Doctor Who Internet Adventure #03 - "Altered State"

Chapter 11
"'Father Figure'"
by David Burke


The Master raised the TCE, knowing they had nowhere to run, aimed, and activated it.

       Grace, stretching the frozen moments with her fear, knew that this time there was no Eye of Harmony to rescue her. She thought of her unborn child and knew that if she survived, her travels with the Doctor were over. It was one thing to take risks with her own life, but quite another to endanger her baby. Then she realised that she was still alive; no one had fallen or been vaporised. The Master was staring indignantly at the small black probe in his hand.

       "I think your TCE is missing this," said the eighth Doctor, juggling a small silver component. "It is the NaFl Phase Inducer. I took the liberty of lifting it from your pocket earlier. I thought I might need one someday, and as my alternative self's brother and friend, you wouldn't stoop to using a TCE. I apologise if I caused any inconvenience."

       "You will regret this," snarled the Master

       "Not as much as I would have regretted being reduced to a two inch high mannequin."

       The Master leapt at the eighth Doctor, reaching for the Phase Inducer that he was still throwing nonchalantly into the air.

* * *

In the elsewhere, at the point of singularity where all physical laws break down and time has no meaning, a tall masked figure saw his pawn fail. Omega felt his anger surge, but restrained it by remembering he didn't really want the Doctor to die quickly and painlessly. No, the Time Lord would be made to suffer for his previous victories over Omega. The need to separate the Doctors from Ulysses was still the priority. This time Omega would return, and the Doctor must be kept from the prospective vessel, and the target of his ultimate revenge. He had already switched Doctors between Universes to thwart a search by one of them for the TimeLord he thought was his father, which in the grand historical sense perhaps he was.

       Omega started to think, and centuries or nano-seconds later, he had a plan.

* * *

The time-rotor's motion slowed, and the room filled with the scraping sound of materialisation. To the Doctor it sounded full of anguish, a cry of sympathy and pain for the woman slumped on the floor. Then the light in the already gloomy gothic setting dimmed further, and the constant hum of the TARDIS started to fade. He knelt down and felt for a pulse. It was faint and slipping away, fading in time with the life of the TARDIS. While neither the machine nor the woman were the ones he had loved, he felt for them both. He stood up and turned to his brother.

       "What are we going to do? They are both dying, caught in a negative empathic feedback loop."

       "Take Dr. Holloway out of the TARDIS. That should sever the link, and let the TARDIS recover. If she survives long enough, bring her back and the TARDIS should be able to heal her."

       The Doctor lifted Grace from the floor, and walked towards the exit. The Master activated the switch, and the doors swung open, revealing a barren hillside. The Doctor gently put Grace down on the ground and with the Master beside him walked to the hilltop to investigate where they were.

       Over the crest of the hill, he saw the familiar sight of a blue box. Stumbling towards it was a figure in a red-trimmed cream jacket with matching stripped trousers. He was carrying a young woman, who was unconscious. Nearing the TARDIS, the man dropped a small vial, which shattered on the hard rocky ground. With a cry of disbelief, he dropped the woman, and hurried into the TARDIS carrying the remaining vial. "We are back in our Universe. I remember my fifth incarnation, self-interested and uncaring."

       "I remember too, brother. I had to force you to regenerate before you slipped totally into your dark-side. Let us see if we can rectify your previous misdeeds."

       "If we get her back to the TARDIS, it should be possible to use my blood as a serum, as it still contains the antidote."

       The TARDIS below dematerialised as the two TimeLords rushed and slithered down the slope to where Peri lay. When they reached her, the Master knelt down, lifted her arm, held her wrist and nodded. "She is still alive." He lifted her up and with the Doctor's help climbed the slope back to where Grace and the TARDIS were. They re-entered the console room, and the Doctor immediately knew that the ship had recovered. He went back outside and lifted Grace back inside, hoping that they could save these two beautiful women. He was convinced that they would not be able to resist the charms of the man who had saved their lives.

* * *

The taller Doctor deftly side-stepped the leaping Master, who ended up sprawled on the ground. Before he had a chance to regain his feet, Jamie leapt onto his back, drew a dirk from his sock and pressed it to the Master's throat. "Don't you try anything, or I'll slit you open like a salmon." The Master murmured assent.

       Dr. Ulysses took a step forward. "Would someone mind telling me what the cruck is going on here? Who the hell are you, just where did you weirdoes come from?"

       The second Doctor rubbed his hands together, shrugged his shoulders, and smiled at his later incarnation, who took the hint. "You and I are from the same place: Gallifrey."

       "Crap -- I have never been to Ireland in my life. I was born and bred in Peoria, Illinois. Graduated from Bradley State. The only time I left the US was for a honeymoon in Acapulco." Briefly Ulysses wondered why he could suddenly recall evenings in Sully's bar, and the surf crashing onto Mexican beaches, when earlier he had hadn't even been able to remember how many years he had been working in tornado research. For a moment he couldn't put a face or name to his wife, but she was called Stacy, and he forgot that he had ever had any doubt about it.

       The second Doctor cleared his throat and said, "Are you sure? I once tried to forget about the reasons I fled my home; even now I never talk about it or my people. I have reasons why I want to forget, but in my hearts I keep my family, my home, and my heritage. Is there from childhood or dreams a spectre of memory that haunts you because it doesn't belong to the American Mid-West ?"

       Dr. Ulysses opened his mouth, stepped backwards, looked nervous for a moment, and then drew a long, slow breath. "No. Well, sort of... I keep remembering burnt orange skies at night."

       The two Doctors turned and smiled at each other. "Sounds familiar. He is beginning to recall home, despite an obvious attempt to wipe his memory. Which leads me to an aside; will I remember these events, or will the Erylcro effect wipe my memory?" asked the shorter man.

       "I'm sorry; not only will you forget this, but you will also fail to recall the first Omega encounter, Borusa's re-activation of the Death-Zone, and Dastari's attempt to acquire the Rassilon Imprimature. I have often encountered the amnesiac effects of crossing our own time-line."

       Doctor Ulysses turned his head and stared at the man in the dark green jacket. "Rassilon... I know that name. In a dream, I recall a man screaming that name as he fell into a hole in the sky."

       The prone figure of the Master laughed. "You are falling for the tricks of these two con-artists. They will now claim that the only way you could have heard of Rassilon is to have come from the same place as they do. Just remember: you were born in Peoria. You are a normal American."

       Jamie pressed the knife against the fallen Timelord's throat. "No one asked you to talk."

       "This may seem like a strange question," the taller Doctor asked, "But Ulysses, how many hearts do you have ?"

       "One, of course, on the left side of my chest, just like everyone else."

       The eighth Doctor stepped forward. He took Ulysses' hand and raised it to his right chest. "What do you feel ?"

       "A heartbeat, I don't believe it." Ulysses then moved his hand to the left of the Doctor's chest. "Another heart beat ?"

       "Yes, it was a shock for me, when I first met him," Grace said.

       "But why don't you have a second heart beat ?" the eighth Doctor mused.

       "Because I am human."

       "No; you are considerably less human than I am."

* * *

In the TARDIS infirmary, which looked like a medieval cellar and not the glistening white room that he was used to, the Doctor was sitting between two beds. He smiled as both his old and his other self's companions recovered consciousness.

       Grace looked up into a friendly face and, as he bent down to kiss her, smiled. Their lips touched, his tongue violated her mouth, and she bit down hard. "Don't try it on -- I'm not your Grace, and you're as sure as Cruck not my Doctor!"

       Deciding that maybe he hadn't timed that particularly well, the Doctor turned to the other bed where Peri lay, her breathing now a strong, steady regular beat. Her eyes opened. "I....I....I..."

       "Three 'eyes' in one sentence. Makes you sound like an Obeah, the only tri-Ocular species in Mutter's spiral."

       "Who are you ?"

       "I'm the Doctor. I know I look different, and I will act differently, but I am the Doctor. Our bodies change when they are at the point of death, thus extending our lives."

       "How do I know you are telling the truth ?"

       The Doctor leaned down and gave Peri a long intense kiss.

       "Convinced ?"

       Well, maybe not quite. I think I need to be sure. Can we just do that again ?"

* * *

On Skaro, Mel listened to the intelligence report with interest, although somewhat annoyed that the Dalek felt the need to deliver it in verse:

 "On the world known as Necros
 What we found is Doctor's loss
 For guess what the Daleks have seen
 It's his blue box Time Machine..." 
 "Eee chagga shash shash, wip bom Skaro!"

Before a second stanza could be delivered, Mel interrupted.

       "Bring me the TARDIS; with it we can have full mastery of Time and Space. Nothing in the Universe can stop us now." So saying, she cracked her whip.

       "I obey, Mistress Mel," the Dalek replied and glided out of the Empress's presence.

       Despite the knowledge she'd memorised from the TARDIS datalogs, Mel, even with the full resources of the Dalek empire, had not been able to do much more than improve their crude time tunnel technology. Now she would have a TARDIS, and since she knew where the Doctor kept the spare key, she could gain entry.

* * *

Far away, in another dimension, the imprisoned Time Lord threw his head back and laughed in triumph. The first part of his revised plan was neatly underway. Now to turn his attention to Mortimus. He extended his will beyond the confines of the pocket universe and felt for the patterns of the mind. Making contact, he carefully amplified the hatred for the Doctor that ran deep in Mortimus's mind. Then he issued the order.

* * *

In the gloomy splendour of the console room, the Doctor, his arm around Peri, was talking to his brother. Grace, relieved that the Time Lord had found another target for his amorous advances, was sitting in an armchair.

       "We are back in the right universe. Now we need to find the other Doctor, so that I can get my TARDIS back, return that Grace, and continue my search for Ulysses."

       "I don't like being called *that* Grace, as though I am not really here. You are worse than Brian. Don't forget your own Grace."

       The Doctor glanced sideways at Peri, before saying, "Grace and I are over, now that Peri is back." He kissed her tenderly.

       The Master raised his eyebrows. "Oh brother dear, your love life is always so complicated. I do wonder what all those young women see in you. If you could start thinking with an organ above your waist, how do we find the other Doctor ?"

       "The TARDIS, now it is back in the correct Universe, should be able to find him." The Doctor pressed a few switches, and the console rotor started to rise and fall. The TARDIS vanished into the vortex and swept towards Earth, where it felt its own Doctor.

* * *

Several months later, Mel was standing in the TARDIS console room, running her hands over the white hexagonal control-console. She was sure she could now find the Doctor, the father of her child, for this was his TARDIS. Had been, she corrected herself. After all, finders keepers -- now it was hers. She had a hand-picked assault force of Daleks. She set the TARDIS to find the Doctor, noting that the co-ordinates set themselves for Earth a few months earlier.

* * *

Dr. Ulysses was about to issue a rejoinder to the Doctor's latest bizarre statement, when a groaning noise filled the air and a flashing light appeared, to be followed by a blue box. It was quite impossible, just as it was for a man to have two heartbeats.

       "Doctor, it is the TARDIS," Zoe exclaimed

       "I think it's probably not ours," the second Doctor replied.

       The door opened and out stepped a man who looked very much like the taller Doctor, but with a mustache, and a less impressive dress sense. He was walking arm in arm with a young lady in hot pants and a tightly fitting top. Behind them came a woman who was all but identical to the woman who called herself Grace.

       Then out stepped a dark haired man, who looked like the man who had threatened them with the black probe had before he'd changed. Dr. Ulysses was confused, unsure of what was reasonable, and wondering if someone had spiked his coffee with hallucinogens in some kind of student prank.

       The two eighth Doctors looked at each other, but before they could speak, the air was once again riven by the sound of a TARDIS materialising.

       "Just how many more of you are going to turn up?" asked the Master who had just arrived.

       "I don't know. That is my TARDIS, which I last saw on Necros," said the recently arrived eighth Doctor.

       The door on the newly arrived TARDIS opened, and out swept three Daleks, followed by a diminutive red-haired woman in a leather cat suit with a whip in one hand, and a blaster hanging from her belt.

       The lead Dalek scanned the people in front of it, saw the great enemy of the Dalek race, and swung its gun to cover the Doctor. It thought of the great poems that would surely be written to honour the Dalek who finally destroyed him.

       "Exterminate!" The gun blazed, the Time Lord's body was enveloped in a flash of energy, and with a scream he fell to the ground.

       The Ka Faraq Gatri was finished.

To Be Continued....

To be continued...

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