|Doctor Who Internet Adventure #03 - "Altered State"
He pulled the trigger, and a missile streaked out and obliterated a barn at the bottom of the ravine.
"So, Mortimus," the Doctor said pleasantly, "how did you wind up in all this mess? Last I recall, you were about to meet a rather unpleasant fate at the hands of a chronovore."
"Ah, well, that's the thing about chronovores. They like to play with their food. Artemis in particular decided that since I'd forced her to create parallel universes, she'd show me some of the other ones. A rather large mistake on her part, as it happened, because that was how I met--" The Monk broke off and glared at the Doctor. "Trying to do it again, eh? Draw me out, let me talk, and all the while you're using the information to plan a defense. It won't work this time, Doctor. You've been distracted, you've been drawn off-center, and this time, there will be no escape!"
A loud explosion in the distance seemed only to confirm his words.
Melanie looked at Grace and the little man who claimed to be the Doctor with a confused expression. "Um...I really don't know why he didn't point that at us..."
And in a small tent, Doctor Grace Holloway and Zoe Herriot watched as Ulysses doubled over in agony. They tried to move towards him, but a strange lethargy had gripped them and they could only watch helplessly as he cried out to thin air.
"No..." he whispered, "you cannot escape...I have planted genetic blocks, seeded within my own children...so long as they exist, your prison is complete..."
And from within him, a deeper voice spoke, mocking and sardonic. "Yes, my brother, your cleverness and guile trapped me within this pocket universe for ten million years. Your children sealed me within it, their very existence forming a dimensional lattice that blocked me from initiating the full bonding. And the only person who could undo that lattice-- yourself--you rendered an amnesiac wanderer, exiled for all eternity into the vast reaches of the universe. And all for nothing, brother. I have returned." Ulysses stood up, his eyes gleaming madly. "Omega has returned!"
And everything changed.
Grace found herself back in the field looking around at the others. Jamie, Peri, and that other really weird Master seemed to be missing, but everyone else was standing in the field with the same confused expression she seemed to have. "Excuse me... what just happened?"
The Doctor--her Doctor--looked back at her with an expression of intense worry. "Things got worse, I think. The minor manipulations of reality that the other Grace described to me--the dungeon in a Paris restaurant, the appearance and disappearance of anachronistic weaponry, the ravine we saw just a few minutes ago in this cornfield--all of it seems to have been created by the being sitting on that throne over there." He stopped, realized what he'd just said, and then took another look at the throne sitting in the middle of the field.
Omega sat on the throne, his eyes taking on a dreamy expression as he played with a yo-yo. He wore the body of Ulysses, but the Doctor knew right away that he must be Omega. For one thing, the large neon sign behind the throne that said, "I AM OMEGA, SUPREME RULER OF THE UNIVERSE" gave it away rather rapidly. On either side of him was a smaller throne, with the two Mortimii sitting in them with a smug expression on their faces.
"Now then," said Omega, "just to explain. I am the person behind all of this. Yes, my brilliance--no, wait, my supreme brilliance--well, not to mention my guile and cunning--sorry, guile, cunning, supreme brilliance, and a healthy dose of luck --um, what was I saying?" One of the Mortimii whispered something in his ear. "Oh, yes. I switched the two Doctors around to distract them and keep them off-balance, and used that confusion and chaos to pick off the last remaining members of my family tree. This unsealed my dimensional prison, letting me out, and now I am incarnate within the body of my own twin brother Ulysses. Also, I am drawing on my own considerable abilities to link up with the Matrix, which is in this universe a psychic network that links all Time Lords in all places and times. Essentially, I can draw on all their powers as well." He paused, looking at someone only he could see. "Is that enough exposition for you, or should I go into greater detail?"
The Doctor said nothing, but a light of understanding seemed to dawn in his eyes.
Omega stood up, and materialized an ornate staff in his hands. "Now, then...it's time for you all to kneel down and worship me, and pledge to be my eternal slaves for all time. Wait, is that redundant? Eternal...for all time...yes, sorry. You can either be my eternal slaves, or my slaves for all time, your choice."
The Doctor spoke up. "And if we don't want to be your slaves?"
"Well, you'll have to, um, you'll..." One of the Mortimii whispered in his ear again. "Ah. Suffer the eternal torments of the damned, as conjured up by my unbelievable power and extraordinarily vivid imagination."
The Doctor looked indignant. "Surely I get a fair trial, first?"
"Oh, yes, of course," said Omega. "Oh, damn. Shouldn't have said that. Oh, well. All right, let the trial of the Doctor begin!"
"Very well," said the Doctor, "first I would like you to terminate the existence of those beings that are only projections of your will. I don't think they'll be entirely reliable witnesses."
Omega sighed. "Do I have to? I gave them their own personality, their own limited will--they've become quite like family to me. Well, except that I didn't have to kill them or anything..."
"I'm afraid you'll have to, in the interests of judicial fairness."
"Oh, all right." And with that, Zoe, the Second Doctor, the alternate Grace, and Susan all disappeared. "By the bye, how did you know?"
"Simple, really," said the Doctor. "I knew that the other me was a projection quite some time ago. 'Erylcro effect'? Really, any Time Lord worth his salt--including me--knows the Blinovich Limitation Effect and its applications to memory storage."
Omega looked nervous. "I, um, I was sick that day. My teacher didn't cover that. My homework ate the dog."
"And if you were here, then that meant any other members of your bloodline had to be projections as well. I admit, I'd had suspicions about the other Grace for quite some time, but it wasn't until you appeared that I figured out Susan wasn't real, either."
"Well, it was a jolly good guess nonetheless. Congratulations, Doctor. You've won your freedom. And freedom for all of the universe, as well--no, sorry, that's not right. You're about to be put on trial for your life, aren't you?"
Melanie stepped forwards, her eyes downcast. "Oh, great Omega," she said timidly.
"What? I didn't do it, whatever it was! Oh, yes. What is it, dearie? Come to sit on old Omega's lap and tell him what you want for Christmas? Don't worry, I'll give you something even if you've been naughty. In fact, I'll give you something especially if you've been naughty."
"Oh, mighty Omega," Mel said, gritting her teeth slightly, "I wish to pledge my eternal allegiance to you, and if your will deems it worthy, I wish to be named as prosecutor in the trial of the Doctor."
Omega looked at her. "Hmm...but aren't you one of those ambitious, back-stabbing types, who would proclaim words like 'Oh, great Omega', 'Oh, mighty Omega', and then just turn around and stab me in the back and try to take supreme power for yourself?"
"No," said Melanie. "Not at all! I would never do that, oh supreme Omega. I would be your total slave, devoted in..." she let a strategic strap slide down her shoulder... "all things."
Omega smiled. "Well, then. That's sorted. You'll be prosecutor, I'll be judge, and the Doctor will be counsel for his own defense. Mortimus and Mortimus will be the jury, and--" One of the Mortimii whispered in his ear. "Oh, I'm sorry. The Mortimii think I'm trying to manipulate you--no, wait, they think you're trying to manipulate me with sexual favors, so that you can someday take supreme power for yourself. They said that was their job, whatever that meant."
Melanie aimed a glare at the Mortimii. "Look, what if I were to link my mind directly to yours? That way, you could see for yourself that I was sincere in my pledge to serve you, and there would be no further problems."
Omega paused. "Well, that seems to make sense, I guess. Here, come up and touch your hands to my temples. Then touch your--no, we'll have time for that later. Temples first, dear."
Melanie touched her hands to his temples, a predatory smile on her face.
And everything changed. Again.
Melanie was sitting on the throne, whip in hand. Ulysses lay crumpled on the ground, his eyes staring sightlessly at the blue sky. The Mortimii were chained to the ground in front of the throne, wearing only leather thongs and dog collars. Casually, Mel lashed out with the whip and sliced them in half.
"Hmph," she muttered. "Doddering old fool, really. The years of imprisonment had taken their toll on his mind. He was easy prey to my will. And now I control the Matrix." Her voice rose as she declaimed to the assembled group--mostly Daleks, but there was still the Doctor and Grace to consider. Not her Grace, though. The Grace she knew had died before she'd ever met her--she'd been only a projection of Omega's will. Damn him... "The total sum of all Time Lord might, knowledge, technology--everything of Gallifrey is mine to control! This is, and always has been, my desire. Control of everything...stars, galaxies, universes! There is nothing beyond my power now!"
The Doctor stepped forward. "Nothing at all?" All the time, he was doing frantic mental calculations. Dimensional co-efficient of .26, psychic frequency wavelength displacement of 9.425, this would make a Matrix resonance point of exactly 45.9 on the Kolbantz scale, which would mean that--well, of course, it would mean absolutely nothing if his other self hadn't connected to the Matrix in this universe, but since their lives seemed to run in a vague parallel, he'd probably done so at least once...
"Nothing, Doctor. And since I don't think you'll support my new regime, I think I'll have to destroy you now. Unless you'd like to dispel that notion by kneeling before me and pledging your undying loyalty."
The Doctor smiled and shook his head, all the while trying to focus his alpha waves on the precise wavelength required. Come on, he muttered to himself, there has to be an entry point somewhere in my mind...
"I thought not. Very well, you'll simply have to die. It's a shame, really, you were so much better than your counterpart. Still, you're simply too disgustingly moral to be allowed to live. Any final words?"
The Doctor looked at Grace carefully. Then he nodded. "Just one," he said, his entire body tensing up. "Duck!"
To Be Concluded...
God, I've always wanted to use that cliffhanger. OK, down to the Doctor and Grace versus a power-mad Melanie, and I hope the various things I sprinkled through there explained, cleared up, and set up enough plot points for part 15. If not, may lightning strike me dead. :)
(ZAP!! (Just kidding, just kidding!! ;-) --The Moderator)