Harry’s desperate voice burst through the sounds made by the rest of the squad: ‘Help us! We’re being slaughtered! Our guns are no good! They’re too strong!’
Jim saw the stranger staring at the picture from the surviving camera as he said in a voice filled with dread, ‘Cybermen,’ The stranger turned to Jim and said, ‘Get them out of there immediately, they don’t stand a chance!’
Jim looked towards Dwight who nodded and said, ‘Tell them.’
Jim flipped on his transmitter and said, ‘Harry, Harry are you there? This is control to all squad members, pull back, I said pull back!’
Harry’s voice again cut through the agonised sounds coming from the rest of the squad. ‘Jim, they’re all around us, there’s so many of them. We can’t retreat, we’ve got to fight!’
Jim looked into the eyes of the stranger which seemed to be full of deep sadness. The stranger said in a chocked voice, ‘Then they’re all dead.’
Harry saw one of the robots in front of him collapse and he rushed forward to grab its weapon. All around him his squad were dropping like flies. They’d barely been engaged with the enemy for a minute and as far as he could tell the squad of ten had been reduced to himself, Bill Green and Tom Bailey.
He raised the alien weapon and pulled what he hoped to be the trigger device. One of the robots in front of him exploded in a shower of sparks and collapsed to the rocky ground. He spun around, picking off the robots with deadly accuracy.
He had managed to shoot down four quite quickly, when he saw Tom collapsing from a disrupter blast while one of the aliens lifted George’s body up into the air with a steely fist. He cried with range and fired shot after shot after shot.
Harry now stood out in the open, his thoughts being totally occupied with rage at the death of his squad, no concern for his own safety entering his mind. He took out three more of the robots before he felt a blast like the end of the world smash into his side and the flames of hell wash over him.
‘Can anyone hear me, is there anyone there?’ screamed Jim staring at the flat-lined health monitors. George’s camera was still operating showing a picture of the alien ship and the mechanical monsters walking back towards it. The picture was partially covered with blood.
Jim felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up into the sad eyes of Dwight who slowly shook his head. Jim flipped the radio onto wide band and recalled all of the others out scouting the perimeter and only then did he begin to cry.
'Alright Doctor, what are they?’ Dwight asked, his voice betraying a mix of panic and rage that his self control had managed to keep from showing on his face. They stood in a conference room surrounded by the council members of the colony.
The Doctor opened his mouth to reply as Ace barged into the room. ‘There you are, Professor. What’s been going on?’ she asked, failing to note the formality of the environment.
‘Cybermen.’ said the Doctor in a voice filled with hate answering both questions.
‘Cybermen? What are they?’ Dwight asked Ace who simultaneously replied:
‘What - here?’
The Doctor nodded in reply to Ace’s stunned question whilst saying, ‘The Cybermen are a race of evil beings. They used to be organic at one point in their sorry existence but they’ve undergone a process of replacing almost everything organic in their structure with mechanical parts so little of the original remains. They are a cold race devoted to logic. They are devoid of all emotion except for a dark ambition to assimilate everything else into the Cyber-race or destroy it in the process.’
‘How do we stop them?’ the Commander asked, ‘Why are they here?’
‘In answer to your first question,’ replied the Doctor, ‘with great difficulty. In answer to your second, I’d have thought the answer would have been obvious. They clearly want to mine the tribarium this planet is so rich in themselves to make their own explosives.’
One of the councillors spoke up, her dark skin, the Doctor noted, was pale with shock: ‘Dwight, we need a plan of action. They could attack at any moment.’
‘I know,’ Dwight answered. ‘Doctor?’
The Doctor replied, ‘Now that they know they’ve been discovered they’re likely to attack immediately. What defence capabilities has this base?’
‘We’ve got a level two defence shield and then we’ve got the weapons in the armoury.’
‘Well, the defence shield will only hold them off for a short time with the kind of weapons the Cybermen possess.’ The Doctor seeming to be thinking out loud, ‘You’d best show us the armoury.’ he said catching Ace’s arm as he walked towards the door.
The armoury was well stocked. A lesson learnt from the early colonies was never to leave them undefended. Too many had fallen pray to alien or human pirates.
‘Ace can help you set up the weapons in the best locations,’ The Doctor said to Dwight.
‘Ace!’ replied a beaming Ace, ‘But where are you off to, Professor?’
'I'm going to see if I can establish any secondary force-fields within the base. Commander, I suggest that you arm anyone who knows how to use a gun and give anyone who doesn't know, a rapid crash course in the basics. You can guarantee that the Cybermen will be knocking on the door very soon.’
He was about to leave when the Commander asked, ‘Doctor, how many can we expect?’
The Doctor turned and said, ‘One ship, I’d say we could expect about fifty Cybermen.’
‘Erm, Doctor,’ the Commander said as the Doctor turned to leave once again, ‘we’ve picked up four more traces like the one we saw last night over the past month.’
‘Four more!’ replied the Doctor, his face paling. ‘But that means there could be as many as two-hundre and fifty Cybermen!'‘Do we stand a chance?’ asked Dwight.
‘Put it like this.’ The Doctor replied, ‘If you believe in any deities then I suggest that you start to pray. I must hurry.’ he said dashing from the room.
Half an hour later the lights in the control room showing that the outer forcefield was active winked out. Jim turned to Dwight and the Doctor and said in a voice filled with dread, 'They're through.'The first line of defence consisted of automatic guns firing high explosive shells, rockets and lasers into the oncoming ranks of Cybermen. Although many of the vanguard fell beneath the barrage of the weapons due to the large numbers of invaders the guns soon destroyed.
The next line of defence consisted of colonists armed with a variety of weapons hiding behind any shielding that the base offered. Once again the sheer numbers of the oncoming wave of death rendered the line of defence useless, the screams of the colonists showing what a blood-bath the defence was likely to become.
Then a small tank leapt from among the defenders it’s laser, primarily used for removing vegetation or creating tunnels, cutting huge swathes through the oncoming Cybermen. But still they pressed on, all of them seeming to target which soon began to overheat from the continual pounding it took from the enemy, its engines finally exploded in an ear shattering noise.
With the loss of his weapon the order came for the defenders to fall back into the base and this they did.
Inside the control room Dwight turned to the Doctor and said, ‘I just hope that your force-field last long enough for us to stop them.
‘So do I. So do I.’ replied the Doctor, who stared intently at the monitors showing the pictures from the internal security camera. He saw the colonists withdrawing into their allocated positions.
Then the Cybermen came.
They strode into the building as if they were passing through their own threat-free space ship, heedless of their fallen and falling comrades.
The Doctor saw a few straggling colonists dropping beneath the Cyber-onslaught before they reached the protection of the hastily erected shielding. On another screen he saw Ace crouched behind a makeshift wall of overturned furniture.
He took all of this in a moment and then began flipping switches on a board in front of him. The plan was simple, to use the force-field to shepherd the Cybermen into various ambushes and then use them to help the colonists fall back to new positions. With luck the invaders may be worn down before they reached the heart of the colony, the control room and infirmary, and the base be overrun. A simple plan, the Doctor hoped that it wasn’t too simple.
The Cybermen reached the first strong point. They were guided down a corridor intersected by a further corridor with colonists down either side. The plan worked well to begin with, about fifteen Cybermen fell beneath the sudden barrage from the colonists but then it all went wrong, as one of the barriers collapsed and all of the colonists down the corridor were massacred.