It was a beautiful night when it fell from the sky.

The stars were strewn thickly across the endless black sky, their lustrous light bleeding into the black until the sky was stained with streaks of shadow-blue. They twinkled silently, knowingly, like the undulating sparks spat out from the hot flames of a campfire, with a mysterious beauty that even the moon could not outshine. Despite the brisk breeze that scuttled through the dust and set the sparse patches of stiff grass whispering nervously, the night was warm. The desert was bathed in a strange silver light, rocks and rough shrubs glorified in shining, silken colours, spilling pools of inky black shadows over the sand. The hills rolled out to the horizon, smudged charcoal in the half-light so that you couldn't be sure where the desert stopped and the sky began. Crickets chirped sleepily, and their piercing calls to one another echoed through the silence, carried on the wind that blew the sound to the hills and hidden valleys beyond, where creatures of the day deep in slumber were woken in terror by the mystical calls of the dark.

Nothing moved. It could've been a dead world, for nothing stirred that night. Even the sand lay still, despite the wind that scampered and rolled through the dirt playfully, threatening to scatter the grains into flurries of powder that soared on the air like snowflakes. Even a nearby pool surrounded with a stiff ruff of grass never quivered, the surface a glassy mirror that reflected every star and shadow perched above. But there was something in the air, something cold and uncomfortable, that set the hairs on the back of the neck prickling and ran a chill through every bone.

Something big was coming. And the land knew, the whole desert, even the stars that watched the tiny planet slowly turn whilst infinitely suspended in their own far away galaxies. A tension had settled overhead, like a cloud that blocked out the sun for a second, and replaced it with its own gloomy light.

Under the cold black sky, the land suddenly seemed to breathe in, as if waiting for something. Something big. The crickets had stopped and complete silence fell once more over the plains like a heavy blanket. Even the breeze faltered, turning to lope back to its den with its tail tucked firmly between its legs. The water rippled slightly in the wind's hurry, stars and black melting together into wrinkles of silver and blue that sprang across the surface.

And then it came.

A hum slowly rose from the silence, one that got louder and louder, reverberating through the soil, buzzing from the rocks and hills. A light appeared on the horizon, way brighter than any star, winking an electric blue. It grew larger and larger, lighting up the hills in an ill blue-white pallor, until its source clumsily swung into view.

It hung unsteadily in the air like some sort of insect, a jumble of metal and plastic held together by rivets and bolts that stuck out of the object as if they were going to drop out at any second. Several pincer arms stuck out at odd angles from what could only be assumed as the bottom of the craft, and a curved piece of metal that resembled a crescent moon had been welded to the top, sharpened so that its keen edge glittered wickedly in the starlight. It looked handmade, a ship built with scraps from a junkyard in someone's garden shed, almost frail as it wobbled its way forwards. The hum was shockingly loud now, and came from the frantically churning engines as the ship fought its way forwards.

A beam of green light suddenly sparked up from the darkness, striking the side of the ship in a cloud of sparks that hissed as fiercely as a wildcat. The craft lurched unsteadily, the metal on the one side now dented and charred, and trailing thick black smoke, but it managed to cling to its path through the sky. Another green beam hurtled from nowhere, falling a little short and instead slamming into the ground. An eruption of sand and smoke resulted, and the smell of burning filled the air.

The third beam however, met its target. It struck into the side of the machine, and must have hit a vital part of the engine, as it suddenly plunged to the ground in an explosion of fire, bright green flames crackling greedily over the scorched metal. Shrapnel littered the site, tiny flames flickering over the blackened pieces. The ground was furrowed and torn up from where the ship had landed. The ship itself was now a ruin. It wouldn't fly again, that was for sure. The fire would make certain of that.

A figure stood a few metres away from the crash site, his face shielded by the wide brim of a Stetson, and a ragged coat obscuring most of his body. Beyond the brightness of the crackling flames he was thrown into deep relief like a craggy mountain on a sunny day, part of the shadows and part of the flames. Nearly invisible if you weren't looking for him. But underneath his hat his eyes were fixed on the fallen craft, seemingly watching as hungry fire quickly consumed the ship. He seemed to be waiting - but waiting for what?

A sharp scream of grinding metal split the night into two as part of the ship fell open, revealing a glowing blue interior, a web of wires and plastic screens that throbbed with power. Smoke poured out of the hatch, along with the body of a man. He clawed his way out, scrabbling through the sand until he was far enough from the wreckage to be deemed safe. Relieved, he flopped to the ground, heaving breath after breath into his smoke-filled lungs.

That was when the figure made his move.

His boots clunked heavily as he paced steadily towards the owner of the craft. Not fast, almost leisurely, like a predator when its quarry is cornered. The Stetson was still pulled low, obscuring most of the face, apart from a pair of lips pulled into a cruel smile. A high whine pierced the air, and from his coat the stranger produced a gun. Not a fiddly little pistol, or even a rifle. Something huge and sleek, thrumming with electricity ready to be released in a single deadly blast. Something from the future; possibly not even from that world.

The man from the wreckage crawled to his knees, head held high despite the fact that he was shivering with exhaustion and fear. Yet his eyes contained a fearful acceptance, as if he'd known that this moment had been coming. In the firelight, a blue tattoo was clearly etched around his eye, a swirl that curved from his forehead over his cheek and down to his chin. He was clothed in a strange leather outfit, with sleeves cut off at the shoulder and a high collar that stood rigidly around his neck. It once again suggested that this man was a stranger to Earth, just like the sinister figure who held a gun to his heart just feet away.

The prisoner was the first to speak. "I knew you'd find me eventually," he panted. The ghost of a smile flickered over his lips nervously as he examined the figure before him. One hand had been thrown out as if it would protect him, whilst the other supported his quivering body.

"Make peace with your gods." The voice from the figure rumbled over the sand, metallic like a robot had said the words instead. Completely devoid of emotion, instead filled with a grating hatred that made the land shiver.

"Once they were your gods too." The other man was pleading now. But how could he appeal to someone so like a machine? His eyes searched the figure for any sign of recognition, even forgiveness, and he found a slight hesitation in his captor's movements, a slight shudder that ran along his arm and through the gun he toted.

"Not anymore," the figure said plaintively. He waited, watching his prisoner intently.

The man's face fell. All attempts had failed. He struggled for breath, each mouthful of quickly cooling air scraping at his throat, rasping out in laboured coughs. He shuffled around so that his back was to the gun, hands running through the dust. He stared out at the openness of the night as if it might help him forget his own death that stood right beside him. A possibility caught his eye, illuminated in the dying fires that guttered at the edges of his vision.

A large chunk of shrapnel sat several centimetres away from his hand, a hefty chunk of blackened metal that had peeled away from the failing ship before it had crashed in a raging inferno. And unlike everything else, it wasn't on fire.

The decision only took a second to make.

He suddenly swung around with the speed of a striking snake, one hand grasping the shrapnel by one of the many frayed plastic cords. It must have taken all of his remaining strength to propel the metal into the air, right at his captor.

A blinding shot of crackling green energy jumped from the barrel of the gun, slamming into the man's chest. The shrapnel thudded to the ground harmlessly, a weapon no longer. The man was struck back, thrown through the air as if he weighed no more than a child's doll, before landing heavily on his back in the sand. He whimpered in pain, but made no move to get up, to desperately fight one last time. He was spent.

The figure watched emotionlessly before approaching steadily.

His boots thudded as he closed the gap between himself and his victim, each step bringing the fatal end nearer. He looked down upon the man, and in that brief second the face was revealed in the green glow. His face had been mangled, twisted out of shape until there was nothing human left apart from one dark eye that was narrowed with hatred. The skin was wrinkled and torn into ugly scars, and one side of the face gave way to plates of metal fused to the skin, and one thick cylinder lit up with a dull blue lens that glimmered evilly. He was no man. He was a machine.

The gun was suspended over the victim's chest, the tip glowing green with the shot that was about to come.

The man's face was twisted with pain, and each breath was more painful than the last. He was already dying. He licked his cracked lips, gathering himself before speaking in a hoarse whisper. "Am I the last one?" he gasped.

The cyborg watched him silently before replying in his thick grating voice. "There's one more. The Doctor."

The final shot echoed over the landscape, lighting up the world an eerie green before sinking back into a sluggish silence.

The cyborg turned away from the corpse. There was no pause, no sadness. Not even satisfaction. It was what he was supposed to do. Without another word he strode back into the shadows. The darkness claimed him, embracing him in thick velvet folds until he vanished like he'd never even come.

That's when he came for Mercy.