GodEngine

by Craig Hinton


Horus sighed. The effort had been unimaginable, even for the assemblage of great and glorious Osirians gathered on the arid red surface of the fourth planet, but they had succeeded. Sutekh and Nephys, the evil siblings who had lain waste to countless civilisations, were now trapped for eternity as punishment for their crimes.
    But at what cost? Horus' original body had been destroyed by that duplicitous witch, Nephys; their home planet of Phaestor Osiris was a smoking ruin thanks to Sutekh; their numbers had been decimated. Even with the godlike powers that typified the Osirian race, the answer was as inevitable as it was unthinkable.
    The age of the Osirians was over.
    As he walked back to the pyramidal shape of the only surviving interstellar transport, he ignored the curious telepathic enquiries of his fellows who were standing like jackal-headed statues before the entrance portal; instead, he glanced beyond them, at the proud yet terrified reptile creatures who were indigenous to this planet, skulking a respectful distance away. Thousands of them had been mentally co-opted to aid the Osirians in those necessary yet menial tasks that were beneath their vaunted mental powers; the impressive statue that dominated the Martian skyline - the statue which housed the primary stellar relay that now chained the renegade Osirians for eternity - was a perfect example of their servitude. But that was the role of all primitives - to serve the majesty of the Osirians.
    Until now.
    Throughout the galaxy, wherever the Osirians had walked amongst the lesser forms of life, they had been regarded in awe; and here and on the blue third planet, it was no different. Both the ape-creatures and the reptiles regarded the Osirians as gods. But even gods...
    Horus smiled, but it was a bitter, disillusioned smile. Perhaps that could be their epitaph, he thought grimly. That even gods could be betrayed.
    Indicating for the remaining few hundred Osirians to follow him into the transport, he reached out his mind and touched those of the primitives, both here and on the sister planet. In a million simple minds, the words hung like fire in the abyss.
    Remember us. We are the lords of all.
    With that, the last of the Osirians entered the transport and sealed the door with a psychic touch. Seconds later, propelled by the mental force of a once-great but dying race, the pyramid lifted smoothly from the scarlet dust and accelerated away. Thousands of Martians watched through cybernetic visors as their gods ascended to heaven.
    The Osirians were never seen in this universe again.
    But they were never forgotten

Grand Marshal Falaxyr looked up from his desk, frowning beneath his smooth visor. Only one person was permitted to enter Falaxyr's inner sanctum unordered, and that was his Adjutant, Draan.
    The presence of Senior Technician Hoorg was unexpected - and unrequested. But Falaxyr held his tongue; Hoorg was one of the few Martians ever to master that accursed of scientific disciplines, subspace engineering, and the very existence of Falaxyr's base at the Martian North Pole was testament to that science. Without subspace engineering, the human vermin could never have defeated the mighty Ice Warriors; without subspace engineering, Falaxyr could not have seen a way of annihilating those same humans.
    The GodEngine would be their salvation.
    If it worked.
    Hoorg shuffled nervously on his feet, his ridged carapace glinting in the dim orange light of the sanctum. Falaxyr smiled, aware of the need to put the scientist at his ease; despite the fact that Hoorg wore the armour of a Warrior, he belonged to the Artificer Caste... and they were traditionally nervous around Warriors.
    'You have located the aggressors' base?' It was more a statement than a question.
    Hoorg nodded tentatively. 'Their command base is orbiting Proxima Centauri, Your Excellency.'
    Proxima Centauri -only four light years away. As Falaxyr had suspected, the invaders were right on top of the human vermin and they had absolutely no idea. The pathetic creatures would be helpless when the invaders flew straight down their throats. And Falaxyr had every intention of making the invaders' task even easier.
    He looked at Hoorg. 'Open up an encrypted channel to their command base.
    'I have something to offer them.'

The Dalek Commander swivelled its black bulk away from the fading holographic screen and faced its fellows: the red pilot and the gold Supreme Dalek. They had known that there were Martians still in the solar system, but the battle computers had perceived them as a grade 8 threat; indeed, only one alternative in their battle strategy involved the firestorming of Mars - in the others, the planet and its inhabitants were simply ignored.
    But when the communiquĊ½ had arrived, what passed for Dalek curiousity was piqued. Indeed, the information received from the leader of the Martian Military might have been called intriguing - if the Daleks had ever been capable of that positive an emotion. Mars had secrets. And the Daleks would ensure that it would give up those secrets to the greater good of their cause.
    But they were capable of hatred, of lust, of desire - for power. And the Martians' GodEngine would satisfy all three. Earth would still fall, and the humans' empire would be crushed... but with the GodEngine mounted in the Earth's core, the Daleks would possess the ultimate weapon, the ultimate power... and ultimate dominion over the galaxy.

The console room was quiet. Sepulchral, even. An atmosphere of post-party blues had descended upon the three occupants; after four weddings and a funeral, the travellers were emotionally drained.
    Chris Cwej sat in a wicker chair on the far side of the white- and roundelled chamber, his attention fixed on a dog-eared paperback book. Roz Forrester was asleep, but it was a cat-like, attentive sleep. The Doctor was juggling six Promethean fireballs above the time rotor.
    And the TARDIS span through the time vortex.

Beneath it, in a poly-dimensional sort of way, the surface of the vortex began to boil...

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