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where dead men slumber

At this moment in time, the outpost Gamma J is unique. It's uniqueness was not that it was another man's great 'wheel in space' but a large metallic monster spinning slowly on its axis: built during the great wars to serve as recreational centres for the beleaguered troops of Earth's many wars with alien worlds: Its uniqueness was that it was totally deserted...

Deserted that is until the arrival of a large blue box, battered but proud as it slowly materialised within one of the stations long dimly lit metallic corridors, something of which the alien artefact was very familiar with from its many journeys through the Universe.

As the sound of the alien artefact resounded through the empty corridor, its occupant busied himself at its controls as the TARDIS finally came to rest. As the central column stopped, he continued to busy himself checking the controls once again in order to satisfy himself that everything was okay.

A light, however indicated that all was not well, 'Now what?' he said to himself, and as he did so he 'tooted' softly on his recorder. 'It appears that something is holding the TARDIS here,' The Doctor moved his hands over the console to operate the viewing monitor 'Let's take a look and see where we've landed shall we?'

The viewing monitor showed the gloomy interior of the corridor beyond the TARDIS doors. 'You know how to pick your locations,' but the view wasn't enough, 'Oh dear, it's no good, I'll have to go outside and take a look.'

The Doctor moved to the interior door and began to open it but suddenly decided against it. 'I think I'll let Jamie and Victoria sit this one out,' he closed the door quietly and moved back over to the console, 'anyway, this shouldn't take long and I'll be back before the cock crows.'

The Doctor operated the control for the door and cautiously moved through the doorway and out into the gloom beyond.

As the door closed behind him the Doctor removed a handkerchief from the breast pocket of his coat and gently mopped his brow, 'Oh dear,' he said, 'It is rather dark out here.'

He replaced the handkerchief and pulled out a torch from within his vast deep pockets. Switching it on he shone the beam of light into the gloom ahead. The light faltered slightly, but after a few taps the torch shone brightly piercing the darkness beyond.

As the beam of light scanned the corridor ahead it fell upon several doors leading off in different directions. His caution eased as he became used to his surroundings, and as he studied the doors, mostly locked, however, he did find the occasional door open but their contents were nothing of interest nor did they reveal any reason for the TARDIS being held aboard the station: a fact of the TARDIS' location became apparent when he came across several viewing windows showing the stars beyond as the station spun on its axis.

As the Doctor approached what appeared to be the main control room of the station, he suddenly became aware of something moving behind him. He quickly turned, his caution rapidly returning to him, but there didn't seem to be anything there.

A noise. And again.

'Jamie?' asked the Doctor, nerves filled his words as he called out, 'Victoria, is that you?'

There came no reply.

'Must be hearing things,' he muttered to himself and continued to examine the control room that he now stood in.

He noticed lights flashing in the distance as consoles and machinery ticked over quietly continuing their daily business of maintaining the stations life support system and gravity field and no doubt other important or even unimportant functions.

The Doctor noticed that at sometime or other the station had been occupied by human life but for some reason they had now disappeared. He picked up one of the upturned chairs and sat at the controls studying the instruments before him. 'The place appears to have been left on automatic, but why?' he asked himself and began to move his hands over the controls operating switches which clearly didn't appear to do very much. That is until lights suddenly flickered into life and the Doctor declared, 'Let there be light!'

Another sound, somewhat familiar to the Doctor, echoed around the room. The familiarity wasn't instantly recognisable, but it forced the Doctor to his feet, a look of slight panic crossed his face as he took in his surroundings more clearly now that the lights had been activated. But his view of the control room was short lived as the lights inexplicably, went out.

'Oh my,' he whispered as he fumbled for his torch. Another sound, again familiar, that of rubber-soled boots squeaking on the metallic floor. 'Hello?' he said nervously, 'Who's there? Come out and show yourself!' he snapped, his nerves clearly getting the better of him

The beam of light fell in the direction of the sound and as it did so came upon the figure of a dishevelled looking man wearing what appeared to be a boiler-suit or some sort of uniform; dirty, dusty and carrying what appeared to be a gun. The lights flickered back on again and the Doctor was able to get a clearer view of his companion.

'Thank God, you're human,' the figured muttered, 'I've been here so long...I had to check...been here so long with them...'

'With who?' asked the Doctor moving cautiously towards the figure.

'With them...' said the figure indicating the metallic object beneath his feet.

The Doctor wasn't sure exactly what it was the man was indicating, but all he could see were bits of broken plastic and metal scattered on the floor. 'What is this place?' asked the Doctor bending down to examine the debris, touching and feeling the metal for any signs of recognition.

'This is the place where dead men slumber.' he muttered. It didn't make any sense to the Doctor but clearly the man was delirious. 'We lost contact,' the man continued, '...with Earth...I was outside doing maintenance when they struck...' The man moved across the room and as he did so he continued his constant vigil of his surroundings. Fear engulfed his face, he hadn't slept in days. 'They killed the others and hid...like me.'

'Who are they?' asked the Doctor.

Suddenly the lights went out and the sounds returned.

'What's that sound?' began the Doctor, 'It sounds very familiar, oh my, and its getting closer!'

'What do you know of them?' asked the man as he levelled his gun at the Doctor.

'Oh dear, well...I...' the Doctor stuttered nervously, 'There's no need for that now, is there?' He frantically waved his torch about them occasionally blinding his companion. 'Oh my, what is that sound?'

'They're coming...' muttered the man. The Doctor recognised the fear in his voice. As the sounds grew louder and nearer the lights began to flash on and off erratically at which point, the man fell to his knees as it soon became clear to the Doctor what it was that so terrified him.

'Oh my giddy aunt!' declared the Doctor, 'Cybermats!'

The Doctor looked about him desperately for something to arm himself with. He first noticed the man's gun disguarded on the floor but upon retrieving it found it to be of no use at all, the gun no longer worked. He threw the it to the floor and noticed a water coolant close beside him up against a wall, and with all his strength the Doctor pushed the water coolant over spilling its entire contents onto the floor as the Cybermats scurried towards them.

In an instant the water had done its work and the dozen or so Cybermats were no longer a threat and the Doctor put a reassuring hand on the man's shoulder, 'It's alright, dear chap, they're gone now.'

The lights continued to flicker in their erratic way.

'But they'll send more...' said the man as he looked up starring at the scattered remains of the Cybermats.

'What?' asked the Doctor.

'Their masters, they're here.'

'The Cybermen?' The Doctor helped his companion to his feet, the man clinging on to the Doctor's arm as he tried to regain his balance, 'Oh my! Show me where!'

~~~