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Eighth Doctor Drabbles

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The Doctor watched the clean-up from the top of the hill. A rustling in the grass was his only warning - suddenly he was pushed flat and looking up into the grinning face of a tiger.

“Hello Bounce.” The Doctor wiggled out from under her paws to scratch behind her ears.

“You’re leaving?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll come too,” Bounce nosed his shoulder, “to protect you.”

“The TARDIS wasn’t built for tigers. Besides, Hitchemus will need people like you, full of hope and youthful energy.”

“But I’ll miss you.”

The Doctor pulled her close so that their noses touched. “And I’ll miss you.”

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“…we’ll create a tunnel between this TARDIS and my TARDIS.“

Romana sighed. “Doctor, that’s ludicrously dangerous. The force field will be unstable. Given the shape Professor Chronotis’s TARDIS is in, we’d probably only be able to sustain it for a few minutes.”

“It’s the only way to save the universe.”

“And Chris,” Clare added.

“Him too. Once I’m in my TARDIS, I’ll cobble together a device to protect myself from Skagra’s orb and, if I’m very lucky, a way to break his hold over the stolen minds.”

Romana folded her arms. “How?”

”No idea," the Doctor shrugged, "let’s find out.”

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Harry was exhausted, but every time he drifted off to sleep troubling images brought him shuddering awake. An enormous white room with row upon row of human-shaped, translucent doors with bodies barely visible behind them. A tall man with curly hair and large, straight teeth pulling a cord from a wall and forcing Harry to jump rope with him. A strange potato-headed person who didn’t look human at all. And, most frequently, a lovely woman wearing a yellow raincoat who smiled at him.

Harry stared at the ceiling and grumbled. Had this enemy alien, the Doctor, messed with his mind?

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The Doctor slipped his sonic screwdriver into his pocket as he stepped into the room. “The TARDIS is draining the field’s energy and the autopilot is enabled. How’s your patient?”

“Patients,” Harry amended. Several small slug-like creatures floated inside the glass tube. “Congratulations! We’re the proud godparents of five healthy alien babies.”

“Good.” Grabbing his arm, the Doctor pulled Harry toward the TARDIS. “I’ll switch everything on once we’re inside.”

“Will they be alright? They’re only children-”

“They’re safer than we are.” He closed the door and circled the console. “Hold on Harry, this will probably be a bumpy flight.”

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Charlie Sato yawned. He hated stakeouts but they were to be expected with UNIT.

At least it was a beautiful day in San Juan. As he sat in a touristy bar, he mentally reviewed the description of what he was after. "Shaped like a flashlight with a blue light at the end." That was it. No explanation of what it was, just orders to bring it back to the Vault.

There was movement across the street. The people he’d followed, the ones he’d dubbed “The Little Guys” for self-explanatory reasons, exited the hotel.

Charlie paid his tab. It was showtime.

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“How is he?”

The doctor studied the woman’s ID before answering. “Whoever jumped him did a lot of damage. He should be dead, but he isn’t. We found something odd in his blood-”

“Something alien?”

“Most likely. I’ve taken a sample for analysis.”

“Good. Make sure it gets to UNIT Headquarters ASAP.” She looked past the doctor. “Can I see him?”

“Of course, Captain Matheson. Just please, don’t keep him talking very long. He needs to rest.”

Ruth Matheson nodded. She walked into the room and sat beside the hospital bed. “Oh Charlie,” she said sadly, “what happened to you?”

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Charlie Sato kept busy by cataloging additions to the vault. He was midway through an entry for “VR headsets of Cyberman origins,” when someone touched his shoulder.

“Captain! I didn’t hear you come in-“

Matheson grinned down at him. “I’ve brought you more items to catalog, including this.” She lay the remains of a sonic screwdriver on the desk.

“You got it.” Charlie studied the device. “Successful trip then?”

“I retrieved part of the Pepys Collection, discovered what happened to Zoe Heriot, and best of all, I made sure the man who had you attacked won’t ever hurt anyone again.”

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“Benny!” The Doctor hugged her tightly, lifting her off her feet. “How wonderful to see you again!”

“Put me down, you velvet dream of a man.” Bernice wiggled out of his embrace. “I’m afraid this isn’t a social call; I’ve been sent on a mission.”

“That sounds…quite dull actually.” The Doctor took her hand and attempted to look nonchalant as he hurried her down a corridor. “Wouldn’t you rather see a marvelous sunset instead? I know this place-”

“Doctor! Listen, please. The fate of the universe-” An alarm sounded. “What’s that?”

“Oh nothing. But when I say run…run!”

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Stepping from his TARDIS, the Doctor breathes in the sea air, savoring it before checking his sonic screwdriver. “Hmm,” he squints at the readings, “the diner, perhaps?” He slips the device back into his pocket and walks briskly toward the building.

The restaurant is mostly empty. “Difficult to blend in here,” the Doctor mutters, making his way to table. He spots Jeff immediately, but does a double take as he passes the only other customer - an old lady sitting by the window. “Isabella here too? Finding each other even without their memories?”

Smiling, he picks up a menu and waits.

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“Ho there! What’s your name?”

The young steward didn’t meet the officer’s eyes. “Murchford, sir. Simon Murchford.”

“You’re late, boy! Get yourself onboard, double-quick. This is the maiden flight of the R101. The great and the good are waiting for us to take off, we can’t wait around on you-“

Ducking slightly, Murchford hurried up the ramp into the airship. “No sir. I mean, yes sir. Right away-“

“And stop slouching. Where were you raised?”

“Hampshire,” Charley whispered in her true accent once she was out of earshot, “but hopefully you’ll never know.” Grinning, she ran to find her quarters.

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“That went well.” Charley slammed a connecting door closed behind her. It had only taken five minutes among the R101’s passengers for someone to see through her steward disguise. “Honestly, why all the fuss? Am I the only Edwardian Adventuress they’ve ever met?”

“Come back here, Murchford!” Chief Steward Weeks struggled with the door for several moments before sighing and getting out his keys. “I don’t know what you think you’re doing, Missy, there’s nowhere to go.”

“You’re wrong.” Securing her hair under her cap, Charley sprinted away. “I have a date in Singapore and I intend to keep it.”

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“There we go.” The Doctor gratefully lowered the Vortisaur's head. Glancing around the linen closet, he nodded. “This should do, as long as the door has a lock-“

“It does.” Chief Steward Weeks dropped the creature’s legs. “How does something that heavy fly?”

“I wish I had the time to explain the biology of Pterosauria vortexfera, but we have work to do.” The Doctor waited for Weeks to lock the door. “Where did you last see Lord Tamworth?”

“In the smoking lounge. Why?”

The Doctor grinned and strode down the corridor. “He and I need to have a few words-“

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“Do sit down! You’re making me tired-”

Rathbone stopped pacing to glare at Charley. “Shut your mouth, girl. German spies don’t tell His Majesty’s agents what to do.”

“You’re not going to shoot me. I heard Lord Tamworth give you his orders-“

“Yes, but I have other priorities beyond his orders. If Tamworth, Frayling, and your friend the Doctor aren’t back onboard soon, you may get to see exactly what they are.”

“Best do as he says, Miss.” Weeks handed her a cup of tea before shouldered his rifle. “This whole job is going south fast enough as it is.”

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“Here we are, Charley,” the Doctor gestured at the large domed space station they’d landed in, “I present to you…your future.”

Charley pushed passed him excitedly, but soon wrinkled her nose in disappointment. “It’s…very grey. And smelly.”

“Well, these are the space docks - they’re more functional than aesthetic.” Closing the TARDIS door, he pointed into the distance. “Down there is the bazaar and that’s where we’re heading.”

“To find a cure for Ramsey?”

“Indeed. Now remember where we parked. Wouldn’t do to lose the ship.” He spotted a spacecraft docked nearby. “We’re near The Vanguard. Right, come on!”

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Grash dumped the space suits in front of them. “Hurry up. I don’t wanna stay longer than I have to. And don’t try anything,” he waved his gun, “because I will shoot you.”

“I don’t doubt it.” The Doctor paused, watching Ike and Chev making Mark’s body ready for transport. “This is all worryingly familiar.”

Charley struggled with her space suit’s numerous fastenings. “A little help please?”

“Here, let me,” the Doctor laughed. “Stay close when we get back to The Vanguard.”

“Would they really execute us?”

"No.” He smiled, but quickly became somber. “At least, I don’t think so…”

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Charley froze in front of the creature that had invaded the ship.

“What is it?” Vol yelled, trying to get a closer look.

Ike stopped him. “You heard Grash’s orders.” He pointed his gun at Charley. “She goes in first. When it's done with her, then we can kill it.”

“Shut it, Ike.” Vol glanced at Charley. “What’s it doing?”

“It’s just…sitting there, looking at me. And to answer your first question, it’s a small, metallic…worm-thing.”

They waited, but still nothing happened.

“Maybe it’s dead?” Ike suggested.

Charley glared at him. “Perhaps you’d like to test that theory?”

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“Hull breach,” the Doctor yelled. “Quickly, get your helmets on!”

Everything happened so fast that Charley barely had time to react. The Cyberman released its grip on her as it was pulled toward the breach, but the damage was done - her life support pack was destroyed. Then Deeva was in front of her, slipping her own helmet and pack over Charley’s head.

“Deeva, don’t!” Charley gripped her arm. “You’ll die.”

“I would, if I were human.” Deeva smiled. “Trust, remember?”

An explosion rocked the ship and they were all thrown into space. Deeva slipped from Charley’s grasp and floated away.

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Charley rolled up her pant legs and kicked off her shoes and socks before stepping onto the purple sand. It squelched between her toes very satisfyingly but, when she took another step, she was surprised to find herself bouncing.

“Isn’t it fun?” As usual, the Doctor was well ahead of her. With his green velvet coat haphazardly discarded on the pier, he ran and twisted into a somersault like a world-class athlete.

“It’s fantastic!” Charley bounced again experimentally. “It’s wet, but also springy…if you know what I mean.”

“Like a trampoline made of sand,” he agreed with a grin.

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The Doctor climbed the museum’s steps while chattering about surrealist art, oblivious to the fact that Charley wasn’t following him. After Ms. Lavish’s flamboyant fatalism about the eminent destruction of Venice, the last thing she wanted was to spend hours looking at paintings. She wanted to be surrounded by life! To learn about the city before it slipped beneath the lagoon.

Charley glanced at their gondolier. Most people had fled to safety already; perhaps Pietro would have time to tell her more about this place and his people.

Besides, he was gorgeous. “Pietro,” Charley called out, grinning. “Wait a moment!”

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“So, you’re to marry the Count?” the Doctor asked, looking out onto the dark canals with a small smile on his lips. “That escalated quickly.”

“I just wanted to learn about Venice,” Charley protested. “How was I to know Pietro had concocted this mad scheme for me to impersonate a reincarnation of the Countess?”

“That is rather extreme, but then everything is here. Cultists trying to resurrect the dead? A Count partying while his city is destroyed? It’s like something from an opera rather than real life.”

“You think they’re pretending?”

“No, I think something unearthly is at work here.”

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Charley knelt beside Stan. His skin was shriveled and blackened by the fire, but he reached for her hand and held it. “You saved us,” she marveled, “you saved everyone-“

On the far side of the engine room, the Doctor couldn’t hear Stan’s reply. The young Antal’s face twisted in pain and the Doctor turned back to the ship’s controls. Soon Charley joined him. “Is he,” the Doctor began; seeing her face, he knew the answer. “I’m sorry.”

“Me too.” She looked up with a determined expression. “Let’s go back to the TARDIS.”

“Why?”

“We have a promise to keep.”

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“No.”

“But I promised!”

“I know,” the Doctor sighed, “but you don’t know what you’re asking.”

“Yes I do,” she replied indignantly. “I need you to take me to Stan’s planet. He asked me to tell his mother something important.”

“Charley-“

“It was his dying wish,” Charley pleaded, “and after he gave his life to save both the humans and the Antals, it’s the least we can do.” The Doctor stared at the TARDIS console for a long time. At last, Charley walked over and gently took his arm. “Doctor, it’s the right thing to do.”

He sighed again. “Alright.”

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Charley ran through the now empty dormitory underneath the Hellfire Club. “How am I going to carry…ah yes!” She gathered her and Becky Lee’s clothes, dropped them in the middle of a sheet, and rolled them up. Carrying her parcel back upstairs, she picked her way through the debris in the ballroom until she reached her new friend. “Any luck?”

“Maybe.” Becky Lee held up an object Charley didn’t recognize. “I’ll need to see what’s on this tape to say for sure. Whatdya say we leave before these fools wake up and try to make us involuntary ‘hostesses’ again?”

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The Brigadier faced the five beings that had appeared in the middle of the sidewalk. “Horns? Wings? They even appeared in a cloud of brimstone. They are actual demons!”

The odd young man with curly hair stumbled away from the newcomers and leaned unsteadily on Alistair’s arm. “I said so, why won’t anyone listen to me? We should go - they’ll kill us-“

“I think you might be right.” Grabbing the man’s frock coat, he pulled him down an alleyway. “What I wouldn’t give for my service revolver right now. But, in lieu of a better option, I suggest we run!”

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Glory Bee leaned close and whispered into his ear. “I hope you understand, Mr. Halliday, when I say I’ll pay any price to find my uncle.”

The Doctor shook her hand vigorously before ushering her out of the office. “I admire your dedication to family. Leave it with us - we’ll solve the case in no time, won’t we Charley?” Turning, he spotted Charley curled up and sound asleep in a chair.

“I’m sure you’ll leave no stone unturned,” Glory Bee replied sarcastically.

“Well, it is rather late. Tonight I’ll search through my files and tomorrow we’ll investigate the hotel, agreed?”

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Cosmo Devine pulled up a chair. “So young lady, who are you exactly?”

“Charley Pollard.” She giggled as the truth serum took hold. “I’m dead. That’s what the demons said…except they weren’t really demons-”

“You might indeed end up dead unless you answer my questions.“

“She’s just a kid,” Jimmy yelled, straining against the ropes tying him to a chair. “Leave her alone!”

“Quiet you! Now Miss Pollard, what are you doing here?”

“Heavy water. Watch out, Cnut!” Grabbing his coat sleeve, she lowered her voice conspiratorially. “There are people living in the water around Venice, did you know?”

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“We need a script.” The Doctor ran a hand through his hair. “If only we had more time! Is there anything we can repurpose?”

Orson shrugged. “The War of the Worlds scripts are laying around somewhere-“

“But that’s done more than enough damage tonight,” Houseman added.

“We’ll make it work with a few edits. It just needs to sound real.”

Welles laughed. “Apparently that’s not a problem.”

Charley eyed the Doctor. “What are you thinking?”

“You’ll see. I just have one request-“

“What’s that?”

The Doctor grinned. “I want to play the alien villain trying to take over the world.”

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“Doctor, it’s too much!” Charley put a hand to her head and stilled.

“Charley?” The Doctor waved a hand in front of her face, but she didn’t blink. “Charley,” he repeated, a note of panic in his voice, “can you hear me?” He tried to move her, but nothing happened. “Frozen, just like everything else here. It’s exactly as I feared: whoever is controlling time in this house has turned their attention to us. Oh Charley, if I’ve lost you, I’ll never forgive myself.”

“Whatever you are,” he yelled, looking around the scullery, “you’ve made your point. Let her go!”

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Charley enter the scullery cautiously; so much of the strangeness they’d experienced had happened here that the room unnerved her. The lady’s maid stood near the wash basin, glaring at the dirty dishes. “Mary? May I ask you a few questions?”

“Yes Miss.” Mary’s expression brightened instantly and she made a start on the dishes. “It must be exciting being a detective’s niece.”

“Sometimes-“

“Your uncle, the Doctor, is quite handsome.”

“Really!“

“No disrespect, of course.”

Charley shook her head in annoyance, but continued. “Where were you when Edith was killed?”

“In the parlor.”

“Alone?”

Mary smiled slyly. “Of course.”

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“You both seem confused about who’s alive and who’s dead.” The Doctor frowned. “Which leads me to suspect members of staff have been murdered repeatedly, only to come back to life later.“

“I…don’t know what you mean, Sir,” Fredrick stammered, looking to Mary for support.

“It’s because he’s posh,” Mary giggled. “Using all those scientific terms - ‘coming back to life,’ indeed.”

In the distance, a grandfather clock chimed midnight. Time slowed and a woman screamed. The Doctor blinked and when he opened his eyes, Fredrick lay on the floor with tire marks across his chest.

He was clearly dead.

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Charley emerged from the void space and looked around. “What am I doing in the scullery? Where is everyone?”

“Miss Pollard?” The voice whispering into her mind sounded vaguely like the butler, Mr. Shaughnessy. “You honor us with a visit below stairs.”

“Do I?” She smiled, suddenly remembering. “I came to see if Mrs. Baddeley had finished making her famous plum pudding. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without it.”

“Indeed. I wonder, would you join us? His Lordship has asked us to kill the Doctor and he would like you to watch.”

“Has he?” She shrugged. “Well…father knows best. Coming!”

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“There you are. Guess what I’ve found!”

Charley yawned. “Another book?”

“Even better than that.” The Doctor grinned. “An account of a Roman fort near Hadrian’s Wall around 305 AD…or CE, if you prefer.”

“What I would prefer,” Charley sighed, “is going somewhere, anywhere else. We’ve spent weeks in this abbey!”

“Genealogical research takes time. In order to save the galaxy, we must learn all we can about Sebastian Grayle. If we can find him before his mysterious masters recruit him, perhaps we can stop this before it starts.”

“Isn’t that a paradox?”

“Special circumstances. Now, about these Romans-“

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“Lucilius!” Charley called, ducking to avoid falling debris. “Get a move on! The soldiers have made it outside the fort already. If we wait much longer the temple will fall down around us.”

“Sorry.” The Roman priest emerged from a back room and ran to her. “I nearly forgot the Sword of Mithras. Marcus dropped it when Greylie started acting strangely.”

“Does that matter?” Charley clutched his robe and pulled him clear. “It’s just a sword.”

“It’s more than that.” Lucilius pushed it into her hand. “Take this to the Doctor. I have a feeling he’ll need it very soon.”

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It had been nearly eight hundred years. He’d had many names, swapped a soldier’s life for that of a priest, and abandoned Mithraism for Christianity. But despite all that had changed since their last meeting, the man once known as Greylie recognized the Doctor and Charley instantly.

Covertly opening a compartment on his ring, he let three drops of poison fall into his goblet.

“Page,” he called, “take this wine to the young lady sitting beside the queen.”

The boy glanced at Charley. “Shall I tell her it’s from you, Lord Bishop?”

“No,” he smiled icily, “she’ll know soon enough.”

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“It was self-defense.” Charley struggled against the soldiers but they held her arms tightly. “The bishop tried to kill both of us!”

“Don’t bother.” The Doctor was more sanguine about their situation, glancing around with interest as they were led to the castle’s prison. “They’ll follow their orders to the letter.”

“But it isn’t fair!”

“I suspect that’s the point.” He craned his neck to see her. “Queen Edith is a brilliant woman, but she does hold a grudge.”

She frowned at him. “For what?”

“Isn’t the architecture wonderful? It’s typical of this time period-”

“Doctor! What did you do?”

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“Doctor!” King Edward approached, accompanied by the queen. “What of the traitorous bishop?”

“He escaped, but we destroyed his machinery-”

“Perhaps if you possessed a sword, this affair would have ended more satisfyingly.” Queen Edith eyed the Doctor knowingly. “At the very least, your shirt would have remained…intact.”

“Perhaps, my lady.” He handed a package to the king. “Instructions for destroying Leofric’s barges and medicines to protect those assigned to the task.”

“Surely you aren’t leaving so soon after our victory?”

“I’m afraid so,” the Doctor winced as he walked gingerly toward the TARDIS, “our work isn’t over yet.”

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“But Doctor,” Charley balked, “we can’t ride those. They look like giant chickens! Only with scales as well as feathers.”

“Yes,” the Doctor approached the creatures with a grin. “They’re similar to dinosaurs in that respect.”

“Dinosaurs looked like scaly chickens? Not on Earth, surely!”

Laughing, he pulled himself onto the saddle of the closest creature as it tried to throw him off. “Yes, on Earth. Now come on, we need to get to Vardovia before sundown.” He released the clamp holding his mount in place and it took off at great speed. “Last one there is a lazy Bandersnatch!”

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The Doctor glanced between the Roving Assault Unit and the green circular eye of ROSM’s core processor. “Tell me what else you found during your scan of Charley.”

“Information beyond my analysis parameters.”

“You said that before, but what does it mean?”

“You are an unidentified alien lifeform and not a member of Cimmeria IV base personnel. I am not required to answer your questions.”

The Doctor smirked. “ROSM, does that mean you don’t know?”

There was a long pause. “I am not required to know. Lifeform Charley will be terminated, thereby eliminating the potential threat.”

“We’ll see about that.”

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The pain was excruciating. Balling her hands into fists, Charley tried to cover her face. “No, not my eyes!”

“I can’t take this,” Ferras whimpered to her right. “Orllensa, I can’t listen to her go through what we did.”

“We have no choice.” Her voice was hollow. “I’m…sorry.”

Scrambling to her feet, Charley ran. She hit something with her shoulder - a door frame, perhaps, - but bounced off and stumbled down the corridor without a plan or any knowledge of where she was going. All she knew was that she had to get away. “Doctor,” she screamed. “Please, help me!”

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Charley stormed out of ROSM’s control deck. “The unmitigated gall! Assigning a complete stranger to ‘look after me’ as if I were a helpless child? You’d think by now the Doctor would understand we’re a team, no matter the danger, but clearly not.”

Slamming her hand on the airlock control panel, she left the ship. “Not only that, running to the Cimmerians in the hopes of being punished for making an honest mistake? He won’t be happy until he’s martyred himself for the entire universe! Well, I’ll just have to set him straight,” she looked around, “once I find him.“

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“You don’t understand!” the Doctor yelled. “I didn’t kill anyone!”

“Resisting arrest, assaulting an officer,” a grim-faced man recited as he shoved the Doctor into the Black Maria. “Trust me, sir, we have enough to arrest you without that.”

Gathering himself into a more dignified, seated position, the Doctor fumed quietly. At least Charley had escaped; he’d seen her being led through the crowded theatre by a strange man. If she kept her head down until he could escape and find her…

Suddenly the van skidded and tipped over. Outside men screamed as something large and inhuman began eating them.

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Charley weighed her options. She was standing in a Scottish churchyard with a man she’d met only yesterday. The Doctor was dead and, as far as the world was concerned, she’d died years before in the crash of the R101. The vicar was expecting to hold a wedding in five minutes. It wasn’t what she wanted, but it could give her a new life.

She took Hillary’s hands.

“You’ve been awfully decent and I’m terribly flattered, but I can’t marry you Hillary. I just…don’t love you, I’m afraid, and I can’t imagine ever marrying for anything other than love.”

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Viola hurried to her room. Although she saw no Daleks along the way, she heard the sounds of distant screams. Whatever her aunt thought of these creatures, they were attacking the palace and its occupants.

As soon as her bedroom door was locked behind her, she pulled out her communicator. “Come in Priestly. Hart. We’ve got major problems.”

“What’s wrong,” Priestly answered after a moment. “We heard shooting.”

“I’m not sure, but we’re being overrun by creatures called the Daleks. The Doctor thinks they’re trying to bring about the events we’ve seen in our dreams.”

“The nightmares? The camps?”

“Exactly!”

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“Oh, and just who might you be?”

Priestly pointed a gun at the Doctor. “I’ll be the one asking the questions.”

“You got the mirror working,” Hart interrupted. “But…the only person who understands this stuff is P-“

“Shut it,” Priestly replied, glaring. “So, who are you?”

“I’m the Doctor and, let me guess, you’re the rebels. You may want to stand back, someone else should be…ah there he is.”

Major Ferdinand stepped through the mirror and into the small shed. “What do you know, the contraption worked!” He blinked in recognition. “Priestly? Just where the hell are we?”

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They ran down a hill, past people being herded toward the Dalek camps.

“HALT OR YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED.”

“They’re catching up,” Charley yelled.

“It’s not far, but let’s see if we can lose them in the town.” Viola led the way through the narrow streets. The Daleks were fast but not very maneuverable; they soon dropped out of sight. “It won’t take them long to find us. In here!” She pushed open the door of a two-story house.

Charley followed, locking the door behind them. “What now?”

“The mirror back to our time is here somewhere. Help me look-”

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It happened so quickly, but to the Doctor it seemed to go on forever.

The Daleks fired their energy weapons, hitting Charley in the chest. With a cry of pain, she was thrown backwards into a pile of clocks.

“Charley,” he screamed. He rushed through the chaos, vaguely aware of the battle going on around him. Hart and Priestly were outmanned, exactly as he’d warned them, but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered…

Kneeling beside her, he sighed with relief. She held the Master Clock clutched to her chest and it had taken most of the energy.

Charley was still alive.

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“There he goes: young William Shakespeare back in his proper time and place. I’ve met him before, although he was older-“

“Doctor,” Charley sighed, “stop changing the subject. If I’m emitting temporal energy, we must fix it before I destroy the Web of Time.”

“We will, but I need to run some tests first.” He stroked the console. “Let’s see what you have to say about it, Old Girl.”

“Surely this can’t wait.” Realizing he wasn’t listening anymore, Charley turned to leave. “Fine. I’ll just go...change my clothes. Let me know when you two are done having a movement.”

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“Hey Jenkins,” Corporal Harris called on his walkie-talkie as he walked the perimeter, “any word?”

“No. Just plucked right outta the sky. Gone.”

“Fighter jets don’t disappear-“ he paused, grabbing his sidearm. “There’s something here. It’s…a police box?”

“A what?”

“Just sitting outside the base. I've never seen it here before. Wait…there’s something-” A large ant-like creature leapt at Harris, latching onto his face. The man screamed and fell backwards, then there was silence.

The Doctor stepped out of the TARDIS a few minutes later. “Come on, Charley! We need to find it quickly before someone gets hurt-“

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“Are you sure it can’t escape?”

“Don’t worry, Lieutenant.” The Doctor nudged him companionably. “The time roach was neutralized instantly and everything should return to normal once we leave.”

“About that,” Charley began, “while I’m sure we both appreciate you letting us go, won’t you get into trouble?”

“Possibly,” the man shrugged, “but it seems like the right thing to do.”

They’d arrived at the TARDIS. As Charley hurried inside, the Doctor glanced back one last time. “See you soon, Mike,” he said with a wink.

Mike Yates watched the police box disappear with a bemused smile on his face.

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“Twenty microspans until the time torpedoes hit.” Vansell frowned at the scanner. “What’s that? Temporal interference?”

“Time slippage,” Romana muttered to herself. “It’s getting worse.”

“Whatever it is, it’s between us and the Doctor’s TARDIS-”

“Coordinator,” Levith interrupted, “the Doctor’s TARDIS is escaping.”

“How is that possible?”

Romana’s eyes brightened. “He’s riding the phenomenon to obscure his path from our sensors. It’s brilliant, but extremely annoying…much like the Doctor himself.”

“Wait...something else is happening.” Levith did a double take. “The Doctor’s TARDIS is rematerializing in the same location!“

“Five microspans until impact.” Vansell grinned. “We have him now.”

Chapter Text

Kurst flipped a switch on the console and everything in the TARDIS powered up. The effect was immediate - to Charley it felt as if her whole body buzzed with energy. It didn’t hurt, just tingled a bit. She was dimly aware of the hum of the equipment Levith had attached to and around her. Then the tone changed, growing louder and going out of phase with itself.

Charley cried out in pain. It was like being stretched on a taffy machine. She felt herself being ripped apart and hollowed out as a door to a different universe opened within her.

Chapter Text

The planet’s surface crumbled under his fingers. Charley yelled his name but the sound was swallowed by rushing wind as the Doctor fell into the void.

Grabbing at the walls, he tried to slow himself down without success. Suddenly he was jerked upward as if he were wearing a parachute. Within moments, he landed gently on the cavern floor.

“A safety feature of Rassilon’s TARDIS, perhaps?” He looked up. “No way to climb that. Guess I’d better find out where they’ve taken Romana.”

Slipping his hands into his pockets, he hurried down a corridor whistling “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.”

Chapter Text

“Friend?” The voice drifted through the blackened husk of the Type 40 TARDIS. “I know you can hear me. You’ve been so brave and so ill-used, but don’t give up.”

Specks of dust coalesced into the form of an old man, eternally sad and infinitely wise. “The Doctor’s actions have condemned you to an eternity as a prison for both him and the anti-time he contains. But what if I could offer an alternative? What if I could give you…your freedom?”

“Tell me more,” another voice whispered, seemingly coming from everywhere at once.

Rassilon smiled and began to explain.

Chapter Text

“Zagreus?” Charley backed away cautiously. “But, he’s not real-“

“He is now.” The Doctor studied his hands as anti-time fizzed around them. “All this power…and it’s mine to with whatever I please.” Looking up, he smirked at Charley and her heart sank. “Now, what am I going to do with you, Girl?”

“Please Doctor, snap out of it.” Charley had nearly reached the door leading to the TARDIS’s interior. “You don’t look or sound like yourself.”

“Don’t I,” he sneered, prowling closer. “Come here and let me show you who I am now.”

Eyes wide, Charley turned and ran.

Chapter Text

Charley followed the Brigadier into the mess. Not the Brigadier, she reminded herself, the TARDIS…or a part of it.

“Some tea please, Mary,” Reverend Townsend called out. Stopping by a large table, he pulled out a chair for Charley. “Allow me, Corporal. Now where’s Dr. Stone gotten to?”

“Right here.” Bustling into the room, she slouched into a chair opposite the Brigadier. “Ready to hear about our breakthrough, Sir Jeffrey?”

“I’m all ears.”

Townsend shrugged. “Where would you like us to begin?

“Begin at the beginning," Charley quoted, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

Chapter Text

The Divergence hammered on the door of their cell, nearly drowning out all other sounds. In a corner of Rassilon’s Foundry, the Great Mother, Ouida, and Lord Tepesh argued with each other.

“Fire Storm sterilization in ten microspans,” the computer intoned.

Charley ignored them all. “Where are you, Brigadier,” she whispered. “Get me out of here!”

“What’s that!” Turning, Charley saw Ouida pointing at a reflective surface hovering in the air. She was sure nothing had been there before.

“A mirror,” Lord Tepesh observed, frowning.

With no time left, Charley dived for the mirror as the bunker imploded around her.

Chapter Text

The Doctor ran through the blasted wasteland of his own TARDIS. Behind him the Jabberwock lumbered ever nearer, snapping at his heels.

“Alright Ship, you’ve made your point,” he yelled, without really expecting a reply. “Just tell me where Charley is and…we’ll let bygones be bygones.” He addressed the monster behind him. “Such an odd phrase, don’t you think?”

The Jabberwock cocked it’s head at him before giving a deafening roar.

“Yes, very impressive. The thing is, you’re not really trying to kill me are you? You’re herding me somewhere. Where’s my traitorous TARDIS trying to send me, hmmm?”

Chapter Text

“Something about this place is very familiar,” Reverend Townsend muttered as he wandered around the banquet hall. “I’ve never been here before, and yet-“

“Yet you keeping seeing things exactly where you’d expect them to be?” Lord Tepesh nodded. “I’m experiencing that feeling as well.”

“Likewise.” Walton Winkle sat beside the partially destroyed K9 and began tinkering. “Although that doesn’t help us any.”

“Maybe it doesn’t, at least not yet.” Charley glanced at Romana. “Has the Doctor been to the Dark Tower before, the real one?”

“Yes, in his fifth incarnation.” Romana raised an eyebrow. “Why? What are you thinking?”

Chapter Text

“You’ve killed her.” The Doctor collapsed to his knees. “You’ve killed my TARDIS.”

“I’m standing right here,” the Brigadier-TARDIS began.

“No, Friend TARDIS,” Rassilon smiled, “I want to hear what he has to say. How does that make you feel, Doctor? What do you want to do about it?”

“I…” he paused, rubbing his hands across his face. When the Doctor spoke again, the power of anti-time crackled in his voice. “I am not the Doctor. I am Zagreus!” He lunged at Rassilon, only to be yanked backwards by the TARDIS. “And I will destroy everything!”

Rassilon’s smile widened. “Good.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor glanced around the corner. “At least we lost the Minotaur.”

“How does that help when we’re lost as well?” the other Doctor grumbled. “Meanwhile, Kro’Ka may have already captured our third self.”

“And Charley and C’rizz.” The Doctor frowned. “Have you thought about what would happen if Kro’Ka killed one of us?”

“Of course! We’d lose a part of our personality, possibly forever.” More quietly he muttered, “Not that we would miss the addled one.”

“Yes we would!” The Doctor stared himself down. “Come on, we’ll never find the door out standing around here. Let’s try this way.”

Chapter Text

C’rizz thumped his hand against the wall. “How did we lose both of the Doctors again?”

“It’s the Eeyore one’s fault,” Charley replied. “He’s as bad as the Tigger one, always running off without waiting for anyone else. When the responsible one followed him, the door shut behind them-”

“And now it’s not a door but a wall.” C’rizz sighed. “There’s nothing for it, let’s see if we can find the stairs to that reception area.”

“What good will that do? The building will just shift around again.”

“Maybe but we have to find them, preferably before the Kro’Ka does.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor was jubilant. He ran around the console touching levers and buttons, singing to himself.

C’rizz eyed him warily. “Are you sure he’s alright, Charlotte?”

“He’s just happy,” she laughed. “He and the TARDIS are linked somehow. Being back must be like…regaining a lost limb.”

“It’s more than that.” The Doctor hugged them both. “It’s freedom! If we were back in our own universe, I could take you anywhere and anywhen.”

“I am in my own universe,” C’rizz reminded him.

“But we still need to find the Divergence. Then maybe we’ll get the answers we’ve been searching for.”

Chapter Text

Charley wandered around her childhood home, picking up items and studying them. “It feels like I’ve been gone for ages! But I can’t have, can it? I wasn’t at Tom’s grandmother’s house for long.”

“Longer than you think, perhaps.” Her mother stepped in to remove a particularly fragile and valuable heirloom from Charley’s grasp. “Now go upstairs and get cleaned up, child. Your father will be home for dinner soon and I want you looking your best.”

“But I feel so strange, like I’ve forgotten someone…or several someones. Mama,” she asked earnestly, “do we know someone called the Doctor?”

Chapter Text

“What just happened?”

“The Doctor landed his blue box beside the escape pod and rescued Tom,” Kim exclaimed. “Weren’t you watching?”

“I mean,” C'rizz replied with barely concealed annoyance, “where’s he gone? Surely he wouldn’t leave Charley and me here?”

“What about me?”

“What about you?” The broadcast image changed from the crash site to the TARDIS landing in a park within the cell. C’rizz smiled. “There he is. We’d better join him-”

Kim grabbed his arm. “Wait!” On the screen, the Doctor stepped outside his ship and was promptly knocked unconscious by Lest. “Great. Back to square one…again!”

Chapter Text

“Something’s wrong with the TARDIS.”

“You don’t say?” Charley gripped the console. In the distance, the cloister bell rang. “Is it Morvic?”

C’rizz clung beside her. “But we defeated him-”

“Apparently not.” The Doctor checked the sensors. “Somehow he’s invaded the telepathic circuits and taken control of the ship!”

“Doctor, I have an idea.”

“Yes, Mr. Lest?”

“How do you open the TARDIS doors?”

The Doctor eyed his newest companion. “Why?”

“Tell me that one, small thing and I can make this go away.”

“This is hardly the time-“

“Oh nevermind,” Lest sighed. “I’ll ask you again after you’ve died.”

Chapter Text

“Is she ready?”

The technician checked the readings before removing the device from the girl’s head. “The perception barrier is working. Her mind will accept whatever you say.”

Straxus smiled benevolently. “Lucie? Can you hear me?”

Lucie’s eyes fluttered open but remained unfocused. “Where am I? Who are you?”

“We’re the Time Lords. You witnessed something that might put your life at risk thanks to some unpleasant people, so we’re sending you to…an associate. He’ll keep you safe and you’ll get to see the universe.” He patted her hand. “I’m sure you and the Doctor will get on fabulously.”

Chapter Text

“Hello,” the Doctor called cheerfully, “I like your metal umbrella. Quite the thing for acid rain.”

Lucie sighed. “Ignore him, he’ll natter on about anything.” Taking a second look at the newcomer with his tinfoil hat and ragged layers of clothes, she grimaced. “Then again, you two share similar fashion sense. You’ll have plenty to talk about.”

Tom narrowed his eyes at the Doctor. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

“You have?” He looked confused but pleased. “Good! Can we go somewhere to talk?”

“Down here.” Tom hurried through the tunnel. “Mind the rubble unless you want to get buried alive.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor stormed off in a huff. “This is not my problem. I refuse to take responsibility for some random girl you saw fit to inflict upon me. “ He looked up at the dark sky. “Do you hear me? I’ll not be an errand boy for the Time Lords any more! I did enough fetching and carrying for you lot in my previous incarnation.”

Pulling out his sonic screwdriver, he began scanning the area. “Besides, something terrible is going on here. If I can track Klint’s broadcast, and if she’s still with Asha, maybe I can finally get some answers.”

Chapter Text

“YOU ARE AN ASSOCIATE OF THE DOCTOR?”

“Him? Yeah we’ve met - can’t say I was impressed.” Lucie eyed the Dalek. “Why? Are you friends of his?”

“ACTING PRESIDENT EILEEN KLINT AND LUCIE, YOU WILL ACCOMPANY US ONBOARD OUR SHIP.”

“Will we?” Lucie gave a little laugh. “Result! Lead the way Mr. Dalek. Or Ms., maybe? Do you have genders?”

Another Dalek waited for them at the top of the ramp. “EILEEN KLINT, I WILL TAKE YOU TO THE DALEK SUPREME.”

When Lucie tried to follow, the first Dalek blocked her way. “Can’t I come too?”

“NO. YOU ARE REQUIRED ELSEWHERE.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor examined the explosive device he’d built. “Not nearly strong enough for a thorough job, but it’ll do. I’ll need a few minutes to wire this up and then at least the homegrown Daleks will be trapped.”

He paused. “But Lucie may not have a few minutes.”

Shaking his head, the Doctor went back to work. “She’s not my problem.”

Frowning, he stopped again. “But she needs my help! I can’t just let her die.”

“Fine. I’ll rescue her.” Angrily, he stashed the device beside the door to Professor Martez’s secret lab. “But I’m coming back for that later.”

Chapter Text

Tom grabbed at the device. “Give it to me and I’ll blow them up.”

“Like hell!” Lucie twisted away and ran. “I’m not done living yet. We’ll find another way.”

“HALT! IDENTIFY YOURSELVES.”

“Not bloody likely.” Lucie heard the Dalek weapon fire and ducked. Glancing behind her, she was relieved to see Tom following. “Get a move on, old man!”

“HALT! HALT!” The Dalek fired again and an explosion rocked the ship, knocking Tom and Lucie off their feet.

“What was that?”

“It must have ignited the batteries.” Tom frowned. “But if we’re in space, why aren’t we dead yet?”

Chapter Text

“Come on, Old Girl.” The Doctor pressed several buttons on the TARDIS console. “Lucie’s waiting on the rescue ships, so we’re free to go.” He pulled a lever and the time rotor began moving. Seconds later, the engines stalled and the TARDIS thumped back onto the surface of Red Rocket Rising.

“It’s like the doors aren’t closing properly, but I don’t see any obstruction.” He ran a hand through his hair. “It’s her, isn’t it? Lucie Miller. When the Time Lords left her here, they messed with your systems so I couldn’t take off without her. Of all the manipulative-“

Chapter Text

Lucie looked at the clothes laid out on the bed. The robe and stola were lovely, just like the bedroom she’d been escorted to, but she had no intention of wearing them. “A prison’s still a prison, even if it’s decked out like a five-star hotel.” She sat down and stared out into the garden. “After what they did to Tayden, I’m not likely to trust anything from this lot.”

She didn’t like the Doctor much, but Lucie couldn’t shake the feeling that if he’d been in the room instead of her, he’d have found a way to save Tayden.

Chapter Text

“That didn’t go well.”

“Least they didn’t erase Sararti’s mind like they did Tayden’s.” Lucie paced a pebble-strewn path. In the distance, a guard moved to stand in front of the garden gate - a reminder that, although she and the Doctor weren’t locked in their rooms, they still weren’t free. “What happens now?”

“That depends on whether they can stabilize Zeus.” The Doctor hummed to himself. “I wonder what happens here when so-called gods die?”

“You mean, does power go to the next in line?”

“Exactly. Which in this case would be Ares.”

Lucie scoffed. “From bad to worse then.”

Chapter Text

“When you said you wanted to ‘go out for a walk,’ I didn’t think you meant out-out.” Lucie glanced at Amy. “What’s out there?”

“Just the moon’s surface.” She touched a series of buttons and the hatch opened with a hiss. “I haven’t been outside the dome yet, but I hear the view’s amazing.”

“We’re not just walking out like this, right? We’ll need…gear or something?”

“Spacesuits, obviously,” Amy chuckled. She handed Lucie a helmet and nodded toward the rack of suits. “You weren’t kidding about being from the past, were you?”

Lucie returned her grin. “Does it show?”

Chapter Text

The Doctor groaned and tried to move, but found his arms bound to his sides. “Great. I thought we’d gone too long without being captured.”

“Don’t roll too much, Doctor,” Kai’s voice was gleeful, “or you’ll fall into the Wormhole.”

“What do you care? I assume you’re planning to throw me in anyway.” He shifted so he could see his captor. “Let Lucie go. She’s done nothing-“

“She’s making the situation worse. You both are.” Kai looked triumphant as he finished tying her up. “The good news is your deaths may save lives and isn’t that what you’re all about?”

Chapter Text

“We’re just leaving? What about all the people who died here?”

The Doctor shook his head. “I can’t go back in time to save them-“

“I’m not talking about that.” Lucie stared at Eris’s funeral pyre. “Kai killed them. Indirectly maybe, but he’s responsible for their deaths.”

“True-”

“So we’re just letting him get away with that? Sure, he was trying to stop that ancient god-thing from escaping into our reality, but that’s no excuse-“

“I’m not the police, Lucie, or anyone’s judge and jury-“

“Except the Daleks, evidently.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m just saying! You seemed fine with judging them-“

Chapter Text

“Stop this Zimmerman, before anyone else gets hurt!”

“Stop, Detective Reyes?” The scientist chuckled darkly and reached for something behind his back. “But I’m so close to my goal.”

“Watch out!” The Doctor skidded to a halt so suddenly that Lucie almost barreled into him. “If his Time-whip touches you, he can erase you from this timeline.”

“Too late, Doctor!” Zimmerman lashed out and the Time-whip snaked itself around Reyes’ neck. As the energy pulsed through her, Reyes fell to her knees.

“Stop him!” Lucie urged.

The Doctor looked on helplessly. “I can’t.”

Within seconds, Detective Clara Reyes disappeared completely.

Chapter Text

“I know you think Zimmerman will be your ticket to a life of luxury-“

“Most of us would settle for paying off our debts, Doctor.”

“Be that as it may,” the Doctor continued, “you’ll end up disappointed, and that’s if you’re lucky. Dr. Zimmerman has left a trail of dead bodies behind him on his way to locating the Mac-Banyan ship and its time technology.”

The navigator sighed. “What would you have us do?”

“Take Zimmerman’s escape craft,” the Doctor pleaded. “Get as far away from here as you can. You must leave the Mac-Banyan ship before it’s too late!”

Chapter Text

“Look Rachel,” Lucie said as she paced, “I know he’s your husband and you don’t know me from Britney Spears, but trust me, he’s done horrible things.”

Rachel observed Lucie calmly. “Yes, I know.”

“What do you mean ‘you know’?”

“I know because he told me. All about you and the Doctor, the Tar-Modowk-“

“Did he tell you about Clara Reyes?” Lucie glared accusingly. “She was a good woman who was just doing her job and he killed her. No, worse than that - he made it so she was never born!”

“I know,” Rachel replied quietly, “and I’m very sorry.”

Chapter Text

“Charles? I have a new one for you.”

A thin man in a stylish suit looked up from his paperwork. “Long time no see! What’s this one’s name?”

“Lucie Miller.” The Headhunter pushed the gurney with an unconscious Lucie toward the piece of equipment dominating the room. “Gave me quite the runaround, but I got her in the end.”

“Business as usual then. Sticking around to watch the processing?”

“No. Drop her off in the coffee lounge once you’re done.”

“Righto!” Charles began connecting Lucie to the machine. “Welcome to your induction, Miss Miller. It will literally change your life.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor studied the sign on the wall of the hallway he’d materialized into. “Hulbert Logistics. I wonder what Lucie’s doing here?”

“Excuse me? Who are you?”

He smiled disarmingly at the approaching woman. “Dr. John Smith. I’m new, just transferred in from another office.”

She check her PalmPilot. “I don’t seen you listed, but HR is as slow as Sunday sometimes. I’ll start a new employment record and they can append your old information to it later.”

“Sounds perfect.”

“What unit are you with?”

The Doctor frowned, thinking quickly. “Planning.”

“Right. Big meeting later. Let’s get you settled in.”

Chapter Text

“Take this.”

“A phone?” Lucie turned it over. “We have them on our desks in Admin, what do I need this for?”

“In case something happens and you need to contact me quickly.” The Doctor grabbed his grey suit jacket and slipped it on. “I’ve programed my phone number in as the emergency contact.”

“They hand these out with your business cards?”

“I found them in the same supply closet as my suit, although I've made some adjustments.”

Lucie smiled knowingly. “What, like a built-in teleport?”

“Cheeky. I’m off to my meeting. Be careful.”

“Yeah,” Lucie laughed, “like that’s likely.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor wandered through the crowd at the reception. He didn’t know many of the species here, although the green, furry creatures Todd Hulbert had referred to as his clients looked familiar. The Doctor couldn’t remember their name, but he seemed to recall they were a peaceful people, not given to hiring mercenaries who brainwash humans into using giant robots to kill people on other planets.

It was a mystery, but one he could solve later.

“Time to end this,” the Doctor muttered. Pulling out his sonic screwdriver, he searching for the frequency that would turn off the platform’s security.

Chapter Text

Keeping his eyes on the Cybermen interrogating Hulbert, the Doctor slowly backed his way through the assembled prisoners. Everything had gone wrong so quickly! He had to come up with a plan, but first the Doctor needed to make a call.

The good news was the mobile phone he’d modified hadn’t shown up on the Cybermen’s scans as advanced technology. Unfortunately, the reception room was a large, open space without anywhere to hide. Taking advantage of the partial cover provided by an ice sculpture on the bar, the Doctor dialed his emergency contact number.

“Come on! Pick up, Lucie - please.”

Chapter Text

An explosion rocked the Telford office, forcing Karen to grab onto Malcolm’s chair. “What was that?”

“The Cyberman.” A stream of numbers rolled down the computer screen in front of him. “We’ve been boarded.” Malcolm grabbed the gun off the desk and stood. “We better get down there.”

“Who’ll coordinate the attack?”

Malcolm glanced at the elegantly dressed woman who stood nearby watching them. “Will you keep an eye on that?”

“Of course.” The Headhunter smiled winningly. “I’ll be only too happy.”

Karen frowned. “Can we trust her?”

The Headhunter slipped into the vacated chair. “Do you have any choice?”

Chapter Text

Lucie clutched the Crystalizer to her chest and ran. In her other hand she held the gun she’d threatened the Doctor and Straxus with but, despite the battle raging around her, she didn’t fire at anyone. She was too lost in her thoughts for that.

The Time Lords had messed with her life, treating her like a machine to be programed, not a person. She wanted to hurt them - to fight back - but she didn’t know how.

“Hey, if I’m supposed to be evil,” she spat, hurrying down the hallway to Jerry’s office, “guess I’ll just do what comes naturally?”

Chapter Text

“This job’s a total write-off,” the Headhunter grumbled, making her way to reception. She stepped over bodies of Hulbert Logistics’ former “employees” until she spotted a blouse she recognized. “Karen?” Leaning down, the Headhunter felt for a pulse. “Alive but unconscious. I wonder…”

Grabbing a messenger bag off a fallen staffer, she put the Crystalizer inside. The Doctor said it was burnt out, but she preferred to verify that for herself later. Shouldering the bag, the Headhunter slipped her hands under Karen’s arms and began dragging her to her ship.

“I may just salvage something useful from this job yet.”

Chapter Text

Lucie leaned against a strut in the cavernous control room. “Don’t you ever clean this place out?”

The Doctor knelt beside a large sea chest. The contents of twelve other bins, carts, and bookshelves lay scattered around him. “I have a clear-out every millennium or so.” He tossed a Slinky over his shoulder. “Or every regeneration, whichever comes first.”

Something caught Lucie’s eye. “What’s this?” She picked up the small device. “Looks like an old cassette recorder, but smaller.”

He glanced at her before returning to his search. “A Venusian Dictaphone. It’s yours if you want it.”

Lucie grinned. “Cheers!”

Chapter Text

“WE KNOW A WAY TO ESCAPE THE BLACK HOLE.”

Raz exchanged a surprised look with Jik. “Great. What’s stopping you?”

“WE NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE AND ONE OF YOUR SHIP’S POWER STACKS TO BOOST A SIGNAL.”

Jik nodded. “We can do that, and I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but what’s your plan?”

The Dalek whirred closer to the two pilots. “WE WILL CONTACT SOMEONE WHO WILL SAVE US ALL.”

“Who?”

“THE DOCTOR!”

Other Daleks picked up the phrase and soon they were all chanting in their staccato voices. “THE DOCTOR! THE DOCTOR!”

“Riiiiiight.” Jik shrugged. “But who is this Doctor?”

Chapter Text

The Doctor was singing a lovely tune Lucie didn’t recognize. She leaned against the console, trying to make out the words.

“…and you will return to your homeland someday.”

An alert buzzed as a light began blinking. “What was that?”

“Distress call, I think.” The Doctor touched the sensor and instantly froze.

“Yeah, so who’s calling?” Lucie looked from the Doctor’s hand up to his face. His eyes looked vacant. “You alright?” She waved a hand in front of his face. “Hello? Earth to the Doctor?”

Without blinking, the Doctor programed in a flight path and the ship began moving.

Chapter Text

“OPEN IT.”

“Yes, of course.” The Doctor touched the small wooden box. “It’s…I’m not sure, but I think it’s familiar.”

“YOU BROUGHT THE DARKNESS TO THIS SYSTEM, DOCTOR. OPEN THE BOX AND COMMUNE WITH THE DARKNESS.”

Slowly, as if struggling with himself, the Doctor did as he was told. Shuddering slightly, he brought the box closer to him.

“JOIN WITH THE DARKNESS AS THE DALEKS HAVE DONE.”

The Doctor looked inside. Crying out in pain, he thrashed on the ground with his fingers still clutched around the box. He gasped for breath as something dark crawled into his mind.

Chapter Text

The man with the Heliacorp logo on his shirt leaned toward the flyer’s pilot. “Take us to the Medi-Center, double quick.” He smiled at the Doctor as the transport took off. “Tourist, you said? Here for the games?”

The Doctor nodded. “It’s my friend Lucie’s birthday and she’s very keen. Can’t say I understand the appeal of roller derby myself-”

“Then you’ve never seen it. Trust me, the first five minutes will have you hooked.”

“Isn’t it a bit old school for 3025?”

“That’s part of the appeal. Everything old is new again.”

The Doctor chuckled. “Don’t I know it.”

Chapter Text

“Wow,” Lucie muttered as they hurried through the colony’s streets, “this place is deader than disco.”

“Everyone’s at the arena. It’s the biggest event of the year on all the Castus planets.” Sash glanced around nervously. “We’re not in the clear though. Keep an eye out for camera drones.”

“Don’t want Heliacorp knowing what we’re up to before we learn a bit more about what they’re covering up,” the Doctor agreed. “Sash, you said George is a biochemist? Any idea what he’s been working on?”

“No,” she sighed, “I just hope whatever it is hasn’t put his life at risk.”

Chapter Text

“Wait! Spartacus!” Lucie took the stairs four at a time. The lower gravity gave her jumps added distance, but that couldn’t compete with wings.

Pushing open a door, she found herself on the lab’s roof. Spartacus stood near the roof’s edge. “Hurry Lucie, friend of Rain Man.” The large insect’s voice was deep with low buzzing underneath the words. “I must find the Jango. If you would come with me, hold still.”

Wrapping his six arms around her, Spartacus leapt into the air. They fell several feet, then soared over the colony.

“I can’t believe we’re flying,” Lucie yelled, delighted.

Chapter Text

“So you know,” Clegg sneered. The security drones closed in on where the Doctor sat in the executive box overlooking the arena. “It won’t matter. George and Sash are easily silenced and you won’t survive to report to your Yellow Sun bosses.”

“I keep telling you, I’m no spy.” The Doctor’s voice was calm but annoyed. “I will find a way to stop you and free the Jango.”

“Free them?” Clegg laughed. “They’re insects! By using them in our solar panels we’re giving them purpose. Besides, do you think the colonists will thank you for robbing them of cheap energy?”

Chapter Text

Lucie gasped as a well-timed elbow jabbed her in the stomach. She lost balance and her skates slipped out from under her. Sliding off the track, Lucie hit a padded wall.

“Bloomin’ heck.” Lucie got shakily to her knees. “That was a low blow.”

“You’re lucky she got you with her elbow rather than a knife.” Sash’s wing woman, Number Cruncher, helped Lucie to her feet. “If you don’t pull it together quick, we’ll lose the match.”

“That’s not happening.” Lucie skated back onto the track with a gleam in her eyes. “Right Mrs. Sharp Elbows, I am havin’ you.”

Chapter Text

“Instability! Go to House,” the robot repeated. “Follow!”

“That sound, it’s like…static,” Lucie muttered. She tried to take a step forward but stumbled. “It’s all in my eyes now. I can’t see.”

The Doctor backed away from the unfinished construction as it began crumbling. “Lucie, what’s wrong?”

“Doctor?” Lucie swayed on her feet. “Where are you?”

He leapt over a section of flooring that had collapsed into a sinkhole below them. “I’m right here. Take my hand.”

“Doctor! Help me!”

He reached her just before she fell unconscious. Sweeping her into his arms, the Doctor staggered after the robot.

Chapter Text

Frances finally noticed the Doctor and glared at him. “What are you doing here, sir?”

“I was just leaving-”

“I should think so! Lurking in a young lady’s room, what will people say?”

He caught Lucie’s eye as she stifled a laugh. “What will they say?”

“Away!” Making a shooing motion with her hands, Frances herded the Doctor out of Lucie’s bedroom and into the hallway. “Lucie doesn’t have long. We’re expected in an hour.” With that, she shut the door in his face.

“That’s me told.” The Doctor looked down the seemingly endless corridors. “Now, where did Alana go?”

Chapter Text

“Darius.” The Static version of Grace Horton wavered in the field created by the sonic screwdriver.

“What about him?”

“Darius...doesn’t want…you to know-”

“Know what?” The Doctor glanced the way Frances had gone. Once he stopped generating the signal, he’d have to be quick to avoid being consumed by the Static. “What’s going on? Why wasn’t the terraforming completed?”

“An argument. We disagreed…on what made…a perfect world. The terraformer was keyed…to his mind. Things…got out of hand…”

“The terraformer ran amok,” he finished for her, “and killed you. Now everything's starting to make sense.”

Chapter Text

Lucie fought Berrigan for the laser cutter. In the struggle, the tool went off, slicing Darius Horton’s head off. Everything stopped as the combatants stared at the body of the colony’s patriarch.

“He’s a robot.” Lucie reached toward the mass of sparking wires sticking out of the neck.

“How?” The laser cutter slipped from Berrigan’s fingers. “He’s my father. He can’t be a robot.”

“Oh, hush you.” Lucie spotted the phone on Darius’s desk and picked it up.

“Yes, Mr. Horton,” Alana answered in her precise voice.

“It’s Lucie. I need to talk to the Doctor. There’s been…an accident.”

Chapter Text

“Pylons.” Lucie rubbed her arms to keep warm in the stiff, coastal breeze. “Wherever they lead, there’ll be people.” She glanced back and her stomach did a worried flip-flop at the sight of the dark and lifeless TARDIS. “I am not going to panic! Everything’s gonna be fine. I’ll find someone to help the Doctor and he’ll be his annoying, brilliant self again in no time.”

She walked for several minutes without seeing any sign of civilization, then a blur of yellow caught her eye. Her heart leapt and she started running full pelt.

“Hey, hey you! In the anorak!”

Chapter Text

“Air ambulance?” DC Howard looked from Dieter to Lucie. “What’s going on?”

The car’s tires spun as Dieter quickly drove away. Lucie watched him go with confusion and relief. “What a weirdo.”

“Dr. Dieter’s the most normal person on this island.” The constable eyed Lucie’s clothing. “So, what’s your story?”

“My friend-”

“This doctor you mentioned?”

“Yeah. He got himself accidentally electrocuted. I went for help and ran into,” she gestured in the direction Dieter had gone, “Mr. Bodysnatcher-”

“And ended up in his trunk mistaken for Maxine Mitchell.” Howard sighed. “‘Round here, I bet they just call that Wednesday.”

Chapter Text

Dieter struggled to move, but his feet were frozen to the spot. A slithering sound caught his attention and, looking up, he spotted the towering caterpillar-like shape of a Fendahleen.

“No,” he cried, pulling the rifle from his back. Careful not to look at the creature’s eyes, he aimed. “I know what you are! I will not succumb!” He fired twice and the thing squealed angrily.

“You alright down there?” Another man crested the hill and ran forward.

“Stay back,” Dieter warned, but it was too late. The Fendahleen attacked the stranger, draining him until he was only a husk.

Chapter Text

Diane slowed as she neared the old building. “So there is a monastery here. Wonder why none of the villagers mentioned it before?” The front gate squeaked as she let herself inside and, as she closed it behind her, she felt something dark unfurl inside her.

“You hear the calling, don’t you,” a man stepped from the shadows, “Detective Constable Diane Howard?”

“I hear…something.” She shook her head. “Wait…how-”

“Don’t worry, I hear it too. So do all who are summoned here.” Taking her arm, Freddie led her inside. “Welcome home, Diane, in the name of the Fendahl.”

Chapter Text

“It’s like I told Lucie, no one on Earth could have retrieved that skull, not from inside,” the Doctor paused in shocked realization, “a supernova.”

“Reach out,” Freddie urged and the Doctor felt a force pushing him toward the now opened sarcophagus. “Touch the mind of the Fendahl, then it will all become clear.”

“Reach out,” the cultist chanted. “Reach out.”

The Doctor watched his hands reach for the skull against his will. His fingers slipped around it and a darkness, dormant since the Daleks had shown him the same skull in the midst of a supernova, blossomed within him.

Chapter Text

“Run both of you! Run!” The Doctor shoved Lucie and Hans out of the way as the tree fell. Instantly, he was engulfed in its branches.

“Doctor!” Lucie yelled. Scrambling over the trunk, she ran to him. “Doctor! Oh, please don’t be dead.”

Hans checked the Doctor’s wrist for a pulse. “His heart’s beating but it’s odd, almost as if there’s a double rhythm.“

“At least he’s alive.” Lucie pushed on the branch that pinned him. “Help me shift this lot.”

They heard a metallic clicking nearby. Looking up, they saw three men aiming guns at them. “Don’t move, murderers.”

Chapter Text

The largest man jabbed Lucie with his gun. “Get moving.”

“Watch where you point that thing, Wild Bill. And be careful with him,” she glared at the men lifting the Doctor, “he’s hurt.”

“Bürgermeister,” a man yelled, “there’s one still alive. I think it’s Baron Teufel!”

“Let me see!” Bürgermeister Pausbacken rushed past Lucie and Hans to study the injured man’s face. “You’re right. Don’t just stand there, you idiots! Get a carriage to take the Baron back to his castle.”

“What about us,” Lucie demanded.

“A jail cell is what you deserve. You’ll be lucky to escape the guillotine.”

Chapter Text

As they walked through the woods, Hans glanced at Lucie shyly. “So, you and the Doctor-“

“What about us?”

“You say you’re travelers. Is he your guardian…or your intended?”

Lucie laughed. “He’s old enough to be my dad! We’re just friends, you know?”

Hans smiled. “Good.”

“Cheeky,” Lucie teased. Looking around, she pointed at the road. “That’s where the carriage was attacked,” she gestured around them, “which means the TARDIS should be here. But there’s nothing-”

“Wagon tracks,” Hans called from a short distance away. “Carrying something heavy back towards the town.”

Lucie swore. “Someone’s stolen the bleedin’ TARDIS!”

Chapter Text

“A legendary monster known for ripping people apart? Check. An inept local official using the legend to amass power? Check. Superstitious locals readying torches and pitchforks? Check.” The Doctor stopped on the empty road and studied the building in front of him. “And a spooky, isolated castle. Perfect.”

When no one answered his knocks, he pushed the front doors open. “Unlocked,” the Doctor muttered. “That’s strange. Hello,” he called down the dark hallway. “Baron Teufel? It’s the Doctor, remember me? I have some questions I’d like to ask.”

Hearing no response, he stepped inside. The doors creaked shut behind him.

Chapter Text

Lucie glared at the Doctor. “You’re leaving me here? In the bleeding 1970s?”

“The tracer isn’t working and the closest the TARDIS systems can get is a general time and location.” He pressed a series of buttons on the console and gestured to the results. “Winter, 1974, the Elms Resting Home.”

“Great, so what am I supposed to do?” Grinning, the Doctor held up a newspaper with a circled want ad. “You want me to take a job as a carer,” Lucie cried indignantly. “Have you met me?”

“It’ll only be for a few days.” He paused. “Maybe a week.”

Chapter Text

“Maybe a week,” Lucie scoffed into the phone. “It’s goin’ on two already. Where are you?”

“Around,” the Doctor replied. “Literally, I’m hovering over your location. I’ve gone forwards and backwards in time, but I still can’t pinpoint where the metal is.” The phone line crackled. “How are you getting on?”

Lucie shrugged. “Fine. The residents are lovely - inspiring war heroes and survivors, that sort of thing. But these power cuts are murder and the furnace only works every third day.”

“Fine, fine,” he said, distracted. “I’ll need a list of the residents’ names. Maybe their pasts hold the key…”

Chapter Text

Lucie dug Rake’s grave first.

The ground that hadn’t been turned into glass by the lightning strikes was surprisingly light, but even then Lucie was exhausted by the time she finished. She moved the big man’s body into the hole as gently as possible before kneeling beside him.

“Sorry mate,” she said quietly, “you deserved better. Thanks for helping us, despite all the trouble we brought. I hope you’ve finally found some peace.” She finished with a quick prayer and, as the thunder of another storm rumbled on the horizon, she covered him.

Then she began digging three more graves.

Chapter Text

“Whatcha doing?”

“Lucie!” The Doctor looked up guiltily. “Just…writing Christmas cards!”

“Oh. Well, are we going or aren’t we?”

“Let me finish this. I'll meet you in the console room in…five minutes?”

“And not a moment more! Those after Christmas sales won’t shop themselves.”

Once she’d gone, he resumed writing:

“Dear Susan and Alex,

Please join me for a family Christmas in the TARDIS. No traveling - just dinner and presents. I’ll meet you at the bus stop at London Stockwell at 4PM on Christmas eve.

Love,

Your grandfather, The Doctor.”

Smiling, he slipped the invitation into an envelope.

Chapter Text

“There we go, Old Girl.” The Doctor patted the blue box affectionately. “Can’t forget where I’ve parked if you’re in my own cellar.” Whistling a happy tune, he jogged upstairs to the first floor of his house on Baker Street.

He’d no more than closed the door behind him when someone jabbed something hard against his back.

“Hands up!” The voice was cold, with a heavy Irish accent. “Well now, thought you’d sneak up on us, did ya?”

The Doctor tried to glance behind him. “Did I?”

“Don’t be smart.” He heard the sound of the gun being cocked. “Talk!”

Chapter Text

“Get your hands off me right now!” Molly struggled but, once she was bound, two huntsmen forced her down the steps of the house and into a waiting van. “You lot aren’t anything official. You’ve no right-”

“We have every right.” Master Zachrey brought up the rear. “You should know better, Miss Molly, harboring deserters during a war.”

“What deserters?” She glared at him. “If you found anyone other than me in that house, where are they?”

“That’s enough of that.” Zachrey gestured at his men. “Put the hood on her, but gag her first. She’s the doctor’s business now.”

Chapter Text

“Declare yourself!”

“The name’s Smith,” the Doctor yelled while making sure not to move. He’d been lucky to avoid stepping on any of the landmines surrounding him. “From the War Office.”

“Good gracious.” A thin, bespectacled man appeared on the steps of the large house. “How did you get there?”

“Wrong turn.”

“Indeed?” Dr. Goring lowered his voice. “Check his credentials, Zachrey. If he isn’t who he says he is-”

“A visit to the well?”

“Quite. And the woman?”

“We left her to the tender mercies of the Surgeon General.”

“Very good.” Goring sighed. “What an eventful evening we’re having.”

Chapter Text

“Master Zachery is gone.”

“Yes,” the Doctor replied impatiently, “but where to?”

“Just…gone.”

In the background, the Viyrans continued shooting at each other, pausing only to reassemble themselves and try again. Molly and the Doctor ignored them, focusing their attention instead on the shimmering outline of the late soldier. “What have you done, Shawn?”

“An eye for an eye, Doctor.” With that, he disappeared entirely.

“Damn.” The Doctor shook his head and then picked up the large white device sitting at his feet. “Come on, back to the TARDIS!”

“What?” Molly scrambled after him. “We’re going? Just like that?”

Chapter Text

“Stop where you are, David Walker!” Grinning, Molly ran to a handsome young man leaning on a crutch outside the hospital. “Did ya think I’d leave you to wilds of the world without saying goodbye?”

David returned her smile. “I’d hoped not, Nurse O'Sullivan-”

“Molly,” she reprimanded, taking his arm. “Come with me now.”

“Where are we going?”

“To a house on Baker Street. You’re to stay and look after the place while the owner’s away.”

“Am I? But...why me?”

“Because I say so,” she tapped her nose, “that’s why. And besides, I know you’ve nothing better to do.”

Chapter Text

“A one-way trip to the end of everything. If the lad wanted to meet his goddess, what brought you here...Liv?”

Liv folded her arms, staring Molly down. “I’m more interested in who you are.”

Molly shrugged. “Like I said, I’m a nurse.”

“From where?”

“Earth, 1918. Armistice Day. Heaven knows when it is now-”

Liv laughed. “You’re claiming to be from the 20th century? That’s utterly mad...but inventive, I’ll give you that much.”

Molly studied Liv's face. “You say you know the Doctor, but if time travel sounds mad to you then you don’t know him at all.”

Chapter Text

“Oh just be quiet!”

“Hello?” The Doctor heard a click. “They cut me off.” He turned to the desiccated body lying on the floor of the isolation chamber. “You’re the only one listening. Hmmm, what’s that you’re holding onto?”

The Doctor knelt down. Pulling a pencil from his pocket, he gently pried the device free. “Interesting. Not the type of thing I’d expect a stowaway or abandoned tech to be carryin-” He froze in realization. “Time travel technology. Why would a time traveler be visiting unless-”

Standing quickly, the Doctor banged on the wall. “Captain! We have a serious problem!”

Chapter Text

The comms dropped out as the Orpheus shuddered. An orange mist began seeping into the access shaft.

“Vi!” Liv’s voice broke through the comms static. “Dal? Can either of you hear me?”

“I’m here,” Brock replied. “There’s an orange mist, a coolant leak. Wait-” The mist seemed to glow. Feeling drawn to it, Dal reached out only to step back with a cry of pain.

“Brock? What is it?”

“It burned me.” Staring at his hand, he realized his glove had melted. “Not coolant then, but-”

Captain Brock coughed violently as the mist slipped inside his spacesuit and killed him.

Chapter Text

Molly paced the medical bay. “Come on, Doctor. Hurry or-” She heard buzzing from the hatch into the access shaft and leapt backward. “What now?”

The door opened and the Doctor stepped through. “You called?”

“What happened? Those glowing, stone things-”

“I sent the Eminence back where they came from.” He glanced around the room. “Where’s Liv?”

“Oh! I almost forgot.” Molly grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the TARDIS. “She’s going to blow herself up to destroy the beacons.”

“That’s brilliant, if a bit reckless and unnecessary.” Opening the TARDIS door, he grinned. “How about we save her?”

Chapter Text

“Liv? Liv!”

“What?” Liv blinked and seemed to come back to herself. “Sorry. Don’t know what’s wrong with me. I can help-”

“Sit yourself down, it’s no trouble. Just tell me how you like your eggs.”

“Ummm, scrambled I guess? Honestly, it’s been so long since I’ve had any I’ve almost forgotten.”

“I sympathize. We’ve had years of rationing back home.” Molly kicked the TARDIS food machine standing nearby. “It’s almost enough to make what comes from this thing look edible. Suppose that’ll change now the war’s over-”

“Which war?”

Molly stared at her. “Why…the Great War, what else?”

Chapter Text

Liv gripped Molly’s arm as they strolled through Hyde Park. “So weird-”

“I know.” Molly patted Liv’s hand. “Time travel, it messes with your mind-”

“Yes that, but also,” Liv gestured around, “this place is so green. Have I said that before?”

“There aren’t trees where you come from?”

“Kaldor is a desert world. Nixyce VII had them once, but they were long gone by the time I arrived. Just as well, the Daleks would have destroyed them anyway.”

“A different world? I thought you were human.”

“I am, just from a time when humanity has spread to many worlds.”

Chapter Text

Sally leaned back in a chair, flipping through live-feeds sent from the black casket on the TARDIS control room floor to the ship’s scanner. Occasionally she would pause on an image but, not seeing what she was searching for, she’d eventually move on.

A purple Beetle appeared on the screen. “Wait,” Sally stood to get a better look, “that’s the Doctor.” She shook her fist in triumph. “Finally! Harcourt will be so pleased. And he’s with a woman.” She pulled a TCE from her pocket. “Time to collect her.”

The thing in the casket screamed in pain as she passed.

Chapter Text

The door opened with a creak. “It’s a vault,” the Doctor stepped inside, “a very cold vault. In fact it’s freezing…”

Liv heard a noise behind her and turned, coming face to face with a woman holding a gun-like device. “Doctor!”

“Quiet, no need to disturb him.” Sally stepped around Liv and put her hand on the vault door. “Stay very still or I’ll kill you-”

Liv raised her hands. “That’s not the threat you think it is.”

“It’ll do.” Sally slammed the vault door and spun the wheel, locking it. “Now, if you wouldn’t mind coming with me, Miss-”

Chapter Text

“Open your eyes wide.” The Master slipped a device over Liv’s head that held her eyelids in place. “Stay very still.” He picked up something that looked like a small circular saw. “I’d say this won’t hurt a bit, but I’d be lying.”

“Harcourt!” Sally burst into the room. “It’s alright, they’re both coming!”

The Master paused, holding the saw half an inch above Liv’s right eye. “Who? Molly O'Sullivan?”

“And David Walker.”

He put the tool away and Liv sighed with relief. “It never rains but it pours. Keep this one in the TARDIS, we may need her later.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor burst into the house at 107 Baker Street, followed closely by Liv. “Molly? Molly!”

“Stop yelling, ya right igit,” Molly said fondly, joining them in the entrance hall. “I’m fine, we’re all fine. I’ve got David settled in the parlor and Mrs. Gantry in the kitchen.”

“What happened,” Liv asked, looking around.

“Their faces and eyes went all funny,” Molly turned to the Doctor, “like those people we saw on the street outside Ides. I think they wanted to kill me to stop someone called the Master.” She made a face. “What kind of name even is that?”

Chapter Text

“At last.” Liv ran to the team of medics as they exited the mineshaft elevator. “There’s been an explosion of some kind. Head to the right and you’ll find multiple people with crush injuries-”

The lead medic gaped in horror. “We don’t have enough people or supplies to deal with all this!”

“You certainly won’t help anyone if you stand around here!” She pushed the man forward. “Do your best, I’ll see if I can bully someone in authority into sending more help.”

“You’re going to bully the Daleks,” he asked, doing as she ordered.

“Wouldn’t be the first time.”

Chapter Text

Everything was in place. As expected, he’d found Liv in the middle of the Dalek occupation of Nixyce VII doing what she could to make the lives of the enslaved bearable. On the edge of the Nixyce System, the Eminence fleet was on course to destroy everyone in the galaxy. What was the saying? The enemy of my enemy is my friend?

The Doctor chuckled mirthlessly; the Daleks were no one’s friends, but here they might be useful. Keeping an eye on the only entrance, he disabled the robotization equipment with his sonic screwdriver. “One handy disguise coming right up!”

Chapter Text

Disguised as a roboman, the Doctor walked stiffly into the hospital unit. Seeing no Daleks inside, he broke character and hurried to a corner where he could get his bearings. “If Liv’s anywhere, she’ll-” He smiled. “There she is. She looks…younger than when I left her with Molly. Wonder how far into her past I am?”

“Two robomen with her,” he paused, looking closer, “except they don’t move or speak like robomen.” He suppressed another grin. “What are the odds that this is the Resistance I’ve heard so much about?” He started. “Wait, why are they walking over here?”

Chapter Text

“Nooo!” Liv screamed. She glared at the Doctor. “How could you? After everything the Daleks have done?”

He wouldn’t meet her gaze. “I’m sorry, but it’s necessary. You’ll understand one day. I promise.”

“Take Liv Chenka to the hospital facilities.” The Dalek Time Controller sounded smug. “I must speak with the Doctor about the alien fleet.”

Liv felt numb as the Daleks escorted her from the room. She wasn’t sure she could keep doing this, not anymore. But she was certain of a few things: she’d never make sense of the Doctor’s actions or forgive him for betraying Nixyce VII.

Chapter Text

“ATTENTION SUPPLY SHIP.”

“Copy, Dalek Control.”

“YOU ARE CLEARED TO LEAVE NIXYCE VII. ANY DEVIATION FROM YOUR FLIGHT PLAN-”

“And you’ll kill us all? Understood.” The pilot shut off her communicator. “Like anyone’s going to try that now they’ve a planet-sized gun.” An alarm blared for a few seconds then stopped. “Loss of pressure near the hold. Fixed now.”

“Could be a stowaway,” the co-pilot remarked.

The pilot laughed. “On a ship carrying theta-ray isotopes? They’d be dead in two years.”

Down in the hold, Liv sat with her head on her knees. “Please just…get me out of here.”

Chapter Text

The scientist looked at Liv’s file. “This seems in order.” She glanced at the woman shifting nervously in a chair. “You know our mission?”

Liv nodded, forcing herself to relax. “To explore the farthest reaches of the universe.”

“That means, assuming you’re selected for the mission, you’ll be put in cryo-sleep for a thousand years or more,” the woman paused, “and once you get there, you won’t be able to get back.”

“I know.”

“Why would you volunteer for that?”

“Scientific discovery,” Liv lied. She could hardly admit to wanting to get as far away from other humans as possible.

Chapter Text

The letter was for Dr. John Smith. No address was listed because the Doctor hadn’t given her one. Lauren didn’t write her last name or return address on the envelope either; she knew he’d be difficult to find and didn’t want it returned prematurely.

Eventually it was delivered into the hands of two very perplexed women living in a house on Baker Street.

“What’s this?”

“A letter.” Molly took it from Liv. “Don’t they have those in the future? We’ll give it to the Doctor later.”

“If he comes back.”

“He will.” Molly smiled. “Like a bad penny, that one.”

Chapter Text

When Liv returned home life had returned to Baker Street.

Home. Such an odd way to think about living in the ancient past. Still, with the Listlessness Field lifted she heard the familiar sounds of traffic and wirelesses playing through open windows and found comfort in them. Smiling, Liv ran up the steps and let herself into the house.

Molly bustled about the kitchen. “And where have you been? You’ve only let me go and sleep the day away!”

Liv took Molly’s hand and led her to a chair. “Sit down a moment. I have a story to tell you.”

Chapter Text

After the Daleks abandoned him, he traveled from planet to planet. Gutheron, Koatera, Flilles-2408 - so many worlds at war, so many people dying. Everywhere he went he tried to help, but even the Doctor couldn’t be everywhere at once.

And constantly he worried, “Is this why they let me go? Am I unknowingly helping the Daleks or is the Eminence pulling my strings again?” Both armies were part of history; he couldn’t risk changing that and he couldn’t escape it.

Paranoia became his constant companion and it gnawed at him. His only comfort was knowing Molly and Liv were safe.

Chapter Text

The Master’s TARDIS disappeared taking Molly with it.

For a moment Liv stood in the doorway of their home feeling helpless, but she’d survived too much horror to be overwhelmed for long. The next day she visited the science museum. The equipment was primitive, but it was the best she could find in this time period. Stealing it was surprisingly easy and getting caught was hardly a threat; she was already living under a death sentence.

That night she sat alone, cobbling together a long-range communicator. She had to contact the Doctor, the only question was would he hear her?

Chapter Text

The Doctor handed the forged identification to Liv. “This should get you in the front door. I’ll hack the Ides computers to supply you with a backstory, which should keep you undetected.”

“Assuming I live long enough.”

“I’m working on curing you, it’s just…” He ran his fingers through his hair worriedly. “We need to stop the Eminence at its inception, before the Time Lords find us or the Master completes his plan.”

“So after warning me about the dangers of changing history, you’re going to do exactly that?”

“I know.” The Doctor frowned. “I’m not happy about it either."

Chapter Text

Liv sat in the extraction chamber feeling surprisingly melancholy. She glanced at the lifeless body in the other chamber. Sally Armstrong was a nasty piece of work, but she’d also been human and so very scared. She hadn’t deserved to die.

It could easily have been different; Liv could have been killed. After everything she’d lived through - the cruelty of the Daleks, the implacability of the Eminence, and the machinations of the Time Lords - she’d been ready for it. Ready to finally be at peace.

And yet she'd survived. Liv knew she should feel grateful, but she couldn’t muster it.

Chapter Text

The Master began the day touring his villa; at least it was his in the sense that he’d stolen it.

First, he checked his prisoners. Molly was asleep, as always, tended by the dutiful Liv Chenka. He’d cured the med-tech’s condition weeks ago, not that he’d told her that. Thinking she was dying kept her focused.

Next was his lab. Inside the mnemonic vat the creature who would become Walter Vincent was coming together nicely. The Master grinned. It was almost time for his hard work to pay off. Idly he wondered if the Doctor would survive to see it.

Chapter Text

For much of Liv’s life survival had seemed unlikely; shopping for pleasure was like something from another universe. Which was how everyone looked at her when she walked into Harrods, like an alien dropped among them. Pants on women in early 1920s London were definitely not a thing, as she’d discovered over the last two weeks in the city.

She was tired of the stares. It was time to blend in.

The process was tedious, but she finally found some outfits she liked. Then the saleswoman held up a corset.

“No,” Liv laughed. “I want to acclimatize, not torture myself.”

Chapter Text

After he convinced Kitty he was fine, Martin began planning the day. The Doctor would arrive in about an hour, which left enough time to get cleaned up and dressed. He needed to decide where to take Liv and schedule how long they could stay before either the androids or the Doctor caught up with them.

Maybe he’d take her to see that new Buster Keaton flick this time; she always seemed to enjoy that. Martin smiled giddily. No matter how many times he’d lived through the time loop, the idea of spending the day with Liv still thrilled him.

Chapter Text

“Why do you keep staring at me?” Liv turned from the train car window and met the Doctor’s eyes.

Caught in the act, he gave up tinkering with the scanner and studied his friend. She was bruised but alive thanks to Martin’s sacrifice. “How’re you feeling?”

“Like luggage on a long haul trip.” She pocketed the movie ticket she’d been holding. “You fix that thing yet?”

He could tell her about the time loop, but why? She would just feel guilty about something she had no control over. Better to keep Martin’s secret. “It’ll be ready once we reach Paris.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor watched the Castellan process Liv’s credentials to visit Gallifrey. Padrac followed his gaze. “Tell me about your friend.”

“Liv Chenka is a doctor and one of the strongest people I’ve ever know. She’s had to be. Things haven’t been easy for either of us lately.”

“I heard about your run-ins with the Daleks and the Master.”

“And the CIA?” The Doctor turned to study his childhood friend. “Where were you when Straxus was manipulating Molly’s life? Or when Narvin ‘recruited’ me?”

“You know how things are on Gallifrey,” Padrac sighed, “wheels within wheels. Even I can’t monitor everything.”

Chapter Text

“You keep looking around,” Padrac remarked as he led Liv to the Academy. “Do you have any questions?”

“Not really. This just isn’t what I expected from the Doctor’s homeworld.”

“How so?”

Liv shrugged. “It’s beautiful and technologically advanced, which isn’t a surprise. I mean, I’ve seen the inside of the TARDIS-”

Padrac laughed. “The Doctor’s TARDIS is an antique. Please don’t judge Gallifrey’s capabilities from it.”

“It’s just so quiet here. He’s many things, but quiet isn’t one of them. But then if this world had been more to his liking, he wouldn’t have left in the first place.”

Chapter Text

“Reminds me of my university days,” Liv opened the closet and began searching, “only more organized. Do you know Kiani well?”

Padrac shook his head. “Not ‘well,’ but our paths have crossed. I signed her request to interview the Eleven.”

“Why would you do that? No offense, but if he’s so dangerous, why take the risk?”

“He has a rare condition called regenerative dissonance. Basically, all of his regenerations occupy his mind simultaneously.”

“And?”

“For a student of the criminal mind, he provides a rare opportunity. Kiani was very…insistent.”

“Do you believe she helped him escape?”

“It’s a possibility.”

Chapter Text

“Liv?” The Eleven sneered at her, his voice not quite his own. “Is that the woman’s name? Will you live, Liv?”

“Yeah, like I’ve never heard that one before.” She stomped on his foot and tried to twist away.

“Nice try, little human.” His voice changed again, becoming ragged. “Let me have her, she’ll never try that again.” Then back to his original voice, “Not yet, Six, we need her.” Bending down, The Eleven picked up a length of chain. “A leash for the Doctor’s pet, then back to the President’s office. We’re about to have some very important visitors.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor paced in front of the door to the presidential chamber. “Can’t you go any faster?”

“They’re already running the disruptor cannon beyond safe levels.” Kiani put a hand on his arm. “He’ll keep your friend alive until she’s of no more use to him.”

“That’s what worries me. So far we’ve been a unable to predict what the Eleven is up to, so we’ve no way of knowing how long she has.” He ran a hand through his hair. “I can’t lose her. Not after Molly and Lucie-“

“We’re not beaten yet, Doctor. We can still stop him.”

Chapter Text

The Eleven detached the mind probe from Farina and she crumpled to the floor. Unable to stop him or turn away, Liv had instead focused on trying to escape from the chain securing her to the presidential throne. Now she looked up. “Is she dead?”

“She might wish she were, if she had enough brain cells left to wish for anything. Still, it was for a good cause.”

“You’re a monster.”

“True. But soon I’ll be a monster with infinite power.” He unlocked the chain and pulled Liv to her feet. “Come on, human. We have an archive to rob.”

Chapter Text

They sat together in a garden, watching the clean-up efforts.

“You okay?” Liv asked.

“No.” The Doctor looked at her. “Are you?”

“Not remotely. I’ve watched too many people die today without being able to do anything. That poor girl-”

“Kiani’s fate was sealed long before we landed on Gallifrey. Somehow the Eleven knew exactly what would happen and who would be where, almost as if he had access to the Matrix.”

“Maybe, as an archivist, the One did? Or maybe the Eleven had some politically powerful help?”

“Or both.” The Doctor stood. “Either way, we need to find him.”

Chapter Text

It was a beautiful but cold day in London. Helen returned to the National Museum from lunch on time, as usual. “Hello Robert,” she called, waving cheerfully to a security guard. “Why all the commotion? I saw the movers parked outside-”

“Dr. Pritchett is bringing in a new collection. Oh, and they’re moving Timothy Thompson’s office.”

“Timothy? Why?”

“Haven’t you heard? He got the new curator position. Professor Garland announced it an hour ago.”

The color drained from Helen’s face. “Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“And they announced it while I was gone?” She frowned angrily. “Of course they did. Cowards.”

Chapter Text

“You’re quiet,” the Doctor observed, handing Liv a blanket and a cup of tea. “Something wrong?”

“It’s…weird being back in Baker Street again, and yet technically before I was here the first time.”

“Time travel can mess with your head if you let it.”

“It’s not that. When I lived here, in the 1970s, it was with Molly.”

“Ah,” he sighed, finally understanding. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. We were both happy here, for a while.”

“Until the Master showed up. And here we are again, cleaning up another Time Lord mess.”

Liv smiled ruefully. “We should start charging them.”

Chapter Text

“So beautiful.”

Liv heard the Doctor and Helen talking, but their voices sounded far away, unimportant. She took the first document she’d seen the Red Lady in and quietly left the room. Sprinting down the hallway, she stepped into Helen’s office and locked the door.

“At last,” Liv muttered, looking down at the ancient writing. She barely noticed as a breeze rustled the papers in the room and plucked at her hair. Soon it became a gale, but she ignored it. Liv only had eyes for the lady with the red hair as she reached up to remove her mask.

Chapter Text

“Time to go, Liv,” the Doctor called from inside the TARDIS. “Every moment-“

“Every moment the Eleven is free, the universe is in danger. I heard you the first time. Helen! Are you ready yet?”

Overburdened with suitcases and bags, Helen lumbered towards her. “I couldn’t decide what to bring. How does one plan for all of time and space?”

“You don’t.” Liv took two suitcases from her. “You won’t need all this.”

“I like being prepared.” Helen entered the TARDIS and froze, her eyes wide.

“Yeah.” Stepping around her, Liv closed the door. “It has that effect on people.”

Chapter Text

Moments after the TARDIS landed, the door opened. Helen stepped out tentatively, followed closely by Liv and the Doctor.

“We moved!” Helen's voice was filled with wonder. “Have we really gone back in time? Of course we have,” she continued, answering her own question before the others could, “look at the clothes people are wearing, the architecture! Is this-“

“Florence, Italy,” the Doctor interjected. “While you acclimatize, I’ll ask around for directions. Liv, keep an eye on our newest crew member. Make sure she doesn’t-“

“Get into trouble?” Liv raised an eyebrow. “You know that’s going to happen anyway, right?”

Chapter Text

They waited outside the villa’s front door. After a moment, the Doctor rang the bell again.

“He better be here.” Liv looked back the way they’d come. “It’ll be dark soon and I don’t fancy walking to Florence tonight.”

“Especially not with that creature on the loose.” Helen shivered. “Did you hear the noise it made?”

“He’s here. Have a bit of faith.” At last, a nun opened the door and the Doctor gave her his most dazzling smile. “Hello Sister. We’re here to see Galileo Galilei.”

She eyed him skeptically. “Who are you?”

“I’m the Doctor. We’re old friends.”

Chapter Text

Dodging under Cleaver’s outstretched arm, Liv grabbed Helen’s hand and ran.

“We can’t leave him,” Helen yelled. Behind them, the mercenary and his partner closed in on the Doctor.

“We’re no good to anyone if we’re captured.” Liv paused outside the villa to get her bearings. “Besides, I got the sense they want him alive. First we’ll find help, then we’ll rescue him.”

“Help from where?”

“There was a village around here somewhere-”

“But it’s pitch dark! We’ll get lost.”

They heard yelling inside the villa. Frowning, Liv pulled Helen toward the forest. “Trust me, that’s better than the alternative.”

Chapter Text

“Oh crikey!” Helen stepped backward as the floating robotic spheres surrounded them. “What now? Liv!”

“Errant work units will be disposed of,” one orb intoned. Helen gasped.

“Stay still!” Liv eyed the blaster the sphere was pointing at them, then looked past it to a camera-like device on which a red light glowed. They were being watched and she could guess by whom.

“Canceling command,” the orb said abruptly.

“What’s happening? Are they going to kill us?”

The Eleven had taken hostages before, maybe he’d do so again? “Stay calm,” Liv said with a confidence she didn’t feel, “and wait.”

Chapter Text

For a while, Mr. Paine tried to follow the conversation between his new friend, the Doctor, and the Eleven, but he soon became overwhelmed. He watched them prowl around each other, followed closely by the two robotic orbs. Everyone seemed to forget he was even there.

He didn’t have much prior life experience, having only been born an hour ago, but Paine sensed this might be useful. As the Eleven taunted the Doctor with images of his imprisoned friends, Paine edged toward some equipment. When the Doctor leapt at the Eleven with an angry roar, Paine slipped out of sight.

Chapter Text

“Where are we going?” Helen yelled, running to catch up with Liv.

“We’re using your idea.” They burst into a room filled with women stirring large vats. “You remember? Stir things up.”

Helen didn’t need urging. “Come on, ladies! Time to put an end to this drudgery.” She pushed over the vat nearest to her while Liv dismantled the security orbs with the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. “As much as I like this plan, what’s the point?”

“You wanted to help the Doctor? Disrupting this place seems the quickest way to do that.” Liv grinned. “There’s nothing like a little revolution.”

Chapter Text

“No!” the Doctor yelled as the TARDIS appeared around him. “The Eleven was about to explain his plan! I just needed another moment-”

“You wouldn’t have survived that long.” Liv rushed to unlock the restraints shackling him to the table. “Helen, help him up.”

“How did he get here?”

“Later. This facility is about to explode.” Once free, he rushed to the console. “I see Mr. Payne did as I asked. Where is he?”

The women shared a look. “I’m sorry,” Helen began, “he saved us, but-”

“He died,” Liv finished. “We saved the others, but we couldn’t help him.”

Chapter Text

“You said you wanted tea, right?”

“Yes,” Helen frowned, watching Liv pull out tins of herbs, “although that doesn’t look like any tea I recognize.”

“It’s my own blend. Good for stress. I used to make it for Molly-“

“Molly?”

“She…traveled with the Doctor before I did, explained everything to me.”

“Like you do with me?”

“Yes.” Liv smiled. “She made me tea my first night here. I was so confused-”

“That’s hard to imagine. You seem to have everything sorted,” Helen sighed. “unlike me.”

“Give it time,” Liv handed her two cups, “and take this to the Doctor.”

Chapter Text

“Where do the clothes come from?”

“No idea. He’s never really explained it. Doctor,” Liv called, “is there some kind of organization system I’m missing, or is it just-“

“Complete chaos,” Helen suggested.

“Exactly.”

“It’s not chaos, you just have to know where to look.” The Doctor emerged carrying an armful of coats from deep within the TARDIS wardrobe. “Here we go! Your pick.”

Helen reached out tentatively. “Is that…fur?”

“Yes, I think it was Polly’s.” He frowned. “Or maybe Sarah Jane’s?”

Helen turned to Liv. “Do I want to know?”

“Absolutely not,” Liv said, pulling on an anorak.

Chapter Text

The TARDIS fell. Pushed along by the water, it careened down the cliffside until it finally came to rest on the beach.

Liv recovered first. “Helen? You okay?”

“Now I know what clothes in a washing machine feel like.” Helen stood gingerly. “Is it over?”

“Hopefully.” Liv hurried to the Doctor’s side. “He’s still breathing, so that’s something-“

“What happened it him? He called out as if he were being attacked, then collapsed.”

“Not a clue, but we can’t stay in here - the TARDIS is completely powered down. Help me get him outside so I can have a better look.”

Chapter Text

“Here we are,” Matilda turned off the car, “but I don’t know how I’m going to explain this to Mum.”

“I’ll do the talking.” Liv unbuckled her seatbelt and twisted around to glance at the Voord soldier now sitting up in the backseat. “Ishtek, was it? Stay here. I'll bring the Doctor to you.”

“I will accompany you.”

Liv held out her hand. “Why don’t you just rest? We don’t know how much damage you sustained when you hit the…vehicle. Besides, the people here aren’t used to aliens.”

“Very well.”

“Good. Come on, Mattie. Hopefully he's awake by now-“

Chapter Text

Helen leaned against the console. “Does he always offer to drop you off somewhere safe?”

“Not always,” Liv admitted, “just when he thinks the situation is particularly dangerous.”

“Isn’t that all the time? Or were your travels more sedate before I got here?”

“Hardly,” Liv laughed. “Sometimes the Doctor likes to make sure we still want to travel with him, despite the danger.”

“That’s nice, I suppose.”

“Yeah.” Liv put her ear to the TARDIS door. “I think he’s moved on. We can go out now.”

“Are you sure this is a good idea?”

“No. Open the door, will you?”

Chapter Text

Lord Stormblood and Lady Sepulchra led the way, chattering about inanities as they walked.

The Doctor grabbed Liv’s arm. “Why did you leave the TARDIS,” he whispered. “This place-”

“Is dangerous? Honestly, how many times do I have to tell you that I don’t travel with you to get left behind?”

“Liv, if anything happened to you-“

“Nothing’s going to happen to me. Look, if someone’s destroying planets, we need to find them and stop them. The quickest way to do that is to work together. Right?”

“Perhaps. I just wish what I’ve found so far made any sense whatsoever.”

Chapter Text

“Doctor,” Helen paced behind him, “can you help? She’s in so much pain.”

“I’m not surprised. Caleera, was it? Are the wires from the neural amplifier embedded in your spine and brain?”

“Yes,” gasped the woman in the device. “Please, if you don’t get me out, I’m afraid of what they’ll make me do.”

“I’m working on that.” Spotting a computer nearby, the Doctor brought up a diagnostic program. “How long have you been here? Given your exposure to the vortex, I’m surprised you’re still sane. Clearly it’s driven the others mad.”

“I don’t know. It feels like an eternity.”

Chapter Text

Liv studied the faces of the lord, lady, and their servant as their former prisoners held them. “Of course this is your experiment! I’ve seen the girl you’ve wired into your machine, the pain she’s in-“

“Caleera chose that pain,” Lady Sepulchra interrupted, “to bring out her powers.”

“Yes, it’s all beginning to come back now.” Lord Stormblood squinted, remembering. “She brought us here against our will, didn’t she my dear?”

“Forced us to test and perfect her skills,” Swordfish added.

Liv’s face fell. “She destroyed the Voord homeward on purpose?”

“Yes!”

“Oh no. I have to warn the Doctor-“

Chapter Text

“This is becoming a habit.” Liv grabbed a couple of long dresses out of the TARDIS wardrobe by candlelight. She caught sight of Helen and paused. “What’s wrong?”

“What isn’t? We’ve lost the Doctor, who may or may not have completely lost his mind. The TARDIS is broken…again. Caleera is out causing who knows what kind of damage in the universe and it’s all my fault.”

Liv sat beside her friend. “It is not all your fault. Caleera fooled all of us.” She nudged Helen’s shoulder. “Come on, the sooner we get changed, the sooner we can find him.”

Chapter Text

Reaching out, Pepé Gonzalez grabbed the older man’s hand. “Charles Virgil McLean, I pass the gift to you.” As he finished saying the words, his whole body lit up. Coins poured from his other hand and fell glistening to the tavern floor. A sonic wave burst out of the two men and radiated in all directions. Liv was closest and caught the blast head-on. She was thrown backwards across the room and collapsed in a heap near the bar.

Ethel and Helen were further away. On instinct, Helen dragged Ethel behind an upturned table and held on for dear life.

Chapter Text

Liv ran through San Francisco, retracing the path back to the TARDIS. She was one street away when the ground under her feet began to undulate. “Not now,,” she gasped, “I’m so close.” She leapt over fallen debris and a widening crack in the road, but the movement brought her too close to a brick building. Liv spotted the movement out of the corner of her eye seconds before the wall fell.

She came to buried in rubble. “No broken bones,” she muttered, coughing on the dust, “but no way out either. Helen,” Liv yelled. “Doctor! Someone please, help me!”

Chapter Text

Helen slipped her arm around Liv’s shoulder and guided her to a chair.

“What’s happening,” Liv winced as she sat down, “with the Doctor?”

“McLean passed the gift to him. He lifted the wall off you with his mind and he’s been yelling at Caleera-“

“Is she here?” They both exchanged startled glances as the lights came back on in the TARDIS. Across the room, the Doctor pressed his hands against the console as power poured out of him.

Helen stared. “What’s happening?”

“I’m not sure, but we’ll need the first aid kit. Second cabinet on the right, bottom drawer.”

Chapter Text

“Professor!”

River slid her hand toward her holster, wincing when she found it empty. “Knew I shouldn’t have left my blaster with Madam Yeva.” Turning, she smiled. “Ruslan! I was just going to check on your miners.”

“You mean you were about to interfere with my work.” The bearlike Ursine fingered the laser drill on his belt. “What do you have against us?”

“Your drilling endangers the lives of everyone on this planet.” River began backing away. “That’s all.”

“Such a shame. Perhaps you should come with me-”

River sprinted away. “If you want me, you’ll have to catch me.”

Chapter Text

“Where are we?”

The Doctor studied the small card that had appeared on the console. “We’re wherever the coordinates embedded in this sent us.”

“How can an inanimate object operated the TARDIS?” Liv took it from him, turning it over in her hands. “I can’t pilot it despite traveling with you for ages.”

“A psychic message triggered and sent directly into the console when I touched it?”

Helen frowned. “But who could do that?”

Liv passed the card back to him. “The Time Lords?”

“Maybe, but there’s no one on Gallifrey who would send me a message like ‘Hello Sweetie.’”

Chapter Text

“Doctor, look out!”

Triggered by the vibrations from the ladder, part of the mine roof crumbled. The Doctor yelled as he threw himself out of the way of the falling rocks, barely missing a vent leading into the lava below.

Liv scrambled to the edge and peered over. “Doctor?” In all the dust she couldn’t see him. Grabbing the ladder, she hurried down. “I hope nothing else falls. I’ve had enough of being buried by rubble today. Doctor? Where are you?”

The Doctor brushed himself off. “Down here, Liv.”

“Are you hurt?”

“I avoided the worst, thanks to your warning-“

Chapter Text

Helen gripped River’s arm. “That sounds like Liv! We have to help her-“

“Wait. Grab that rope and get ready to pull her up.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I have a gun,” she grinned, “I’m sure I’ll find something to shoot at. Wait here for my signal.”

Running down the cave tunnel, River spotted someone in a mining suit with their back to her. The person inside laughed manically as he lifted a dark-haired woman into the air. “Boiling lava,” the Eleven asked Liv, “or a very long drop down a mine shaft?”

River took aim and fired.

Chapter Text

Liv tackled the Eleven. They tumbled together, but he twisted and kicked her away. By the time he’d gotten up, River was in front of him, blocking the way.

The Eleven laughed. “You think you can defeat me? Miss Chenka’s already tried that-“

“But now there’s two of us.” Liv picked herself up as River landed several punches. The Eleven stumbled backward and Liv took his legs out from under him. “After what you did to Helen-“

“She’s safe. I programed my…device to return her to Yeva’s camp.” River pinned the Eleven down. “Don’t worry, I’ve got this Liv.”

Chapter Text

“This is Galactic Heritage, come in?”

Helen pressed a button on River’s vortex manipulator. “Hello? Can you hear me?”

“Yes.” The man’s voice fizzed with static. “Please confirm your situation.”

“This planet is shaking itself apart. I’m not sure how long we have, but we need to evacuate the local inhabitants as soon as possible.”

“Copy that. Is this River Song?”

“No,” Helen blushed, “I’m a friend of hers. Helen Sinclair.”

“Right. Get your people together. We’re tracking your signal and we’ll contact you soon.”

“I understand.” She scanned the area. “I hope Mariam and Yeva haven’t gotten too far.”

Chapter Text

The pain was excruciating, but Caleera transcended it. Pulling herself free of her physical body, she transformed into sound and energy.

“You sought to destroy me, Doctor, but you have simply made me stronger.” She laughed as the planet tore itself apart around her. “Caleera is truly dead. Long live the Sonomancer!”

With a thought she manifested inside the TARDIS she shared with the Eleven. “I suppose I could leave him here, but my love may still have work for him.” Reaching out with her powers, she found him trapped within a mining capsule. “Eleven…I am coming for you.”

Chapter Text

Liv looked out of the plane’s view screen. Everything seemed so peaceful, you’d never know there was a war. “Molly,” she sighed, “I wonder what you’d say about all this.”

“You say something?” Wilhelm asked.

“Just thinking about a friend-”

“The one who is missing?”

“That’s Helen. Molly was a nurse in the First World War. She…traveled with the Doctor before me - showed me the ropes, you know?”

“Not really.” The Polish pilot glanced at her. “You say ‘was.’ Your friend died in the war?”

“She died in a war,” Liv replied quietly, “just not one on this planet.”

Chapter Text

One minute Liv and Wilhelm’s plane was there, the next it was gone.

All the Doctor’s instincts screamed at him to search for her, but Jan was determined to return to base instead. It was probably the right decision, although that didn’t quiet the Doctor’s worries and self-recriminations.

Had he gotten another companion killed? No, not Liv - she’d survived everything that had been thrown at her, she’d survive this too. She had to. He’d promised she’d be fine, that she’d see Helen again, and he refused to be made a liar.

“Come on, Liv,” he muttered, “find a way…please!”

Chapter Text

Liv grabbed Wilhelm and jumped. As they fell, the battle raged around them - the airplanes piloted by Wilhelm’s fellow Poles were like gnats to the larger Heliyon spaceship, but they fearlessly attacked it anyway.

Avoiding oncoming machine gun fire was only Liv’s first problem, the second was the rapidly approaching ground. Wilhelm had given her a quick introduction to the parachute she wore, but she’d been trying to escape the Heliyon ship at the time and couldn’t remember at what distance he’d said to release the chute.

At least if she guessed wrong, she wouldn’t have long to regret it.

Chapter Text

“What are you doing?!”

“Losing my mind.” Liv limped toward the door. “If I don’t get out of this room,“ she began, but her leg gave out before she could continue.

Balancing the breakfast tray with one hand, the Doctor grabbed her arm with his other. “Well if you will go jumping out of spaceships-“

“It’s not the jumping, it’s the landing that’s the problem.” She frowned but allowed him to help her back to bed. “How much longer-“

“As long as it takes. Besides, the TARDIS is still tracking Helen’s location. Rest now, we’ll have plenty to do later.”

Chapter Text

“Can I help?”

“No.” The Doctor sorted through piles of gizmos. “I know I have a temporal anomaly scanner somewhere. Where is it?”

“I’ll just go outside then, shall I?” Liv waited for an answer but none came. “Right. Come find me when you’re ready.” With a frustrated sigh, she let herself out of the TARDIS. She was anxious to get on their way to finding Helen, but at least the space station made for great people watching.

“Welcome to Scapegrace,” she said, reading a sign aloud. “You may regret that welcome. If we’re here something must be going wrong.”

Chapter Text

“Okay,” Liv began to pace. “if sabotaging the machine didn’t sort the problems in the vortex, what will?”

“Someone probably fixed what I’d broken, so we just need them to turn it off again. Easy!”

“And why would they do that?”

The Doctor held up his psychic paper. “Because we’re from Earth Alliance and we’re asking nicely?”

“They may not have pull this far out. What about the owners of the station? Um…EarthCom?”

“Good.” He open the TARDIS door. “Do you want to be good cop or bad cop?”

“Is that a serious question? I’m always the bad cop.”

Chapter Text

This was getting out of hand. Killing Mr. Morningstar was an accident, obviously, although killing the two blackmailers was less so. Not that they didn’t deserve it…the creeps…but she hadn’t meant the explosion to throw the space station off its axis and toward the hyperspace gateway.

Stralla felt a bit bad about that and threatening to let the Doctor die. He seemed nice enough, but her own life was more important. As he struggled to save the station, she realized escape was still possible. Stralla backed quietly into the corridor and ran as if everything depended on it.

Chapter Text

Liv followed him into Cornelius Morningstar’s office. “What are you doing? The coup is over, the Prince arrested, the space station is safe, and the vortex should be back to normal. We even know who kill Morningstar, we just have to find her.”

The Doctor settled behind the businessman’s desk and began typing on his computer terminal. “Very succinctly put.”

“So why are we here?”

“Morningstar defrauded a lot of people. If we do nothing, all his wealth will be tied up in the courts for years and they’ll never see a bean.” He grinned. “But I can fix that.”

Chapter Text

The Governor had him under near-constant surveillance, but that was fine. After all, the Eleven had his own plans.

The Kandyman’s work was nearing completion, so he needed to get Helen onside - like her predecessor, she could be a powerful ally or she could destroy him. Luckily, unlike Caleera, Helen was an inveterate do-gooder, which made her easier to manipulate.

Speaking of which, it was time to bring her here. The Eleven ordered the environmental controls to play the calming music he knew annoyed his other selves. Sitting down, he began his mantra:

“I’m a good man. A good…man…”

Chapter Text

Helen stared at the ceiling of her jail cell just as she’d done for the last six months. Although she didn’t belong in Rykerzon, she didn’t really have anywhere else to go. She was far away from her own planet and century and the only people she knew were lost to her…all except one.

The transport cell appeared and dinged for her attention. “Inmate Sinclair,” System intoned, “you are needed.”

“Is it the Eleven?” Helen asked, complying instantly. The transport closed around her and began moving. “Has he had another episode? He seemed to be getting so much better…”

Chapter Text

“Where is she?”

The Kandyman flinched at the question. “We don’t need her.”

“She’s a loose end.” The Eleven struggled to control his anger. “Helen’s powers give her insight, but she’s still an academic from a primitive planet. How has she escaped you? Are you giving this your full attention?”

“Of course! Do you think I want to be stuck here, searching for that irrelevant woman while you sit in my plant-“

“Our plant, Kandyman. Don’t forget, you can’t do this without me.” He grimaced. “Fine. I’ll give you another week. Either capture her or kill her, but find her!”

Chapter Text

Liv followed the sounds of the Doctor’s voice and something else, something large and angry. “Spider, you said? What kind of spider?”

“Big. Ugly.”

“Nobody knows.” Ruzalla struggled to keep up. “Well, the Kandyman might-“

“Kandyman? Never mind, one problem at a time.” Liv skidded to a halt, eyes wide. “You were right, Crabhead - big and ugly pretty much sums it up.” The spider was the size of a large dog. Beside it lay a partially finished cocoon with the Doctor’s legs sticking out. “There he is!”

Crabhead used his bulk to push past her. “I’ve got the ice jets-“

Chapter Text

“Get in.”

“You don’t have to do this.” The Doctor backed into the shuttle, his eyes shifting between Helen’s face and the blaster Ruzalla was holding to her head. “All of us want the same thing.”

“All I want is Jarl back.” Ruzalla glared as Liv tried to edge around her. “Don’t try it, Med-Tech! I have no problem shooting your friend.”

The Doctor grabbed Liv’s hand, pulling her with him toward the flight controls. “Best to do what she says.”

Liv nodded reluctantly. “Where to?”

“The Eleven took Jarl to Prime.” Ruzalla closed the hatch. “Let’s go get him.”

Chapter Text

When Ruzalla glanced toward the escape capsule controls, Liv made her move. “Helen, now’s your chance,” she yelled, rushing from her co-pilot’s seat toward the criminal. “Get away!”

Helen elbowed Ruzalla, twisting out of her grip as Liv grabbed her weapon. It went off, blasting the controls near the Doctor’s head.

“You…stupid…Med-Tech,” Ruzalla shouted as Liv knocked the blaster from her hands. The shuttle veered suddenly, the Doctor struggling to avoid crashing into Prime’s high-rises. The combatants stumbled through the escape capsule's hatch, which closed behind them. Within seconds they and the pod were hurtling toward the ground.

Chapter Text

The Eleven waved his gun. “You drive, Chief Minister. You two, in the back of the van where I can see you.” They did as he ordered, but the Doctor kept staring at Helen with a look of worried suspicion. “Oh Doctor,” the Eleven laughed, “I’d forgotten how transparent you are.”

“At least I’m of one mind. How long until your other selves sabotage your plans again?”

“Not this time. I’m in control, thanks to Helen.” He smiled at her and felt...something. Happiness? Had he actually missed her?

The Eleven quickly squelched that emotion. There was work to do.

Chapter Text

Helen blanched at the Eleven’s taunts, her expression a mixture of embarrassment, fear, and guilt. All the while the Doctor watched and worried.

He’d suspected her since the psychoactive web had connected their minds in Rykerzon, giving him a glimpse of something powerful and dangerous. She was certainly hiding information from him. At first he’d thought she wasn’t actually Helen at all, but now he believed the truth was far more complicated.

Something had happened when she and the Eleven arrived at the prison. Whatever it was, neither of them were talking about it and that was worrying in itself.

Chapter Text

“Ms. Chenka?”

Liv swore quietly and ducked out of sight. “Why am I the one who always gets chased by psychopaths?” she muttered. “A person could get a complex-“

“Liv Chenka? From Kaldor, aren’t you,” the Kandyman called in his sing-song voice. “Their tastes can be rich-“

The Eleven said the chemicals stored here would destroy a sugar-based lifeform. Liv hated doing his dirty work, but she had little choice. Moving behind a nearby chart, she pushed it into the Kandyman - hard. “Sorry, I’m sucrose intolerant. Really intolerant.” He groaned in pain and she ran toward the plant’s chemical tanks.

Chapter Text

“Do you think he’s dead?” Helen asked, looking at the remains of the factory.

Liv joined her. “Which one? The Kandyman or the Eleven.”

“Both of them, I guess?”

“I’m not sure the Kandyman can die.” The Doctor stood a little behind his friends, watching them. “As for the Eleven, he’s Prime Authority’s problem now. We have other things to do.”

“Find the TARDIS?” Liv asked hopefully.

“And put Rykerzon in order,” Helen added. “I don’t like the idea of leaving those poor people in stasis indefinitely, no matter what they’ve done.”

The Doctor smiled slightly.“Yes, on both counts.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor stepped cautiously out of the TARDIS and into the library. Seeing no one around, he hurried to a terminal. “I have a perfectly good computer in my ship,” he explained to the empty room as he typed, “but the problem with traveling with such intelligent companions is they know how to backtrack my searches, and I want to keep our destination a secret for as long as possible.”

The computer returned a list of names and the Doctor grinned. “Who do we have working at the Kaldor Company but a Tula Chenka! What are the odds, huh Liv?”

Chapter Text

Liv watched the Doctor with fond amusement. “So, where are we?”

“Yes, you’ve been hinting about this ‘very special place’ you’re taking us for awhile now.” Helen glanced at Liv. “Has he been this secretive the whole time I’ve been gone?”

She shrugged. “No more so than usual.”

“Why ask, when you can see for yourselves?” With a flourish, he opened the doors and strode outside. The two women rolled their eyes, but followed him.

“This is amazing!” Helen marveled at the glistening city before them. “Where are we?”

“Kaldor,” Liv replied flatly.

“Exactly!” The Doctor beamed. “Welcome home, Liv!”

Chapter Text

“Liv,” Helen beamed at her friend, “this is your home planet? How exciting!”

“Thrilling,” Liv replied, sounding anything but thrilled.

“Today is the grand opening of a new leisure complex.” The Doctor produced a small data disk with a flourish. “And you two have an invitation.”

“Us two?” Liv eyed him suspiciously as Helen took the disk. “Where will you be?”

“I have an errand to run, very boring-”

“Have I told you before what a terrible liar you are?”

“Often.” Waving at them, he headed into Kaldor City. “Have fun! Relax. Catch up. I’ll meet you back here later.”

Chapter Text

“Come on,” Liv hissed. She grabbed Kit’s arm and pulled him back into the cafe. “The longer we’re out in the open, the more likely the robots are to spot us and kill us.”

“Have you seen this before?”

“Something meant to look exactly like this, actually. A long time ago now-”

“Where?”

“It doesn’t matter.” She hurried him into the back room with the others. “Let’s just say I’ve a lot of experience with this sort of thing. Any luck?”

Sol shook his head. “I can’t seem to get a line-”

“Keep trying. We need to get help somehow.”

Chapter Text

“Don’t worry, Doctor,” Posca waved the phase disrupter toward the open door, “OverTech Chenka is one of my best people. If she can’t resolve the situation, it’s a lost cause.”

“While I don’t doubt Tula’s capabilities,” the Doctor backed into the cell, “I-”

“…have more experience? So you’ve said.” Posca grinned condescendingly. “Well, if we need you, we know where to find you. Oh, don’t look so glum! The Company has some of the best prison cells in this sector.”

The door clanked shut. Flopping onto the bed, the Doctor checked his watch. “Five minutes? No, two - then I’ll escape.”

Chapter Text

“Calm down!” Helen moved Liv off to the side. “I’ve never seen you like this. You’re always the one with a cool head in a crisis. We really need that now.”

“I’m sorry,” she ran a hand through her hair, “it’s just…Tula gets under my skin.”

“I understand.” Helen put her arm around Liv’s shoulders and gave her a quick squeeze. “I have…had...two brothers, remember?”

“Yeah,” Liv sighed. “Sorry I didn’t tell you I have a sister.”

“You can tell me about her later,” Helen glanced around the darkened theater, “if we get out of this alive.”

Chapter Text

The Salzburg Christmas street market was in full swing. Snow fell lightly on the shoppers as they merrily jostled each other in search of food, drinks, and gifts. Despite the packed streets, no one noticed the man who appeared out of thin air. Dressed in a green velvet jacket, he was tall and seemed to be in his twenties, but his dark eyes looked much older. He did a strange little dance, all crooked elbows and bent knees, and began looking for the two woman he knew he’d find here.

“Maria Werner and Liv Chenka, I’m waiting for your wishes...”

Chapter Text

“He just can’t help himself,” Liv chuckled, watching the Doctor hurry toward an arguing couple. “Taking me home to make things up with my sister. Bringing us here to relax. Trying to help random people on the street-”

“That’s the Doctor.” Helen looked around and smiled. “But he really has outdone himself this time. Christmas in Salzburg-”

“It is nice,” Liv admitted, “although it’s like you two are speaking another language with this Christmas stuff.”

Helen laughed. “You can talk, with all your technology and medical…everything!”

“True.” Liv smiled back.

The snow continued to fall as the carolers sang.

Chapter Text

“Inge,” Waltraud called as she unwound her scarf and led the others inside. “Sorry for the late notice, but I’ve brought people with me for supper.”

Waltraud’s partner emerged from the kitchen and smiled. “Guests! Who-”

“This is the Doctor, Liv, and Helen.” She took Inge’s hands. “The Doctor overheard me discussing our rent issues with Mr. Shafranek and he paid this month’s rent for us.”

“You’re serious?” When Waltraud nodded, Inge rushed to hug the Doctor, making him blush. “You’re all most welcome. I’ll have our son lay three more places at the table. I hope you like goulash.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor checked the address Waltraud had given him and bounded up the back steps. “This is it. Nice house. Security cameras and a sophisticated set of door locks for this time period.” Pulling something from his pocket, he aimed it first at the cameras and then the locks. “Nothing the sonic screwdriver can’t handle.”

Once inside he wandered through cold, richly decorated rooms. In the distance he saw a light flickering and, following it, found himself in a living room lit by a fire. “Shafranek certainly likes living in style. Let’s hope he can be as generous with others.”

Chapter Text

The imps grabbed Shafranek and dragged him away. Then the remaining ones turned on the Doctor. “Bad boy! So very bad! How many have you watched die? How many worlds have you ended…Time Lord?”

“You know me? Are my faces posted on some intergalactic bulletin board or something?”

“The Krampus knows all the wicked ones and we serve the Krampus.”

The Doctor tilted his head. “Do you indeed? That’s…unsettling.” As they closed in on him, he turned and ran back down the hallway toward what he hoped was the garage. “Sorry, have to dash! Companions to rescue…probably.”

Chapter Text

“Hope,” Waltraud yelled as she and the Doctor were pushed and prodded by the imps, “for what?”

“That my friends and your son can stop this.”

“Christophe? You’ve seen him?”

“In a car with Helen and Liv. With luck, they’ll make their way to the castle and my ship.”

“Your what?”

“It doesn’t matter, we’ve bigger problems.” They’d reached the edge of the pit and heat from the flames rushed up into their faces. “Here, take my hand.” His fingers brushed Waltraud’s but she was too far away. With a last shove from the imps, they both fell into Hell.

Chapter Text

Helen shook her head. “Liv and I keep telling you, this isn’t your fault. How could it be?”

“Because I wished for it,” Maria blurted out. “There was a man in the market who said he granted wishes. Shafranek had just thrown me and my mother out of our house and I was angry-” She looked urgently from Helen to Christophe. “I didn’t mean this to happen!”

“We need to tell Liv.”

“You believe me?”

“Given what’s out there? Yes.” Grabbing Maria’s hand, Helen pulled her toward the fortress gates. “Christophe, mind the TARDIS. Let anyone in who needs refuge.”

Chapter Text

Helen released herself from the TARDIS seat belt. “This is the difficult bit…which, given how the evening has gone thus far, is saying something.” Frowning, she hurried around the console. “I don’t need to travel very far in either time or space, relatively speaking. But I’m not sure exactly where or when I’m heading, much less how to get there.”

“Come on, you’re a linguist and clever. How hard can it really be to pilot the TARDIS? I’ve seen the Doctor do this plenty of times.” She took a few deep breaths to calm down. “Maybe there’s a manual?”

Chapter Text

“Dr. Sinclair?”

Helen shook the librarian’s hand. “Helen is fine.” She was older now, maybe in her late forties; although, given all the time she’d spent trying to learn the TARDIS’s systems, she wasn’t sure.

“Nice to meet you. Your topic of research is St. Nicholas?”

“Exactly. I’ve read pretty much all the published research about him. Now I want to look at some of the archival evidence.”

“To what end?”

“I’m trying to pinpoint an exact time and location for Nicholas, Bishop of Myra.”

The librarian stared at her. “That…might prove difficult.”

Helen laughed. “Trust me, I know.”

Chapter Text

With shaking hands, Helen pulled the final lever and the TARDIS landed.

“Maybe this time?” The TARDIS made an unhappy noise. “I know, the odds aren’t great. Plus I’m old and unwell, but there’s too much at stake for either of us to give up.” Lifting her cane from where it lay on the console, she opened the doors. “Just think, if this works we’ll save everyone in Salzburg and you’ll get Liv and the Doctor back. I know you’ve missed them as much as I have.”

She paused at the door. “And if it kills me, so be it.”

Chapter Text

“How’s Nicholas?”

“Asleep.” Waltraud handed Helen a cup of coffee. “It’s odd having a literal saint spend the night.”

“Just don’t tell him that,” the Doctor shrugged into his coat, “Web of Time and all that.”

“Huh?”

Liv sighed. “Don’t get him started, we’ll be here all day.”

“Where are you two going?”

“To find Liv’s Wish-Granter.”

Helen stood up. “I’ll come with you-”

“No, you rest-”

“Doctor, I’m fine. Back to the way I was before I took the TARDIS.”

“Good, you can keep an eye on Nicholas.” He followed Liv out the door. “We’ll be back by lunchtime.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor was alone in the console room when the distress call came in.

“Emergency!” The voice was fuzzy, the signal dropping in and out, so he boosted the power to the communication systems. “Doctor!…This is the Eleven.”

The Doctor snorted. “Not dead then? What a surprise.”

“They’re coming back,” the message continued. “Please, you have to do this - I know you, you won’t be able to help yourself. Save me, Doctor…”

A shiver of fear went up the Doctor’s back, although he wasn’t sure why. It was like a premonition, a warning of something horrible entering the universe.

Chapter Text

The Eleven thumped the console. “Stupid machine, give me more power!”

“That’s your lot, it appears.” His new voice sounded smug and much calmer than his own. “Hopefully the Doctor receives it and is foolish enough to come here.”

A growling roar echoed through the corridor outside. The Eleven shrank away in terror. “It’s coming.”

“Of course,” this in the pedantic voice of the One, “we all know the stories. They never give up once they scent food.”

“Have to keep running…at least until a better option comes along.” With a backward glance, the Eleven sprinted into the darkness.

Chapter Text

“Hello? Eleven? Can you hear me?” The Doctor fiddled with the controls, but eventually gave up. “No good, the signal’s dead. Well, that complicates everything.”

Sighing, he leaned against the console. “It’s probably a trap…but what if it isn’t? He sounded utterly terrified, maybe he genuinely needs our help? Even if it is a trap, can I stand not knowing? I might be able to ignore it for awhile, but I’ll give in to curiosity eventually. Might as well get it over with now…”

Shaking his head, he set the coordinates. “Liv and Helen aren’t going to like this.”

Chapter Text

One minute she was running behind the Doctor and Helen, the next Liv found herself in an empty corridor. “Wait, what?” She looked around, confused. “Where’d they go? There’s no doors for them to disappear inside and even if they both put on a heroic burst of speed, I’d still hear them running. But there’s nothing just…silence.”

“Great. I’m alone in a barely sane, dying TARDIS. And bonus, the Eleven is roaming around here somewhere, along with a strange and very angry woman who clearly doesn’t want us here. I’d be even more annoyed if it weren’t so typical.”

Chapter Text

“Have you not noticed?” Frowning, Jaxa gestured downward. “My feet aren’t touching the ground. I’m sure they were earlier.”

“Oh.” Liv’s stomach dropped and the hairs on her arms stood up. “Uh no, I hadn’t noticed that. What does that mean?”

“I-it could mean several things. It could mean local gravity is feeling the pinch or the vortex shields are out of alignment. Or…”

“Or,” Liv asked although she didn’t actually want to hear the answer.

Jaxa drifted upwards as she faded into the darkness, her voice becoming even more echoey and distant. “I’m already dead.”

Liv was alone again.

Chapter Text

Liv felt a draft. Reaching out, she realized the wall on her left that had blocked the hallway was now gone. Although she could hear the Ravenous screaming and beating at the wall separating them, she touched it too, only to snatch her hand away quickly as she felt it shake. “Time to go, I think.”

She waded through the red liquid that still filled the corridor almost up to her knees. “Thank you, whoever you are. I don’t know how you’re moving the walls around, if you can hear me, or even know I exist. But just…thank you.”

Chapter Text

“Finally!” Liv pushed the door open and Helen followed her inside. “This facility is huge. I thought we’d never find this place.”

“Welcome back to Deeptime Frontier’s control room.” Seeing they were alone, Visteron’s shoulders relaxed. “Have you come to help with the extraction?”

Helen shook her head. “I…don’t even know what that means.”

“The Doctor wants us to locate his TARDIS.”

“How?”

“Good question.” Liv pulled out her TARDIS key and began searching the controls. “There must be someplace to…ah-ha!” She slipped her key into a small slot and it began to glow. “Let’s hope this works.”

Chapter Text

Visteron frowned. “But I saw you arrive on the planet in a TARDIS-”

“That one belonged to someone else,” Helen sat beside Liv, “and it was dying. Ours was stolen by a nasty piece of work called the Eleven.”

“Another Time Lord?”

“A mad one,” Liv replied.

“That doesn’t really narrow it down,” Visteron muttered.

Tearing her attention away from the station’s sensors, Liv studied Visteron. “Met a few, have you?”

“Enough.”

“Rasmus seems decent.” Helen looked between them. “I mean, he’s the Doctor’s friend.”

“Yeah,” Liv laughed, “because all his friends we’ve met so far have been completely trustworthy-”

Chapter Text

“Hopefully Visteron and your friend destroyed the probe or-” Rasmus froze as an unearthly screech echoed through the corridors. “By Rassilon, what’s that?”

Helen stepped back. “The Ravenous.” They heard the screech again, followed by the Doctor crying out in pain. Instantly, Helen grabbed a fire-extinguisher-shaped device off the wall and rushed into the control room. Bruised and bloody, the Doctor lay sprawled on the floor. The Ravenous hovered over him, wearing Brallix’s body like an ill-fitting suit as it reached for the Doctor.

“No!”

Surprised, the creature turned and Helen released a stream of white vapor into its face.

Chapter Text

Helen grabbed Liv’s arm. “You sure you want to do this?”

“Go outside and be hunted by psychotic predators? Sounds like a typical day.” Liv met her friend’s worried eyes. “I’ve no choice. The Doctor’s gone, we have to find a way out of here ourselves.”

“I’ll come with you-”

“No,” Liv glanced across the room, “stay with Visteron. She’s terrified. Someone needs to make sure she doesn’t do anything stupid.”

“Or anything else stupid-”

“What?”

Helen shook her head. “I’ll explain later. You’re right, you need to go.” She hugged Liv tightly. “Just make sure you come back, okay?”

Chapter Text

River woke up with a start. Unable to move, she struggled against the metal bands that locked her head, hands, and feet into place. “Wh-Where am I?”

“Sitting in a torture device.” The Nine danced into view and smiled down at her. “The Clocksmith must have gotten it from the Monan Host.” He shook his finger at her. “Naughty, naughty! But lucky for me, because it gives you an incentive to answer my questions.”

River gritted her teeth. “What do you want to know?”

“The names and locations of the Doctor’s companions.”

“Which ones?”

His grin widened. “All of them.”

Chapter Text

“Sorry that took me so long,” Charley pushed open the door of the used bookstore and stepped outside. “I was looking for a copy of Alice in Wonderland to replace the one that got burned up during that whole anti-time thing.” She slipped the parcel into her pocket and looked up. “Oh! I though the Doctor parked the TARDIS further down the street?” She shrugged. “Maybe he got bored and moved her?” She pushed the door open. “Doctor? C’rizz? Have you redecorated while I was shopping?”

The TARDIS dematerialized, revealing an identical TARDIS standing at the end of the lane.

Chapter Text

Liv stalked around her prison cell. The walls were a see-through material, like glass but stronger. She scanned the rest of the room for anything useful. “One built-in bed with a mattress and an attached pillow. One food machine identical to the one in the Doctor’s TARDIS and a small bathroom with a shower and toilet.”

“Is she alright,” Charley asked quietly from the cell across from Helen. “She seems a bit…agitated.”

“Liv just hates being confined.” Helen glanced through the wall dividing their cells. “It’s a useful quality.” They jumped slightly as Liv banged on the walls. “Usually.”

Chapter Text

“Hello ladies!” The Nine waved as he rounded the corner onto corridor eight. “All recovered from the drone’s blast?” He looked at Liv over a pair of imaginary glasses. “Hope we all learned an important lesson today-”

“That you’re a lunatic,” Liv sneered. “Oh wait, we already knew that.”

“Kidnapping more of the Doctor’s friends?” Helen worriedly studied the young woman laying on the trolley he was pushing. “Please tell me she’s not dead.”

“No…well, at least not yet.” He pulled Bliss into cell across from Liv. “But if I don’t get answers I like, she may be soon-”

Chapter Text

Liv surveyed the computer screen, searching for the drone controls “I’m so close!”

“So’s the drone. Ten seconds,” Charley yelled.

“I can do this!”

“Please do!” Helen moved closer. “It’ll kill you.”

Liv whimpered and bit her lip as she traced her hand over the keyboard. Thirty options, she thought, not enough time to try them all.

Charley studied her watch. “Five…four…”

Liv spotted a symbol that looked like two sets of gears exchanging parts. “The symbols represent concepts…”

“Three…two…one!”

Bliss gasped. “It’s spotted you!”

“Now or never.” As the drone powered up, Liv pressed the symbol.

Chapter Text

Helen leaned forward. “What do you mean ‘lights?’”

“Lights in the sky.” Wilhelm lowered his voice. “My brother and I interviewed several villagers this morning who reported seeing them descend from the heavens, followed by a noise from the forest.”

“What kind of noise?”

“As if the sky was falling.” He wiggled his eyebrows and grinned. “It’s just a story. You’d be surprised how many times we’ve heard similar tales.”

“I wouldn’t actually. Could you take me there?”

He looked surprised. “Right now?”

“As I said, I’m a scholar myself,” she stood up, “and there’s no time like the present.”

Chapter Text

“Better?” The Eleven gazed into the magic mirror. “What does that mean?”

“We seek to create a better society,” one of LEGEND’s voices replied, “in which all things function fairly and true.”

He snorted. “You sound like Gallifreyans. Trust me, that never works out how you expect.”

“But it is our mission,” LEGEND’S female voice replied.

“Our purpose.” LEGEND’S male voice continued. “We must succeed.”

“And you’re trying to fulfill your purpose on this backwater planet?” The Eleven laughed. “Why Earth?”

“LEGEND decided it was time.”

“So you lost patience with Marathanga?” He nodded. “Understandable, given what I’ve seen. Continue-”

Chapter Text

“Consume.”

“Process.”

“That’s it.” The Eleven grinned. “You’re a quick study, LEGEND, but then I am an excellent teacher.”

“We are grateful for your guidance. You are a powerful wizard.”

“I am.” He cringed as an alarm blared. “What’s that?”

“Someone is approaching the ship.” The magic mirror shifted to show the Doctor, Liv, and Professor Marathanga just outside the hull.

“Time for me to go, I think.” He tilted his head. “Or perhaps not. LEGEND, could you create an avatar for me outside the ship?”

“To what purpose?”

He laughed. “I want to say hello to an old friend.”

Chapter Text

“Yeah? Well, eat this!” Liv swung her torch at the wolf, forcing it back away from the hatch.

It didn’t go far. The huge creature turned and paced just outside of her reach. “Do you think your minuscule flame will stop me, little human?”

She laughed mirthlessly. “I was right…you do remind me of someone.”

It leered at her. “The stuff of your nightmares?”

“No. A jumped-up Time Lord criminal who thinks his illness makes him superior to everyone else in the universe.” She swung her torch again. “I told the Doctor you couldn’t be trusted, Eleven.”

“Eleven who?”

Chapter Text

Helen and the Doctor half-carried, half-dragged the Eleven to the TARDIS infirmary. “Put him on the bed.” The Doctor glanced behind them. “Liv, get his feet.”

“I don’t see why we’re bothering.” Despite her words, Liv did as he asked. “He’d kill us given half a chance.”

“Because I can’t stand by and watch someone die.” The Doctor grabbed a diagnostic sensor. “Even him.”

“Fine.” She held out her hand. “Let me, I’m the MedTech-”

“Keep that human away from me,” the Eleven groaned.

“See, not dead. Shame that.”

“On second thought,” the Doctor frowned at Liv, “I’ll handle this.”

Chapter Text

Helen gripped the Eleven’s arm. “We seem to be doing this a lot lately.”

“Don’t remind me,” Liv muttered, picking up his legs. “We could just leave him on the grass-”

The Doctor glanced at the robots waiting nearby. “Doubt our new friends would allow that.”

“Hurry.” The robot’s eyes blinked as it spoke. “You. Must. Accompany. Us.”

“Okay…lift.” With a groan they moved the Eleven onto the waiting stretcher.

“What about the other body,” Liv asked as the robots hurried the Eleven away. “How can we carry someone who doesn’t seem to be fully in this reality?”

“Carefully?”

Chapter Text

Liv searched the control room database while surreptitiously keeping an eye on the Abbot. When they’d arrived, he’d seemed calm and eager to help. Now he paced the room, twitching as he stared at her in moody silence. She wondered if she’d offended him somehow.

The database was another mystery. There were all sorts of links and commands listed, but when she followed them they led nowhere. The only entry she could find was the one the Abbot had shown them on the Apocryphal One.

“But that makes no sense,” she whispered, trying the search function again. “What’s going on?”

Chapter Text

The time travelers ran through the caves, struggling to stay ahead of the Ravenous.

“Is there another way out?” Helen paused to catch Liv as she stumbled. “You’ve got the map, right?”

“The one the Abbot gave us?” The Doctor was sweating heavily and his eyes had the same glassy expression they’d seen on Deeptime Frontier. “If he trapped us down here he’d hardly include an escape route.”

“So it’s back to the door he threw me through,” Liv asked.

“Yes, although I doubt it’ll help us much.”

“Maybe,” Helen hurried him ahead, “but we can’t give up...so run!”

Chapter Text

It was just a rumor.

Everywhere he’d been there were rumors about the Time War, but this one worried the Doctor more than most.

“A medical station blown to bits,” said a food vendor. The Doctor moved closer to listen. “On a planet called Reave, it was.”

“Which station was it?” a lady asked.

“Dunno. Heard it was named after the controller’s home planet-”

The Doctor felt his hearts skip a beat. He knew a ship that fit that description.

Before he could overhear anything else, he ran to his TARDIS. He needed to find Nyssa and the Traken immediately.

Chapter Text

Locating the Traken wasn’t difficult, he just followed the Time War’s carnage. Soon he was pushing through crowds of people waiting for medical care, trying to reach the ship. Suddenly there was Nyssa, looking just as she had when they’d said goodbye several regenerations ago.

“Controller Nyssa?”

“Yes?” She smiled politely but without any sign of recognition.

Meanwhile the Doctor was awash in memories. Terminus. Tegan. Adric. Everything about the doomed planet Traken - Nyssa’s father, the Melkur, the Master, the Fosters…

Nyssa was still looking at him and the silence was becoming awkward.

“I’m…Doctor Foster,” he said at last.

Chapter Text

He pressed the communicator button. “Reporting in.”

“Obviously. Get on with it.”

“He’s here.”

“I thought as much. Has he been intercepting the hypercubes?”

“It appears so, although the most recent one seems to have gotten through.”

“Yes, we’re getting her message now.” There was a pause. “Excellent! His granddaughter will be joining us.”

“Do you think that will convince the Doctor to do the same?”

“Perhaps, but Susan was our primary target here.”

“Do you want me to follow him?”

“Why bother? Come back to Gallifrey, Mr. DeAlo. I have work for you.”

Idrees smiled. “Yes ma’am, Cardinal Ollistra.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor stood on the bridge of the Dalek time ship desperately trying to learn its controls. If he couldn’t figure out how to fly this thing quickly then Bliss, the Maguires, Jefferson, and the others would die. But something at the back of his mind kept bothering him. Someone was missing. Her name was Sheena…or was it Emma, or Louise? They’d landed on the Theseus for a well-deserved holiday...

No wait…hadn’t she died trying to save refugees on the planet? The Doctor shook his head in frustration. His memory was becoming another victim of the Time War.