Doctor at War: The Matrix Has Them

by Marcus S Lazarus [Reviews - 0]

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  • Teen
  • None
  • Alternate Universe, Angst, Crossover, General, Introspection, Missing Scene, Series

Author's Notes:
Disclaimer: I own nothing; you know the drill.

Feedback: Feel free

AN: The third story in this series, and potentially one of the darker stories I've written…

As the TARDIS materialised in the heart of Zero One, the primary machine 'city' on this lost colony, the man who had once been known as the Doctor grimly studied the image on the TARDIS monitor.

He'd taken every possible precaution before coming here, of course- he'd even activated the TARDIS's stealth materialisation system and turned the ship invisible to give himself more time to arrive here in secret- but this wasn't the kind of environment where he could afford to take chances. The Machines that this colony had created might have been fairly primitive in design, but they were still intelligent enough to manipulate the population into believing that they were still on Earth rather than a distant colony; any resistance was more focused on trying to keep themselves alive here rather than trying to call anyone else for help.

After a few moments had passed with no sign that he had been noticed, the old soldier turned his attention to the scanner. His skill at controlling the TARDIS had improved over the centuries he'd spent in this body- actually, it was the best it had ever been; one of the many aspects 'programmed' into this body from 'birth', he supposed- but he'd still needed to get to this planet at the right point in time before he could be sure where he needed to go. Taking a moment to assess the surrounding city, he set the new coordinates before he dematerialised once again, swiftly rematerializing in the heart of the machine's main city.

Confirming his new location, the soldier sighed as he considered the wider implications of his reasons for coming here. The machines' weapons might be primitive by the Daleks' standards, but the problem here was the machines' power source rather than their weapons technology.

If the Daleks found this colony and learned what the machines had done to the human population, they could decide to use that method on a broader scale; Daleks were already harsh enough on their human prisoners, but if they realised that it was possible to use humanity as a power source…

It would require a lot of humans to produce the kind of power levels the Daleks would need, but they weren't short of conquered planets to provide those humans. The Daleks hadn't reached this part of the universe yet, but that made it all the more important to trigger this now; the conflict between man and machine on this planet was approaching its end soon anyway, but this way he could ensure that it ended in a manner that would protect the wider populace.

The greater good

He'd so often fought against those who practised that philosophy, and now here he was, killing innocents in the name of 'the greater good'.

Taking out this many innocent human beings didn't sit well with him, but there were just too many people plugged into the Matrix for him to release them all before the machines realised what was happening. Besides, even if it was possible for him to release them all, and even if those humans who were already free on this planet had the necessary resources to support them, the potential psychological damage as they realised the truth about their lives would have been far too devastating. He couldn't even afford to transfer their minds somewhere else; even if he had the resources to move them into a Matrix data slice, he'd just be expecting them to trade one prison for another without giving them a choice, and there would be no guarantee that they would even be able to settle into the new Matrix as comfortably as they'd adjusted to this one.

The free human city was safe underground, and they should have enough of a population to rebuild their society; he would just have to hope that what he had planned would be enough to give this colony a chance.

Besides, he wasn't the same as those he'd once fought for using that argument; for all their fine words, they still wanted to do this because they would be the one at the top of the pile when everything fell apart, whereas he was doing this to increase the chances that the Time Lords would be the final winners of the war that had pushed creation to the brink…

Not wanting to think about that, he turned his attention to the large silver device he'd brought with him. As weapons went, the Pulse Machine was relatively tame compared to some of the weapons he'd seen and used in the War, but it would serve its purpose at the moment. Once this weapon was activated, every machine in the blast radius would be shut down for good… which included their twisted concept of the Matrix, trapping the living as opposed to preserving the dead…

I'm ending their life sentence, he told himself, grimly programming in the bomb's activation code. They'll just remain stagnant now; at least this way the free humans have a chance…

Having set the Pulse Machine into action, he opened the TARDIS door and sent it outside, returning to the console and dematerialising the ship before any machines in the area could do more than move closer to investigate the strange new arrival. Having rematerialized the ship in the planet's upper atmosphere, he turned on the scanner to observe the events that were about to unfold below him. As he watched, there was a brief flare of energy from Zero One, and then, shifting the scanner to search for energy sequences rather than relying on the visual spectrum, he watched as multiple power sources began to shut down all over the planet.

Just as he'd planned, with the destruction of Zero One after he set off the EMP, the Machine mainframe had collapsed, resulting in the collapse of the Matrix and the deaths of everyone connected to it. The humans who were hidden down in Zion would survive with everything intact, and a few machines in other parts of the planet might remain running for a while, but with the Matrix shut down, they would eventually lose what remained of their power, leaving the Zion residents to rebuild the human race.

It was a far grimmer victory than he would have liked, but it achieved his goal; he had spared Zion the deaths they would suffer in the last battle of this war, the threat of that 'Smith' program had been stopped before it could start, and the colony would have a chance to rebuild and learn its history on their own.