entirely wall out the sound. She heard the front door open, and there were voices, including a woman's voice that she at last decided belonged to Renee LeFranq.
LeFranq seemed displeased at something, and for a moment Liz wondered if she were not rebuking them for having taken Liz captive. Then there was a long discussion. The man who was in charge sounded like he was reading from something, bit Liz could not make out the words.
At last, the connecting door burst open, and she saw all three TSRG guards, two armed with rifles and one armed with his sidearm, standing together in the doorway. Behind them, LeFranq was saying, "If zis is what haz been decided, be quick! Ve vill not prolong it any more."
Liz stood up without thinking, suddenly wary.
"Your time has come, Miss Shaw," the sandy haired man said. "Keep back from the cell door while I unlock it."
"Time for what?" she asked.
"You've been charged with collaboration with terrorists and known criminals in their efforts to obstruct the peace keeping efforts of NATO. You're found to be an enemy of the Free World."
Holding the gun on her, he unlocked the barred cell door and swung it inward while one of the other men closed and locked the heavy connecting door so that she could not escape the room. The two men swung their rifles onto her. "Now don't be foolish," the first man said. "You're to be taken to a place designated for such matters, and there you will be executed."
I appreciate comments from readers. Please tell me what worked for you in the story and what did not work. Did any part move too slowly? Was the story hard to get into? Were any of the characters not true to the television series? I appreciate all input.