Daleks:hear of theorlds
Based on “The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells and the Musical Version adapted by Jeff Wayne.
Chapter One: The Eve of War
hy would anyone believe my amazing story when I find it hard to believe myself? How can I convince you, the reader, that what I am about to tell is no fanciful work of fiction, but facts. Cold, hard irrefutable facts. They say that there is no life out beyond the confines of our planetary system. That intelligent life is impossible in the cold vacuum of space. They say that life is a rarity, a fluke, and a once in a millennium experience, that it is impossible for its creation to repeat itself.
Few men ever considered the possibility of life on other planets and yet these men have never been more wrong. For years we had reached out across the vastness of the heavens exploring and probing as far as we could with our measuring equipment, all the while secure in our knowledge that the secrets of the universe was our single domain to explore. As I sit here now I can hardly believe the narrow-mindedness of those early days, and yet, from across the far reaching gulf of space, the people of our small little planet were about to be taught a lesson take would have far reaching effects.
t midnight on the twelfth, during the opposition with our closest planetary neighbor, a huge mass of what was taken as luminous swirling gas ripped across the fabric of deep space, and it soon became apparent that something was speeding towards our planet. Across million of miles of void, hurtling towards us, came the missile that was to bring so much calamity. As I watched, the jet of gas grew closer and closer, and I was fascinated by the blue-white trail of light that it drew behind it.
And that’s how it was for the next couple of hours, sitting in the observatory looking through the eyepiece of the great lens. A flare, spurting out from space, bright green, and drawing a blue-white mist behind it, a beautiful; but somehow a disturbing sight. My friend Alon, a scientist engaged by the National Observatory, and the first to discover this phenomenon, assured me we were in no danger. “Any object, regardless of size will simply burn up in our atmosphere,” he told me. It was Alon who had several hours before discovered the distortion he had described as “a bending of space.” And it was Alon who alerted me to the blue-white object that was hurtling towards us. Looking up from the lens he smiled at me, a small, worrying little smile. “Regardless of where this object comes from,” he added, “we are safe.”
Early the next morning the missile finally approached. To the average person it was thought to be an ordinary falling star, but by mid afternoon a huge crater was discovered sitting in the middle of the Common, and Alon and I came to examine the object that lay there: a large saucer-shaped object, thirty yards across, glowing hot, half buried in the countryside, with faint sounds of movement coming from within. Realizing that this was a spacecraft of some kind, Alon tried to get closer to the craft, but the intense heat stopped him before he could burn himself on the metal.
By that afternoon a crowd had gathered on the Common, memorized by the sight of the saucer, two feet of shining metal projecting from the countryside as if some great Titan competing is a great game had thrown the discus. Suddenly, a small crack appeared in the side of the craft, and with a groaning grinding sound, a door slowly slid open. At first the crowd gathered moved back, but slowly, one by one they began to creep forward. A single luminous, disc-like eye attached to a huge, rounded metal bulk, slowly moved out from the opening, glistening in the morning sun. It stood oval shaped, with two of what could only be described as “arms” protruding from its mid section. It was a dark gunmetal color, and the eye swiveled from side to side as the creature moved further into the light. Soon another of the objects, and then another and finally another of these “machines” moved out into the sun, quivering and writhing, as the clumsy bodies heaved and pulsated forward. Suddenly and to my surprise the first “machine” spoke! It was actually forming sounds, the globes on either side of the dome flashing in rhythm to the sounds it was forming, and yet, although the “words” the machine was speaking were unfamiliar, there was something recognizable to it.
The crowd fell back a gassed, but a few brave young men decided to creep closer to the pit, curiosity giving way to common sense. The machine was still “talking” when suddenly its eye-disc trained onto the approaching men. A blue-white ray of heat leapt from man to man and there was a bright glare, as each was instantly turned to fire. Every tree and bush became a mass of flames at the touch of this savage, unearthly Death Ray.
In a great panic people began to claw they’re way off the Common, and I ran too. I could not begin to understand what exactly was happening back there on the Common, and yet felt I as if I was being toyed with, that when I was on the very verge of safety, this mysterious death would leap after me and strike me down. Finally, tired, dirty and footsore, I reached Slone Hill, and in the dim coolness of my home I tried to sink into a restless, haunted sleep.
hapter Two: The Coming of the Daleks
he next morning, the sounds of battle from the Commons grew louder. As the day went on more and more troops passed my little cottage to engage the enemy. By nightfall all seem quiet, and an uneasy silence fell over the village. Suddenly I heard someone creeping into the house. Then I saw it was a young infantryman, weary, streaked with blood and dirt. “Anyone here?” he asked, slowly creeping in through the garden doors. “Come in,” I told him, and proceeded to pour a very large glass of brandy. “Here, drink this.” He took it greedily, “Thank you.” “What’s happened?” From his appearance I already knew the answer, but somehow, I felt hearing it directly from his lips would make this horror seem less like a dream. “They wiped us out. Hundreds dead, maybe thousands.”
“Those creatures?” I asked.
“The machines! Those machines! Massive metal things! Machines that glided along the ground, they…they, attacked us! They wiped us out!”
“Those machines?” I asked.
“Some type of fighting machines! Blasting men left and right. Just hunks of metal, but they knew exactly what they were doing.”
“There was a loud explosions from the hills,” I said. “Late this afternoon.”
“Yes. They moved out of their pit. They looked bound for the city.”
The city. Donna! I hadn’t dreamed there could be danger to Donna and her brothers so many miles away. “I must go to the city at once.” The infantryman nodded, “And me. Got to report to Headquarters, if there’s anything left of it.”
t Baywood we came upon the remains of a small Inn, but it was deserted. It was obvious that the patrons had left in a considerable hurry, as food and drink remained undisturbed on their place settings. “Is everybody dead?” the infantryman asked. “Not everybody,” I said pointing towards the hillside. Two cannons, with gunners standing by. My companion just shook his head. “Bows and arrows against the lightning. They haven’t seen the Death Ray yet.”
We hurried along the road to Southridge, all the time passing empty houses and shops. Suddenly, there was a heavy explosion, and the ground heaved. Windows shattered and gusts of smoke erupted into the air. “Look!” my companion yelled, pointing off into the distance. “There they are! What did I tell you?” Quickly, one after the other, the four Fighting Machines appeared, striding through the trees and smashing through them. Gliding engines of glittering metal, each containing the gun-like object, which was the cause of so much death. A fifth Machine, completely black in color joined the other four on the far bank of the river. It flourished its gun-stick and the ghostly, terrible Death Ray struck the town. As it struck, all five Fighting Machines began “speaking,” emitting deafening howls that roared like thunder.
The two guns we had seen now fired simultaneously; decapitating the hood of a Fighting Machine. The top of the machine was blown completely off, and out from the opening came what could only be described as a greenish blob from hell. The creature toppled over the side of the machine trashing about wildly, and it was then that I realized that there was something alive inside of these machines! I could hardly believe it, but the nightmarish apparition, which lay dying before me, was defiantly a life form of some kind. The creature itself was small in comparison with it’s machine, and seem to be covered with a slimly residue. Its pulsating body heaved and clawed on the ground, obviously unable to survive in our own atmosphere. Finally, giving one last convulsion, it lay dead.
In retaliation for the death of their companion the other monsters advanced on the town, and the people ran away blindly; the Infantryman among them, but I jumped into the water and hid until forced up to breathe. The creatures glided their machines up the ridge to where the gunners stood ready. Now the guns spoke again, but this time the Death Ray sent them to oblivion. Satisfied, the machines turned their attention back towards the town. With a white flash, the Death Ray swept across the river. Scalded, half-blinded and agonized, staggered through leaping, hissing water towards the shore I expected nothing but death. The Fighting Machines however, glided slowly onward, leaving their dead companion when he lay, and I realized that by a miracle, I had escaped.
hapter Three: Exodus
or two days I fought my way along roads packed with refuges; the wounded, the dying, the homeless. All burdened with boxes and bundles containing their valuables. All that was of value and concern to me was in the city. As I hastened through Talbert Garden I noticed the remains of a regiment of soldiers, wounded and dying, the stunned look of incomprehension burned onto their faces. At Blackwoods I came upon the burning vestige of another of the Fighting Machines, the number of dead bodies surrounding the wreckage told me that victory did not come easy. As I approached Williamsgate, more and more people joined the painful exodus. Sad, weary women, their children stumbling and streaked with tears, plowed their way onward. Men bitter and angry shouted at each other to let their families pass, or at the very least, give way to the wounded. All around me, the rich rubbed shoulders with beggars, outcast with businessmen.
Fire suddenly leapt from house to house, the population panicked and ran, and I was swept along with them, aimless and lost. The machine creatures, now only three, continued to lay waist to everything in their path. Never before in the history of the world had such a mass of human beings moved and suffered together. This was no disciplined march; it was a stampede, without order and without a goal. Six million people unarmed and un-provisioned, driving headlong. It was the beginning of the rout of civilization, of the massacre of mankind.
hree days later I finally entered the city and reached their little red brick house, Donna and her brothers were gone. As I wandered through the streets I noticed a dozen dead bodies in the Old Road, their outlines softened by black soot. All was still. Houses were locked and empty, the shops closed, but looters had helped themselves to wine and food, and outside a jeweler some gold chains and a watch were scattered on the pavement. Through every street the picture was the same, every house or store was empty, not a soul was anywhere to be found.
Suddenly there was a blood wrenching sound, a cry, of unbelievable horror. I stopped, staring towards the sound. It seemed as if that mighty desert of houses had found a voice for its fear and solitude. The desolating cry worked upon my mind, and the wailing took possession of me. I was intently weary, footsore, hungry and thirsty. Why was I wandering alone in this city of the dead? Why was I alive, when my city was lying in state in its black shroud? I felt intolerably lonely, drifting from street to empty street, drawn inexorably towards that cry. Finally, as I rounded Primrose Hill, the first of the Fighting Machines from which the sound came stood before me. I crossed behind Regents Canal, there stood the second machine, silent.
Abruptly, the sound ceased. I turned, and saw that the first machine has stopped moving. Suddenly, the desolation, the solitude, became unendurable. While that voice sounded, the city had still seemed alive. Now, suddenly, there was a change, the passing of something, and all that remained was this gaunt quiet. I looked up and saw the third machine, the black colored one. It was erect and motionless, like the others. An insane resolve possessed me; I would give my life to these creatures here and now.
I marched recklessly towards the creatures and noticed that a multitude of black birds began to circling and cluster about the hoods of the machines. I began running along the road. I felt no feat, only a wild, trembling exultation as I ran up the hill towards the motionless monsters. As I drew closer there was a loud hiss from the dome of the first machine, and as the hood slowly rose up, out hung green shreds, at which the hungry birds now pecked and tore.
he nightmare had ended, the torment was over. Throughout the city, the people scattered over the country, desperate, leaderless and starved, including the one most dear to me, all would return. The pulse of life, growing stronger and stronger, would beat again. As news of the amazing defeat spread throughout the countryside it was reveled that it was genetic research, conducted on the body of the first slain creature, which enabled our scientists to create the bacteria that destroyed them. Something about their genetic make-up, something within their DNA proved to be the key to that success. Once discovered and released into our atmosphere, our microscopic allies attacked them. From that moment, they were doomed!
As life returns to normal, the question of another attack from the stars causes universal concern. Is our planet safe, or is this time of peace merely a reprieve? It may be that, across the immensity of space, they have learned their lessons and even now await their opportunity. Alon would never speak however, of exactly what it is was within their DNA that proved so helpful. Never mentioned it or quickly changed the subject the moment I brought it up. He did, just once, tell me it was of little importance, but I could tell that what he and his fellow scientist had discovered about these creatures had disturbed him, had touched his very soul. Perhaps the future belongs not to us, but to these creatures? Whichever it may be, I was sure of one simple thing; life on our little planet of Skaro will never be the same again.
Story Adaptation © 2002 John Rocco Roberto/Visagraph Films International.
Original Photographs © 2002 Thomas Gangone.