Authors notes: I've added some extra lines onto chapter 86 where Ace talks to Raven about her mentor, the Professor. 😉
Also added a little to chapter 87. Mostly of Raven calling out Hedgy's behaviour while having her tantrum.
The power hadn't even been projected when Raven felt the earth quake that went through the room. The lights went out, leaving Raven in the low light cast by the Daleks blue eye stalks. Raven hadn't caused any of this, had she?
"ALARM, ALARM!" The bronze Dalek called out as it circled and waved it's eye stalk around in panic, "WE ARE UNDER ATTACK!"
"WHAT IS HAPPENING? EXPLAIN, EXPLAIN?!" The Blue Dalek demanded acting more calmly.
"AN EXPLOSION HAS RESULTED IN A LOSS OF POWER." The Bronze one reported. "DRIVE CAPABILITIES OF CEASED."
The Blue Dalek turned to Raven. "EXPLAIN!"
"Would you believe I have magic powers?" Raven asked it.
"DO NOT MOCK THE DALEKS!" The Blue Dalek said, pushing a sharp blade under her chin. Not firmly enough to draw blood, but firm enough to show it meant business.
"ALL DALEKS ARE REQUIRED TO REPORT TO DRIVE UNIT TO LIMIT FUTHER DAMAGE." The Bronze one reported.
"INFORM LEAD DALEK THAT WE OBEY." The Blue Dalek turned to leave and exited out of the small torture room through an alcove.
If Raven was feeling calm and collected, she'd have shrugged and said, "I'll just wait here." But part of her was still tOo shocked at how close she came to having her own intestines dragged out by an alien implement.
She wiggled her toes. Her legs didn't feel numb any more. Relaxing a little more, she closed her eyes, muttered her chimes and focused her powers onto the metal bands that restricted her. Darkness spread across them and with a flick of her mind they bent backwards and opened as if they were nothing but cardboard. Free from her bonds she leapt to her feet and stood for a second to test her balance. She then bent her legs a few times like she was trying to work some rust from her joints.
Now she was ready to escape. She guessed she might as well rescue Ace, though Hedgy was optional.
Exiting out through the alcove, however, Raven found that she didn't need to look far.
"Oi, Sunshine!" Ace called as she raced down the corridor towards her, Hedgy dragging behind. "I see you broke free. It was about time those nitro-ten bombs went off."
"Nitro-ten?" Raven questioned.
"Yeah, a bit more wallop than the original nitro-nine." Ace said proudly, "and with chemical based timing fuses so no Dalek scanners could detect them. But I guess the timer could do with some R&D. But still, it worked during operation Chariot, 1942 and in the nick of time to make a nice big bang in the dry dock."
"1942?" Raven questioned.
"Nothing." Ace said.
Raven then turned to Hedgy and shot him a dark look. But something seemed off about him. He looked at her with a look she didn't recognise. It wasn't fear, it was a kind of wariness. No, wait, she was wrong. He was feeling fear, but something told Raven it wasn't fear of her that was irking him. This was a fear of something far more distant. The Daleks? No, further afield.
"What did you do to Hedgy? He's been quiet all evening. It's been a ages since he tried to call me a Dalek." He was clearly still reeling from Raven's assault on his psyche, but Raven just shrugged.
"I wonder why the power went out?" Ace wondered, "I planted those charges on the drive plates, nowhere near any main power lines. So what's up with that?" Maybe Raven had done something and not realised it.
Suddenly the dim, dark corridors brightened up as the power came back on.
"Well, that was short lived." Ace commented.
"HALT!" Cried a voice from the corridor. "STAY WHERE YOU ARE!" The three spun around to see a lone Dalek rolling towards them.
"Leg it!" Ace cried, and the woman took off and ran quiet nimbly for someone wearing heavy boots. Hedgy ran just behind her while Raven stepped off into the air and used her powers to float after them at speed. She felt well again, all the tingling had stopped.
Ace and Hedgy rounded a corner. Raven's instincts told her to wait, just for a brief second. It was a good call as a lance of blue light flashed past her face. She didn't waste time following the other two.
"STAY WHERE YOU ARE, OR YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!" The tank like creature rounded the corner quicker than they thought it could. Raven looked back and saw it take aim.
"Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos!" Waving her hands and using the sheer strength of her powers Raven wrenched an entire plate of metal from the wall, tearing it like paper and she used the large plate as a shield. The blast landed on the metal plate, and she could feel the sheer heat radiate from the plate as the blast warmed it through.
Holding the plate level she fired it down the corridor, she heard it clang against the Dalek shell, but the tank like creature just busted its way through the metal. Another two grey Daleks were now flanking the bronze one from behind.
"ALERT, ALERT, PRISONERS TRYING TO ESCAPE!" Before they could fire their weapons Raven ripped another plate from the wall with her powers, held it in the air with its edge pointed at the Daleks. With a flick of her wrists the plate spun around like a saw and she fired it at the Daleks. It hit the bronze Dalek, but some shield deflected it away into the casing of the grey Dalek were the plate went right through its grill. White foam sprayed from the wound.
"NEUTRIANT TANK PUNCTURED!" It screamed. Raven felt her arm being tugged and she allowed Ace to pull her away from the advancing cyborg tanks. A few seconds later a Dalek death beam passed through where she had just been floating.
"Nice tricks!" Ace congratulated her, "Where did you learn to do that?"
Raven shrugged and didn't answer. Years of experimentation and practice mostly, plus a little imagination. Raven had never thought of using her powers to affect the environment like that. It just suddenly came to her.
After turning a few more corridors they emerged into a large room. It was clearly a place where the casings of the Daleks were assembled. There were bases sitting on conveyers, mid casing held by robotic arms ready to place it down on the base, and cranes holding the top sections of casings. The entire factory was dormant and still.
There was also nowhere to run to.
Ace ran to a conveyer and from under it pulled out her rucksack. It still stank of danger to Raven.
"EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE!" Cried the Daleks outside, and with nowhere to run.
Ace went up to two completed Dalek cases and popped the tops off of them.
"Hop in kids." She said, "I'll show you how to deal with Daleks."
Hedgy didn't hesitate, he was clambering into one and closing the lid before you could blink. Raven stared at the casing, this felt like running away.
"Away, Sunshine, it's empty, it's not going to hurt you."
"I think I'd rather take my chances." Raven sighed. But Ace grabbed her and pulled her towards the casing, convincing her to hide in it. The top shut with a clang.
The world became eerily silent. It was like she was cut off from the rest of the world. Just the silence, the silence and her own thoughts. Now this was peaceful, this was bliss.
Despite not hearing anything Raven sensed danger.
The Dalek casing was hollow, but did have certain devices installed. She was sitting on some massive metal sphere. Pipes and wires went all around her and in front of her there was a screen. The only way a Dalek could see the outside world, but it was just blank.
It was so quiet, Raven relaxed. It was too quiet. Unnaturally quiet. Painfully quiet. The kind of quiet where the sound of your blood rushing through your ear drums becomes an intolerable nightmare.
So is that what it was like for the Daleks? No wonder the Tin Tyrants were always so angry.
The world altered as Raven found her Dalek casing suddenly flung to one side, crashing against the floor. She wanted out, right now!
She didn't wait for Ace to open it for her, she used her powers, took the Dalek metal and tried to tear it, rip it or strip it. This alloy was very tough, it was like it was resisting her efforts to bend it to her will.
Raven was almost relieved when the top was removed and she erupted out of it like a spring loaded toy. She floated up and around, just so happy to be free of that nightmare tank. She flew down to Ace and gave her a nasty look.
"Don't ever do that again!"
"Oh, thank you Ace for saving my life." Ace shrugged. Looking around, Raven now noticed the utter devastation of the place. Ace had clearly set off another of her explosives in the corner, where the Daleks had entered. The tops had been blown clean off, revealing the creature within. It was disgusting. It was like a green, blue squid. It had a shrunken face that looked like it had long since lost its use and just become an evolutionary hangover. The face, despite having two eye sockets, only had one, bulbous eye that rolled from side to side, just looking! It's tentacles wriggled and writhed, but the girls were too far away for it to attack. It was dying.
All at once the wriggling came to a stop and the mass of organic matter fell still.
"I said Nitro-Ten packs a wallop!" Ace smiled, congratulating herself.
"I could've handled it." Raven said.
"I have no doubt you could have." Ace said, "with enough trial and error, but by that time the Daleks would've shot you fifty times." Raven shot her a dark look. "Well, that's three down, about six dozen to go. Thank god their production facility is offline."
"Hey, somebody get me out of this thing, I'm suffocating." Echoed a Dalek sounding voice from a Dalek shell, the one Hedgy had jumped into. He couldn't get it open. Ace went over to the casing to release the catch.
"One sec, I'll get you out." Ace said.
"Do we have to?" Raven said, dryly.
For once little Raven had escaped her tormenter, so she could finally walk through the tranquillity gardens in peace. She carried with her a book. It was just some light reading from her private collection of fiction books, her intention was to find a quiet corner of the garden and just sit and read. It's what she loved to do.
"Why do you like Raven?" Asked a voice on the air.
Raven froze, there was someone else here and… wait… someone liked her? Raven? Impossible.
"No, I don't like Raven." Yeah, figures. "I just don't hate her." Okay, an improvement.
The voices were hiding under a bridge that Raven was about to walk over. Being as stealthy as possible Raven rose up and levitated across the bridge and risked a look over the edge.
There was a small boy down there under the bridge, a year or two younger than she was. An innocent boy, but a good looking one. Raven did find that she liked boys, she liked boys a lot. It was just a shame they never seemed to like her.
Raven also recognised the other monks as Andra and her two stooges.
"She's the daughter of Trigon. Do you get that? Trigon!" What a scandalous, evil lie! Raven so wanted to go down there and make them pay for spreading such a cruel rumour.
"Is that true?" The boy asked, not convinced.
"Isn't it obvious?" They asked back.
"Not really." The boy replied.
"How dumb are you?" Andra said.
"He sounds so dumb." Said one of the stooges.
"Yeah, really, really dumb." Said the other one.
"Everyone knows Raven is evil. She doesn't belong here. She belongs with the demons!" Andra said.
Raven felt her blood start to boil, but she held herself in check. She would not rise to the bait. Glancing down at the boy again, Raven just knew the guy was in for a whooping. Shrugging she took her leave and found her quiet spot in the garden, away from everyone else.
She was barely two chapters into her book when another noise disturbed her.
"Hello, Raving." Said a small voice. Raven's eyes rolled from her book to take in the new comer. It was the small boy, he looked nervous. As he should be. It was brave for someone to come up to her and call her that. Her eyes glanced behind the boy, Andra and her goons were there watching him.
"Was that supposed to intimidate me?" Raven asked the boy.
"You're an evil witch." The boy whispered to her. He tried to move away, but found his feet held to the floor by a dark shadow around his feet.
"Where do you think you're going?" Raven asked him, her eyes narrowing. She was curious about something. "I thought you said you didn't hate me."
The boys features were slowly melting from childlike uncertainty to quiet horror. "You heard me?"
"I'm the daughter of Trigon, apparently." Raven rolled her eyes at the desperate notion. "I can hear everything. I thought you said you didn't hate me."
"I… I…" He mouthed. Raven looked back at Andra, and put two and two together. The boy was scared, but something told her it wasn't Raven that he was afraid of. Raven could show this boy, make him pay so he knew to never bother her again, she could think of a million and one different punishments or torments she could inflict. Instead she did something else.
"Call me the evil daughter of Trigon." Raven told him. "Say it as loud as you can, now, to my face."
"What, why?" The boy asked.
"Because I said so, that's why." Raven said. "Call me that, and say you hate me."
"But… I don't want to." The boy was nervous and wary of her.
"Say it to me." Her eyes narrowed as she squeezed his stomach with her power. "Now!"
"You… you're the evil daughter of Trigon, and I hate you!" The boy screamed. Raven's eyes narrowed in fake annoyance. She also glanced back at Andra's group. They looked suitably impressed.
A dark aura formed around Raven, but it was just a fake one. She wasn't angry. She released the boys feet. "Now you may go." She said quietly.
"Why?" The boy asked, utterly confused.
"Get out of my sight!" She added with acid. The boy turned and took off back towards Andra and her group. They were clearly very impressed with him for shouting that at her.
Why in the hell had she just done this? Raven couldn't say. Looking at the Andra gang, they were swarming over him and congratulating him. But they weren't bullying him anymore. Raven felt a twinge in her heart. She roughly patted her chest, it must be heartburn.
Raven just hoped the boy would know to keep his distance from Andra. The pale girl would so hate to have to hurt the kid if he came back. Raven turned back to her book and continued reading.
She guessed being called the 'Evil daughter of Trigon' was going to be the next insult to be flung at her. Could it be true? It would explain why she was so powerful. She laughed, that was just wishful thinking. She wasn't that cool.
Raven wasn't entirely convinced Trigon was all that bad. Going by the way the Monks of Azarath treated her like she was evil when she does nothing but exist, she was fast considering if Azarath was just a group that formed around hating Trigon and only survives because Trigon, in some form, still existed. According to the texts at least. But perhaps the texts weren't entirely accurate.
To some, these thoughts would he heresy. But Raven just laughed. What were they going to do, socially ostracize her for it?
For now the trio were free, and on the run from the Daleks. They had taken shelter in a large room with a gaping chasm in the middle which went down for miles into the darkness. Presumably Daleks flew between the levels rather than using elevators. The room was not that far away from the main Dalek group. According to Ace, this was the safest place to be as the Daleks would assume they'd ran much further afield to get away from them.
When they were finally settling down to plan Raven finally struck. She used her powers and lifted Ace up like a rag doll and moved her over the deep chasm. All Raven had to do was let go of her and she'd plummet to her death.
"Oi, what's the big idea?" Ace protested.
"Who are you?" Raven asked, eyes narrowed.
"Hey, let her go!" Hedgy protested.
"Quiet you!" Raven shot him a dark look. He instantly clamed up and moved away. Raven now turned back to Ace. "Who are you. You're no journalist."
"I'm someone who knows a lot about Daleks and explosives, alright?" Ace said, her feet dangling in mid-air.
"No more of the mystery girl routine." Raven said, "Tell me who you are."
"You won't believe me if I tell you."
"Alright then. I'll tell you something about me, you tell me something about you. Deal?" Ace said and before Raven could disagree Ace carried on, "What if I told you I'm a time traveller, originally born in the nineteen seventies."
"I'd say you're gonna have to try better than that." Raven said, and she spun the girl upside down. But Ace didn't seem all that concerned. "Hurry up, before I lose concentration."
"Ha, you won't hurt me." Ace said.
"Don't be so sure of that." Raven threatened, "Why?"
"Because underneath the cold, dead, girl routine I can see a girl with a heart, and a soul." Raven's frown went further and she raised an eyebrow.
"Why do people lie? I hate when people lie." Raven made no attempt to bring Ace back in, but Ace showed no sign of budging. Raven tried to scare her by quickly letting go and grabbing her again.
"Oi, can we stop with the 'who's gonna blink first' routine?" Ace asked, still with confidence and amazingly very little anger or outrage at her treatment.
Sighing and looking like a child that had gotten bored with its toy Raven roughly brought Ace back onto the ledge and dropped her to the floor. Ace landed on her feet. After dusting herself down Ace began to explain.
"I work for an organisation. You could call them intergalactic, extra-temporal policemen." Ace said. "They wanted me to investigate an anomaly in the timeline." Raven was wary, these people sounded like the Time Lords. "They had suspected Dalek activity in the region and wanted me to investigate and neutralise the Daleks if necessary. Apparently, back in the day this place was one of their Battle Platforms. Planets where they have extracted the molten core and replaced it with an interstellar engine. They tried to do something similar to Earth in the twenty-second century. But with this one, something went wrong. While travelling at hyper speed they were caught in something called a localised gamma ray burst from a nearby star. They were forced out of hyperspace, most of their electronics were fried, their main power source damaged, and so the Daleks went dormant. Eventually the dead world fell into orbit around a nearby star where plant and animal life began to thrive again. Humans found it, colonised it, and here we are."
"Wow." Raven said sardonically.
"No, I mean. Wow, you said all that without Hedgy butting in to tell you you're prejudice." The expression on Hedgy's face was difficult to read, but for once it looked like that put down actually stung him.
"Leave him alone, Rae!" Ace said. That was the first time she'd called Raven anything close enough to her own name. Raven rolled her eyes.
"And your job is to neutralise the Daleks?" Raven asked.
"Yeah, stuff would've been easier if there wasn't a colony built over the top of it. Or else a big enough bang would've seen this planet go the way of Alderaan." Raven didn't get the reference. "So what's your story, Miss Kenobi?"
"I just wanted to find out if Big Dog was evil or not." Raven answered.
"Oh, why?" Ace asked. Raven remained silent, as did Hedgy for a change, but Raven could sense his outrage in his body language. Right now Raven didn't believe Big Dog was evil, he was just demonised, and by what Big Dog said, for very petty reasons.
"I hope Drayfus is still okay. He was the last time I saw him." Ace said. Raven had all but forgotten about the reptile alien. "I don't think the Daleks even know about him, or else they'd have asked me when they interrogated me. I wonder what he's up to."
"He's looking for Daleks, he's found Daleks." Hedgy spoke at last, Raven regarded him coldly, Ace was a lot more charitable with him.
"Yeah, if Big Dog up there," Ace thumbed the ceiling, "planned to use the Daleks as a form of deterrence then maybe Dray is down here to neutralise the threat."
"Maybe he can help us." Hedgy said.
"Yeah," Ace said sardonically, "my experience with these government agent types is they're usually loyal to their mission. He'd see us more like potential human shields than helpless people. But we're not helpless, are we? You've got me to help you."
"You think you can stop a planet of Daleks?" Hedgy asked.
"I've done it before." Ace smiled. Raven's eyes narrowed, she didn't know why, but that confident statement from Ace just irritated her.
The Doctor could deal with these Daleks no problem, better than you can. Said her mind, then she realised what she's just said.
Oh my god, I've gone soft on him.
"I know a guy who's defeated Daleks all his life." Raven spoke up, "if he knew they were here, he'd put a stop to them."
"Ablsom Daak?" Ace questioned, "No, wait, it's too late for him." Ace caught Raven's expression, and then her own began to darken. "Who is he?" Raven was suddenly put on guard.
"He's called the Doctor."
Ace's expression became sour, and dark. Did Ace know the Doctor?
"We don't need that toerag!" Ace spat. Raven didn't speak, she was amazed at how quickly Ace went from jovial and confident to cold and angry.
"You know the Doctor?" That didn't come from Raven, but Hedgy. "You both know the legend? The Dalek Killer?"
"Hedgy, shut up!" Ace said tensely. The two girls narrowed their eyes at each other as if in suspicion of the other.
"That guy you talked about, the Professor?" Raven asked. The expression on Ace's face said yes. "Yeah, he is a toerag." Ace's expression softened a little, but the tension was still there. Despite agreeing, they still stood on opposite ends.
"We're not involving him!" Ace said, "alright!" She added to make it a command.
"He's our best chance to stop them." Raven stated.
"I've travelled with him for years. I know every trick he knows. We don't need him." Ace growled. Despite Ace's success against one or two Daleks Raven had very little confidence Ace could take on a whole planet of them. Ace's strategy was also very headstrong and bullish, and bold. Which wasn't Raven's style. Holding back and calculating strategy, now that was more her style, and it was the Doctor's style too.
How could she convince Ace to contact the Doctor and tell him? Clearly she has pride and ego, clearly, those things drove her. Does she share the Doctors need to save people? Or was her pride too powerful for that?
"Can you beat them? Are you sure you can defeat the Daleks?" Raven asked. "How many people are on the surface? A few thousand? The Doctor is our best chance of stopping them." Wrong thing to say, Raven realised. "The Doctor can help us beat them." She said instead. "You want to gamble with their survival, all over a feud?"
"It's about more than a feud." Ace said back to her.
"Five thousand people." Raven reminded her. "And if the Daleks reach the surface they'll murder everyone." Raven's face relaxed into a bored look. "But you can remain content that you kept your ego and pride intact."
Ace let out a heavy sigh, her eyes like laser beams of distrust and suspicion. For all her confidence she looked like she knew when she was in over her own head. "You're a right manipulative little princess, aren't you?" Ace said with venom. Then she let out another heavy sigh. "Alright, come on, let's get the bastard Time Lord."
To Be Continued…
Authors notes: Where Ace actually is in her own timeline I've left vague. But she and the Doctor have clearly had a massive falling out the last time they've met.