Doctor Who Internet Adventure #22 - "Clockwork Orange"

Chapter 4
"Stories of things yet to come"
by Robert M. Camisa


Book One: Wind Up

"Oh, we've got a clockwork soldier, do we?" said Colon "Were a regular model army, we are."

— Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms, 1994

* * *

Luke's return to consciousness was marked by a circle of concerned, if somewhat blurry faces.

       "Bloody Hell. Please tell me I did not see," he waved a hand towards the black bags, "those. That this is all some nightmare caused by one too many bennies chased down by one too many drinks. That I will close my eyes, and when I open them, we will be back in the bar, with the Doctor prattling on about some theory I completely do not understand."

       He closed his eyes. He opened them. Nothing had changed.


       Kirena was looking at him, then around at the room. She had a blaster out.

       "That's an anachronism. I thought the Doctor didn't allow those."

       "He was too much of a gentleman to search me. And what he doesn't know might save us. How many of them are there?"

       "I count two guards in the hall outside. But God knows how many throughout the complex."

       Their nearly forgotten travelling companion spoke up. "What the hell is going on? Who are you people? Where are we? And how do you expect to get us out with that toy gun."

       Kirena rounded on him with what Luke thought was a commendable amount of restraint.

       "Look, despite a lack of white hats, we are in fact the good guys. We are stuck in a very nasty place with very nasty people planning to do very nasty things. And the best way you can help is to be quiet and let me think."

       John had begun to shake, but at least he had the grace to do so quietly.

       Luke put a comforting arm around him.

       "Look, you were expecting to disappear, right?"

       John was barely coherent. "Yeah, but I figured on just getting shot. Not... not..."

       "Yes, well, getting my eyeballs sucked out wasn't on the top of my to-do list either, but you don't see me getting all weepy over it." Luke realised with a start that he actually wanted to make John feel better, not just shut him up so Kirena could come up with a workable plan. A few months with the Doctor had undone years of carefully constructed cynicism. Damn and blast.

       "Alright, I've got something." That was Kirena. "We can take out the guards in the hall, take their uniforms and head for the exit."

       "And then?"

       "One step at a time. God only knows where we are."

       The door behind them slid open with a click.

       "Not God. Me"

       The speaker was one of the suits Luke had seen in the corridor before. Maxim, his memory threw up. The one all in black.

       Kirena had whirled around at the click of the door, and was now covering the new arrival with the blaster. "Who are you?"

       Maxim seemed unconcerned. "You can put away the blaster, lady. I'm on your side."

       She didn't put it away, but neither did she fire. "There are very few people I consider to be on my side. At this moment you are not one of them. Talk."

       Luke had his own question "How did you recognise that?" He nodded at the blaster.

       Maxim sighed. "Look, I work for a government agency created to monitor extraterrestrial life and technology and evaluate the potential threat to Earth. He sighed. "Only things have gotten out of hand. Krebs is a madman. He must be stopped. CLOCKWORK must be stopped."

       Kirena hadn't put the blaster down. But, she hadn't fired it. "So what is CLOCKWORK?"

       Maxim looked uncomfortable. "We don't entirely know."

* * *

"What do you mean, you don't know?"

       Maxim looked embarrassed. "We know the implants he's putting in these unfortunates are extraterrestrial in origin, but we haven't been able to find out where. My agency has only existed for the last decade or so. We've monitored all the landings since then, so we know its not one of those. But there are dozens, hundred of landing sites we've been unable to check out yet, or that we simply don't know about. It has to be from one of those."

       "What's your interest? Those others were obvious government types, and they seem OK with it. Why do you have such a jones to get it stopped?"

       "Two reasons. First, humanity isn't ready for this level of technology yet. This stuff needs to be locked away until human development catches up."

       Luke got indignant. "Who are you to decide what humanity is ready for?"

       Maxim winced slightly, "Actually, our agency is so secret we don't even have a name."

       Luke snorted "Men with no fashion sense? The all black look is out."

       Kirena interrupted "And the second reason?"

       Maxim's tone hardened. "I've seen what it can do when they lose control of it. A few years ago, Nathan Adler, the guy who was in charge of this clockwork lab, the original lab, got greedy. He operated on himself — received the implants. And they malfunctioned. Adler went mad. Clawed his own eyes out, and disembowelled and ate two of his lab assistants before escaping into downtown LA. Oh, we brought him down — what was left of him — by the end he no longer even remotely looked human, a few days later, but not before he did this." He held out a newspaper clipping "Black Dahlia's body found in a vacant lot"

       "You won't find this in any of the official records. Hell, you won't find me in any of the official records. You lose your old identity entirely when you join the agency. But what the records will never erase is that Elizabeth Short was my sister," his tone went flat, "and what CLOCKWORK turned Adler into killed her."

* * *

"So you get us out of here, and in return we help you stop CLOCKWORK?" that was Kirena.

       Maxim nodded. "Pretty Much"

       Luke jerked a thumb at John. "Well, I'm all for getting out alive, but I don't think he's coping very well."

       Maxim handed a pair of black sunglasses to Luke and Kirena and donned his own, motioning for them to do the same.

       "Don't worry", he said as he pulled an odd looking device out of his pocket. "He won't remember a thing..."

To be continued...

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