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on Ikona. Quitting his post, he gave chase.
Certain the ruse had succeeded, the Doctor scurried into
the complex.
A Tetrap eased from a concealed position to block his
path!
He spun about: Urak cut off his line of retreat! Yet
again
the
Doctor
had
been
hoodwinked
by
the
Machiavellian Tetrap!
Exposing his teeth in a malevolent grin, Urak closed on
the Time Lord. ‘We have been... expecting you...
Doctor.’ The forked tongue flicked the Doctor’s cheek...
16
The Twelfth Genius
‘We must be able to something!’ Mel whispered, furtively
examining the cabinet ordained for the Doctor. ‘Can’t we
make it blow a fuse?’
‘What good would that do?’ scolded Beyus. ‘At least
he’ll be kept alive in there.’
‘Don’t try to reason me into compliance! You’re wasting
your breath --’
The door to the long, narrow catacomb clattered open.
Urak and the Tetrap guard humped the unconscious
Doctor into the sombre arcade.
‘No!’ screeched Mel as the lumbering brutes dumped
the Time Lord into the cabinet. ‘Leave him alone!’
She was prevented from hurling herself into an attack
by Beyus.
‘You..! Lakertyan..!’ grunted Urak.’Connect this...
specimen to... the main input...’
‘I won’t let you!’ bawled Mel, struggling to break from
Beyus’s grip. But the tall, spare Lakertyan leader was too
strong.
‘Listen to me!’ He shook Mel roughly, then looked
defiantly at Urak. ‘These Tetraps are competely without
conscience. They will not hesitate to kill!’
A sadistic grin split the vulpine face: Urak took the
remark as a compliment. He lowered the glass front,
sealing
the
Doctor
into
the
cabinet.
‘Set
the...
temperature... gauge...’
‘We’re setting nothing!’
‘Your stubbornness will not help your friend,’ cajoled
Beyus as he released her.
‘And putting him in there will? That’s some twisted
philosophy if you like!’
The fight had not gone completely out of Mel but
discretion began to oust suicidal valour.
‘How far have you got?’ The incisive question heralded
the Rani’s arrival.
‘I need to realign the final calibrations before he can be
connected to the main input,’ stalled Beyus.
‘Make certain those levels are kept stable.’
‘If you’re hoping for any positive results, you’re going to
be disappointed,’ forecast Mel. ‘The Doctor won’t
collaborate.’
‘I’m sure – were he able – he’d express his appreciation
of such unstinted confidence.’ The Rani’s amused gaze was
on the Doctor who lay with his hat on his knees and his
neck clamped into a polyethylene collar from which
sprouted the tubes that linked him to the pyramid
machines in the laboratory.
‘As soon as the activity indicator reaches eight-point-
one-five, increase the stimulation,’ commanded the Rani.
Not only were the Rani and Beyus absorbed in the task,
but the Tetraps also gave it their undivided attention.
Nerves tingling, Mel slipped into the laboratory.
Somehow, some way, she had to spike the grisly exercise.
The four pyramids, in full spate, were a lure.
But Mel could not forget the Doctor’s obsessive
certainty that inside the spherical chamber was the kernel,
the nub, of this grandiose scheme.
She tapped nine-five-three into the combination lock.
The panel stayed shut.
She didn’t give up.
Five-nine-three.
Again no luck.
Perhaps three-nine-five.
A slender, manicured finger interposed and tapped in
the correct code.
The panel glided open.
‘Is this what you’re looking for?’ asked the Rani.
Magenta
light
washed
over
Mel.
It
oscillated
rhythmically with an oppressive throbbing from the
interior.
Also from within the chamber came a weird, guttural,
synthesized voice:
‘TO
REPRODUCE
THE
LEPTONIC
ERA
TEMPERATURE OF TEN TO THE POWER OF
TWELVE K, IT WILL BE ESSENTIAL TO CREATE A
CATACLYSMIC EXPLOSION THE EQUIVALENT OF
A SUPERNOVA.’
Cold tremors trickled down Mel’s spine.
Tentatively she went into the spherical chamber...
A circular, wrought-iron gantry surmounted by a golden
railing caged a massive brain.
Three metres high, composed of a mottled grey and
magenta material identical to the liquid in the crystal
pyramid tank, the cerebral mass dominated the spherical
chamber.
Tiny veins and capillaries ran, like purple rivers,
through furrows and grooves, causing the fibrous cells to
pulsate with the fluctuating purple glow.
Dumbfounded by the prodigious spectacle, Mel fal-
teringly ventured further in.
Beyond the vibrant brain, dimly lit by the alternating
magenta, was the breech of a rocket launcher.
‘WHILE
TIME
DILATION
IS
NOT
QUESTIONED...’
Mel jumped: she was alongside the voice synthesiser.
‘... OUR UNDERSTANDING OF TIME IS STILL
ATA PRIMITIVE STAGE.’
‘It won’t be when the Doctor adds his contribution!’
said the Rani. ‘Urak! Bring her to the arcade!’
Urak, even more gruesome in the magenta glow,
bundled Mel out and followed the Rani across the
laboratory to the arcade.
‘Beyus!’
‘Yes?’
‘Is the Doctor connected to the main input?’
Beyus, making the final adjustments, did not respond.
In vivid contrast with the intense emotions being
generated by the prospect of his contributing to the [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]