Loud alarms blared and lights flashed as the three of them ran down the corridor of the massive outpost. They'd succeeded in uploading the virus to the Daleks' computer network. Part two of their plan, getting out without being noticed, wasn't working out as well. Four thousand daleks were now aware of their presence and the hunt was on.
"Which way's out?" asked Jamie as they came to an intersection.
Zoe pointed down one of the corridors. "That way! I remember it's that way-" She started to run in the direction she'd pointed when the Doctor grabbed her arm and pulled her back a split second before a large metal door slammed down.
"Not that way!" he pushed his young companions in the opposite direction and they hurried before the other paths were sealed. "We'll find another way!" Ahead of them, a Dalek appeared around the corner and they skidded to a halt.
Jamie tried a door on his left. "In here!" They scrambled inside and slid the door shut behind them. It was some sort of control room. Computers and other high-tech equipment lined the walls, along with exposed pipelines. There were no other doors. They were trapped.
"Now what, Doctor?" Jamie asked.
"I'm thinking," he said, examining the room carefully. No doors. Not even windows. Oh dear, this was not looking good at all-wait, what was that? An air vent, about half a metre wide, hidden behind a large piece of machinery. Of course! Daleks had no need for things like air conditioning, but the people they'd stolen the base from did. Together, the three of them pushed the machine out of the way. "Look, this vent's large enough for us to crawl through, and it appears to open to the outside. Jamie, I don't suppose you could...?"
Needing no further prompting, Jamie grabbed the bars of the vent cover with both hands, gave a mighty tug and...failed to pull it off. Zoe tapped the edge of the vent meaningfully. It was screwed into the wall. "Ah, I see..." The Doctor patted his pockets for something they could use, then noticed a toolbox resting a little further along the wall. "Oh, good! We can just-"
"THE DOC-TOR AND HIS AC-COMP-LI-CES HAVE BEEN LO-CA-TED IN COM-MAND UNIT AL-PHA NINE!" came a harsh, metallic rasp. The Dalek had caught up to them at last, and locked the door behind it as it came into the room. "YOU WILL SUR-REN-DER!" it screeched, moving toward them.
The Doctor stood up defensively. "We will do no such thing!"
"THEN YOU WILL BE EX-TER-MIN-A-TED." A shrill whine filled the air as its gun powered up. Jamie and Zoe clung to each other. The Doctor looked from the Dalek to them and back. It couldn't end like this! He wouldn't let it. But for once in his life, he couldn't think of a way out of this situation. Still, he had to at least try. Without any plan, he started talking.
"You can't kill us!"
"And I'm telling you, no! It's vitally important that you listen to me!"
"Because!" he fumbled for words, "Because...because of THAT!" He pointed at something behind the Dalek. To his utter astonishment, it turned to look.
"WHAT?" it asked.
The Doctor looked down at Jamie and Zoe, who were staring back at him wide-eyed. He motioned for them to work on the vent cover, and they nodded.
"That thing...right over there next to the third console."
The Dalek actually rolled forward a few feet to investigate. Zoe seized the opportunity to jump up and grab the toolbox, which wasn't latched, and promptly dumped its contents all over the floor with an ear-shattering clatter.
"WHAT WAS THAT?" The Dalek started to turn around, but the Doctor reached out and pushed its eyestalk back the other way.
"Oh, nothing, nothing. But you really should take a look at that over there. Is that light supposed to be flashing? It could be something important."
The Dalek scanned the area he was indicating. "I DO NOT SEE IT. WHICH LIGHT? EX-PLAIN!" Behind them, Jamie had grabbed a screwdriver and was making short work of the four screws that held the vent shut. The Doctor picked a random light to point at. "THAT IS THE SE-CON-DA-RY FAULT IN-DI-CA-TOR. I MUST CHECK THE ER-ROR REPORT," grated the Dalek as it stuck its plunger into a specially-designed slot on the computer. While it was distracted, the Doctor hurried over to see how his companions were coming along.
"There's too many screws," whispered Zoe. "We thought it was just the four, but someone's painted over all these other ones. Can we use this?" She indicated the electric drill Jamie had found. "It'd be faster."
"Ahh...yes. As long as you can keep it quiet." Seeing that the Dalek was almost finished with whatever it was doing, he quickly ran back over. Behind him, he heard the loud whirring of the drill.
"WHAT IS HAP-PEN-ING?"
"It's probably a technical malfunction. Are you sure you've fixed it properly?" asked the Doctor. When the Dalek turned to look, he ran his hand over the nearest control panel and pressed as many buttons as he could find, causing a few buzzers to go off. Over at the vent, Zoe had discovered that there was also a layer of paint holding it closed, so she found a crowbar and a hammer and was attempting to work the edge loose while Jamie focused on unscrewing.
"YOU WILL EX-PLAIN! EX-PLAIN!"
"IT SOUNDS SERIOUS." he had to shout to be heard over the noise. "PERHAPS YOU'D BETTER CHECK THE OTHER CONSOLE." With a resonating screech, the vent cover came away from the wall. The Dalek swiveled to look as Jamie and Zoe quickly stood in front of the vent, hiding the tools behind their backs.
"See? Nothing's happening! Now, you'd better look at this! Someone's set off the station's self-destruct." The Dalek hastily turned around to resolve the issue, and Jamie motioned for Zoe to climb out first. The Doctor ran back over to them.
"Well done!" he whispered. "Now hurry, before it catches on." Jamie started to crawl into the vent but ran into Zoe, who was coming back out.
"There's another cover!" she exclaimed quietly. "And it opens from the other side!"
Jamie grabbed a sledgehammer out of the pile of tools and went inside the vent. Loud bangs echoed around the room as he repeatedly hit the offending grate. On the other side of the room, the Dalek started to turn again. The Doctor and Zoe replaced the vent cover and stood in front of it to hide Jamie from view.
"THERE IS NO SELF-DESTRUCT SE-QUENCE." it said accusingly. "AND WHERE IS THE THIRD? YOU WILL ANSWER!"
"No need to shout, he's right over there. Look!"
Once again, the Dalek turned to look. Jamie climbed out of the vent and handed the cover to the Doctor. "It's no good." he said. "There's a twenty-foot drop."
"There's an extension cord by the tool box. It should be long enough, just hurry!"
The Dalek swung around again. "ESCAPE IS IM-POS-SI-BLE. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RUN AGAIN!" it said to Jamie.
The Doctor stepped forward. "Oh, of course not! He's learned his lesson. Here, hold this, would you?" He stuck the vent cover on the end of the Dalek's plunger. "But I'm afraid you haven't. You still haven't noticed the fault in the computers. But I guess that's not surprising for such a primitive species..."
"DALEKS ARE THE SU-PREME BEINGS! YOU ARE MIS-TA-KEN. THERE IS NO FAULT. I WILL PROVE THIS." With that, it scooted over to the nearest computer to examine it for anything amiss. Frantically, the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe tied the end of the cord to one of the exposed pipes and, after some fumbling, escaped out the open vent. A few seconds later, the door slid open and two more Daleks entered.
"WHERE IS THE DOC-TOR? EX-PLAIN!" one demanded.
The first Dalek looked around the room, surprised. "I CAN-NOT," it said.
The other two Daleks looked from the open vent and the cord to the vent cover on the first Dalek's plunger. "GOD-DAM-MIT, STEVE, THIS IS THE FOURTH TIME THIS WEEK!"
"YOU ARE NOW ON PRO-BA-TION! PRO-BA-TION!"
Steve hung its eyestalk in shame.