Bambara started locking the surviving Autons in a solid steel strong room. “This
should keep those things away from any plastic, until the lab boys can start dissecting them.”
I’m not like them.” Audrey struggled to get free. “I’m a human, I’m not a killer.”
pushed the feminine Auton into the room with the others of its kind. “If
that thing doesn’t shut up I’ll have it melted down.”
room’s soundproof ma’am.” Captain Harper replied.
“Shame.” Bambara muttered.
held on to the Doctor’s leg as hard as she could. “No leaving. Staying. Bad Mummy, leave me.”
Alice explained things to Molly as best she could. “We
have to go now Molly. I’ve packed up all our toys and things. We’ve got a new house to live in and there’s lots of children for you to make friends with
and play games.”
Mike felt awful inside. He didn’t exactly like sharing his things
with Alice; she had no sense of personal space and saw everything as something new for her to play with. Plus she always left him to look after Molly. He picked up
Molly in his arms. “I’m going to miss both of you very much, but
there’s a place for you here where you can be with other robots your own age.
You need to be with robots your own age so that you can learn more about your own culture and we’ll drop by to
visit you, won’t we Doctor?” Mike elbowed the Doctor in the ribs.
“Yes.” The Doctor replied quickly and rubbed his ribs.
“I promise and I always keep my promises.”
“It’s because I blinded that guy isn’t it?” Alice asked. “You’re getting rid of me.”
“No.” The Doctor replied. “You’ve
learned a lot from me Alice, but you’ve been cut off from your people for too long.
We talked about this last night.”
“I deleted my memory as it was too hurtful to think.” Alice picked up her
box of toys. “Come along Molly, we know when we’re not wanted.”
took out her book of hand drawn barcodes. “Remember?”
Doctor looked at the book. “Yes, I remember that day very well.”
now. No leave.” Molly hugged
the Doctor’s leg again. “Best friend.”
found the Doctor sitting alone in the spare console room. “Feel like talking?”
Doctor shook his head. “No, but I’ll listen if you want me too.”
was for the best, wasn’t it?”
The Doctor sighed. “For us maybe, for them in the long run I think
so. Alice is very vulnerable, she’s too trusting sometimes.
That time when she invited all my worst enemies around for tea or the time when she won the Indy 500.”
not going to forget that.” Mike had been along for the ride and had the
trophy somewhere in his room. “It’s Molly I feel sorry for. She doesn’t know how to interact well with other robots. She needs to make new friends or she’ll be ever so lonely.”
door opened and she took her chance. She pushed the door open with all her strength,
catching those on the other side off guard. She rushed past them and was off
through the maze of corridors to the nearest way out. Audrey ran towards the
window and threw herself through it. She didn’t feel any pain as gunfire
struck her body repeatedly. She spotted a near by woodland and ran towards it
as fast as she could.
stepped out of the TARDIS only to see one of the Auton creatures that killed his sister running towards him. He threw his hands up in fear as it collided with him. “Help,
get it off me!”
“Help!” Audrey replied. “They’re
trying to kill me!”
Doctor stepped out of the TARDIS to investigate the shouting. “Hmmm, most
interesting. An Auton that thinks for itself.”
“Herself.” Audrey replied. “I’m a woman
not an object. I can see why some men have trouble separating the two; it’s
called a lack of understanding.”
stood up. “You killed my sister!”
He picked up an old, snapped, section of a tree branch and hefted it like a club.
“Now we’re gonna have some payback, bitch.”
hid behind the weirdly dressed man. “Don’t let him hurt me mister. He’s mad; you can’t just go around attacking innocent women you know. There are laws against it.”
didn’t stop you killing my little sister.” Mike replied. “I’ve always wondered if you things bleed blood.”
hold it Mike.” The Doctor said carefully.
“I don’t think we’ve evaluated the situation. Miss,
what’s the last thing you remember?”
psycho trying to kill me.” Audrey replied.
“My name’s Audrey Spenser, I’m a secretary for Ratchet and Tinker.”
you remember how you became like you are now?”
some of the girls in the office won a free trip to Lego land. Well all hell broke
loose didn’t it? I mean things came to life and attacked people. They put me in this metal tank and tried to drown me, but I can hold my breath for ages. When I came out I saw myself looking like a shop dummy, it was dead scary.
The others who they caught just joined in the killing but I must have been different because I just wanted to get out
Doctor nodded. “They must have drowned and their lifeless bodies became
mindless Auton drones. Your mind must have been resistant to the Nestene influence. A human being with an almost indestructible body.”
“Yeah? Well these bullet holes don’t look too nice.” Audrey sighed. “I can’t cry.”
no way you can produce the necessary saline, you’re not a biological life form anymore.”
an inhuman monster.” Mike snarled.
she’s not.” The Doctor replied sharply. “She’s a very human life form.”
right.” Audrey said.
know I’m right.” Mike said.
nothing but a monster.”
you’re not.” The Doctor said quickly.
“Now why don’t you come inside the TARDIS, away from here? You’re
obviously scared and I can help you calm down.”
leaving.” Mike walked off.
don’t have time for this.” The Doctor said but Mike ignored him. “She’s not the one who killed your sister.
She’s just as much a victim of them as you are or she was.” The
Doctor ushered Audrey inside the TARDIS. “One crisis at a time.”
kept walking, tears streaming down his face. He knew the Doctor was right, but
seeing that blank mannequin face reminded him too much of his sister’s senseless murder.
He just needed time to think, to clear his mind.
“Halt.” Private Malone ordered.
saw that he was surrounded by soldiers with guns. “I’m unarmed.”
him.” Malone called over to Clavin.
“I don’t want to take my gun off him, just in case it’s really that thing in disguise.”
Doctor looked at the bullet holes in Audrey’s body. “You’re
already regenerating the damage. Is it an automatic process?”
don’t know.” Audrey replied.
“All I know is that they locked me away in a metal room for a long time.
The others were taken out one by one, they told us they were experimenting on us, cutting us up and melting us down. I was the last. They came for me and
I escaped. I don’t know why this is happening to me, I just want to go
back to my home, my job.”
long were you held prisoner?”
stopped counting; there was no way to measure time. It was April 2002 when they
September 2004 now.”
and a half years?” Audrey gasped.
“It was that long?”
don’t know if you eat or not.” The Doctor replied. “The Autons I knew relied on an energy source, a mental control.
They were just tools to be used for killing and conquest. The Nestene
is a very different kind of entity, a living consciousness that inhabits plastic and can control it.”
think I’m some sort of mindless zombie? I’m telling you the truth,
they did something to me I’m me, I’ve always been me.”
believe you.” The Doctor stood up.
“I have to determine if they can control you.”
others tried telling me what to do, they tried to get me to obey but I thought they were sick so I ran away.”
it’s the power of your own mind, somehow encapsulated in the plastic of your body that’s providing the necessary
don’t care about that. I don’t sweat, I don’t eat, I not need
the loo and I look like something you’d find in a shop window. I just want
to be normal again.”
glared at Bambara. “Your thugs decided that sticking me with pins was good
Weston we have a serious containment breach.”
me guess. Five foot two, brunette, answers to Audrey and is probably one of those
Auton things that killed my sister?”
saw it? Where?”
“Nearby. I wouldn’t bother looking for her; the Doctor’s
taking care of her. You’d have more look defeating a Dalek with an egg
than defeating him.” Mike felt it best not to mention the time Alice had killed a Dalek
with fried egg related blockage of its life support unit.
why aren’t you with them? Did you two have words and you stormed off?”
like that.” Mike said. “He’s
always got you to keep an eye on him, oh wait you’re here. He could be
he’s not.” Mike stood up. “Unless
you’re going to arrest me you’d better let me go. I’ve got a lot of pacing about and I want to be alone
when I’m doing it.”
Doctor tried something out. “Eat this.”
picked up the wafer biscuit and ate it. “Hey, that’s not bad. What is it?”
solid bakelite. It’s a thermosetting plastic. I thought that it might aid your polymer regeneration.”
Doctor stood up. “Your body is made up of very long chained polymers. They’re very strong and light. They’re
also flexible and durable. I suspect that it will take billions of years for
your body to start decomposing.”
going to live forever?” Audrey gasped.
a long time. You see plastic is formed from the remains of long dead animals
and through a chemical process the short chain molecules are made to join together into longer chains called polymers. I won’t bore you with the details.”
suppose I should get some new clothes.” Audrey started to undress. “It’s not like I need them, I don’t have anything to look at anymore.”
be next door.” The Doctor left quickly.
“There’s a room down the hall with clothes in it. Take what
Alice tried to get on
with the other robots, they were so weird though. All they wanted to do was their
tasks. They didn’t want to play with any toys and they didn’t listen
to her many and wondrous tales of the Doctor. They just did not understand the
wonder of the Universe that she had seen or the need for fun and games.
managed to pace by the canteen and helped himself to a plate of chips and beans. “This
is the one thing I miss, real food. The Doctor tries but he doesn’t know
how to use any of that stuff in the kitchen. I love chips, the smell of them,
the taste, the…hey where’s the ketchup?”
I pinch one?” The Doctor helped himself to one of Mike’s chips. “I can feel my arteries hardening already.”
“They’ve got fried eggs over there. They’re Alice’s favourite
food, if you want a guilt trip, no pressure. I’m still thinking things
over, Doctor.” Mike replied.
can think in the TARDIS, in fact you can clean it up a bit. Your room looks like
an undergraduate’s living in it.”
not that bad.” Mike replied. “Besides
you know I’m too thick to get any qualifications.”
not stupid Mike; you’re quite intelligent when you apply yourself.”
“Is plastic Petra still in the TARDIS?”
and her name is Audrey.”
Doctor knocked the plate of food to the floor. “This is serious Mike, stop
acting like a spoiled child for a minute.”
stood up. “Fine, what do you want?
I’ve had Madam Hitler and her United Nations Reich prodding me for an hour to see if I’m not that thing
have to help her, make her want to live her life. If we don’t then she
could end up like the very thing you think she is.”
that’s what we do?”
but not just that. We have to do the right thing.”
“And if she makes a mistake you’ll throw her out the ship like Alice?”
no. It’s not that easy.”
save you the trouble Doctor. Leave me, get rid of all of us and be miserable
for the rest of your life.”
miss her too Mike.”
“Not Audrey, Alice.” The Doctor looked around. “We can talk on the way back to the TARDIS. Stay or
leave either way you’ve got a lot of cleaning up to do.”
“Fine.” Mike stood up. “But if we pass
a chippie you’re buying.”
Alice tried explaining
things to the robot housewives again. “This is lingerie. We wear it. We don’t go around showing off our chassis
to people. This is a stuffed penguin, you hug it for fun. Imagine feeding it a fish or something.”
put her hand up. “What is the purpose of the function?”
“The function is its own purpose.” Alice replied. “You all act like you’re dull mindless drones; you have to assert your
individualities. Now we’ll put the lingerie on and then the dresses. You can do it. It’s for your own
was pretending to be a department store mannequin when the Doctor and his offensive friend returned. “How do I look?” She did a turn for them.
dress suits your eyes.” The Doctor replied.
“Tell her how pretty she looks.” He nudged Mike hard in the
ribs. “That’s for last week.”
look fine, whatever; I can’t even look at her.”
so sorry.” Audrey apologised. “I
know how you’d feel if it had been my little sister. If I could find those
responsible for doing this to us I would.”
Doctor took care of most of them.” Mike replied.
it was a group effort, Mike, Alice and I.”
“Who’s Alice?” Audrey asked. “When can I meet her?”
a robot and the Doctor threw her out of the ship last week after an accident. He’ll
get rid of us too no doubt. He can’t face up to things you see, can’t
deal with everyone being less than perfect.”
had to do what was right for Alice and her child.”
robot child?” Audrey scoffed.
that’s right.” Mike replied sharply.
“She called me Uncle Mike.”
Alice was washing her
dress when the Doctor entered the room. “So, you finally drop by for a
more than a visit.” The Doctor replied.
“Mike and I talked, well he talked. Look, I was wrong to throw you
and Molly out because of an accident. I was to blame for that as much as you. I came to say I’m sorry and we’d love it if you’d move back in with
“You want me to have more adventures with you?” Alice asked. “You don’t hate me then?”
was angry, upset. I was emotional. Please,
would you return?”
Alice thought about
it for 0.0002 seconds. “No.”
didn’t mean to hurt you Alice.”
love to travel with you but I have a house to run and a daughter to raise. She
needs stability, not people who give up on her. She cried of hours and hours
after you threw us out. You hurt her too much for me ever to forgive you. She’s just a little robot.”
better tell Mike your decision. We met someone new recently. I don’t know what to do with her. I was hoping you could
help her but if you’re here then I’ll have to help her myself.”
will help you.”
this time. You see Audrey is an Auton, with a human mind.”
dear, he’ll probably try and melt her. He’ll make it look like an
accident, just enough plausibility to seem innocent but you’ll know he killed her.”
won’t do that.” The Doctor started.
can’t get at the ones directly responsible for the death of Sally, his sister.
This Audrey may be his only chance to get something that looks like revenge, except it isn’t.”
Doctor nodded. “I taught you more than I realised.”
pity you got rid of me before you could find that out. Well I can’t sit
around in the bath all day; I think I’ve got the marks off this now.”
stood all alone in a corner of the playground. All the other robot children were
playing games and having fun but she was too upset and afraid to join in.
looked down at Molly. “Hi.”
hugged Uncle Mike. “Missed you lots.”
She started to cry. “Play games?”
don’t we ask some of the others to join in?” Mike suggested. “We don’t want to have so much fun that they feel left out, do we?”
shook her head. “Sharing is good.”
She waved to the other robot children. “Uncle Mike, human.”
“Wow.” The children gasped in awe, as they had never seen a human before.
“Hello.” Mike waved. “Does anyone else want
to play a game?”
me, me.” The robots all jumped up and down in excitement.
is called tag.” Mike explained the rules and tagged Molly.
tagged HG45GH and they all had so much fun that she didn’t see Mike slip away.
Doctor walked back to the TARDIS and found Audrey inside trying on different shoes.
“You’re safe. We may have a problem.”
“Doesn’t Alice want to come back?”
she doesn’t take rejection very well.”
never do.” Audrey replied. “So
we’re just waiting for he who’d love to see me melted down to return?”
“Yes.” The Doctor scratched the back of his neck. “Perhaps
you should go to your room and lock yourself in it?”
you think he’ll try to hurt me?”
yes, succeed? Not if I can help it. I
have to help him find catharsis for his feelings. He’s never really come
to terms with the death of his sister. I thought helping to take care of Molly
would have helped.
than you’ll ever know.” Mike said slowly. “I’m not promising anything but I’ll try to deal with my issues. I know that what I’m doing is wrong but I can’t help the way I’m feeling.”
found Mummy sitting on the floor crying. “Inquiry, saline drips?”
Alice hugged Molly. “I had a visit from the Doctor. He
wanted us to go back with him.”
“Delight.” Molly smiled.
“I had to tell him no.” Alice kissed Molly. “We have to make it work here. You
need to be around robots your own age and I need to keep up my project to get the other women robots to wear dresses and act
“Friends.” Molly pointed to the two other robot children.
“976OJP and 8985UH.”
Alice looked at the
two darling little robots. “Sister and brother units?”
“Games.” The twin robots exclaimed.
“Enjoyment.” Molly agreed and went outside to play with her new friends.
Alice stood up, as 78gGH778-Deedee
walked back into the house. “Can I help?”
the meeting before, can I try on the dress again?”
Alice smiled and helped
0978FW discover her femininity. “Did I ever tell you about my best friend,
the Doctor? He’s half human but don’t hold it against him. He likes fried egg and celery sandwiches with just a dash of salad cream.”
The Doctor watched through the window as Alice got on with the rest of his life. “Goodbye.” He walked back to the TARDIS again, knowing that his robot friend was really going
to be fine and that she no longer needed him.