The crew, which numbered about forty, arrived at a rise, overlooking the next valley. Below stood a technologically advance base, pyramidal in structure and built in stages. It had four sides and was capped by a flat roof. The Doctor guessed that it was about two miles high. But now, however, despite what former glory it may have had, it stood in ruins. It didn't look as though it had crumbled, but had more likely collapsed in upon itself. All of the materials were new, they had not aged in the slightest. Looking again, the Doctor decided that it must have crumbled after all and in a very short space of time too. Renshaw was aghast.
'My word!' she exclaimed.
'Impressive, isn't it?' smarted Johnson.
'You could say that.' The Doctor sniffed.
The Doctor held still for a moment, squinting. 'I seem to recognise the design,' he said looking puzzled, 'but I can't quite place it at the moment. Somewhere in the third Galaxy, possibly. I can't quite remember.'
Johnson brandished his gun. 'You will. I promise.' He looked over the wreckage once more, and took delight in the fact that Renshaw hadn't come up with a staggering explanation for it all. All of the scientific group had their devices trained on the building, but they too were at a loss.
Johnson puffed his chest out. 'We'llgo down for a recce. It'll be worth the trip, even if it's just for the exercise,' he said looking at the more over weight members of his crew.
'Captain!' Renshaw exclaimed once more.
Johnson shrunk imperceptibly. Here comes the explanation, he thought. 'What?' he asked.
'This building is the source of the energy fluctuations. They're building up again. They're almost at critical level now. I would advise caution.'
Johnson laughed, 'Come off it, Renshaw, I know my job. I want everyone here to consider this to be a yellow alert,' he said to his crew. 'We're going down there.'
Once more the group trailed away in the wake of Captain Johnson.
The Doctor spent that part of the trip trying to talk to other members of the crew, but they callously ignored him and said nothing. The chatter they produced between themselves bored him, so he walked alone and in silence.
Renshaw sidled up to the Captain who was doing his best to ignore her. 'You don't really believe this "Doctor", do you?' she asked.
'Of course not!' he snorted, waving his arm dismissively, 'I'm just waiting for him to show his hand. It's all in the regulations if you take the trouble to look." No untried may be fired out of hand, unless he tries to fry you first" '
'I'm sure,' Renshaw replied, unimpressed, 'But what if he fries you first? When you're not looking? Surely, he's got you there.'
'No, Renshaw.' Johnson shook his head. 'First you fry him and then you take command of the ship. It's all in the instructions I was given by the Federation. However, temporarily, in the event of my death, you have control of The Victory and the mission.'
Further behind, the Doctor listened to the conversations going on around him. Two crew members were nearest to him and he couldn't help but listen.
'Exactly what do you know about this mission and its aims?' one crew member said to another.
'About as much as you.' was his reply.
'Just as I thought,' the first said, rolling his eyes. 'Nothing!'
The Doctor moved slowly away.
Eventually the group arrived at the ruins of the base. They stood facing a large double door. A small panel was set into the frame and two Scientists studied it furtively but couldn't understand it. The Doctor moved over towards Johnson and Renshaw, asking for an explanation. Renshaw was about to start when Johnson immediately interrupted.
'Okay, Renshaw, how do we get in?'
Renshaw shook her head. 'I've got no idea.'
Johnson nodded. 'You belong to the Militia.'
The Doctor suppressed a laugh, and Johnson saw him. 'Alright then, Doctor,' he asked levelly, 'how do we get in?'
The Doctor indicated the control panel. 'These systems are coded by logic and colour it should be simple enough.' He explained. 'By taking the index f1 in relation to the panel, we've got, and calculating the code but using coinciding sine values on the same plain, we enter those values using f2 logic and that should release the door lock.'
Johnson turned his head to the floor. 'Ask a silly question.' he whispered.
The Doctor shrugged his shoulders. 'Either that or blow the door open with your blasters on full power.'
'How long would the oh-so-smart method take?' Johnson inquired.
The Doctor thought for a moment. 'About an hour.'
Johnson nodded. 'We'll blast it.' He walked out in front of his aimless crew and waved is arms, bellowing for silence. Eventually with their attention centred on him, he began to separate the Military unit from the Scientific and explained that the door had to be removed for entry and then continued to wave his arms for them to clear a way.
'Firing squad! Take positions around the door!' he bellowed.
Renshaw laughed, 'Firing squad?' she giggled.
Johnson nodded. 'To execute my plans.'
When the guards opened fire, the door did not explode or collapse as everyone expected. Instead it glowed a fiery red and then white. The scientists were driven back by the intense heat, but the military kept on firing.
Slowly, droplets of liquid metal began to form on the outside of the door, and slowly like ice, it began to melt. Eventually, under the stress of the heat, it could hold the rigid form no-longer and it began to drop and fall like wet cloth. The military fell back as they stopped firing. Slowly the door began to solidify once more, but this time there was a gapping hole through it, big enough to let ten men pass through.
The Doctor stood and watched silently. Whatever the metal was it was not from this part of the galaxy. He was sure.
'Lower arms!' Johnson ordered. 'We'll go inside as soon as the metal has cooled down enough.'
A short time later, the Doctor had walked over towards the Captain and Renshaw who were in conference over the mission. They were talking in concerned tones about the building. The Doctor quickly got to the gist of the conversation:
'The energy flux is underground,' Renshaw was saying.
'Is it electrical?' the Doctor interrupted.
Johnson turned angrily, but Renshaw held him back. 'I don't think so.'
'Anyone inside?' Johnson asked.
'How could there be?' The Doctor said contemptuously.
Renshaw nodded. 'The Doctor's right,' she interceded quickly, 'No-one could have lived through this.'
'Whatever is creating that reading is n the lower levels and is potentially dangerous' the Doctor continued, 'We should go to the control room first. There, we can at least scan the rest of the building.'
A crew member prodded the metal with a rock. It was solid now. Touching it, he felt the warmth still generating from the molten metal, but it was cool enough. He shouted to the Captain that they could all go through.
Johnson turned to the Doctor. 'Lead the way.' he said.
They began to make their way through the opening into the blackened interior. Inside it was devastation. Walls had split to reveal the equipment that stood behind; the strong metal struts that once held the roof up had given way showing gaping holes to the floors above, as well as beneath them that they needed to avoid. Heavy, but extremely bright torches lit the passageway for safe access and all around was littered with rubble. The Doctor was fascinated by the whole affair and continued to lead the way.
'It must have been quite devastating. whatever hit this place. I doubt if anyone lived through this.' He turned back for a moment at Johnson. 'The control room should be on the next level.'
The two turned to face the person who had called. He was indicating a gap in the wall with his torch. 'This is a lift shaft. And the cables are still inside.'
'So?' sneered Johnson.
The Doctor patted him on the back. 'We climb!'