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Nobody can live with that burden

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“What is he waiting for?” Grumbled the Brigadier.

The girl next to him didn’t reply. She was staring at the Doctor. He was standing in front of a door, a wire in each hand, apparently lost in his thoughts. She knew exactly what was going on with him. Once he connected the wires, the resulting explosion would wipe out the entire Dalek race for good. They wouldn’t exist anymore; they wouldn’t bring death, chaos and destruction anymore. The universe would be safe from them.

The safety of the universe was one thing. Destroying an entire race was another.

“Inner conflict,” she said casually.

“What?” Her companion asked.

“He isn’t sure it’s alright to wipe them out anymore.”

Alistair Lethbrige-Stewart was not a patient man, especially not when he was so close to succeed in what he considered to be a vital mission.

“I’ve never seen him like this before,” she added.

She was worried, which was not a good thing. The Brigadier focused on the Doctor. The little man didn’t look well at all. It was too much for him. Lethbridge-Stewart knew before the Time Lord that the mission would fail. He wouldn’t connect the wires; he wouldn’t find the strength to do it. He turned towards Ace and noted the expression of concern on her features. It was up to him to take things under control.

“I know what we are going to do. We need to get him out of this,” he said with authority.

“I knew it!” Shouted Ace.

The Doctor startled and realised that his companion was standing in front of him. She looked angry and he wondered what he had done this time. It was only when she snatched the wires from his hands that he understood.

“It’s our chance to save the universe, to destroy them! They harmed so many people, they deserve to die!”

The Time Lord looked shocked but she wasn’t finished just yet.

“How many times did you encounter them? How many times did you stop them? Don’t you get tired of it? One day, they will kill you for good and what will we do? Nothing! Because we don’t stand a chance against them! If you’re not here anymore, we are as good as dead!”

Ace saw the Doctor shiver. She took a step back.

“If you can’t do it, I surely can!” She screamed.

Before she knew it, he had taken the wires away and thrown them behind him. He walked towards her and she backed off.

“I can’t let you do that. It’s not your decision to make…” He said gently.

“Yeah? I met them too, remember? I have a score to settle!”

“Not like this…”

There was pain in his eyes and she did her best to ignore it.

“You would have to live with that decision for the rest of our life. Can you imagine what it would be like? Thinking about what you have done and wondering if it was the right decision?” Insisted the Time Lord.

“It is the right decision!”

The Doctor shook his head. Suddenly, he looked as old as he really was.

“It’s a burden I can’t allow you to carry. I have a responsibility towards you.”

“Still, I’m allowed to make my own decisions!” Ace replied fiercely.

“Nobody can live with that burden.”

“I can,” said a quiet voice behind them.

The Time Lord turned and looked horrified as he understood that he had been tricked by his friends. The Brigadier was holding the wires, ready to connect them together.

“It comes with the whole military package,” he said matter of factly.

“No!”

“Oh, come on, Doctor. I’m the obvious choice to carry out that mission,” smiled the soldier.

The alien was about to rush towards him to stop him, but Ace had already anticipated his move. She hugged him from behind, effectively restraining him.

“No!” Screamed the Doctor again while struggling to get free.

Alistair Lethbrige-Stewart connected the wires.