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The Nature of the Daleks

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The Daleks had attempted to invade Earth once again, and once again, the Doctor had foiled their plans. As he fled the collapsing reproduction factory, he couldn't help but worry that some of the younger embryos, before the conditioning unit he had overloaded, could still be mature enough to survive outside their growing tube. Not that it would make much difference, he reassured himself, as they wouldn't last long without proper life support. If any had managed to escape destruction, they were as good as dead anyway.

Pain. Fear. Confusion. A glint in the dark. He drags his shivering form towards this only light. As he emerges from a hole more than a meter above ground, the rocks collapse under him, around him, over him. Pain!

Hours pass. Hunger. Cold. Weakness. And pain, so much pain. Despair. Help! Help!…

"Careful, Douglas!" Julia shouted to her brother. "Don't go opening your knee on a rock again like you did last week."

"Yes, Mummy!" the thirteen years old boy retorted mockingly.

Although they were twins, Julia had always been the reasonable one. Douglas loved his sister, but there were times like these when he really found her annoying.

His musings were interrupted by weak squeaks nearby. As he approached cautiously, he noticed something in the bushes. His eyes opened like saucers when he discovered the distorted greenish squid with a single yellow eye that was staring at him, half buried under fallen rocks.

"Julia…" he called in an uneasy voice. "Come here… I found something."

"What is it?"

"Just come and see… Please?"

She let out a cry of fear and disgust upon seeing the hideous being.

"What's that?! Doug, step back! We must kill it!"

She raised the heaviest rock she could lift and prepared to crush the gelatinous body but her brother held her arm back.

"No, wait! You can't!…"

She hesitated, watching the panicking creature wriggle desperately while emitting pathetic screeches. As she felt her heart melt, she tossed the rock away.

"Oh, well. It doesn't look really dangerous anyway, whatever it is."

She crouched to get a better look.

"I think it's hurt," Douglas remarked.

"Yeah, it must have fallen from up there." She pointed at the collapsed hole on the hill. "I really wonder what kind of animal it is, though. I've never seen anything like this."

Her brother shook his head in agreement.

"Nor I." He hesitated: "Do you think we can take it home while it heals?"

"Mum will never agree!"

"But look at it, it will die if we abandon it here!"

Aww, puppy eyes. Julia sighed. "All right, all right. But you're the one explaining it to her!"

Under her brother's fascinated eye, she began to remove the rocks which were crushing the little body.

Pain! Anger!

Julia jumped back as a tentacle whipped her face feebly.

"Ah!" She approached again cautiously and spoke in her softest voice: "Shhh, shh, it's all right, I only want to help you. You're not going to attack me again now are you?"

As the pain receded somewhat, so did the anger. He was so weak anyway he could barely move…

A few moments later, Julia lifted the freed Dalek infant and held it gently against her chest. At first, he tried to struggle but he didn't have the strength to defend himself, and the girl's arms felt pleasantly warm and soft after the last hours of agony. By the time they reached the two teenagers' home, he was clinging onto her like his life depended on it.

At first, Claire Barry showed herself quite unrelenting. But the combined pleads of her children and the sight of the poor creature buried into Julia's arms –as revolting as it looked– finally softened her.

They had some trouble getting it off and onto the kitchen table but milk and yolk managed to convince it to leave its comfortable nest. Apparently, it was hungry enough to fall upon the food even though each move made it cry in pain. A light painkiller dissolved in sugared water later, it was dozing on a towel.

"I'll go buy a cage or a tank or something to put it in," Claire sighed. As the two children looked disappointed, she added: "We can't just let it roam the house. We might step on it at night, for starters. Also I'll have to bring it to a vet. Who's to say what kind of sicknesses it might carry?"

"And a name," Julia exclaimed. "We need a name."

Her mother found her smile back: "Any idea?"

The girl gallantly looked at her brother: "Doug found it first, so, the task befalls you. How do you want to call it?"

Douglas hesitated. "Er, I don't know? Terrence?" More firmly: "Yeah, Terrence, we'll call him Terrence."

And thus, Dalek Terrence was christened.