Datter av Stormen
She reconnoitered the halls soundlessly, disturbed that a complex built to hold so many was deserted. As she passed a doorway, something – a tickle in her brain – made her pause and look in.
A man in a white shirt and black trousers, black necktie hanging loosely around his open collar, sleeves rolled up his forearms, was bent over a tabletop, working on a metal sphere. Although she never made a noise, suddenly his whole body stiffened and he yanked himself upright to stare at her.
"You're… a Time Lord?" The man gasped in disbelief.
"Yes. How did you…?" She walked over to him and laid her palms, side by side, on his chest. "So are you," she answered herself, looking at his face in wonder.
"I was told there were no more of us."
She glanced briefly back over her shoulder, the way she had come in. "So was I." Reluctantly pulling her hands from him, she asked, "What's your name?"
He smiled slyly. "I've used quite a few… Since we're here at the end of time and I'm preparing for the last battle -- Ragnarok, if you will – you may call me Loki."
She tilted her head to one side, ponytail swinging behind her like a golden pendulum, and blinked, uncomprehending.
"Sol 3. Ancient polytheistic religion," he explained.
Her eyes lost focus for a moment. Then she straightened her head and beamed at him. "Norse!"
He smiled back, like a teacher with an apt pupil. "Very good, child. And what should I call you?"
"So far I've just used –"
"Thrud." Another man, behind her in the doorway, interrupted her. He strode into the room, long brown coat billowing behind him, and laid a protective hand on her shoulder. "If you are Loki, then she can be Thrud."
Both the girl and the man in black and white stared at him. He dropped his chin and gave the girl a stern look with raised eyebrows. She rolled her eyes in answer but said nothing out loud, turning her attention back to her new discovery, as did her partner. But where her gaze was inquisitive, his was almost defiant.
The object of their attention studied each of them several times in turn. Thoughts flickered behind his whiskey-coloured eyes, but his face showed nothing other than mild curiosity. After one last long look at the girl, he focused on the man in brown. "I think you have a lot to answer for," he announced.
"You may ask," the taller man replied seriously, "but I'll only tell you what I think you ought to know."
"Typical," the man in black and the girl pronounced in unison. She looked at him, puzzled, and he smirked back at her. Frowning, she jerked her shoulder out from under the other man's hand and stepped away so that they formed three sides of a square.
The man from the planet squinted at his male visitor. "Are you here in your TARDIS?"
"No," he answered. "Yes," replied the girl at the same time. The girl earned another glare.
"How did you get her back? Oh, of course you won't tell me." The shorter man rolled his eyes in derision. "Aren't you worried about --"
"Blinovitch? Or Reapers?" The man in brown shrugged. "The TARDIS seems to cancel out the Limitation Effect quite a bit. I've run into myself – she's run into herself – quite a few times over the centuries. You were out cold when we all left Rassilon's Tomb, so you didn't get a chance to see… The TARDIS isn't even double-parked at the same point in space here, just the same point in time. As for the others: I won't do anything to change what's going to happen next for you. You've no idea how much I want to – so very, very much –," the longing on his face matched the yearning in his voice, "but I won't risk her." He nodded his head toward the girl.
"Ah yes, her. Even more interesting…" the other man turned to look at the new subject of their discussion.
She was standing with her head cocked, listening. "Someone's coming," she announced softly. "And some thing."
"Harry? What's going on?" A woman's voice drifted in from the corridor, along with the sound of her high heels tapping as she walked, and a mechanical whine.
The man in black whirled back to the other. "Out!" he demanded, pointing to a second door into the room.
His male visitor nodded, grabbed the girl's hand, and grinned at her. "Run!"
"I love this part," she told the first man, beaming, and took off with her partner.
Of course the door they went out was in no way connected to the hallways they'd used to reach the room. Blessed by her creation with an enhanced sense of direction, the girl shouted, "This way –" and yanked her partner to the right at the third intersecting corridor. Fifty meters further, they slid to a halt individually and in tandem and stared down a short, dimly lit passage to their left. The TARDIS was sitting at the end of it.
"Oh, good!" the girl panted, bending over slightly to rest her hands on her knees. "But I didn't think…"
"That's not where we left it," agreed the man.
She craned her neck up to look over at him. "Someone moved it?"
There was a long pause during which his face took on a very wary expression. "It's not ours." He walked toward it slowly.
"Don't be silly," she replied, catching up to him. "Of course it is. Even though there is another Time Lord still in existence – and you know him, and you knew he was here; I think you should tell me about that soon – there's no way he'd have a TARDIS with a chameleon circuit that broke when it was in exactly the same exterior configuration as ours."
He turned to her and raised his eyebrows. "Exterior configuration?"
She shrugged and pointed at the TARDIS to get him back on track. "Not ours?"
"Well," he started, with a drawn-out tone while rubbing the back of his neck with one hand, "technically it is mine, or it was… He stole it from me to get off Malcassario. I was left there with Martha and another guy, a broken vortex manipulator, and a whole bunch of people with very sharp teeth who wanted to eat us."
"So, let's go rescue you," she answered, and headed for the door.
He grabbed her arm hard, jerking her to a stop. "No, we can't."
"Why not?" she asked, tilting her head to the side and looking at him wide-eyed.
"Oh, Hlorridi* --" a man's voice called down the hall. "Come out, come out…"
"Wait!" the man in brown mouthed silently to the girl, holding up one hand and staring at her sharply. When she nodded, he laid himself flat against the wall to peer back around the corner the way they came.
"We're all alone. No chaperone / Can get our number..." Gesturing at the area around him, the man from the lab room stood singing in the middle of the hall.
The other man stepped out. "Your 'children' have a habit of popping up unexpectedly, and they have rather deadly sense of fun. You'll have to excuse my caution."
"Ah, you know about them!" The shorter man's face brightened. "You are from my future, then. It doesn't seem to cause any harm to the timelines, I see." He closed his eyes, as if searching internally for something. "Wait! It seems your young friend isn't quite as cautious. She should know better than that…" He started running toward the man in brown, who whirled around to the sight and sound of a dematerializing TARDIS.
The two of them stood side-by-side looking at a dead-end hallway where a big blue box used to be. "No Time Lord would mess with a fixed event. What is she thinking?" asked the man in black and white.
"Not thinking, just acting. And Gallifreyan, but not a Time Lord. She can't sense the nexus."
Focusing on his visitor, the other man announced, "Oh yeah, you have quite a lot to answer for. You know those things you said earlier didn't worry you? I think it's time you started worrying, Doctor."
The Doctor shoved his hands in his trouser pockets, still staring at the empty spot in the hall. "Yup-p. Do you know where my copy of the TARDIS is?"
"Yes, the Toclafane found it. That's what Lucy came to tell me. They're guarding it now."
The Doctor finally looked over at the other man, "Oh yes, Lucy. Seriously, Master, a human wife?" He shook his head. "Well, let's go fix this."
"You know Earth politics at that time… She's a necessary burden. Let us go fix this?" The Master narrowed his eyes at the Doctor.
The Doctor pulled his hand down his face. "You'll want to take back your copy of the TARDIS, and right now I don't trust her not to mess things up again if she goes off by herself in mine. So yeah, us."
"Very well. You left your bucket of bolts this way, Doctor. I want get my coat out of the lab before we go. And forget it; I'm not holding your hand." The Master strode off the way they'd come, and the Doctor followed.
*Hlorridi -- The Loud Rider, a name given to Thor in old Norse poetry
"So… Earth, then? To stop young Miss Blonde-and-Impulsive from interfering with my latest plans, thereby making a nasty old time loop, or creating a little Reaper problem, or whatever might happen?" The Master stood just outside the TARDIS waiting for the Doctor to unlock the outer door, having assumed – quite correctly – that the Doctor was in the habit of locking it every time he left since their last meeting on Malcassario.
Turning his key in the lock, the Doctor replied, "Nawwww. I haven't told her who you are, or that you're planning make a spectacular mess on that planet. She thinks she needs to scoop up me and Martha and Jack after you made off with my TARDIS, to keep the Futurekind from having us for tea."
"I assume you didn't need it, since you're here, now." Following the Doctor inside, the Master took on an obviously false air of bewilderment. "Seriously, Doctor – you passed up a chance to tell a companion just how absolutely perfidious I am and how I've made your life a living hell for centuries? You didn't tell the only other Gallifreyan in existence, and a martial little soul I'm guessing given her sartorical choices, that I did a runner to hide from the inevitable end to the Time War and the rest of our species? What if she starts thinking sometime later that she likes me? We could decide to restart the race together. Did you even consider that your sweet little girl and I could be making Time Lord babies? Why Doctor, I'm beginning to think you don't care."
The Doctor stood at the console, just staring at his oldest enemy. Finally he blinked his thoughts clear and turned his attention to setting up for dematerialization. "You can't imagine even half the reasons why that would never happen," he answered quietly. "Anyway, I told you before I wasn't risking her. If she found out what you're about to do, I'd have Rassilon's own time keeping her from trying to stop you. So, she's just gone to Malcassario, and we're going after her."
The Master came to stand beside him at the console. "Let me do it then; I've always been better at steering this box accurately than you are, and you haven't buggered up this copy so it only lands in two time periods." He yanked his hand back quickly from the control he'd just grabbed. "Ow! You've got it set on isomorphic! Were you really so afraid I'd run off with this one too? You swapped it over after you landed, even though you were going to lock the door?"
The Doctor raised his chin and twisted the dial the Master couldn't use. "Nope-p. It's automatically set that way. I did learn something from that encounter." He flipped a couple of switches and released the lever that started dematerialization.
"You're not letting her drive, then? It seems a waste; it'd cut in half the dashing about that you do to fly this thing. Besides, you've always allowed your pets to help fly before, and they weren't even Gallifreyan. It seems odd that you wouldn't let someone who actually stands a chance of getting it right have a go." The Master brushed off the tatty old jump seat, sat down, and crossed one leg over the other.
The Doctor continued to flip levers and spin dials as the time rotor started pumping. "Never said she didn't get to fly, did I?"
"Okay, Doctor, you're contradicting yourself. You can't always have the TARDIS controls set only for you, and let her fly it."
"Not contradictory at all. There's something I haven't told you, too." He carefully did not look at the Master.
His passenger folded his arms across his chest and leaned back. "Ah, here it comes: that convoluted Doctor-logic that makes the impossible sound feasible, or at least semi-plausible."
"Nothing of the sort!" the Doctor exclaimed indignantly. "She can work the controls when they're set on isomorphic; we have the same DNA."
The Master snorted. "Any Time Lord who's tried to nick a parent's TARDIS will tell you that sharing DNA doesn't mean a damn thing."
"She's not my child… Wellll, she is, I mean that's how our relationship's working out, but I'm not her… wellll, I guess I am if you want to look at it that way, but…" The Doctor rubbed the back of his neck, not quite certain how to go about explaining it.
Rolling his eyes, the Master sighed. "Oh, just… Spit. It. Out!"
"She'smyclone," The Doctor mumbled, looking away from his guest.
This one is unfinished, as is the rest of the story
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The Master ducked his head and shook it, uncomprehending. “What!?”
“She’s. My. Clone,” the Doctor bit out.
Throwing back his head, his passenger laughed. “Oh, Doctor, you’ve truly gone ‘round the bend this time. Were you so afraid of being alone, Eindridi*, that you made yourself a Mini-Me?”
“Whuuut?” The Doctor craned his head around to stare at the Master.
“Don’t mind me; I’ve spent too much time in front of the telly. Let’s just say it’s a clone, and a bad one.”
“I did nothing of the sort. We landed in a war zone; we were captured; they stuck my hand in a tissue sampler; a minute later out she stepped, fully-grown and ready for combat, rather as if Artemis had sprung from Zeus, instead of Athena.” The Doctor rubbed the outside corner of his eye with a finger, looking as though he were still baffled by the whole occurrence.
“Well, that does explain her rather verdant choice of wardrobe. And the whole ‘Thrud’ nonsense; I thought you were just announcing that she was under your rather fierce protection. Ahhhh, and there’s that other thing, too,” the Master finished sotto voce, with a bit of a smirk.
Turning to face his guest, the Doctor leaned back against the console and crossed his arms. “What other thing?” he inquired.
The Master turned his head, looking coyly at the Doctor from the corners of his laughter-filled eyes. “Your clone? And you haven’t noticed?”
Sighing, the Doctor looked up at the ceiling as if for guidance, or patience. “Noticed what?” His tone implied that whatever it was, it probably meant nothing.
“Oh, really, Doctor! Stretch her out about foot in height and dress her in cricket whites? Although I must admit, she appears to be far more competent than you ever were in that regeneration.” The Master shook his head as if remembering something sad. “You spent half your time beat up, tied up, or flat on your back. Ah, the good old days…”
*Eindridi - The one who rides alone