“I come in peace,” Britta Perry said.
< EXTERMINATE! > the Dalek replied.
It was a storage room on a converted space freighter, so there was plenty of cover for everyone to duck behind. Naturally, everyone took advantage of this plentiful amount of cover to duck as the Dalek began firing radioactive bolts of blue energy from its blaster gun around the room. Everyone, that is, except for Britta, who was yanked down by the Doctor (with perhaps just a little bit more force than was needed). Everyone looked freaked, except for Britta (who looked sympathetic), Troy (who looked psyched) and Abed (who looked... well, like he always did).
“Well,” Jeff Winger said eventually, in a tone of voice that almost transcended sarcasm, “Thanks for that, Britta. You certainly managed to charm the death-robot.”
“Death ray!” Troy Barnes squealed. “Awesome!” Despite being squashed into a concrete pipe together in a extremely close and confined way that they were both absolutely and completely totally cool with -- no, really, they were -- he and Abed Nadir somehow then managed to find sufficient room to share their patented ‘almost-got-hit-by-an-alien-death-ray-but-totally-survived-because-we’re- awesome’ secret handshake. It was a lot like their regular handshake, except it was conducted under circumstances of having death rays fired at them.
“Technically,” the Doctor pointed out (rather pedantically, it had to be said), “it’s not a robot, it’s a mutated cyborg within a combination survival suit-tank of bonded polycarbite armour mixed in with a substance called Dalekinium. And it’s not a death ray, it’s a high-energy focussed radiation blast.”
Troy and Abed looked a bit uncertain. “But it still kills people, right?"
“Oh, yeah,” the Doctor replied casually. He twisted around from where he was kind pressed half on top of, half into Annie Edison -- Annie didn’t mind much, Jeff minded considerably, and Abed wasn’t entirely sure how he felt about it, although he kept thinking about the scenes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince where Harry kept talking about that thing in his chest for some reason -- and glared at Britta. “And you. We’ve talked about this. You cannot reason with the Dalek. It won’t work.”
Britta glared at him, needlessly defiant as always. “How do you know? Have you tried it?”
“Yes!” The Doctor replied, in a voice that did not go all high-pitched and squeaky like it always did when he was stressing out, “On numerous occasions! And this is exactly what’s happened!”
Jeff rolled his eyes. “Look, Polly Pureheart,” he called over from where he and Shirley Bennett were huddled behind what seemed to be some kind of metal support beam, “the damn thing’s trying to kill us. Put your ‘love-for-all-living- things’ crap back in its box and just let the Doctor deal with it.”
Britta transferred the glare over to him. “Hir,” she insisted, using the word she’d been demanding everyone use to refer to the Daleks once she’d learnt they were asexual, a word which everyone else swore she’d just made up. “Not ‘it’. And I wouldn’t expect you to understand. We are talking about a living, feeling creature --”
For the first time since he’d left Peri on Thoros-Beta way back in his sixth body, the Doctor felt the beginnings of a stress headache. “No,” he said through gritted teeth, “we are not. As I have explained.”
“Hir just needs someone to understand hir!” Britta insisted.
Shirley was beginning to feel like some Christian wisdom and guidance was called for here. “You have to admit, Britta,” she said reasonably, “the fact that it’s trying to kill us isn’t a very promising sign.”
“Hir’s lashing out! Wouldn’t you if everyone hated you and treated you like a monster! Trust me; I read all about this in my psychology course --”
Britta hadn’t even gotten through the first syllable in the word ‘psychology’ before a chorus of groans erupted from everyone who was currently wedged behind some focussed- radiation-beam blasted metal boxes. Which was every one of her friends, funnily enough.
“-- And they just need some kindness and understanding, you jaded insensitive jags!”
“I understand them!” The Doctor yelped. “I’ve understood them for nine-hundred years! They are genocidal psychopaths! They’re mutated blobs born and bred to do nothing but kill! They feel nothing but murderous hate towards every single sentient-and-non-sentient thing in the universe that isn’t one of them! If you offer them an olive branch and the hand of friendship and understanding, they will execute you and your hand, and then they’ll shoot the bloody olive branch just to make sure!”
“Well,” Britta declaimed dramatically, her voice just choked enough for maximum guilt-trip mode, “I must say, I’m disappointed in you, Doctor. I never thought you’d ever be so... prejudiced.”
< ACTUALLY, > said the Dalek, who was wondering why it stopped shooting at them and had gotten involved in the conversation, < HE’S PRETTY MUCH RIGHT. >
The Doctor had never been glad to hear a Dalek voice before. “See?!”
“Don’t listen to him!” Britta yelled. To the Dalek. “I believe in you!”
< DALEKS HAVE NO NEED OF YOUR BELIEF. WE HAVE NO NEED OF ALLIES. WE ARE THE SUPERIOR BEINGS. >
“You see?” Britta moaned. “It doesn’t even have any friends!”
“That could be,” Annie pointed out, “because it’s a psychotic killing machine.”
“Kind of hard to make friends that way,” Abed concurred.
< WE HAVE NO NEED OF FRIENDS, > the Dalek asserted.
“Don’t you?” Britta asked.
Everyone waited hopefully for her to just accept it.
“Or,” she continued triumphantly, “are you just saying that to cover up your deep- seated insecurity and self-loathing?"
Everyone groaned again. Including, at least three of them would forever swear despite all evidence to the contrary, the Dalek.
“Well? Isn’t that it? Can you really stand... sit... well, sort of be there and tell me you aren’t just compensating for your deeply hidden weaknesses?”
< DALEKS HAVE NO WEAKNESSES! WE ARE THE SUPERIOR BEINGS! >
“Ah hah! Classic case of denial!”
“Britta,” the Doctor asked, perplexed, “what are you doing?”
“She’s diagnosing,” Jeff answered, face in his hands.
< THE DALEKS WILL REIGN SUPREME! WE WILL EXTERMINATE ALL OTHER LIFE FORMS! >
“Gee,” Annie said, with a dose of sarcasm so potent that the Dalek could have practically weaponized it, “that doesn’t make it sound at all like a space Nazi.”
“Annie,” Britta said piously, “there’s no need to Godwin this situation.”
Annie’s indignant squeak was cut off by the Dalek. < SILENCE! YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED! EXTERMINATE! >
It began shooting again. Its laser bolts, oddly enough, seemed to be focused at the collection of barrels that Britta was squatting behind. Since Annie and the Doctor were also squatting behind these same barrels, they weren’t exactly thrilled with this development.
“Everyone wants you to shut up now,” Jeff pointed out to Britta. “Even the alien space Nazi death robot. The alien space Nazi death robot is trying to kill you to get you to shut up. Does this not tell you anything?”
If Britta had picked up on the message, she was doing her best not to interpret it. “Don’t call it -- erm, hir -- that! That’ll just further entrench hir feelings of isolation! Call hir... um... actually, what’s your name?”
< DALEKS HAVE NO NEED OF NAMES! >
It was hard to tell, given the metallic shriek, but the Dalek sounded kind of... annoyed. Also, kind of confused. Which it had every right to be, really, given that it didn’t normally find itself embroiled in psychological existentialist debates with the people it was trying to kill.
Britta looked shocked. “You don’t even have a name?! Well, no wonder you’re so upset!”
“Yeah,” Troy said, “that must be it.”
“I mean, how can you have any kind of individual identity if you don’t even have a name?”
“That’s exactly what I’ve been saying!” The Doctor protested. Britta flapped her hand in a ‘shushing’ motion at him.
< INDIVIDUALITY IS WEAKNESS! THE DALEKS ARE SUPREME! >
This was punctuated by several more shots into the barrels, which were starting to crumble away rather alarmingly, exposing the Doctor’s foot.
“Sorry, Annie,” the Doctor muttered as he squashed in closer to her.
“I don’t mind,” Annie replied, a bit too quickly. Jeff scowled.
“Well then,” Britta continued, determined to see this out to the bitter end, “First thing’s first, let’s get you a name. How about... I dunno... Andre.”
Shirley’s face darkened. “Uh-uh. I know you did not just name the psychotic killing machine after my sweetie, Britta.”
< DALEKS HAVE NO NEED OF NAMES! >
It seemed to be a matter of some frustration to the Dalek that Britta was failing to grasp this point. It was still firing, but its gun-barrel was beginning to glow an alarming shade of blue.
“That’s just because you’ve never had one before, Andre!”
“So gonna kick her ass...” Shirley muttered.
< DESIST IN DESIGNATING ME THAT! I AM A DALEK! >
Britta looked heartbroken. “Oh, you poor thing, Andre,” she moaned. “I bet everyone keeps telling you that, don’t they? I bet everyone keeps trying to knock you down. It’s okay. I know what that feels like, too.”
< EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! >
The Dalek sounded like it was trying to get the word itself to kill Britta. Its gun-barrel had gone from blue to orange, and was smoking slightly.
“We just need to build you back up again. Trust me, I totally went through this in 101; we can do it together! We can make you a new life, a new purpose.”
< I AM A DALEK! > The Dalek screamed, finally losing it. Which, considering it was a Dalek to begin with, was a pretty impressive achievement. Its weapon was now glowing so white that human eyes would have been blinded if they had looked at it, and yet it still kept firing. < I WAS BRED TO DESTROY! I WAS BRED TO EXTERMINATE ALL LIFE! THAT IS MY PURPOSE! THAT IS MY SOLE REASON FOR EXISTING! >
“I don’t believe that, Andre, and I don’t think you believe it either. Everyone else tells you what you want, but what do you want to do? Look inside yourself, Andre!”
The Dalek was looking inside itself. And it was getting rather alarmed by what it was seeing. According to its internal sensors, its weapon had overheated from overuse -- something which had never before happened in the history of the Dalek empire -- to a point almost 250% over the maximum safety margin. Coolant reserves were almost depleted, its internal reactor was disintegrating, and according to every reading it was locating complete meltdown was irreversible and imminent.
Apparently, it was possible for a Dalek to get too angry and hate-filled.
In the microseconds before destruction, the Dalek processed this useful tactical information and packaged it before transmitting it to the central Dalek tactical mainframe, along with information on the humanoid designated “Britta Perry”, now in this Dalek unit’s recommendation ranked only behind the Time Lord designated “Doctor” as threats to the glory of the Dalek Empire for her ability to locate previously unknown Dalek weaknesses and exploit them to the point of destruction.
Then, with its final words, it screamed a final curse at Britta Perry, in a rough translation of the Skarosian death-insult Nak Tag’aena Leatria.
< HUMANOID BRITTA PERRY, > the Dalek screamed, < YOU ARE THE WORST. >
Then, it self-destructed in an implosion that would later be described as “Cool, but not quite as cool as it could have been, like, definitely only worth one ‘cool’, maybe one-and- a-half at most.”
There was a long silence.
Then, everyone began, with varying levels of difficulty and awkwardness, began extracting themselves from their hiding places to come out and stare at the smoldering remains of the Dalek. Its gun-barrel had melted, most of its bulk had disintegrated or imploded, and its eyestalk was drooping defeatedly towards the floor. It looked almost... resigned.
“Well,” the Doctor conceded, “that’s one way of dealing with it.”
“It’s dead,” Britta moaned. She looked like possibly the first person to ever look sad at the death of a Dalek. “I killed it.”
“I take it all back, Britta,” Jeff said. “Kudos to your diplomatic and psychological skills.”
The Doctor put on his glasses and strode forward to examine the wreck. He waved his sonic screwdriver over it a couple of times, before looking at the readings. His left eyebrow quirked up.
“It overheated,” he said, wonderingly. “It literally burnt itself out. I have never seen this done before -- at least, not without a nuclear reactor and a paper clip. Anyway, it’s dead. So you can probably let go of me now, Annie,” he concluded cheerfully.
Annie sheepishly removed her arms from where they had been wrapped in a death grip around the Doctor’s waist and took at least two steps back, pointedly not looking at any of her friends. Jeff looked quite put out.
“Britta Britta’d the Dalek to death,” Troy said, wonderingly. “That’s both amazing, and at the same time, the exact opposite of amazing.”
Britta was looking crushed. Annie took pity on her, and put a hand on her arm. “At least you stopped the Dalek from killing us, Britta,” she said loyally.
“Yes!” The Doctor boomed cheerfully, striding over and wrapping an arm around Britta’s shoulders, giving her an encouraging squeeze. “I take it all back. Well done Britta. The Daleks will certainly think twice before messing with you again.”
Britta managed a smile. “Britta for the win?” she asked hopefully.
“Britta most definitely for the win,” the Doctor agreed.
There was suddenly a clattering of pipes and boxes from the other side of the room, just behind the TARDIS -- quite notably far from where the action had been taking place. “Alien masters!” a voice called out. “I surrender! And as an influential, wealthy and sexually-potent human male, I’d just like to point out that I’m in an excellent position to help with your inevitable conquering of Earth...”
Jeff rolled his eyes. “Pierce,” he called out, “we all survived.”
There was a pause. Then, Pierce Hawthorne ‘casually’ ambled out from where he’d been hiding, looking around before ‘noticing’ his friends, all staring at him. “Oh, hey guys,” he said cheerfully. “Guess I won’t have to put my awesome ‘pretend to surrender to the aliens’ plan into action after all.”
“Yeah,” Jeff agreed, “we certainly spared the Daleks that insult to their intelligence.”
“Anyway,” the Doctor reminded them, “We’ve got rid of this one, but there’s still a whole fleet of Daleks heading for Greendale.”
Jeff looked thoughtful. “Greendale, huh...”
The Doctor sighed. “And no, Mr. Winger, I am not going to let a Dalek invasion force invade Greendale Community College just so you can skip finals.”
“Just a small one!” Jeff pleaded.
“Fine,” Jeff grumbled, succumbing once again to that tone in Annie’s voice. She smiled and gave him a little punch in the shoulder. He’d never been able to resist that either. “I move we kick some Dalek butt.”
“Second,” Annie said.
“Third and fourth,” Abed and Troy said together.
“As long as we observe all appropriate alien rights and conducts,” Britta said primly. Someone threw a wad of paper at her head. “Hey!”
Shirley nodded. “Sounds like, these Daleks need themselves some smiting,” she said, with a glint in her eye that always made everyone slightly nervous to be around her.
“I still have my moves to show them,” Pierce agreed.
“Which reminds me,” Jeff said, “since most of them are probably going to involve trying to sell us out, I move to not be next to Pierce.”
“Technically,” the Doctor said pedantically, “Daleks don’t have butts.”
Everyone unavoidably thought about this for a second. Then shuddered.
“Ewww,” Troy said, speaking for everyone.
“Tell me about it,” The Doctor agreed, as he turned to lead them out of the storage room into the freighter.
“Just before we go... Britta?” Shirley said sweetly. Britta turned, just in time to receive a smack on the shoulder.
“Andre?! You named the Dalek Andre?!”
“I just... it was the first name I thought of!”
“Gonna kick your ass, girl...”
The two followed the Doctor out, still squabbling. Pierce meandered after them. Annie smiled hopefully at Jeff and held out her arm.
Jeff raised an eyebrow. “Oh, so we’re over the Doctor now?”
“It was the death ray,” Annie said nervously, not meeting his eye. Jeff smirked, and took her arm.
The two followed their friends, leaving Troy and Abed alone in the room. They considered the Dalek for a moment.
“As alien death-robots go,” Abed commented, “I submit that the Blorgons are still superior.”
“Agreed,” Troy responded.
They gave each other their patented ‘so-we-just-survived-an-encounter-with-an-alien-space-robot-Nazi-that-tried-to-kill-us-and-now-we’re-totally-going-to-defeat- their-evil-world-domination-scheme-because-we’re-REALLY-awesome’ secret handshake before turning and running after their friends.
Let it never be said that Troy and Abed did not plan for every opportunity.