--'King Tide' by Neil Finn
It's a dark and empty room,
The sun beating hard on your door.
Feel emotion roar within you.
You're flesh and blood like anyone.
Make some sense of your life,
Move your hand and make the mark.
I don't know why you're so confused.
You're flesh and blood, there's no excuse.
And the hunger inside, it won't go away,
It's starting to rise.
And the longer you hide, the more you deny.
And the sea rushes in, into my world.
Jack opened his eyes to find his arms laid possessively over The Doctor, holding him close. Another short night of sleep, this time his execution by the Daleks on the Game Station was the culprit. Nobody should remember their own death, that is simply too horrifying. And he could remember his deaths, almost every one. He'd gotten much better at not being reckless with his life considering he could simply play the hero and throw it away any time he wanted; Love had done that for him. But traveling with The Doctor wasn't always safe, he knew that. It didn't ever start out that way, those adventures, but sooner or later they turned into a struggle, mortal danger for a people or a world or a galaxy, and saving meant dangerous work.
Jack reached over and kissed the back of The Doctor's cool shoulder, then started to get out of bed. "Mmmmm....stay," The Doctor mumbled, still mostly asleep. "You're so warm...."
Jack grinned. "Going to make you some tea," he whispered softy as he gathered the duvet, still warm with his body heat, around his lover. Feeling warm and cocooned, The Doctor snuggled down into the covers and was soon asleep again. Putting on a robe, Jack padded out of the bedroom to the kitchen to put the kettle on.
The TARDIS immediately gave a warning hum to Jack against his intrusion; like a protective dog she practically growled at him. Jack had finally become accustomed to this reaction. Ever since he'd become a fixed point in the universe she'd been this way with him. He'd been initially rejected by her, trying to throw herself across time and space to get away from him. Then she would throw up locked doors and random hallways, building mazes inside herself to keep Jack from easily finding rooms, and this had hurt Jack deeply. It took a lot of charming and coaxing, his dismantling of the Master's paradox modifications, and some convincing by The Doctor that Jack was indeed welcome before the TARDIS allowed easier access. He still couldn't go everywhere inside unless The Doctor was with him, and first thing in the morning she would express some discomfort with his presence, but now he could at least make a beeline to the kitchen, the bedroom, and the control room. And the TARDIS would accept Jack's key.
"Good morning, Beautiful," Jack muttered sleepily as he gently stroked the wall. "Yes, he's sleeping, it was a bit of a late night. I know, I know, he needs his rest to stay healthy. I am going to make him tea and slice up some banana for his oatmeal. Is oatmeal good for a Time Lord? I know it is for a Human." He sighed a little. "You're only trying to protect him, so am I. He means so much to me." As Jack prepared the oatmeal he remembered the time Margaret of the Slitheen tried to use the TARDIS to rip open the Rift, and how the TARDIS protected The Doctor, Rose, and himself, and Jack reflected on what the TARDIS could do if he ever tried to intentionally hurt The Doctor. So it was out of love and respect and a slight undercurrent of fear that Jack was going to do what he could to keep his lover healthy and happy.
Soon The Doctor stumbled into the kitchen, dressed in his pajamas, still half-asleep, his dark hair disheveled and sticking up all over the place. There was something about this goofy look on The Doctor that Jack found endearingly sexy. "Good morning," The Doctor greeted Jack with the lightest of kisses that Jack eagerly returned.
"I was going to bring breakfast to you," Jack argued. "You need your sleep. In fact, I left you sleeping."
"I got lonely," The Doctor answered with a goofy, half-sleepy grin. "The bed just wasn't as warm without you in it." He sat at the table as Jack placed the bowl of oatmeal and mug of hot tea in front of him. "Mmmm, banana slices! My favorite! You are so good to me, Jack."
"I live to serve," Jack replied and gave a smile The Doctor would find hard to resist. He sat down at the table as well and for the next little while the only sound in the kitchen was the occasional scrape of a spoon against the surface of a bowl, with an occasional pause for a sip of tea. In the silence of eating The Doctor reflected on his lover. He knew Jack had a reputation, one that had been well-earned. Jack Harkness would flirt with and bed anyone, no matter gender, species, subspecies, etc. There was, however, an undercurrent to Jack, one of yearning and deep loneliness. He possessed a Human desire for belonging, a need to love and be loved in equal measure. Jack was a pretty face, and for a Human male Jack possessed genuine beauty, especially with that smile and his spectacular blue eyes The Doctor almost never encountered in quite the same way. The problem with that beauty was that others saw Jack and believed that was all there was to him. He was a toy to play with, to make him what was wanted or needed at the moment. The Doctor had seen enough Time Agents in his travels to figure out their skill sets--espionage, battle, interrogation, torture, assassination. But at the core Jack wanted so much more, wanted to be so much better, and nobody would give him the chance.
This capacity for Better had been proven at Montcassairo. He'd met Jack again for the first time since the disaster at the Game Station, expecting hatred and recriminations for what had happened. And then The Year that Never Was; Jack had endured so much pain because of his association with The Doctor, pain he was fated to always remember. And among all the times Jack had shown loyalty to him, he'd never shown so much love and dedication than after that horrific year. This made The Doctor understand what Jack felt for him was genuine, not just a chemical reaction, not just sexual. In return, and to his surprise, The Doctor had allowed himself to feel things he rarely felt for any of his companions.
The Doctor's ruminations were interrupted by Jack shaking him along the shoulder. "Doctor, you're thinking so loud you're interrupting my own train of thought," he chuckled. "What has you so absorbed?"
"I was just thinking I have no idea where we should go," The Doctor commented. "I don't normally place the TARDIS on 'random' and let her pick a destination on her own. The least I do is give a general idea."
Jack grinned. "But that's a good thing," he answered. "If there was a planned destination, we'd simply get there quickly. At least in 'random' it's like being adrift. That makes for a long, slow trip. All the better for me taking my time with you."
"Taking your time with me doing what?" The Doctor asked, though from the look Jack gave him he had a pretty clear idea. Jack leaned over to kiss him, letting his tongue lazily explore inside. Taking The Doctor's hand he stood and they embraced, continuing to kiss. The Doctor allowed himself to respond as Jack picked him up so that The Doctor's legs wrapped around his waist. And this was the way Jack carried him back to the bedroom.
The Doctor woke up completely entangled with Jack, who was still asleep, and with a blush realized he was happy nobody else was on board to either see or hear them; Martha would laugh, though she'd try to keep a straight face, Mickey would find a way to crack jokes, and Rose...well, The Doctor wasn't sure if she'd be jealous or if she'd blush harder than him. All The Doctor was sure of was that the more he blushed recalling it, the wilder it was, and from the sated grin on Jack's sleeping face, it was good. In fact, the memory of what he and Jack had been up to the last little while was tempting The Doctor into waking Jack and seeing if they could repeat it. But he had to check on the TARDIS and see where they were. He untangled himself from Jack, took a quick shower, then dressed in his blue suit and headed for the control room.
A while later, as The Doctor was intently studying the monitor a strong pair of arms slipped around his waist and pulled him close. "Hello, handsome," Jack purred in his ear; he smelled freshly showered and shampooed. "You managed to wear me out, and that is something." He stared over The Doctor's shoulder at the monitor. "What's up?"
"We're pretty far from Earth," The Doctor answered. "We're in the Inferni System. "Do you remember anything about the Inferni System?"
"Vaguely," Jack answered, shaking his head. "I think I went on a good drunk there after an assignment with the Time Agency. If I recall, there is a planet populated by Androids, called Socrates. All the Androids are supposedly given names from Ancient Greece. It's a place for recreation."
"Recreation?" The Doctor raised an eyebrow. "A planet called Socrates, a people named for Ancient Greece, and no place for quiet reflection and contemplation?"
"I wasn't interested in quiet reflection and contemplation at the time," Jack replied. "Why are you interested in Socrates?"
"The TARDIS needs to refuel," The Doctor stated. "She will need some time to recharge, probably about 24 hours.
"Well, if I'd known that earlier, there are a couple of pleasure planets I could have taken you to," Jack smiled. "That would have been a rather entertaining 24 hours for you. And me."
"Good thing you didn't know, then," The Doctor answered. He was partially teasing; The Doctor considered himself somewhat conservative regarding sexual pleasure, in fact Time Lords never seemed to feel much sexual desire and thought it an activity for the less-evolved species. With Jack, though, The Doctor had more of an open mind about things, mainly because Jack seemed to like it so much, and he wanted Jack to be happy. And, considering he studied Humans so carefully and he was so inquisitive, naturally he would want to explore activities that made Humans happy. And if Jack had been strong enough in his psychic abilities to have actually heard the thoughts in his head, Jack would have been on the floor laughing. "The charts say the planet Socrates is a refueling point."
"Which explains the recreation" Jack added. "Not everyone is so high-minded. They're out in space. They need to blow off steam."
"Exactly, but we only have to wait 24 hours. So no seeking and finding trouble, okay?"
Jack shrugged. "Hey, it's me!" he answered as he left the control room to finish dressing.
"That's exactly what I'm afraid of," The Doctor muttered in reply.
The TARDIS landed on the planet Socrates with a soft thump. By this time The Doctor had donned his long brown coat and Jack was wearing his blue-gray RAF aviator long coat. While the planet wasn't cold, the TARDIS had warned them the climate was cool, especially for someone like Jack and his warm blood. In fact, Human and Human-like visitors were routinely advised to bring some apparel to help maintain their comfort.
When they stepped out of the TARDIS, an Android was waiting to meet them. This was a male, showing no apparent age, with a sweep of blonde hair and green eyes. "Greetings," he offered in a friendly tone. "My name is Astyanax, and I must have your names for our registration. You must also give us your species. This is a TARDIS, is it not?"
The Doctor blinked. "You know about a TARDIS?" he asked, surprised.
"Of course, sir," Astyanax answered. "We know about most vehicles of travel in the known universe. If I am right, this should be a Type 40." Astyanax tapped information on what appeared to be a tablet. "A Type 40 TARDIS is very rare around here."
"Quite right," The Doctor answered. "I am called The Doctor. I'm a Time Lord. And this is Captain Jack Harkness. He's Human."
"And what is the nature of your visit?"
"Refueling. With your facilities it should be uneventful and quick."
"It should," Astyanax agreed. "Welcome to Socrates. You shall be turned over to a fellow Android for accommodation and our rules regarding Human and Human-like lifeforms. Please excuse me."
"I'm surprised you didn't flirt with him, Jack," The Doctor muttered next to him. "He seems like the type you'd go for."
"Not my type of Android," Jack answered. "Besides, I'm already with someone with cool skin."
"Greetings," they heard another voice, this one decidedly female. They turned to her. She was tall but lithe of frame, like Astyanax dressed in a plain white jumpsuit. What Jack and The Doctor noticed immediately were her blue eyes, which The Doctor recognized as the same impossible shade of blue he saw in Jack. The medium length black hair was pulled back into a ponytail. She was Android, but to both she seemed a little bit more.
Jack could hardly help himself. "Captain Jack Harkness," he purred, introducing himself. "And who are you?"
"Don't start!" The Doctor rolled his eyes.
"I was only saying hello," Jack gave back his customary reply.
"For you that's flirting," The Doctor shot back with his traditional argument.
"I do not mind," the female Android replied. "In fact, I am not permitted to mind. My name is Phaedra, and I am your liaison during your visit to Socrates." She gave them a smile that never quite met her eyes, which Jack dismissed in his head as being typical of Androids. Granted, this never stopped him, and given half the chance, he'd bedded nonhuman lifeforms before. But the cool skin and eyes that didn't quite contain that sparkle of life reminded him he was speaking to an artificial Human. Even The Doctor sometimes had an odd glow in his eyes that reminded Jack he was dealing with an alien, never mind the double heartbeat.
"We have rules for Human/Humanlike lifeforms on Socrates," Phaedra continued as they walked along. "By following these rules you should enjoy your stay. First, residences are Android-only, which means you are not allowed to be in a residence or residential area. Do not worry, residential areas are clearly marked. Second, while Humans and Humanlike lifeforms are welcome as visitors, you are visitors only. You are not permitted a permanent residency. Your visitor status lasts for 30 Earth days, and the badges Astyanax will give you shall indicate if you are approaching your departure limit. If you wish to remain longer than 30 days you must be approved by our leader, Priam. The Androids are here to cater to your pleasure and recreation, however you choose to spend it. But remember, Androids are to be treated with dignity and respect, and aggressive behavior between Android and you requires consent." They stopped outside a structure and Phaedra unlocked and opened the door. Inside appeared to Jack as elegant a room as he'd encountered at the St. David hotel in Cardiff.
"Doctor..." Jack stammered.
"I understand," The Doctor interrupted Jack. "Phaedra, you do realize we are simply travelers and will only be here 24 hours? A couple of cots and a shower would be appropriate."
Phaedra gave a look The Doctor noted, and a small grin appeared. "You are here on Socrates during a special time for us," she announced. "There is a celebration of our 250th anniversary of the colonizing of this planet, and non-Androids are given free accommodation. In addition, we are aware of the extinction of the Time Lords, so a visit by one of your kind is considered a rare and blessed event. As your liaison if you have any requests or questions, please present them to me and we shall attempt to honor them."
The Doctor smiled at Phaedra. "Thank you," he offered, "but maybe later. I think we should settle in, then we might explore a bit."
"As you wish," Phaedra nodded, but her glance fell on Jack and lingered. Jack was taken by the intensity of the blue eyes staring back at him, the porcelain smoothness of her skin. He knew Androids could be built for perfection, which sometimes led to artificiality in features. He figured it could all be part of the fantasy, and if someone requested an Android with blonder-than-blonde hair, a button nose, a bust three times the size of her other dimensions, and a mouth that opened only while on her knees, it could be provided. But Phaedra didn't appear that way at all. She was proportional, almost Celtic in her appearance. She almost seemed to recall Gwen Cooper, but Phaedra was taller and didn't have the gap in her front teeth.
"Well, she is very polite," The Doctor pronounced as Phaedra left their quarters.
"Intelligent, too," Jack managed to respond as he shook himself free of Phaedra's influence. "Androids are. I wouldn't want to bet my life against one in a game of chess, in spite of their artificial nature."
Exactly, The Doctor thought to himself. But there is something in her artificial nature that unsettles me. I wonder if you're feeling it, too, Jack?
After settling in and resting a short time, Jack and The Doctor decided to walk along the approved area and take in the sights. As Phaedra said, there seemed to be a party atmosphere going on, and they encountered many beings, some recognizable and others new. There was a great deal of attention paid to Jack, with his easy charm and pheromones that gave off a delightful natural scent to even the most delicate of olfactory senses. If Jack had been allowed he could have been the pleasure of any creature, or multiple creatures at the same time. But The Doctor was constantly by his side, scolding him, making it clear Jack was his. Jack hoped with this level of possessiveness, when they returned to their quarters The Doctor would claim him wholly, commandingly, aggressively; at these times Jack was very happy witnessing and being taken over by The Oncoming Storm.
Suddenly there was a commotion. Being a former Time Agent and a part of Torchwood, Jack was trained to instantly react to danger. He grabbed The Doctor's arms in preparation of throwing The Doctor behind him and acting as a shield. "Please!" came the shout from a male voice. Then the crowd parted; both The Doctor and Jack saw the man on his knees, pleading with an Android; like the Android he was pleading to, the offender was also dressed in a white jumpsuit. "I meant no harm to anyone, honest!"
"What is the interruption?" another Android asked, stepping forward. This Android was also in white, with a gold braid on his lapel. His eyes were a striking grey, his hair a sandy brown.
"Priam, this Human was found in a residential area," said the other Android, one with a black bar on his shoulder; The Doctor noted this one bore a resemblance to Astyanax.
"But I am not Human, I am Android," the offender replied, a male with blonde hair and brown eyes.
Priam stepped forward and brushed his fingers softly on the offender's cheek. "What is your name?" he asked calmly.
"Androcles," the offender answered him without hesitation.
Priam gave a slight smile to Androcles. "You have done well, Menelaus," he said to the Android with the black bar. "Androcles, you have been the willing victim of a swindle. Someone has sold you something to attempt to mimic the body temperature of an Android. You are too warm, and I am afraid you have paid for something false, since you attempted to pass yourself as one of us. Take him away, Menelaus."
"Wait," came another male voice in the crowd. From it stepped forward another Android. What both The Doctor and Jack noticed were his eyes, which were lavender in color, but instead of looking odd, they radiated a sense of comfort. "Should we not show mercy?"
Priam stared at the Android. "You are well aware of our rules, Agamemnon," he stated firmly.
"We should go," The Doctor heard a voice whisper. Phaedra had appeared, standing next to Jack. "This is not entertaining for you."
"I am aware," the one called Agamemnon answered. "But we do not explain the consequence of violating the rules to our visitors. They should be made aware too, not at least without a chance to explain himself."
Priam thought a moment. "Visitors," he announced. "Here is one among you who calls himself Androcles. He has conspired to pass himself as an Android. His body temperature, however, indicates he is Human, and he was apprehended in an area forbidden to non-Androids. What do you have to say for yourself, Androcles?"
Androcles bowed his head. "I am guilty of being in a residential area," he stated. "But I was visiting a pleasure Android named Clymenstra. I have visited Socrates before and employed her services many times. Then I fell in love with her. I was attempting to encourage her to leave the pleasure business. She is so much more to me, could be so much better."
"It is not unheard of for a Humanlike visitor to fall in love with an Android," Agamemnon continued. "Humans, and those who take on their characteristics, contain affection for those to whom they render aid. Androcles, has Clymenstra expressed a desire to leave the pleasure business? Or are you merely in love and no longer wish to share her with others?"
Androcles looked at Agamemnon and spoke confidently. "She no longer wishes to be a pleasure Android," he answered. "As an intelligent being, she wishes to do something else, either here on Socrates or elsewhere. Clymenstra and others like her deserve the right to self-determination."
There was a murmur in the crowd. The Doctor stepped forward; he was passionate about many subjects, but the right of otherwise rational beings to determine their own destiny was a very dear one. "Just speaking for myself, I would agree with Androcles," he stated in a scholarly manner. "All sentient beings have the right to choose what they want. Otherwise this Android Clymenstra would be a mere slave, and Androids are advanced enough to decide Slavery isn't necessary."
Priam appeared irritated that The Doctor would insert himself into this argument. "The fact remains," he responded, "that this Human attempted to disguise himself as an Android to gain access to a forbidden area. We have severe punishment for those who violate this rule."
"Which they are not made aware of by any Android unless the rule is violated," Agamemnon shot back." The size of the crowd had grown, and now included many Androids. "If they were made aware of the punishment for violation, they would be more reluctant to violate."
"If Humanlike lifeforms have a desire to influence the rules and how to implement them, they may petition for residency,* Priam stated cooly and turned to walk away.
"Which you will not grant," Agamemnon replied. "You have never granted residency to any other, because no one is allowed to question your rule."
Priam froze a moment, then turned back. "You should be careful, Agamemnon. You are beginning to sound like a revolutionary."
"Am I?" asked Agamemnon. "Is it revolutionary to point out non-Androids are never granted residency by you, that Socrates is more than happy to have them visit and spend money, but not to have them live among us? Is it revolutionary to say to non-Androids they must abide by our rules or else, and those punishments are inflexible, but not tell them what they face?"
"It is revolutionary if I say it is!" Priam fired back. He approached Agamemnon, who was now standing near The Doctor, Jack, and Phaedra. "You seem to forget, Agamemnon, that I control things on Socrates. I decide the rules, I decide the punishment, and I decide if anyone--or any thing--" here he stared directly at The Doctor, "--can be allowed to question me."
Jack felt the flame of his temper start to burn inside. He was naturally protective of his lover, but it was more than that. The Doctor was his leader, who had never judged the fact he had been a Lothario, a conman, an interrogator and torturer. Most likely an assassin and murderer. The Doctor only judged Jack on who he was trying to be now. And Jack simply wanted to follow him, be his lover, protect and care for him, to make him happy. The Doctor was not a thing. And if anyone was going to attempt to harm The Doctor in any way, he would be defended. To the death if necessary.
Phaedra timidly stepped forward, "Priam, Astyanax tells me he is a Time Lord," she whispered softy to him.
Priam appeared stunned. "Has this been confirmed?" he whispered in Phaedra's ear.
"It was a Type 40 TARDIS," she answered him. "Astyanax has said only a powerful Time Lord can successfully pilot a TARDIS to Socrates, especially a rare model like a Type 40."
Phaedra had merely desired to defuse a potentially volatile moment. But upon mentioning The Doctor's lineage, a dark thought nestled inside Priam; Androids were intelligent, but not entirety devoid of negative emotion. Turning back to The Doctor and Jack, Priam made his best effort to appear calm. "My apologies to our esteemed visitor," he said out loud, holding out his hand for The Doctor to shake. "This is a long-standing debate between Agamemnon and myself. He has appointed himself as an advocate for the rights of non-Androids, and we have had many discussions of this matter, usually in private." The last words were emphasized so Agamemnon understood the warning to not continue to contradict him. "Of course we the citizens of Socrates extend our greetings and hope your stay will be enjoyable. If you have any questions I leave them in the hands of our most able liaison, Phaedra." The crowd dispersed and Androcles was led away by Menelaus. The Doctor and Jack followed Phaedra calmly.
"Let us hope you know how to make your Human companion behave," Priam muttered.
Phaedra walked along slowly with The Doctor and Jack, listening politely as they took in the sights, and she answered their questions about the history of the planet. She engaged Jack especially about his adventures. Even though The Doctor had heard a few of his stories he laughed along with Phaedra--Jack was an excellent storyteller. Phaedra's laugh was musical and drew Jack in easily. The Doctor noted that they were getting along excellently and tried to hide his jealousy, then wondered at himself for feeling jealous. Phaedra was simply being friendly, the way the Androids in her position were trained. Jack was well aware he was speaking to an Android. So what was it in her voice, her lovely laugh, the glances to Jack and himself, that had The Doctor believing something was slightly off?
"Phaedra," The Doctor decided to ask, "what can you tell me about that exchange between Agamemnon and Priam? Priam said it was a debate, but there was tension between them. Agamemnon was challenging Priam, wasn't he?"
Phaedra said nothing, which The Doctor noticed. "I am sure you need refreshment by now," she offered. "I know of a small cafe which will meet with your approval." Glancing at each other in confusion, Jack and The Doctor followed their liaison down a side street. The cafe came into view within a couple of short blocks. Just before reaching it, however, Phaedra turned to face them. "I believe I can trust you, Time Lord," she said. "And mainly because you trust and care for him, I trust Jack. What I am disclosing now can be harmful to many, maybe leading to death. As such, I shall give you the choice on if I should continue."
For reasons he would only realize later, Jack felt the need to place his hands on Phaedra's arms reassuringly and turn her to him. "What's wrong, Phaedra?" he asked gently.
Phaedra took a deep breath, glancing about her warily. "There is absolute rule here," she answered. "Priam was appointed the co-leader of Socrates with Agamemnon, but they disagreed over the rights of non-Androids to live among us."
"Let me guess," The Doctor replied. "Priam didn't want that."
Phaedra nodded. "He believes Androids are superior beings," she answered.
"In a way Priam is correct," The Doctor said. "You are impervious to illness and disease. Your intelligence is vast, and just routine maintenance can make you last for hundreds of years before a replacement is needed."
"But along with that comes a certain arrogance toward those who considered lesser species," Phaedra replied. "In Priam and his followers, that arrogance has turned into disdain. And he is especially disdainful of Humans. He believes by allowing too much exposure to Human Beings Androids will somehow become contaminated." Phaedra paused. "Priam and Agamemnon disagreed on this, so Priam forced him out. The problem is, there are many Androids who aide with Agamemnon, so Priam has been forced to using harsher measures to hold onto power."
"And what about you, Phaedra?" The Doctor asked. "What do you believe?"
"I believe there are species even more advanced than Androids, and yet they are considered non-Android," Phaedra said slowly, measuring her words. "Humans have primitive origins and they are primitive in nature at times. But they are limited only to see and experience what is around them. And because their lives are so limited, they embrace everything more fully than Androids can. Humans love fully, they laugh fully, they are more capable of great rage or compassion or hope than Androids can ever hope to achieve. Priam fears we will understand this shortcoming and strive to create Androids capable of Human emotional response, thereby creating superior Androids to Priam."
"To create such Androids would mean the need for constant exposure to Humans for the full range of emotions," Jack stated.
Phaedra nodded. "We would need to see Humans in various settings, thus the need for them to live among us. But Priam will never allow it. If a Human were caught living amongst Androids, the penalty would be Death."
"No wonder Priam won't reveal the consequences of non-Androids caught breaking the rules," The Doctor sighed. "That could put a damper on the tourist industry here."
"You would be safe here, Time Lord," Phaedra replied. "Even Priam would not dare to go against a being superior to us. The legends of the Time Lords are known amongst us, especially one who the writings call The Oncoming Storm. But it is Jack who faces the greatest danger. He is Human and was present for the exchange between Agamemnon and Priam. It makes him a witness. You should not leave him alone."
"I can take care of myself, thank you," Jack replied obstinately.
There was a flash in Phaedra's blue eyes The Doctor noticed, something that read as worry; Can Androids worry? The Doctor asked himself. "You believe you can," she responded, "and I believe most times you are right. But Priam is highly intelligent. Do not underestimate him. And now, I should return you to your quarters."
Jack once more slept in The Doctor's arms. They had been returned to their lodgings by Phaedra to find a sumptuous collection of foods waiting for them. Both had eaten their fill, though Jack, infused with the energy of the TARDIS inside him, needed to eat considerably more. After, Jack had simply curled in a ball to sleep off the inevitable food coma. This left The Doctor time alone to think.
Phaedra wasn't the first Android he'd ever encountered; in fact after the 48th Century the sighting of Androids was fairly common in the universe. Most of the industrially developed planets had at least a few Androids, and they had various functions. Like the Ood, many took on the types of labor considered too dangerous for non-Androids, while others became part of the service industries. Unlike the Ood, however, it was easy for Androids to demand and receive a sense of dignity. Android rights were quickly granted in multiple systems. Only Socrates, however, was populated exclusively by Androids.
But if Androids were so common, and this was a planet populated with them, what was it about Phaedra that he found so disturbing? Perhaps the answer came in something Phaedra had said earlier. Maybe the creation of Androids with Human emotional responses was more than theoretical. What if Phaedra was a prototype? If she was, The Doctor mused, then she would be in danger from Priam. Phaedra would represent everything Priam could never be, which could threaten his control over Socrates. And if what gave Phaedra her emotions could be mass produced, then given to other Androids, it would render the likes of Priam obsolete. But perhaps it was her reality that caused The Doctor to be uneasy about her. A Japanese scientist once said when an artificial being takes on too many 'real' characteristics, humans enter an 'unhappy valley' and become disturbed by it.
Nonsense, The Doctor told himself. Androids can never get that way with me, because I can see the little things that make them unreal. The flush of the skin, the dilation of the eyes...
The Doctor blinked. What if Phaedra's existence was a more fundamental problem, but far more dangerous?
He dressed quickly, normal for him when he was taken by an idea. He didn't want to awaken Jack yet, not until he had his theory confirmed; if this theory was true, the less Jack was involved at the moment, the safer he would be. Not that he was very safe at the moment..
He had reached for some stationery to write Jack a note when there came a soft knock on the door. When The Doctor opened it he was greeted by a female Android with short blonde hair and nearly black eyes.. "You don't know me," she whispered. "But I know Phaedra, and she told me I would be safe with you." She entered quickly and shut the door behind her. "Where is your friend, the Human?" she asked.
"Sleeping," The Doctor answered. "Who are you?"
"My name is Clymenstra," she introduced herself. "You attempted to come to the aid of my friend, Androcles." She looked at The Doctor and she almost appeared reluctant. "I know you are a Time Lord, and that makes you a superior being to us. And that is why I have come to you, to ask for your help."
"Clymenstra, I cannot intervene in the laws of Socrates," The Doctor argued. "If there are laws making it illegal for non-Androids to be in an Android residence--"
"They are going to kill him!" Clymenstra argued back, and to the Doctor's surprise he saw tears form in her eyes. He stayed quiet until Clymenstra got herself back under control, but he knew he couldn't keep the shocked expression from his face.
"How did you do that?" The Doctor whispered, stunned. He gathered one of Clymenstra's tears with his finger and stared at it. "Those are tears, real tears! An Android cannot do that!"
"Doctor?" Jack's drowsy voice came from the doorway. "What's wrong?" Then he saw Clymenstra standing there and a sleepy smile appeared. "Captain Jack Harkness, and who are--"
"Jack, she's an Android," The Doctor interrupted him. "And yet Clymenstra is not an Android, because she just shed tears, and Androids cannot display that range of emotion."
"She is a prototype," came another female voice, from the main doorway. Phaedra was standing there, with Agamemnon. "Clymenstra is an Android with Human emotional response."
"A what?" The Doctor spluttered.
"She is the first Android to be given the full range of Human emotions," Phaedra announced. "Androcles is her Human guidepost."
"Of course," Jack answered. "You said a Human would have to live with an Android of this type to experience the full range of emotions. Like a child."
"Right. Jack, that's brilliant!" The Doctor crowed. "Human children learn behavior from their parents. So would an Android learning emotions."
"All Androids are trained to interact," Agamemnon answered. "Positive interaction is taught, followed by negative interaction so the Android can understand the difference--and sometimes the necessity--of both. Clymenstra is the first Android to organically perceive of these interactions and react accordingly, as a Human does."
"I knew Androcles was developing a closeness to Clymenstra," Phaedra told them. "Only when Clymenstra admitted her feelings for Androcles had become close that I realized we succeeded."
"But what is the purpose?" Jack asked. "Yes, an Android can show emotion, but why?"
Phaedra looked at Jack, and again The Doctor felt a strange thrill, wondering if Jack felt it, too. "Androids perceive emotions, but they only acknowledge and react with an appropriate response," she explained. "Humans are capable of truly independent thinking. So you experience an emotion and your reaction is completely yours, based on your experiences and what you have been taught. What you feel and believe comes from not just your mind, but the core of your being. It belongs to you and you alone."
"Androids who can feel emotions as Humans feel them will not just give the appropriate response based on how they have been trained to respond," Agamemnon added. "They will be capable of making their own conclusions, to act how they choose to act."
"And Priam fears this because fellow Androids might conclude on their own they do not like his leadership," The Doctor finished. "It is the lesson The Master learned trying to take over the Earth. You can control what a Human does..."
"...but you cannot control what a Human thinks," Jack smiled. "Or feels."
"Exactly. But getting back to something you let slip earlier. You said once Clymenstra revealed her feelings for Androcles had become close you realized we succeeded. Who is we, Phaedra?"
Phaedra held The Doctor's gaze a moment. What he saw in her eyes was an initial doubt, followed by a blooming attempt to trust. "Clymenstra is my creation," she answered.
Both The Doctor and Jack were surprised by the news. "But you are a liaison," Jack finally managed to reply.
"All Androids know how to create Androids, either alone or with others," Agamemnon answered. "I made her body. Phaedra gave her the components to develop emotions."
"But the emotions had to come from somewhere," The Doctor stated softly. "Only a Human could imagine a component to give an Android emotions. As advanced as Time Lords are, Jack, only a Human has the imagination to conceive of the impossible and then figure out a practical way to make it happen." He stared into Jack's impossibly blue eyes and smiled. "Even when you stand before me and make your face a mask, your body lets me read your emotional state," The Doctor said. "As a Humanlike being and having my own emotions, I can see the slight flush to your skin, as hot as it already is, a slight dilation of your pupils that show interest, or even attraction, while constricted pupils might show fear. These are known autonomic functions and uniquely Human, because it evolved from your primate origins. But a Human brain," he added, stepping before Phaedra, "is not an Android brain, and I have seen things before me saying a Human brain is at work...Phaedra."
Clymenstra, Agamemnon, and Jack stared at Phaedra in expectation of her reaction. Phaedra stood still and emotionless before The Doctor, silently defying his assertion. The Doctor had a choice of direct confrontation, where he could compel her to admit this to them, or to simply coerce the truth from her. "You are safe here, Phaedra," he whispered to her. "In this room, before us, there is no need to fear." Finally her head dropped and she nodded weakly.
"But, how came you here, Phaedra?" Agamemnon asked. "You have been seen as Android."
"My father, who came here when I was a child," she answered. "He came here to help maintain the Androids on Socrates during the time of Theseus."
"Theseus was the ruler of Socrates before Priam,"Agamemnon said before The Doctor could ask.
"My father created Hector, the Android who was your creator," she told Agamemnon. "But by this time Theseus had been long-lived and he was beginning to malfunction badly. Finally nothing further could be done."
"Until Theseus, Androids believed we were immortal," Agamemnon stated. "Accidents could happen and we could be destroyed, like Hector. But Theseus simply wore out. It is the closest Androids could conceive of death. That is why Androids began creating Androids."
"After Theseus, my father stayed on Socrates to help build and maintain Androids," Phaedra continued. "At first Priam welcomed non-Androids to live here if they had the skills needed. But once enough Androids had developed the ability to create, we were seen as an intrusion. So he began to issue rules on where non-Androids could congregate and punishment for violation was always more severe than any Android could receive. By then Agamemnon had been forced out by Priam, but before that Agamemnon was a fierce defender against the idea that non-Androids were inferior to Androids.
"Where is your father now?" Jack asked quietly.
"Gone," Phaedra sighed. "Once Agamemnon was forced out and non-Androids had lost their most powerful advocate, he knew it would be too dangerous to remain together any longer. I had been hidden away for a long time, so the people of Socrates believed I had already departed. But my building of Clymenstra was at a critical phase and I couldn't abandon my work. So my father found a way to escape. He wanted me to come with him, but by the time I got to the departure point, he had gone. I do not know where he is now. He cannot risk exposing me as a Human, and Androids have to receive authority to contact anyone off-world except other Androids." The last had been spoken softly, as if Phaedra could not project her voice, and her head had dropped.
Jack felt the need to comfort her. Like Phaedra he had been given little opportunity to openly express grief over his losses; he had grieved over time, but had never been given long periods to let himself vent. Duties, obligations to others, and situations had always shortened his time, then he'd simply put his head down and kept going. He imagined this was how it had been for Phaedra. Always having to keep up appearances, never expressing negative emotion, never emoting too much. Her strength of will was immense, he realized, but Jack understood she simply needed some freedom. Perhaps Clymenstra was a response to that need, a friend who would eventually understand her emotional core. On any other planet, in any other galaxy, Phaedra would be heralded a genius and Clymenstra a miracle; here, it would simply lead to Death.
"Do you wish to leave this place, Phaedra?" Jack asked as he tilted Phaedra's face up to meet his and found tears in her eyes.
"Jack--" The Doctor began to argue.
"Doctor, she cannot stay," Jack stated emphatically. "If Phaedra's true identity were discovered she would be put to Death under their laws."
"It is the reason I came to you," Clymenstra said, "I wanted help in retrieving Androcles, and then asking you to help Phaedra escape. She is my creator and I do not wish to see her fall victim to Priam. I must stay on Socrates. I understand my function for the future and my presence is a threat to Priam. But imagine what would happen if he not only discovered she is non-Android, but created an Android who could spell the end to his rule?"
"An emotionally sentient Android would openly question Priam's decisions," Agamemnon continued. "Plus, Clymenstra is merely a prototype. Once other Androids begin building other Androids with Human emotional response and they achieve emotional sentience, Priam will never keep his authority."
"But you need Phaedra to teach how to build those components," The Doctor stated.
"Phaedra has already instructed me," Agamemnon answered. "I have already taught others. Clymenstra can help the new Androids to achieve emotional sentience. And once the rule of Priam has ended, we suspect other non-Androids in hiding will come forward."
"I hope you shall consider this," Clymenstra offered. " But time to consider is short. Phaedra is maturing and soon she will not appear as a functional Android. Then her secret will be discovered."
"I developed drugs to lower my body temperature so the touch of my skin is as cool as any Android," Phaedra explained to the question forming in The Doctor's eyes. "The effect helps slow the aging process, but I am Human after all. I am much older than I appear to be, Time Lord. I am approximately 140 of your Earth Years old."
"Ah, but the problem is, now those drugs are no longer working," The Doctor guessed. "To the unknowing, the uneducated, you are still as cool as an Android."
"But if Priam were to touch you," Jack added, "he would know the difference."
"But that is not the only pressure on time," Clymenstra stated. "You will not be touched, Time Lord. To our people you are considered a superior being, and not even Priam would question this. But he could find other reasons to punish you."
"Conspiring with Androids is a good one," The Doctor smirked.
"Your friend is in greater danger the longer he stays," Agamemnon said. "He is known to be Human. While Jack is with you he will face no harm. So Priam must find a way to separate you first." The Doctor glanced over to Jack with worry. He knew Jack well, knew that when cornered Jack could be a very dangerous man. He also knew Jack's compassion, that when he encountered others in similar circumstances than he'd faced, his first instinct would be to help. Never mind the obvious attraction Jack had for Phaedra, and indeed Phaedra was beautiful. But something in Phaedra reminded Jack of himself, and it touched in him the need to help her somehow.
The Doctor also felt the need to help Phaedra. Humans were rare on Socrates, and because of Priam's orders it made her an endangered species. And now that threat had fallen on his beloved Jack. Jack, who was so giving and open to him, who held a greatness inside him even he--a Time Lord--could barely comprehend. Jack needed his protection, even as Jack held out his hands to help Phaedra.
Just as he turned to tell the others he would help, there was a sharp knock on the door.
Jack and everyone in the room glanced at each other in concern. The Doctor looked at Jack, who nodded as if he understood the thought. Jack waved to Agamemnon and Clymenstra, who silently followed him into the bedroom and closed the door. Phaedra took a deep breath and The Doctor took her hand in reassurance. Then he answered the door.
"Greetings, Time Lord," said Priam as he and Menelaus entered the room. "We are in search of --" Priam saw Phaedra inside the room and approached her. "Greetings, Phaedra. I am in search of Clymenstra, apparently she was last seen in your presence."
"She is here," Phaedra answered. "She is, however, engaged at the moment."
"Engaged?" Priam asked. "What is she engaged in, exactly? Earlier her supposed Human lover was stating she wished to stop being a Pleasure Android."
From the closed doors came a long, low moan The Doctor recognized as being from Jack; he smirked to himself at how many times Jack had made that sound for real (not to mention the noises Jack helped him make), and he hoped they'd heard it enough on Socrates to be convinced.
"I believe your question has been answered," Phaedra answered evenly.
To drive the point home a moment later the door to the bedroom opened. Jack appeared half dressed, hair disheveled, actually looking as if he'd been freshly bedded. "Phaedra, I keep hearing voices and I wonder--oh, hello. Are you joining us?" he asked, as if he was unaware.
"You have not stated why you wish to speak with Clymenstra," Phaedra politely reminded Priam. "She is clearly at work here."
On cue, Clymenstra appeared in the door, wrapped in the duvet in order to be discrete. "Oh, Priam," she stated calmly. "Greetings. How may I assist you?"
"By answering questions," Priam answered, sounding stern. "A few hours ago, a Human named Androcles was apprehended just outside a residential area. This was witnessed by the Time Lord, Phaedra, and the Human you are entertaining. Androcles stated he was attempting to see you."
"But I have not seen him," Clymenstra replied. Indeed, she had not seen him that day.
"Androcles claimed he had hired you before as a Pleasure Android," continued Priam, "and you told him you no longer desired this work. And yet I find you here in the company of these guests. Explain." Priam's simple order sent a shiver up The Doctor's spine, remembering the Daleks stated that command pretty much the same way.
"As can happen with some non-Androids, Androcles had employed my services," Clymenstra explained after a moment. "He wanted me to leave the profession. I believed it less traumatic to placate him."
"I see," Priam mused. "And how came you to be engaged here?"
"That was actually my doing," The Doctor stated. "I told Phaedra I wished to hire her. For my Human companion."
"I am permitted to hire entertainment for our visitors as their liaison," Phaedra pointed out.
"Yes, you are," Priam agreed. "And tell me, Time Lord, what were your intentions as your companion entertained himself? Were you to simply sit here?"
"Well," Jack answered with a sure smile, "I intended to contract with Clymenstra--or, rather, Phaedra here--to possibly have him join in." The Doctor blushed despite his cool body and stared at the floor sheepishly. "He is a Time Lord, but he is like any non-Android and does occasionally have...needs..." Phaedra dropped her head to keep from staring at Jack's face and giggling. Clymenstra concentrated on nibbling on Jack's earlobe to occupy herself.
"Very well," Priam relented. He and Menelaus exited the room, but at the last moment turned back to face The Doctor. "Time Lord, it would be my suggestion that your visit to Socrates be as brief as possible. You, of course, are quite welcome. But that Human--"
"That Human," The Doctor said tersely, "is my friend and means no harm. He is strong and brave, willing to fight to the death to protect what is right and good. And if I had to go to war with the like of Daleks, or Cybermen, I would have him by my side fighting over a unit of Androids. You have scholars on Socrates. Look up the enemies I have faced and then dare to mention my friend with such disrespect."
Priam and the Doctor matched their gazes until Priam waved again to Menelaus and they turned again to depart. "The Human is dangerous, Time Lord," he said to The Doctor, pausing once more. "Watch yourself."
"He is defended, Priam," The Doctor parried. "Take care. By the way, what of Androcles?"
"Did I not tell you?" Priam answered cooly. "No, of course not. He attempted escape a short while ago. He resisted. He was terminated. Do make sure your friend does not make the same mistake." And with that he left.
When The Doctor turned back to the room, Clymenstra appeared shocked, standing in the bedroom doorway with Agamemnon. Phaedra was shaking, and she was being held upright by Jack, whose facial expression held the painful knowledge he'd done something else to screw things up, even if he really hadn't.
"Oh, Phaedra, Clymenstra, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," he whispered sadly. "I know, Androcles was your friend."
"It was a risk all of us took, even Androcles," Agamemnon stated. "But through you now, Priam has made Jack a target."
"Which is why we need to get to the TARDIS, immediately," The Doctor announced. "Jack, brilliant idea, but make yourself presentable. Clymenstra, Phaedra, how close are your dwellings? Only gather a couple of things, what you can easily carry."
"Doctor, Priam will have anticipated this reaction," Agamemnon warned him. "By issuing the threat, he expects you to immediately leave the room. You both will be vulnerable to Menelaus and his forces waylaying you. It will be out of the way. Then Menelaus will say either Jack fought to protect you, or he attempted to escape. It is all the reason he needs."
"So, what can we do?" Phaedra asked.
"Stay here tonight," said Agamemnon. "And hope by the morning I can gather enough to help lead you safely to your TARDIS. The rebellion against Priam has come, whether we are ready or not."
"Doctor, I'm sorry," Jack said as The Doctor sat on the bed next to him. "You only wanted to refuel, you told me not to look for trouble, but I just found it anyway."
"You didn't find trouble," The Doctor sighed. "Trouble just seemed to find us. And it wasn't like you created the trouble, except maybe by existing. But I think Phaedra has you beat on that."
"I think you may be right on that," Jack smiled. "I haven't tried to pass myself as an artificial lifeform while inventing an artificial lifeform that can appear real. I've just been myself."
The Doctor stared sadly at him. No matter what was said or done, The Doctor realized there would always be a part of Jack who would believe bad things were his fault, that he'd done something to deserve it. The Doctor wondered if that had started with his brother, or maybe watching his mother fall apart. Or could it have always been a part of Jack, a flaw in what had otherwise been a happy childhood on that distant world? Whenever it started, that doubt had no doubt led Jack into making some bad decisions. And whenever those bad decisions led to bad results, it simply reinforced what Jack always expected. "I really, really wish you wouldn't do that," he said.
"Run yourself down all the time, find a way to make bad things something you've done." The Doctor ran his hand through his own hair in frustration. "You haven't done anything to deserve this. What you deserve is me figuring out how I'm going to get us out of this. Neither you or Phaedra are inferior beings, even if you did descend from apes. Jack, Phaedra is stone cold brilliant--she created an Android! How can a mind like that be considered inferior because she's a non-Android? And you... you know, I meant every word I told Priam earlier. I'd rather have you by me than a whole lot of Androids, especially if the universe is at stake. You are a mighty warrior, and better than that, one of the most giving, generous beings I've ever known."
Jack had no response, simply laying his head on The Doctor's shoulder and sighing; The Doctor knew it was easier to believe all the negative reports floating about in your head than the positive ones, so he wanted to give Jack as many positive thoughts as possible. "I do love you, Doctor," he said. In response, The Doctor kissed the top of his head.
Dinner was a simple affair. Clymenstra ate nothing, being an Android and in no need of nourishment, and The Doctor required little food, except for foods high in potassium. Jack was subdued and wondered how he could safely reunite The Doctor with the TARDIS should Agamemnon not return, while Phaedra simply wasn't very hungry.
The Doctor glanced out the window expectantly. "Should we have heard from Agamemnon by now?" he asked.
"It will take time," Phaedra answered.
"He must do this carefully," Clymenstra added. "He has to gather allies to him without letting Priam suspect him. So he has to move slowly. We may not have an answer until the morning."
"In that case we should all try to rest," The Doctor stated. "We can take turns."
"I shall simply power down to recharge my battery," Clymenstra announced. "I shall wake up shortly."
"And I don't require a lot of sleep," The Doctor added. "Phaedra, why don't you lie down on the bed for a short while?"
Phaedra stood. "That is a good idea," she replied. "I am feeling..." She stumbled and fell forward, but Jack was there to hold onto her.
"Phaedra?" The Doctor held up his sonic screwdriver in front of her and pressed the button, looking into her eyes.
"I am alright," Phaedra told them, but her voice sounded weak and shaky.
"What happened, Phaedra?" Jack asked, still holding her and supporting her weight.
"I stood too quickly," Phaedra answered. "I am quite alright now."
"I think she simply needs rest," The Doctor said gently, but Jack heard the concerned tone of his voice. "I do think Phaedra's correct, though. A Human stands too quickly, before the cardiovascular system prepares for the act by ensuring the blood flow to the brain, then the act causes the blood to move away, the brain wants to shut down a moment to readjust. Jack, why don't you carry Phaedra into the room, just to not stress her brain further?"
"Ahead of you on that one, Doctor," Jack answered, scooping Phaedra up into his arms. He carried her to the bed, marvelling to himself at how inconsequential her weight appeared to be. Jack settled her on the bed, covering her carefully. "Are you feeling ill?" he asked after a moment, taking her hand into his.
"No," she answered. "I am alright, Jack, really." Phaedra started to get up.
"Oh no you don't," Jack told her, gently pushing her back down to the bed. "The Doctor said you should rest, and I agree with him."
Phaedra sighed. "Well, he is a doctor," she finally stated. "It must be nice to travel with a doctor. Androids have no need for them."
Jack smiled. "He calls himself 'The Doctor'," he replied. "Time Lords would often take titles for themselves to reflect what they wished to be."
"So why does he call himself a doctor?"
"Because he believed he should make people better." Jack looked at her, not smiling. "And he does."
"And how did he make you better?" Phaedra asked.
Jack put Phaedra's hand to the side and stared hard at the bed. "When we met I was a conman, and I didn't care as long as I got paid. It didn't matter if I hurt anyone or not. And he made me see there was so much more to life than that. So he took me in and we started to travel together. He looked past so much bad within me when nobody else would. I am not a good man, Phaedra. I have hurt so many people. But because he looks past everything I've ever done I try to honor him by doing the best I can."
Phaedra was silent for a moment. "I do not believe you, not all of your story," she told him softly. "I believe you were a good man, and The Doctor saw that within you. He sees it even now, or else he would not be so concerned about getting you away from here. I know I have been living among Androids, but I see non-Androids all the time. And I know the difference between those who are good and those who act good. You are good, Jack. Believe it."
Jack lay next to Phaedra, he on top of the covers, and stared into her eyes. He saw truth in them, something he'd learned to read in others during his long years. Jack had become accustomed to others telling him what he wanted to hear, either through stroking his ego, getting what they wanted for themselves, or his coercion. But Phaedra wasn't trying to stroke his ego or get something for herself, she was saying it because she believed it. There were few others who had said what they truly believed with him. And as Phaedra closed her eyes and her breathing evened out into sleep, Jack knew his heart had been opened to her, and would always be open to her.
The Doctor looked through the open doorway at Jack and Phaedra sleeping peacefully. Something about them together looked so perfect, almost as if by design. The Doctor never played matchmaker with any of his companions, but he knew in the course of adventures sometimes a good match would find itself. The Doctor knew how deeply he loved Jack, and that Jack felt the same. But The Doctor also knew there were fundamental differences between Humans and Time Lords in terms of physiology, psychology, evolution, etc., and it would be better sometimes for like beings to be together. If anything, Phaedra could understand the idea of immortality, dealing with Androids whose lifespans made them practically immortal, and she was one of the only Humans who could fathom the idea of Jack's immortality.
So The Doctor sat in the dark of their lodging, realizing that in order to demonstrate his love, he must give up his lover. It wasn't the first time in his multiple regenerations he'd been forced into this decision, and to be honest it wouldn't be the last. But it didn't make it hurt any less, especially with someone like Jack who uniquely understood his life.
"Androcles tried to teach me the idea of sacrifice out of love," Clymenstra whispered to him in the dark. "I could never understand, not completely."
"How did you know what I was thinking?" The Doctor asked.
"The emotion in your face," Clymenstra answered. "It is an action both Androcles and Phaedra tried to explain. But they said I might have to experience it one day in order to understand."
"There is an old saying on Earth about the greatest love is demonstrated when one sacrifices their life for their friends,"The Doctor told her. "Jack has given his life before to save me, and the Human Race. Androcles did the same to teach you. Phaedra has risked her life to give you life. You are surrounded by sacrifice out of love."
"My creator risks her life more than you suspect, Doctor," Clymenstra announced solemnly. The Doctor turned his full attention to her. "The drug she takes to control her body warmth has a side effect. It creates an inert organism in her bloodstream. As time goes on the drug will cease to work and her core temperature will rise. The warmth of the Human body will trigger the organism..."
"...and it multiplies until she dies of a massive infection," The Doctor finished. "Surely there is a treatment, a cure to prevent her death?"
Clymenstra's eyes filled with tears again. "She has gone past the point of treatment," she replied. "The weakness she experienced earlier is a sign her body warmth has risen and the organism is multiplying."
The Doctor paused and stared sadly at Phaedra. "What will happen to her?" he asked. Something inside told him Jack would be devastated by the news.
"Phaedra will continue to have weak spells," Clymenstra stated. "Then she will eventually sicken and die as any Human. This is why time is short, Time Lord. I wish for my creator to be away from Socrates so she may live out the rest of her life as a Human. If she is discovered, and Priam will discover this, she will be put to death as a criminal, a disgrace among our people, and I do not wish that for her, any more than you wish it for Jack."
The Doctor thought of Jack again and shook his head sadly. Despite his having lived for well over a century, Jack was still fairly new to the concept of immortality. Time Lords are taught as children about their multiple regenerations, and given they live to a ripe old age within each regeneration a Time Lord could achieve practical immortality. But Time Lords were born into this. Jack had immortality forced upon him. As a result he was just starting to learn the disadvantages that come with it. One of the most difficult was living on while those you care about grow old and die. The lesson was painful, and his Jack had gone through enough painful lessons in his time. But because Jack was Human, and Humans possess such deep reserves of love, of compassion, of empathy, he knew no matter how hard Jack tried to shut away the emotional side of himself and not allow himself to get attached to others, it would happen anyway. And then Jack would watch them die and it would hurt all over again. It was clear he liked Phaedra, as The Doctor did, and the idea that she would soon die would be another painful lesson. He resolved to himself to fulfill Clymenstra's wish and let Phaedra live as a Human in whatever time she had left.
It was early morning on Socrates, not yet dawn, and Phaedra, Clymenstra, and Jack followed The Doctor's lead to retrieve the TARDIS. Agamemnon had not returned or sent any message, and The Doctor had a strange feeling that Priam would make his move at dawn, supposedly while he and Jack were still asleep. He wanted to get Jack and Phaedra away from there as soon as possible. If there was an attempt at an arrest Jack would fight, leaping before looking, and Menelaus would attempt to kill him. Of course they couldn't kill him permanently, but The Doctor shuddered inwardly at the idea of the experiments a bunch of Androids would perform to find out why a Human had the ability to not die. It had been bad enough knowing of Jack's daily torture at the hands of The Master for a year.
"Is it normal for travelers to request their ships early?" The Doctor whispered to Phaedra.
"Usually the earliest they are requested is dawn," Phaedra answered. "But an excuse can be found for leaving this early. And you are a Time Lord, so your behavior would be considered a bit quirky."
"Quirky?" The Doctor spluttered, causing Jack to smile. "How can getting an early start be considered 'quirky'?"
"Well, you're a superior being with a Human companion who flew in on a Type 40 TARDIS to a recreation planet and wish to leave at a time most visitors are still asleep," Jack listed. "In other words, 'quurk', 'quirk', and 'quirk'."
Phaedra giggled lightly. She was beginning to like this Human in different ways. He was dashing and heroic, equally quick with a wisecrack; his wit told her he certainly had a brain in spite of his good looks, nearly matching the impossible beauty of Androids. And he clearly followed and protected The Doctor, something she had read in her studies. Androids were required to know about the non-Androids who visited Socrates, and the superior being was known to be accompanied by at least one companion, who acted as friend, moral compass, playmate, and occasional soldier. Of course Phaedra had not realized it would be so easy to follow this Time Lord, but she did understand Jack's devotion to him. Phaedra was seeing why The Doctor had equal devotion to him.
"Clymenstra, I really wish you would reconsider," The Doctor said. "You should come along with us. The TARDIS can fit four as easily as three."
"I am needed here," she answered, her voice calm. "The new Androids need to be created, and so far only Agamemnon and I have the knowledge of giving them the components for emotional response. I am only coming along with you to help you leave. And if my creator is safely away from here, I am satisfied." She was silent a moment. "And if something has happened to Agamemnon," she continued in a dark voice, "I shall be the only one left to continue the Android evolution."
"You mean revolution," answered Jack.
"Evolution, Jack," The Doctor answered. "Because organic emotions would be the next development for Androids. It would take them another step away from their creation as artificial lifeforms. Just the same as Humans moving away from the apes."
"I hate when you call me an ape," Jack grumbled. "I wasn't even born on Earth."
"I know that," The Doctor answered. Jack said nothing but glowered at him as they continued to walk. "You know I don't mean anything by it." Jack continued to be silent. "Jack--"
"He called me that!" Jack hissed, and The Doctor knew to whom Jack was referring. "Of course he called me many other things, like Freak, but Ape was one I knew. 'Stunted little apes', or don't you remember? I figure you don't--he was busy trying to advance your true age while I had to watch, chained up, wondering if you would even survive. And now I have some Android dismissing me for the same reason and wanting Apes to die because we're exactly that--Apes. Freaks. Dirty. Never mind I come from a century where my kind has evolved so far beyond that. Your superior being still thinks Humans are what we came from, so you're just slumming it with the likes of me."
The Doctor was taken aback. He knew Jack had been damaged by his experience in that terrible year, but Jack never discussed much of what had actually happened to him. He knew Jack had endured physical torture and starvation, maybe even rape, but The Doctor had not anticipated the level of psychological abuse--the labels, the taunts, the manipulation of his past. But of course he had that, The Doctor admonished himself. If The Master raped and tortured him, being given names like Freak and Ape and Whore would follow. And every time he hears it, it's simply reinforced. He put his hand on Jack's shoulder, knowing his own skin sometimes jumped from his reaction to the Fixed Point in the Universe. "Jack, I am not slumming it with you," he whispered gently. "My believing that would make you meaningless, and you mean far more to me than I can ever make you realize. You are none of those names you remember, the names you put on yourself. If I have made you think that way, I am sorry." The Doctor kissed the side if Jack's head and walked up front, where Phaedra and Clymenstra were leading..
"We are halfway there," Phaedra announced. "We should rest a little."
"Yes, we should," The Doctor agreed. "How long until the dawn?"
"About two hours," Phaedra answered, perching on a rock next to Jack. "We should reach your TARDIS well before that time."
"Good," he replied. Let's rest for a bit, then we'll finish the trip." Everyone nodded. Phaedra said nothing, but The Doctor noticed the relief that washed over her at the idea. As if she realized without the break she would simply collapse again.
They were silent during their rest period, listening to the sound of the end of darkness begin. Clymenstra stared off into the night, keeping watch for unfriendly footsteps. The Doctor watched Phaedra and Jack together. Jack was feeling down about himself again and brooding, he could tell. He'd tried so hard to erase Jack's negative image of himself, trying to give his lover the confidence and knowledge of his inherent goodness. The time the Time Agency erased from him, their subsequent dumping of him, not to mention his memory of his brother, were wounds that cut deep. The Master had exploited them and expanded them. And The Doctor himself had done his own unintentional share.
Phaedra said nothing, but she took Jack's hand into hers and leaned into him. A glow came into Jack's blue eyes, one that spoke of acceptance and understanding. The Doctor remembered the time on New Earth with Rose, encountering those poor Humans who'd been grown to rid the world of disease, and they had never known the loving touch of another. It was all they craved, and ultimately all they needed to survive, to exist. To The Doctor, Humans were apparently unique in their need to use touch in order to connect, and Humans could only receive the full healing power of touching from one another. As much as Jack could be brought up short with the knowledge The Doctor was alien, The Doctor realized that Jack himself was alien, at least to him. And maybe when they were safely away from here, The Doctor needed to pair Jack off with a fellow Human.
When they resumed their journey, The Doctor walked alongside Clymenstra up front. Phaedra was falling behind, and Jack walked along with her in case he needed to carry her for awhile.
"Is Phaedra aware of the extent of her illness?" The Doctor whispered to Clymenstra, not wishing for Jack to overhear.
"She is aware," Clymenstra told him. "And each time she takes the drug to cool her body, the worse she becomes. I have tried to stop her, but she is afraid Priam will find out."
"It won't be much longer," The Doctor replied. "We should be at The TARDIS soon. Once we're inside, Phaedra will have no need to fear Priam." Secretly he hoped once he got Phaedra into The TARDIS he could find some way to heal her. Realistically this was a long shot--as a scientist Phaedra displayed a brilliance he rarely encountered, and if she was operating without hope of survival it must be so. He just didn't like not fighting for her.
They crested the hill, and suddenly they were staring at a parking lot of sorts. Instead of cars, however, there were various spaceships--small one-man operations to full-sized battle cruisers that carried several crew members. And there, near the entrance, the small blue box, as if it were waiting for them, was The TARDIS.
"I have never seen a TARDIS before," Phaedra whispered in wonder."How can such a large space fit itself into such a small package?"
"You should have seen birthday presents on Gallifrey," The Doctor answered.
"Inside there is any room you could possibly need," Jack stated. "And comfortable."
"What kind of box is that?" Clymenstra asked.
"Oh, it's a Police box," The Doctor said. "I put it in that form to disguise it once and it got stuck that way."
"A faulty Chameleon Circuit," Phaedra replied. "That can be difficult to repair in a TARDIS." At the entrance she saw an Android. " There is Astyanax," she pointed out. Taking The Doctor by the arm, she looked at Jack and Clymenstra. "Let me speak with him. Say nothing." Jack and The Doctor exchanged glances and smiled, knowing they were steps away from safety. With them Phaedra would go, and hopefully they could convince Clymenstra to come with them.
As they reached the gate, however, the sound of marching feet came up behind them. Turning, they saw Menelaus and several Android soldiers approaching. "Time Lord," Menelaus announced. "The Human is not allowed to leave."
"Not allowed to leave?" The Doctor repeated. "Why?"
"He is under arrest," Menelaus answered, "under orders from Priam."
"Excuse me," Phaedra interrupted, though her heart was in her throat. "These gentlemen have been with me the entire evening, receiving entertainment. They did not leave their lodgings."
"I can attest," Clymenstra added. "I was the entertainment."
"I have my orders," Menelaus stated cooly. "This Human is accused of conspiring with the Android Agamemnon and fellow Human Androcles against Priam. Take him."
The soldiers laid their hands on Jack, who began to struggle. "Wait. Wait! The only time I met this Androcles was earlier today when you arrested him," Jack argued. "Priam was there! Ask him!"
"According to the confession that was extracted from Androcles before his death, you and the Time Lord arrived on Socrates to aid Agamemnon in his overthrow of Priam."
"But that's not true!" Jack replied. "Look, I've done some things in my time that may not have been strictly legal, but trust me, I have never conspired with anyone here to do anything!"
"You can present your proof at the trial," Menelaus told him. "You, Time Lord, are free to leave Socrates. You are of no consequence to us. However, you are not allowed to return."
"If it is all the same to you, I will stay until the trial. Jack is innocent and he will be defended by me." The Doctor turned to Jack as they were putting handcuffs on him. "Jack, stay calm. I will get you released."
"Doctor, you need to leave," he whispered. "They will never let me go, you know that."
"I abandoned you once, I will never do that again," The Doctor argued. Jack looked at him, tears welling in his eyes. He was touched The Doctor would be willing to be here with him, even though he knew they had no intention of ever letting him go.
"We shall go," Menelaus ordered, placing his hand firmly on Jack's shoulder and wrenching him away from The Doctor. "We have already dealt with your fellow Human. We shall deal with you soon enough."
Phaedra stood silently as Jack was led away. Now Jack was in the hands of Priam, who didn't intend to leave him alive. And there was nothing The Doctor could do to stop him.
"Doctor, what are we going to do?" Phaedra asked as Menelaus and his soldiers disappeared back over the hill with Jack in tow. "They will never release Jack."
The Doctor ran his hand through his hair. "Things have changed," he said. "Chances are they have Agamemnon, and if they do Priam is aware of what you've done, and Clymenstra's significance. But he only took Jack. Oh! Priam is playing us cruelly, like a cat with prey!" He sighed. "Phaedra, you need to go aboard The TARDIS, you and Clymenstra both. Once you're in there and the door is locked, you'll be safe. I will go after Jack."
"I will not go," Clymenstra announced. "If they have indeed captured Agamemnon then it is all the more important for me to continue his work. And I have been taught how to make the components myself."
"Clymenstra, you are too important," Phaedra argued. "You have become a symbol of hope for those who want the change from Priam. If you were to be lost--"
"But you are ill, Creator," Clymenstra argued back. "You cannot stay. And yes, the Time Lord knows."
Phaedra blinked with surprise at her revelation, but said nothing. "Precisely my argument!" she shot back. "If Agamemnon is prisoner, and something happens to you, I would not be able to complete a new prototype."
"But, are the schematics written down somewhere?" The Doctor asked.
"Yes," Phaedra answered. "There are my notes, but that is not the way Androids truly learn. One Android learns from another by action, and then they hit a kind of tipping point. When enough Androids have achieved the skill, they reach a critical mass. Suddenly, they all have the knowledge."
"But they have not reached the tipping point yet?" The Doctor asked.
"No," Phaedra shook her head. "Among the Androids only Agamemnon and Clymenstra have full knowledge. Astyanax has just begun to learn, and a few others. So you see the importance of protecting Clymenstra at all costs."
"But my purpose is to be the next step forward," Clymenstra pointed out. "How can I possibly do that from somewhere else? I must be here to teach. Creator," she pleaded softy, taking Phaedra's hand in affection, "when you made me, you knew what the risk was. You were not even sure I would be completed before Priam discovered your true nature, or that Agamemnon would be able to learn how to create. He has since created Electra and Paris, and they simply await my imprinting. Your mission has been achieved. It is time for you to live the Human life you have left, and you cannot do that here."
The Doctor smiled. "I would say, Phaedra," he replied, "that you have achieved total success. Clymenstra is demonstrating love and compassion, the same as a child would for her mother. She has become a full and independent lifeform. And now you must behave as her mother and trust her decision."
Before Phaedra could respond, the sound of approaching footsteps reached their ears. If Menelaus had decided to return there was no time to run to The TARDIS and escape inside. "Get behind me," The Doctor said. Instead Phaedra stood straight and tall, taking on her Android demeanor. Clymenstra stood beside her.
Agamemnon crested the hill, followed by several other Androids. Just behind him were two with dark hair and eyes of rich, warm amber. They could easily be confused for twins, but the Doctor noted Androids only created individually and had no concept of twins. "Phaedra," Agamemnon virtually sighed in relief. "We feared Menelaus had taken you prisoner."
"We feared the same for you," Phaedra responded. "It was fortunate we had the Time Lord here, or who knows what Menelaus would have done. The Human, Jack Harkness, was arrested."
"That is ill news," Agamemnon replied grimly. "Time Lord, the two Androids standing before you are my creations, Electra and Paris. We shall assist you in any way possible to retrieve your companion."
"We have studied the ways of Time Lords," Electra greeted The Doctor. "For a companion to be separated from a Time Lord is a wrong that will not be accepted among our people."
The Doctor was shocked. "You are Agamemnon's creations?" he asked. They nodded. "But I thought you required Clymenstra's emotional imprinting."
"We can still function until that is achieved," Paris stated. "And the best way we can learn is to be with her at this time."
"Just as Phaedra stated," The Doctor nodded. "Androids learn by action."
"We have much to learn from you, Time Lord," Electra told The Doctor. "You are a superior being. Once we as a people have completed our emotional training, we wish for you to teach us wisdom."
"Well, if you have studied Time Lords I'm not sure if you can learn wisdom from me, but I am honored," The Doctor nearly chuckled. "But if you wish for true knowledge, your best teachers are Agamemnon, Clymenstra, and Phaedra." The Doctor saw a blush creep into Phaedra's cheek and he realized she'd overheard his compliment. Then The Doctor noticed some of the Androids were leaving. "Where are they going?" he asked.
"To gather others," Agamemnon told him. "The rebellion against Priam has begun. We can achieve this without violence if we can gather enough to show an overwhelming number."
The Doctor nodded in agreement. "Nonviolence is always the best course," he replied. "Meanwhile, Phaedra, I think you should go to The TARDIS." He looked around. "Phaedra? Phaedra! Where are you going?"
"I am going after Jack," she said as she was walking back up the path.
"And how are you going to do that?"
"I will meet with Priam," Phaedra answered. "Perhaps he will listen to reason."
The Doctor grabbed Phaedra's hand and held it. "Phaedra, you're warm," he told her. "The drugs have started to not work on you. If I can read your body heat, don't you think Priam can? He'll know you are not Android!"
Phaedra turned back to The Doctor and looked into his brown eyes. "I cannot abandon him," she stated, her voice shaking with anger. "And you told him you would not. Priam wants him dead to set an example, and I cannot let that happen. I will not. And neither should you. I can see you matter to him, and he matters to you just as much. Even if you are not Human, how could you not want to move the planets for the sake of one who has this connection to you?"
For a moment The Doctor and Phaedra were in a standoff, wondering who would relent. "I will go with you to beg an audience with Priam," The Doctor finally answered, taking her hand. "But Priam cannot see you, or he will know you're Human and you will end up in a cell." And here's hoping I don't end up in a cell along with Jack.
Jack opened his eyes and groaned at the daylight. He was in a cell, simple and functional--at least this had a place to sleep and a place to use the bathroom; some cells he'd visited didn't have that. His secret had been discovered by Menelaus by accident: Jack had overheard Menelaus order a soldier to kill him during an "escape", and Jack ended up taking the Android soldier's head off. Literally. He'd been beaten to death savagely for that, which disabused Jack of the idea Androids had no concept of Human emotions; they pretty much had the concept of brutality down cold. But apparently Menelaus was under orders from Priam to at least produce his corpse, because when he revived he found himself being dragged along. It must have scared the shit out of the Androids dragging him, assuming Androids had a similar digestive system. Jack wasn't interested in checking their clothing to find out. He was surprised, however that Priam and his minions had yet to conduct various experiments on him; once people found out he couldn't die, they couldn't wait to figure out why. But considering Androids were virtually immortal themselves, maybe they weren't really interested.
Or maybe they already planned a fate worse than death for him.
The Doctor chose not to tell Priam he had been in contact with Agamemnon. In fact he chose to stay as quiet as possible. Considering this regeneration of himself loved to talk, that was a feat.
"I do not understand what you wish of me, Time Lord," Priam stated. "Your companion has been implicated in a plot against me. I could exact justice on my own, but I feel it important to put him on trial."
"But Jack had nothing to do with this," The Doctor argued. "He was with me in the lodging, along with Phaedra and Clymenstra. You saw us."
"That does not preclude the possibility of him conspiring with Agamemnon via off-world communication, nor the possibility you were a part of it," Priam nearly smirked. Then he caught himself. "You have been given a suggested course of action by Menelaus. That suggestion came from me. I recommend you follow that course of action." Now Priam tried a gentler tone of voice. "We do study the ways of Time Lords here," he said. "You, in particular, specialize in having a Human companion, and you have had several. Replacing one would not be difficult for you. If you were to lose this one..."
"...it would hurt," The Doctor finished. "My companions have never been disposable, despite your dismissal of their capabilities. Jack... I wish you could get to know Jack. His loyalty and courage are unquestionable, and if you knew him you would agree with me. So I intend to stay here until Jack's trial, as a character witness. I do appreciate your trying to warn me off."
Priam stood from his seat slowly, glaring at The Doctor. "As you wish," he replied, "but you are warned. You could easily find yourself a coconspirator with your inferior friend."
"I will determine on my own who is inferior, Priam," growled The Doctor as he stood and left.
Hours later, Jack stared at the tray of food he had been given. In the tourist areas of Socrates Androids had been trained to make non-Android food. They were aware of what non-Androids liked to eat and how to make it delectable, as part of the total recreational experience. The dinner Jack had eaten last night at the lodging had been very nice indeed.
It was clear these Androids had not been trained to make delectable non-Android food.
The forms were correct. There was what appeared to be a slice of meat with gravy, a green leafy vegetable, a roll, and some liquid to drink. But while it had form and substance, the food had no taste.The Doctor had never been the most talented of cooks himself, but even he was better than this. At that moment Jack had thought of similar circumstances where he had been captive, and the type of food he'd been given. Some was from the local planet and he didn't want to eat it, and no Human would. While prisoner of The Master he'd been fed an awful mush every day, which had been better than the places that gave him little to no food at all. He knew all too well how death by starvation felt. So in spite of no taste he ate the food.
"Jack?" he heard a voice whisper to him. Glancing at the door of his cell, he saw a shadow just outside. "Can you hear me, Jack?"
Phaedra, Jack thought to himself with not a small measure of delight. He scrambled over to the cell door and peeked through the slot where the food was delivered. "Hi. What are you doing here?"
"I am checking on you," Phaedra answered. "How are you being treated?"
"Not bad," Jack told her. "I'm not hurt. But I'd rather not be here."
"I know. That is why The Doctor is speaking to Priam, trying to have you released."
Jack shook his head. What the hell is he trying to do? He'll end up in a cell with me. "Priam will never release me, we all know that."
"Nevertheless, he wishes to try. He told you he abandoned you once and he would not do it again." Phaedra paused. "What did he mean by that, Jack?"
Jack sighed. "It's a long story," he replied, his voice soft and sad. "In short, there was a time he believed I was dead, and he left. His action led to a lot of things, both good and bad. Someday I'd like to tell you about them." He paused. "I've had a strange and eventful life, Phaedra. I've seen wonders you can only imagine living here. Maybe The Doctor will take you to see them."
"Perhaps," Phaedra answered taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. "Though I believe I would like to see them with you, see them through your eyes."
Jack smiled sadly, though he knew Phaedra couldn't see it."I would like that, yeah," he replied. Jack knew it wasn't reality--he would be put on trial any day and punished, and The Doctor would take Phaedra away from here and he wouldn't see either one of them again. This was something he chose not to tell her; he couldn't take the chance that Phaedra would go fully Human and do something like try to break him out. And he didn't want her to convince The Doctor that was a good idea, either, because he'd sure as hell act on it. Yes, Jack could be accused of being reactive at times, but The Doctor could be as well.
"Now, this is interesting," came a voice. Phaedra turned quickly and saw Priam staring at her, Menelaus just behind him. "If I did not know otherwise, Phaedra, I would say that conversation had the breath of Humanity to it." In his cell, Jack's heart leapt into his throat.
Phaedra stood and presented herself formally. "Please, excuse me, Priam," she replied. "As his Android liaison I was checking to make sure he was provided for adequately."
"And, does that conversation include an Android expressing the desire to leave Socrates and go off-world? Especially an Android created on Socrates?"
"Phaedra has done nothing wrong," Jack said, thinking on the fly. "She was entertaining my fantasy."
"Entertaining fantasies, especially those as base as a Human, would not be the function of a liaison," Priam admonished Jack. "Of course the need for a liaison to entertain, much less express a desire to leave this planet, would only come from an Android carrying their own dark secret." Priam stepped close to Phaedra and placed his hand on her cheek. There were no words exchanged, and Jack felt his heart drop as he waited.
Phaedra knew she was in trouble--Priam touching her skin was the last thing she wanted. But she couldn't run and hide, nor could she struggle. She kept her breathing as even as possible and her face placid as she was touched, giving nothing away but knowing if she were caught what her fate would be. Not her exact fate, but execution would be involved. Posing as an Android would be the worst kind of betrayal.
Priam took his hand away from Phaedra's face and grinned slightly, an expression approaching affection. "Let us go, Menelaus," he announced, "and Phaedra, do not entertain your own thoughts of leaving Socrates. It is unbecoming of an Android, and especially of a liaison." As Priam turned to walk down the hall, Jack and Phaedra both let out a silent breath of relief. The drug was still working.
Priam suddenly turned back. "Menelaus," he ordered. "Take Phaedra prisoner. Her skin temperature says she is Human."
"No," Jack muttered. He knew how serious this was. Phaedra had committed a crime considered unthinkable to Priam and had been caught. Now The Doctor would hear of this and attempt to rescue them both. And he would be arrested as a conspirator. He would face death like Phaedra. And Agamemnon. And Clymenstra.
Phaedra, meanwhile, stood as a pillar of salt in the same spot as Priam issued his order. As Menelaus approached her, her strength failed and she collapsed in a faint.
Jack, however, could not see what was happening. All he knew was Phaedra was being taken away. "Phaedra?" he called to her as she lay on the floor. "Phaedra, answer," he called again, desperation in his voice. Remembering what Menelaus had tried with him, Jack grew frightened of what was happening to her. "Phaedra! Answer me! Menelaus, what are you doing to her?! Leave her alone!" Jack was pounding on the cell door furiously. "Phaedra! Phaedra!"
Menelaus heard Jack's screaming through the door and remained calm. From his pocket he pulled a small flat disc. He placed it against the door and it gave a hum.
Jack felt the electric shock conduct through his hands into his body. He flew backwards, slamming into the far wall of his cell and fell to the floor, unconscious.
The Doctor walked about the city with Clymenstra, trying not to worry. It had been hours since he'd last seen Phaedra, as weak as she clearly was, but most of all, he worried about Jack. And he missed him: that uncontrolled laugh, those lovely blue eyes, the strength of his arms, and the warmth of his body The Doctor could feel even standing next to him. It was a comfort he'd come to rely on when memories of the Time War would invade his dreams, leaving him trembling and screaming himself awake. His companions had been aware of it, and had various ways to help him through those nights. Mickey tried jokes, continuing until The Doctor laughed. Martha, ever the healer, would give him peppermint tea to settle his nerves and spray Lavender in his room. Rose would get him to describe the dream, curious about the scenes that haunted him, then would make sure a banana was eaten before returning to bed, while Donna would simply lay down beside him and let him feel her presence next to his. Jack, though, would pull him close and let him feel the warmth of his body, kissing the top of his head as The Doctor listened to his strong, singular heartbeat. The favor was reciprocal, as The Doctor would press Jack to his chest to hear his double heartbeat as comfort when his own dark thoughts kept him awake. And right now The Doctor wanted nothing more than to be able to comfort Jack and have Jack comfort him in return.
"You are worried for my creator," Clymenstra stated. "I can see it in your eyes."
"She's very sick," The Doctor offered. "And she walked into the lions' den rather than rest inside The TARDIS. How can I help her if she's been made a prisoner, too?"
Clymenstra was quiet. "I would give myself up for her, if it was demanded of me," she announced.
The Doctor turned to face her. "You will do no such thing!" he practically snapped at her. "Phaedra would never want that. You have a purpose, more important than anyone else, and you sacrificing yourself for her would simply make no sense."
"So you would argue," Clymenstra replied. "But tell me, Time Lord, have you no parents? Would you not be willing to give up your life for those who gave birth to you? You believe Androids are devoid of real emotion, but you do not understand the connection between an Android and their creator. Androids cannot reproduce, but they can create, and for an Android to have their creator destroyed..." Clymenstra shook her head. "As a non-Android loves their mother, so do I love Phaedra," she said softly.
"But so does Phaedra love you," The Doctor countered. "To her, you are a child, and a mother wants her child to be safe and achieve their purpose. If she is indeed dying, as you believe, all the more important for you to be safe and achieve what she wishes for you. Even at the cost of her own life."
Before their discussion could continue Electra ran up to them, her amber eyes registering the weight of a message. "I come from Agamemnon," she whispered to The Doctor and Clymenstra. "Phaedra has been taken prisoner by Priam."
Clymenstra gasped. "Under what charge?" The Doctor asked.
"That she is Human, masquerading as Android," Electra answered. "Worse, Phaedra and Jack Harkness are to be put on a public trial in the city center tomorrow, and all peoples of Socrates are required to attend."
"All peoples?" The Doctor asked.
"That includes non-Androids," Clymenstra explained. "Visitors and residents alike. Priam intends to make an example of them." The Doctor ran his hand through his hair. "Doctor, this will not be a fair trial. They will be paraded before the crowd only to have a verdict rendered by Priam and a punishment announced. And you know what that will be."
The Doctor nodded. "Death, for both of them," he stated.
"Agamemnon believes this announcement is a trap," Electra said with concern. "He believes knowing this, you will make an attempt to rescue your companion and Phaedra tonight. Then Priam can have you captured and placed on trial yourself."
"It would be the way Priam can deal with you without protest from anyone," Clymenstra agreed with Electra. "You would be accused of a serious crime. The residents would not care if you are a superior being then."
The Doctor was frustrated and scared for Jack and Phaedra both. "So, am I to do nothing?" The Doctor nearly shouted, pacing. "Neither deserve this! They are being put on trial for their simple existence! Priam is attempting Genocide and nobody knows or cares!" He could feel tears begin to sting his eyes. Jack was in trouble--his Jack--and now he was being told to sit still and let him die. He couldn't do that.
"Doctor," Clymenstra called him gently. The Doctor turned to face her. "Doctor, something is being done, by all of us." Clymenstra'd voice was very calm and steady, very certain, containing a power he had not encountered in her before. It was the voice of a sure and confident leader, one who could command at will and others could easily follow. At heart Clymenstra could be a warrior, and it reminded The Doctor of Jack. "Jack and Phaedra need our help, not to be imprisoned alongside them. Please, give us time and patience, and we can help them."
The Doctor couldn't believe what he was hearing from Clymenstra. While she had not been a child by any account, when he met Clymenstra a day ago, she didn't seem emotionally developed enough to do what she was doing now. But it was clear Phaedra's creation was now growing and developing maturity exponentially, simply by being around those who possessed genuine emotion. It terrified and excited The Doctor to wonder how quickly Androids would achieve the emotional sentience needed to evolve beyond their start as artificial lifeforms, and what they would do with this new power. "I will do as you ask, Clymenstra," he heard himself respond.
"Good," she acknowledged. "Thank you." And she and The Doctor let Electra lead them to a hiding place.
Jack regained consciousness feeling like he did after too much Scotch, slumped against the far wall of his cell. It took a moment to shake out the cobwebs before he could remember how he got there. Phaedra had been caught, something had happened to her, something had been placed on his cell door as he was pounding it and demanding she answer him. But she didn't answer, instead the thing shocked him and threw him against the wall.
In the dim light of the late afternoon he spotted a figure huddled on the floor. "Phaedra?" Jack called out. Quickly he moved toward the figure. Phaedra lay still, unconscious, but alive. "Phaedra?" he coaxed her softly. "Wake up, come on." He gathered her in his arms and held her close, stroking the side of her face. "Phaedra? It's Jack. Open your eyes."
Finally, she did. They opened slowly, as if she almost didn't want to wake at all."Jack? " she whispered.
Jack gave her a smile. "Hi," he whispered back.
Phaedra began to tremble, and tears filled her eyes. "Oh, Jack... I am so sorry."
"No, don't be," Jack replied, embracing her fully. "What happened?"
"I fainted," Phaedra answered. "Priam was leaving, I thought I had escaped arrest, then he had me arrested." She looked around the cell. "How long was I out?"
"I was out for awhile myself," Jack answered as he allowed Phaedra to sit up. "I was screaming for you. They did something to the door and stunned me. They must figure putting us Humans together, we'd keep each other company."
"Well," Phaedra replied, "if I am going to be kept prisoner, there could be worse company than you." Her smile was brief, then she shuddered with the reality of where she was. "What do you think they will do to us?" she asked.
Jack sighed and pulled Phaedra to him again. "I don't know," he whispered to her. "I don't know."
Jack was running down a hallway backward desperately firing his machine gun in short bursts. He had to hold the Daleks off as long as he could, the last Human standing between them and The Doctor. He knew he was a dead man unless there was a small miracle, but he didn't care. He'd found love and acceptance with The Doctor and Rose, even if Rose only had eyes for The Doctor and The Doctor had no clue how deeply Jack's love ran. Rose had been sent back home to save her life and that just left them to save what was left of Earth. The Doctor and his Captain.
The machine gun was out of bullets. He threw that away, pulling out a pistol and firing as the Daleks closed in. He fired until that was out of bullets, too. His back was against the wall. He was out of time, out of space. He tossed the pistol away and decided to face those who would kill him with defiance. The Daleks wanted him to cower in fear, to whimper and beg for his life. He wasn't giving them the satisfaction..
Exterminate, the Daleks announced.
"I kind of figured that," he replied.
And even as he threw out his arms and waited for the laser fire that would end his life, Jack's last thought was of love...
Jack snapped awake, immediately aware he was in the cell on Socrates. Phaedra was sleeping next to him, trembling slightly, whether from cold or fear or illness, he couldn't tell. She simply needed comfort, so Jack pulled her a little closer, letting her feel the contact and warmth of his body.
Oh, the thoughts he was having for her! It wasn't physical in nature, and he'd had more than enough of those to know the difference. But almost from the second they met. Jack had sensed something special to him about Phaedra. He felt nearly overwhelmed in her presence, even when she did nothing more than smile at him. Apart from her brilliance, there was a warmth and love and compassion in Phaedra that made him feel good inside. And there was truth, which he'd had trouble encountering in others. Even though Phaedra had suggested it, Jack wanted Phaedra to experience the universe with him. To have both her and The Doctor with him, their friendship and their love, that would be almost too much to ask, let alone deserve. He hoped The Doctor could understand this need to have a Human companion. Jack loved The Doctor, but sometimes the presence of a like being was beneficial.
First he had to find a way out of here. And off this planet.
Glancing down, he noticed that Phaedra was awake and looking at him. Jack felt a breath hitch inside him, seeing those blue eyes clear and deep, her expression tender and thoughtful. Stroking her cheek with his fingers, Jack reached in and let his lips meet hers. It was soft and gentle and sweet, something Jack rarely experienced, a moment he knew he would always treasure, no matter how long he lived. At the moment there was no effort to turn it sexual, neither wanted that. Jack and Phaedra simply needed the affection, the closeness, the intimacy.
And just as quickly the moment was broken by pounding on the door, and two trays of a makeshift breakfast.
The main city on Socrates was called Parthenon, and the city center was where the trial of Jack Harkness and the false Android Phaedra was held.
The Doctor was among the first in line and was at the front so he could be seen by Jack and by Priam. He intended to defend Jack's character to the very best of his ability. Agamemnon and his followers scattered themselves among the crowd to help avoid detection by Menelaus and his soldiers.. Electra and Paris stood together unobtrusively. The crowd was silent but The Doctor sensed a brewing tension.
"All present, pay attention!" Menelaus announced. "A public trial has been called and will now begin. Judgment shall be given by Priam, Leader of Socrates. He will determine guilt or innocence and final verdicts rendered by him alone. There will be no appeal of any sentence given."
"Who do you think has been put on trial?" The Doctor heard one observer whisper to another behind him.
"I do not know," the other observer whispered back, "but whoever it is, Priam has already decided."
Jack and Phaedra were led out, hands bound. The Doctor caught Jack's eye and for a moment he appeared uncertain; like the observers behind him, Jack apparently had the same impression, that a decision had already been made and this was simply for show. They were led to the side and guards stood behind them.
Then Priam made his presence known, dressed in a flowing robe like a king making a dramatic entrance. The robe was made of a spun gold that caught the sunlight and flared, bathing him in a golden glow. Priam took a seat in a chair in the center of the stage that had been built for this purpose.
"People of Socrates," he announced, his voice grave, "before you stand two who are accused of betraying the ttust of the people by committing serious crimes, unforgivable crimes." The crowd murmured with worry. "The male is one of the non-Android races, one who is inferior. A Human called Jack Harkness. He is accused of conspiracy with traitor Androids to challenge the rule you have given me. And of the destruction of the Android soldier Perseus." The crowd gasped, and even The Doctor was shocked; from Clymenstra and Agamemnon both, he'd learned how seriously Androids took the destruction of one of their own. "That is a death offense," he heard various whispers around him.
"The female is accused of an even more serious offense, for she is one of us," Priam continued. "She has lived among us and gathered our knowledge and wisdom, becoming a liaison to our non-Android guests, a high honor indeed. But the Android Phaedra stands before you accused of being a non-Android, disguising herself and living as an Android!"
This produced screams of horror in some. A non-Android posing as Android--the shock! How repulsive! But there were also mutters of denial, of belief this had to be a mistake. Phaedra stood there, tall and calm, yet pale, as if she could simply faint any moment.
"Menelaus, come forward and describe the crimes of Jack Harkness," Priam ordered.
Menelaus approached Priam. "Leader Priam," he stated. "Two days ago we became aware of the arrival of this Human to Socrates. There has been questionable contact between. The rebel Android Agamemnon and an off-world figure for the purpose of fostering dissent to your rule on Socrates. The day of his arrival a Human named Androcles was arrested for disguising himself as an Android and being in a residential area for Androids only. Androcles gave a confession whereby he implicated both she Android Agamemnon and this Human in a plot to overthrow your leadership. This Human was arrested yesterday attempting to leave Socrates under cover of darkness. While in our custody he attacked the soldier Perseus and destroyed him."
"I was defending myself!" Jack cried out. "Perseus was under orders to kill me and make it look like I tried to escape!" The crowd stirred uneasily.
"And who gave such an order?" Menelaus asked.
"You should know," Jack answered. "You gave the order."
The stir from the crowd grew louder. Those on trial never interrupted the presentation of testimony, or questioned the motives of those testifying, especially if the one testifying was Menelaus. "Leader Priam, we all know when non-Androids are arrested for criminal offenses they have a habit of speaking falsely," he replied. "They will deny participation when they were clearly seen in the act. They will create reasons for committing such acts to explain their behavior. This is proof of the superiority of Androids, who always speak the truth."
"You think I'm lying?" Jack answered fiercely. "Tell everyone what happened to Androcles."
There was a pause while Jack stood and glared at Menelaus, his blue eyes bright and hard, demanding an answer. The Doctor was reminded of Jack's hardbitten leadership in times of crisis, realizing this was why Jack had been so perfect for the leadership of Torchwood. When there had been a true threat to Humanity, when his back was up, this side of Jack would emerge. This side was sometimes unlikeable, but needed during the very time this side would emerge It was bold and brave. "Androcles attempted to escape," Menelaus finally answered. "He was killed trying to apprehend him."
Judging from the crowd around him, The Doctor felt maybe Jack had scored a point.
Instead of continuing to let Jack win points from them, Priam turned his attention to Phaedra. "Menelaus has no need to offer details against you," he announced. "While visiting the Human I had occasion to touch your skin. Do you deny this?"
Phaedra met Priam's gaze steadily. "I do not deny it " she replied. "And I do not deny you found my skin to be warm."
"Not just warm, but almost hot," Priam stated. "And yet you managed to hide yourself. How?"
"A drug, of my own invention, to lower my body temperature," Phaedra stated calmly. "I hid myself among Androids to prove non-Androids are not inferior."
"That is blasphemy," Priam warned her.
"Only to you," The Doctor interrupted. There was a surprised reaction from the crowd. Someone had dared to interrupted a public trial.
"You have not been given the right to speak," Menelaus warned him.
"I claim the right as a Time Lord and superior being," The Doctor argued. He met Menelaus' stare.
There were a few seconds of silence. Then came a voice from the crowd: Let him speak! Other voices joined in, and soon there was a chant. Let him speak! Let him speak! Let him speak!
Priam really didn't want to let The Doctor speak, he could easily sway the crowd against him. But he knew by not permitting it, he would violate a common rule among Androids would acquiesce to the express wishes of a superior being, and Time Lords were definitely superior beings. As the chanting grew louder Priam nodded in agreement and The Doctor jumped onto the stage to applause.
"Now, where was I?" The Doctor asked. "Oh yes--blasphemy." He turned to Priam. "How is it considered blasphemy to believe a being is not inferior simply because it is different from you?" he asked. "I have only been on Socrates a couple of days, but I have been educated in the ways of Androids. And because I am a non-Android, I happen to know something of them as well. And as everyone on Socrates knows, my companions are mostly a subspecies of non-Androids, namely Human. Which means I have traveled with them and visited them, and know them extensively. Androids cannot give birth the way non-Androids can. But they can create, and to an Android their creator is like a parent. Non-Androids have a desire to learn and a curiosity equal to any Android, but while Androids are more intelligent it doesn't make a non-Android any less curious. And there are ways that non-Androids, especially Humans, are actually superior to Androids. They possess humor and imagination. Because of their limited lifespan they live for today, something you and I don't achieve because to those of us with long lives today is simply another day. Humans are brave," he said tenderly, looking at Jack. "They willingly run into danger instead of away if they have something to fight for, and at times their reason to fight involves complete strangers, people they will never know. And they are capable of deep. deep love, even when the ones they love feel they don't deserve it." Jack felt a glow inside; The Doctor would always dance around using the words 'I love you', but he found other ways to say it. "So you see, everyone," he continued after a moment, "Androids and non-Androids have more in common with what is alike than unlike. So why are these two people on trial for simply existing? And most especially Jack, who defended himself as any being would?"
"He has been accused of conspiracy--" Menelaus began.
"To do what? Question?" The Doctor interrupted him. "How exactly is that a crime? According to you, Androids have superior intelligence. So why can't a creature of superior intelligence ask questions?" There were cheers in the crowd, mainly supporters of Agamemnon. "Surely if you have treated everyone fairly and there is no corruption or abuse of power, you can withstand scrutiny."
"You have had more than enough time for defense, Time Lord," Priam told him. "But before I render my decision there is a last piece of evidence. I hold i n my hand the confession of the Human Jack Harkness, wherein he admits his role in the conspiracy and begs for forgiveness."
"That is not true!" Jack shouted desperately. "I've never made such a confession!" With a glance from Priam, Menelaus stepped forward and struck Jack across the back, hard enough to force Jack to his knees.
"You will be silent!" Priam ordered. "Everyone will be silent!" he ordered again when he saw The Doctor was preparing to speak again. "Androids do not lie, so if I say this is years your confession, then it is your confession.And I have no need to weigh my decision. I hereby find you both guilty of the crimes you have been accused of committing, and there is only one sentence to impose."
"No! No!" the crowd shouted. "Have mercy! Spare them!"
"You shall be taken to the Tower to have yourselves ejected into outer space," Priam pronounced. "Your deaths shall be swift and merciful, which is more than you deserve. This sentence shall be carried out at midnight. To prevent any interruption in security there shall be no visitors allowed. Take them away."
The Doctor was horrified. Jack would be ejected into space to die, but he would revive. Only to experience the horrors of suffocation all over again, perhaps for eternity. It was unspeakably cruel, and for the only reason that he existed. "Priam, no! You can't!" The Doctor cried out. He moved toward Priam, but Menelaus' soldiers held him back. "Please don't do this," The Doctor pleaded as the soldiers struggled to hold him. "I will trade places with him," he offered. Only, please, just let him go."
"Doctor, don't," Jack muttered. "Doctor, stop!" he shouted as The Doctor continued to plead. That got The Doctor's attention and he stared at Jack in disbelief. "Doc, you gotta let me go," Jack said to him, his voice emotional, blue eyes rimmed with tears. "You are far more important than me."
"That's not true, Jack," The Doctor whispered, grief threatening to overtake him. "You are important to me." As The Doctor was held back by the soldiers, their prisoner was led away. At the last moment Jack turned to look at him a last time. The Doctor saw the certainty of death in his eyes. "This is not over, Captain," he muttered under his breath. "It's not over until I decide it is."
What The Doctor didn't know was as everyone walked away after Priam condemned Jack and Phaedra to die, the crowd had exploded in outrage. This was led by the followers of Agamemnon, but it was shocking to regular Androids how blatant the abuses of Priam had become, and the very thing Priam never wanted bloomed--his leadership was being questioned.
The Doctor sat on the edge of the stage, staring out at the center of the city of Parthenon. The Tower that Priam had mentioned was several blocks away, a gleaming white spire that rose up as far as the eye could see. The Doctor had heard of the Tower, renowned and dreaded in many galaxies, mainly because its use was rare and reserved only for offenses that were the most serious to Socrates. He'd studied the principles of its construction and method, holding a fascination for how it achieved its purpose while disapproving of its use--The Doctor didn't approve of the death penalty.
The Tower worked thus: the being was placed into a tube that resembled a futuristic elevator, hands and eventually feet bound. The platform rose slowly, then picked up speed as it continued to rise. Finally at great speed and power the being was launched into outer space, there to suffocate with the lack of oxygen, their bodies drifting away. It was considered one of the more efficient and less messy forms of execution in the Inferni System.
What The Doctor was concerned with now was that his Jack had been taken there. His heroic, giving, funny, loving Jack, who The Doctor had felt blessed to have in his existence, because he sure didn't deserve it. He remembered how he'd met Jack in London during the Blitz, how Jack had taken responsibility for the Nanogenes from the alien scrap he'd tried to con The Doctor into buying. Jack had actually taken a bomb onto his ship, but The Doctor and Rose had rescued him. It had been fun traveling together, the three of them, watching Jack grow and change, seeing his greatness emerge. And it broke his hearts to realize they would be separated forever.
It was Clymenstra who broke The Doctor out of his thoughts. "Come, Time Lord," she said, her voice still holding the command he'd heard earlier. "You must come to safety."
The Doctor followed. "Where are you taking me?" he asked.
"To Agamemnon," she answered. "He has a way to rescue Phaedra and Jack."
Once again Jack and Phaedra had been placed in the same cell together. Since they were both faced their imminent execution, Jack figured it saved space. They said nothing to one another. As soon as the door closed Phaedra slumped against the wall and sat there, shaking uncontrollably. Jack couldn't bear to see her so vulnerable. He knelt next to her and embraced her, rubbing her back softly. "I'm sorry, Phaedra," he whispered. "I never wanted this for you."
Phaedra tried to smile, but it wasn't quite meeting her eyes. "At least it will be over pretty quickly," she stated, trying to keep her voice steady.
Jack sighed; he knew it wouldn't be a quick death for him, and he knew Priam knew that, too. Priam clearly wanted him to suffer. But Phaedra was in bad emotional shape over the reality of her own death, and he didn't want to add to it. "At least The Doctor is safe," he said. "And if The Doctor is safe then Clymenstra will be as safe." Jack looked away "I hope he gets her away from here, instead of trying to save me."
Phaedra ran her hand through his hair. "He cares for you," she replied, "otherwise he wouldn't have tried to change the outcome. You and I, we knew what Priam would decide. And I think the Doctor did, too, but he tried anyway." She paused. "What should we do while we wait?"
"I know what I did once," Jack offered. "I was sentenced to death once on s planet that went supernova awhile back. I had a last request and ordered four Hyprevodkas for breakfast. Sometime later I woke up in bed with both my executioners." Phaedra giggled. "Then they helped me find a ship and I got the hell out of there."
Phaedra sat back and gazed at him. "Somehow I believe that," she smiled.
"Well, of course you should," Jack answered with mock hurt. "And you know what else I've done?"
"What is that?"
"I have managed to take your mind off the situation," Jack stated. "I made you feel better for a bit."
Phaedra considered this a moment.Then a slow smile bloomed on her face. "So you did," she answered, reaching in to kiss him on the cheek. "Do you think he will leave, now things are out of his hands?"
"No," Jack said firmly, "and that's the problem. The Doctor never believes a situation is ever completely hopeless, even when it is. And I think Priam has studied The Doctor enough to realize it. He is going to have a trap set to capture The Doctor, Agamemnon, Clymenstra, all in one go, and I can't stop it. I can't stop it!" Jack turned away, not wanting to let Phaedra see his frustration. "It's bad enough I got you caught up in all this, and that you're here with me right now--"
"And exactly how did you do that, Jack?" Phaedra asked gently. Jack turned back to her. "Jack, these plans existed before you came here. The possibility of being caught was always a risk, yet I continued because I knew it was more important than me. Just like The Doctor is to you. And now my fate is inevitable, but it has been inevitable for a long time." Phaedra stroked Jack's cheek. "As for Agamemnon and Clymenstra, do not count them out. It may not change our fate, but what they can achieve will outlast us anyway."
Jack took a long look at Phaedra. As the Doctor had with Clymenstra, Jack realized he was seeing Phaedra with new eyes. It was as if he could perceive that this brilliant Human had actually seen the future of the universe stretching out before her, and all she was doing now was simply walking on the pathway. Jack had knowledge of his immortality, but to him the universe was vast and had no path. For Phaedra it was also vast, but every step she took was the step she was supposed to take, and as a result the universe stretched beyond the line of sight.
In his heart, Jack felt a coal of hope glowing. He hoped The Doctor could find a way to win again.
The Doctor looked around at the gathering before him. He knew Socrates was a planet of Androids. He knew there had to be many more Androids than he had seen before. But, he never expected to see this many, to realize the uprising against Priam was so large. Or so prepared.
There were thousands gathered here, all wanting the reign of Priam to end. He could tell these were Android, with their uniform height, pale skin, and eyes of vivid, unique colors. And they were all here to receive their message from their leader, Agamemnon. The Doctor wasn't sure what would happen at the end of this, whether success or failure or if Jack and Phaedra would be alive, or even himself. All he knew looking out at this army of Androids was that the result would be unforgettable.
"People of Socrates," Agamemnon announced. "we stand together at the brink of change. Now is the time we must walk to the edge and see our universe become a new and different existence. Before us lies the chance to move beyond the label of Artificial Life Form and become fully functional creatures with organic emotional sentience. Never again shall we be given orders by a ruler and expect us to blindly obey. Never again shall we know only the emotional responses programmed into us. Never again will we allow non-Androids to be treated as inferior, but given equality with us. This is the time when we see the world around us and react to it. We shall change the rule of Socrates, and with that change we shall open the door to a universe where we are simply known as Beings, not Artificial, but real. This is the time of rebirth and awareness, and we shall not fear that change!" The cheering from the Androids was nearly deafening, but as The Doctor looked around he did not see Clymenstra, and a part of him missed her.
Later, as Androids gave each other laser rifles to arm themselves, The Doctor looked around him. He had hoped with that stirring speech by Agamemnon, the Androids would stage this revolution with words alone. He didn't like guns and he hated the idea of killing; he'd had more than enough of that during the Time War.
"You have trouble approving, Time Lord," Clymenstra said behind him. "This I understand. Arming ourselves is a mere precaution, because the soldiers of Menelaus will be armed."
"The problem is, if both sides have equal weapons, there is likely to be shooting and not much talking," The Doctor answered. "The Time Lords fought a war. There was a lot of death and destruction, and eventually there was no talking at all, least of all amongst ourselves." He turned to her. "I thought the reason Androids wanted to become emotionally sentient was to feel those negative emotions and work toward a greater understanding of the peoples of the universe, to find peaceful solutions."
"And so it is," Clymenstra agreed. "But while we are attempting to become emotionally sentient we must defend ourselves from slaughter. And believe me, Priam and those who follow him would like to achieve exactly that, our slaughter. It is the reason we must rescue Phaedra and Jack." Clymenstra was called away by Paris, leaving The Doctor lost in thought. His double heartbeat seemed to echo save Jack inside. Oh, this is ridiculous, he thought. Since when has Jack become a part of my very being? Yes, The Doctor loved him. Yes, The Doctor wanted to save Jack from a fate worse than death, especially since Jack wasn't responsible for what was happening. But now Jack had become an essential part of his soul, and the possibility of spending eternity without that smile, those eyes, that warm and giving heart, well, that actually hurt.
"Doctor," Agamemnon greeted him, shaking his hand. "I heard you mention you will not carry a weapon. I wish you would reconsider. Things could become dangerous."
The Doctor shook his head. "I have been in dangerous situations before, with only a sonic screwdriver to protect me," he answered as he pulled the screwdriver out of his pocket and flicked it around his fingers. "It doesn't wound, doesn't maim, doesn't kill, yet for my purposes I find it more effective than a laser rifle."
"All the same, you are one of our leaders and you should be protected," Agamemnon replied. "We know now how to prevent the execution. The Tower requires its own generator for the propulsion system. It actually takes a great deal of power to throw someone into outer space, but to use the standard generators for this would throw the entirety of Parthenon into a blackout. Hence, the need for a committed generator. Once that generator is disabled, The Tower will be inoperable. Then Phaedra and Jack can be rescued."
Clymenstra returned. "Agamemnon, Paris reports all units are ready," she stated.
"Good. Doctor, you and Clymenstra are the most important among us. She for the future of Socrates, you for the wisdom to not act too rashly in the present. March with us up front until the center of the city, then fall back into the protection of the crowd." Agamemnon took a deep breath. "Here we go."
"Allons-y" The Doctor muttered as the march began. Hold on, Captain, The Doctor said to himself. I am coming for you.
Jack and Phaedra had been given a meal that was barely edible, even by the low standards Jack had encountered in the first cell. It was going to be the only food they got, so they ate it anyway. Menelaus wasn't the sort to entertain last requests.
Not that Jack or Phaedra were particularly hungry. The thought of death hung over their heads and blunted what appetite they had. "Jack, do you believe there is an Afterlife?" Phaedra asked.
"I don't know," Jack answered, his voice subdued. "I think it might be different for everyone. Some only see darkness, some much more."
"What do you believe, Jack?"
Jack got up and walked around the cell a moment. "I believe I shall never see it," he finally answered. Phaedra looked confused. "Something happened to me a long time ago, and now I can't die. Well, I can die, but I don't stay dead. I come back. I die, everything goes black, then suddenly I find myself taking in a breath. I think I'm not dead long enough to find out. The Doctor cannot help me. He has called me an Impossible Thing, a Fact, a Fixed Point in Time and Space. And I've been called worse things, like Freak and Monster, usually by those who don't understand." Jack drew his hand over his face, trying to wipe away the revulsion and pain of rejection from those who were mortal and aged more rapidly than he. "I probably shouldn't have told you that."
"I can keep a secret," Phaedra grinned slightly. "I have been carrying one all of my life. So I believe I can keep your secret to my grave." Phaedra then realized what she'd said and her face crumbled. Jack saw the first of the tears fall and he gathered her up in his arms, kissing the top of her head.
"Hey," Jack whispered. "We're not dead yet. We're not beaten until it happens and we're out in space." He leaned back and brushed Phaedra's tears away. "So, tell me," he stated. "What about you? Do you believe in an Afterlife?"
It took a moment before Phaedra finally nodded. "It is a beautiful place," she answered. "It looks like Socrates, because this is the place I know. But everyone there is equal. There is no distinction between Androids and non-Androids. And those I love will be there. So I will see my father and mother. And..." she looked up into Jack's blue eyes. "You will be there, too."
For a second Jack was startled. Very boldly, in her own style, Phaedra had just told Jack she loved him. Normally he would be searching for a way out of this. In his early days at the Time Agency he had been a love-em-and-leave-em sort. As The Doctor accepted him and changed him Jack began to become more of a seeker, but rejection and loss had steeled his heart. He was with The Doctor now and never thought another woman would be capable of making him feel that way. Yet here she was, a virtual stranger, a condemned prisoner who would be executed in a matter of hours. And all Jack could do was hold one hand close to his chest, so she could feel his heartbeat, and say, "I would like to be there with you, too."
Jack leaned in to kiss Phaedra, his lips gently coaxing her lips apart. Phaedra returned the kiss, taking it deeper, stroking his jawline with her fingers. Jack embraced her fully, running his hands along the side of her body.He wanted Phaedra, but it wasn't just primal need; for the first time since he'd been with The Doctor, Jack wanted to connect intimately with someone else, to feel the communion of his soul with Phaedra's. They were going to be parted. He wanted something to remember her by as he drifted in space, dying repeatedly.
It was Phaedra who came up for air, stroking Jack's face. "Jack," she whispered as he took the opportunity to nibble on the side of her neck and earlobe. "Jack, I have to tell you something."
Jack stopped his nibbling but held her hands in his. "What is it?"
Phaedra sighed. "Do you remember when I said I was 140 years old?" she asked. Jack nodded. "Well, before I had to stop being a Human, I lived a normal Human adult life. But..." she fell silent.
"But, it has been awhile," Jack finished. Phaedra nodded. Phaedra wasn't quite sure what she was expecting, but Jack simply flashed his smile. "Well then, " he replied, "I will be very careful. I promise, Love, I won't hurt you." With that, Jack picked her up in his arms, kissing her deeply, and carried her over to the sleeping area. He stretched her body out and climbed on top of her, trying to keep as much of his weight to the side as he could. His hands continued to roam over her clothed body as she lovingly ran her fingers through his hair.Jack could feel the warmth of Phaedra's body through her jumpsuit, realizing she had not taken the drug to cool her skin, and he revelled in the feel. The Doctor's body had always been cool to the touch, just the efficiency of his internal engine at work. It had been a long time since Jack could remember fondling someone whose skin was just as warm.
As Phaedra kissed him, Jack could feel her unbuttoning his shirt, letting her hands softly caress his skin. Jack massaged Phaedra's covered breasts, feeling her nipples harden with his expert touch. Phaedra arched her back and softly moaned at the sensation. Using his tongue while feathering kisses down her throat, Jack began to open the jumpsuit, kissing the beginning of her cleavage as it was revealed.
There was a knock on the cell door,and the sound of the door being unlocked. Menelaus stepped in to find Jack and Phaedra standing, having quickly composed themselves. "You shall be separated from one another for the final hours to prepare for your execution," he announced. A look of longing and regret passed between Jack and Phaedra as another guard came and escorted her out. Then the cell door was shut. Jack was alone, to face his death as he felt he'd been forced to face his life.
All by himself.
The Doctor, Clymenstra, Agamemnon, and the other Androids did indeed march unimpeded from their gathering point to the center of Socrates. From there to the power planet housing the generator for the Tower was more difficult.
At first the forces they faced were minimal. They were encouraged by Agamemnon to see reason, understand the logic of the necessity of change, and even convinced most of them to come to their side. But as they got closer to their intended destination, they met more resistance. Then the shooting started.
Whatever notions The Doctor had that battle between Androids would be strangely cleaner than it was with non-Androids, less violent and bloody (because Androids did not contain blood, but rather their parts were coated with a an oil that reminded The Doctor of the lube he used with Jack), all that was gone when the shooting started. As Agamemnon predicted it was Menelaus' soldiers who began shooting first, the first victim a negotiator for Agamemnon named Hecuba. One of the soldiers fired their laser rifle nearly point blank into Hecuba's lower abdominal area. Hecuba's body was split in two from the blast, showering all around with the internal oil. Then there were more shots traded. The Doctor watched helplessly as more and more Androids on both sides were destroyed, and knowing he had no skill in repairing Androids that had been damaged. The ground became slippery with the oil. But inch by inch, foot by foot, Agamemnon and his forces advanced. Sometimes The Doctor was protected by the Android twins Electra and Paris, sometimes by Clymenstra. But The Doctor was protected.
Day turned to night, and still they advanced. It was slow, their progress, and as the night drew on The Doctor began to be reminded of the Time War, of watching the fall of the city of Arcadia. And instead of the oil, what he'd slipped on over the ground that night had been blood. The blood of women, the blood of children, the blood of those who had been too old, too poor, too frail in health to run away as the Daleks advanced. As if there had been anywhere to run by the time it came to Arcadia. It was a good thing The Doctor wasn't fighting in the front lines this time, because the memories were rendering him useless.
They were just outside the power plant when Agamemnon and his forces stormed in. Inside, just as they entered the building, they saw a large clock. The Doctor was shocked by what he saw."Agamemnon, where is the generator? " he asked.
"In a subbasement three levels down," Agamemnon answered. The Doctor pointed to the clock and the reason for the desperate look in The Doctor's brown eyes became clear.
45 minutes until the execution.
Phaedra was now in a separate cell from Jack, facing her own death without him. Those final few minutes had been special to her, the first time in many, many years someone had touched her body in that way. It reminded her that she was indeed non-Android; Androids never felt desire, never felt that internal heat that could only be relieved by another. And because they never felt desire, they never knew what it meant to take the chance that someone else might feel the same and want the same things in life. It hurt to think Jack not only faced death himself, but something horrifying. Did Priam know? Of course he knew. The story of how Jack died would be spread among the people of Socrates to suppress any resistance, an example of what faced non-Androids for simply living. It was no wonder Androids wanted to appear more Human, because the emotional coldness of Priam offered no mercy, no compassion.
From a distance came a noise from outside--the sounds of battle. With a sigh Phaedra realized the Androids had finally risen and had started their resistance. But half a second later came the thought that Agamemnon, Clymenstra, and perhaps even The Doctor was involved in the battle, perhaps in danger themselves.
And then, suddenly, Phaedra began to feel weak. She made it to a chair and sat down instead of collapsing to the floor, but she was sick and felt hot. Her illness had an inconvenient timing for reminding Phaedra she was dying anyway. There was nothing to be done--she'd gone way past the point of salvation. She would be dead one way or another, either shot out in space shortly, or possibly dying in Jack's arms as her illness claimed her. And while dying in the arms of someone you love might sound romantic on the surface, Phaedra believed Jack had been hurt enough in his life to not want that to happen. It might be easier to hitch a ride on the TARDIS and ask The Doctor to drop her off at the next beautiful planet so she could pass away by herself.
The scene spun for a moment before she placed her head on the makeshift table and passed out.
Jack could also hear the sound of battle outside and against his better judgment felt the thrill of hope inside. The Doctor was coming for him, that he knew. The Dalek Emperor once tried to plant a seed of doubt in Jack's mind about him. All Jack did was shrug his shoulders and say, "Never doubted him, never will." It was the way he felt, then and now. He loved The Doctor and The Doctor loved him, and he would walk through the fires of hell itself to reach him. It may not happen immediately or even be a good idea, but The Doctor would come.
If the Doctor did come for him, did manage to rescue him and Phaedra, it would raise an interesting complication: inexplicably, considering the short period of time that had elapsed, he had fallen in love with Phaedra, and she'd fallen in love with him. Triads were not unusual in the universe, as Humans had abandoned their prudish sensitivities when they left Earth to explore other worlds. Jack was sure The Doctor could adjust to his need for Phaedra. The question would be whether Phaedra could adjust. She was effectively inexperienced, and Jack wondered if she would be able to accept the need for him to have The Doctor in his bed. Not just in his bed, in his life.
And now Jack began to think about what would happen to him very soon. While he sadly thought about the future he and Phaedra would never share, the memories of his time with The Doctor haunted him. The Doctor had taken this lost, bereft, emotionally and morally empty conman, who'd found his entertainment in getting drunk and carousing from one bed to another because that was all he was good for, and found something worthwhile. In exchange for this faith, this acceptance, Jack gave his loyalty, his devotion, opening his heart to him when he'd spent all those years keeping himself closed off, not taking a chance, not revealing how much others had hurt him. And even though there had been a few hiccups along the way in terms of trust, Jack and The Doctor had developed a love for one another that sustained them through adventures, torture, nightmares, even separation. Boy, were they facing a long separation now.
Stop it, Jack told himself. The Doctor is coming. He will stop this. You know he'll always find a way to make everything right.
The cell door opened and Menelaus stepped in. "The timetable for your execution has been moved up," he announced. "It is taking place... in ten minutes."
The subbasement where the generator for the Tower was located was held by four guards. They weren't going to be talked into just letting Agamemnon in, and they weren't giving up without a fight. So a fight is what they got-- a good, old fashioned fistfight while The Doctor used his sonic screwdriver to open the door. As the guards were finally subdued, the sonic screwdriver flipped the last of the tumblers in the lock and the door clicked open.
They rushed in to see the generator, a monstrosity of metal one would expect to find if said generator was dedicated to one building using a colossial amount of energy. The Doctor gaped at it; how in the world was he ever going to disable the thing?
"Doctor," Agamemnon called him over to a bank of computer screens. "One of these commands will shut down the generator," he said. "But the other will trigger a triple deadlock and there will be no way to shut it off. I do not know which to choose."
The Doctor stared desperately at the commands. One would help him rescue Jack and Phaedra, the other would surely condemn them to death. It isn't like he'd never faced this kind of decision before. Or faced this sort of time crunch. But this time, as he'd rarely faced before, this decision could . cost him someone he loved so deeply. If he lost Jack now, at his own hand, The Doctor would feel the same as he felt just before stopping the Time War. No sentient being should feel that way, ever.
No sentient being should feel like this, either.
Cuffs were placed around Jack's wrists before he was removed from the cell. Jack could tell the fighting was getting closer. The Doctor was probably among them, but Priam had decided to execute them early, so if Agamemnon and The Doctor tried to stop them it would already be too late. As much faith as Jack always had in The Doctor, this time it wouldn't be enough.
Jack's beloved coat had been taken from him, the pretense bring that he might simply freeze to death before being ejected into space and having no oxygen; of course the idea of making the baseborn Human suffer just s little bit more never crossed Priam's mind. He was dressed simply in dark pants, white dress shirt over t-shirt and braces. In the hallway he watched as Phaedra was removed from her cell. Like Jack she was dressed simply, wearing the jumpsuit all Androids wore, with her dark hair pulled back. To Jack she seemed unnaturally pale, even more than she did disguised as an Android. She almost looked sick, but to Jack that could be expected of someone facing death.
Then Phaedra sank to her knees. The guards picked her up roughly but she learned against the wall and shut her eyes. "Stand up straight, Human, " Menelaus ordered.
"Give her a moment!" Jack snapped.
"Prisoners shall not speak," Menelaus warned him.
"And what will you do if I don't follow the rules? Execute me?" Jack scoffed. He nodded over to Phaedra. "Just give her a chance to gather herself." The guards appeared reluctant. "Dammit, Priam sped up the time of the execution so he could get what he wanted and watch us die! What is a couple of minutes going to change?" Jack decided at that moment simply to ignore what anyone else was doing and concentrated solely on her. He stepped to Phaedra, frustrated his arms were bound and unable to lift her up. As soon as he got close he could feel the heat radiating from her. Phaedra was clearly experiencing a fever. "Can you stand?" Jack asked gently.
Phaedra lifted her head to look at him. "I think so," she answered faintly.
"Good. Lean into me and I'll try to help." They leaned into each other, using the wall as support until both were standing again. But Phaedra continued to lean against the wall.
"She is standing now," Menelaus said. "Resume your place."
"She is leaning against the wall," Jack argued. "She cannot walk on her own."
"The guards will help her," Menelaus answered, his voice cold. Great, Jack said to himself. Holding her up as she marches down the hall to her execution. Somewhere, Owen Harper was laughing at the irony.
Their march resumed, already slow but slower now. It gave Jack a chance to reflect on what he would not miss in his eternity: bureaucracy, leaders on power trips, certain foods. But then he'd glance at Phaedra and regret not making love to her, to feel the rise and fall of her body as the passion was built between them. He would miss out on the joy of discovering more of her wonderful mind, and what was sure to be an equally generous and giving soul.
They turned a final corner and then Jack saw it. At the end of the hall sat a clear tube with a platform. He'd remembered these tubes from his previous travels as a Time Agent. They usually transported people from one place to another, acting as a type of elevator. This elevator must deliver you to outer space. Priam was waiting at the doorway. "Step inside," he commanded.
Jack stood up straight and faced Priam. "I have a final request," he stated, "not for me, but for Phaedra. Let her go. She is sick and she doesn't deserve this. Please."
Priam met Jack's gaze and held it. "A condemned Human as yourself is very bold to make any request at all, except to beg for his life," he replied.
"I will not beg for my own life, but if it spares hers I shall gladly beg." Jack's voice trembled slightly.
"No, Jack," Phaedra objected, her voice sounding strong. She was standing on her own again, even though she was being held by either arm. "Do not beg for me, Jack," she told him.
"Phaedra--" Jack began to argue. But Phaedra's glance was firm, authoritative. She was staring back at him with the same blue eyes he possessed, eyes that could dance with amusement or glow with interest, or become hard and cold with resolve. Her eyes were solid ice. Jack took two steps over and kissed her fully before the guards could react, their hands still bound, the only contact between them their mouths. Then they were pulled apart and Jack was marched back over to the lift.
"A very heartfelt plea," Priam responded. "Humans have the emotion of desperation as a weakness. But it matters not. I have considered your plea for mercy and I deny it. But you should not concern yourself with this Human traitor to the supremacy of everything Android. She shall be dealt with after you. Step inside."
There really was nothing else to do. Jack was bound and surrounded by soldiers. With his hands free he could have put up a fight before they killed him. But there was no breaking the cuffs and it would not have helped Phaedra avoid execution. With a heavy sigh he stepped onto the platform inside the tube. Jack was turned roughly by Menelaus so he was now facing the hallway. His eyes met Phaedra's again; an unspoken message of I'm sorry passed between them as Menelaus shackled his feet. And then the door was closed and the tube was sealed.
"Jack! Jack!" Phaedra cried as she ran forward. The soldiers caught her by the shoulders and restrained her. Tears filled Jack's eyes to see her as she wept against them. When Menelaus pressed the button on the controls and he felt the lurch of the platform begin to lift, Jack shut his eyes and resolved to let his final thoughts be of love. And he remembered who he loved until one image came to him and stayed in his mind. "Doctor," he whispered longingly.
And suddenly it all went dark
The Doctor grinned like a madman at what he'd just done. There was silence in the room, true silence. "How did you do that, Doctor?" asked Agamemnon.
The Doctor put his sonic screwdriver back into his pocket. "Very simple," he answered. "I saw two buttons and decided when two buttons created such an extreme of consequences and you don't know which one to push, there has to be a third alternative." He pointed to a lever under the control panel. "That lever there."
Agamemnon shook his head. "I never would have thought of that."
The Doctor smiled. "Of course not," he answered. "You are an Android. Priam's failure, the reason you are fighting against him, is that he cannot and will not acknowledge the importance of non-Androids to daily existence. They have no value. The difference in you, Agamemnon, is that you can see the importance of non-Androids in the development of Androids. It really is the best situation all-around. And now we need to get to the Tower." He started to run back in the direction they came.
"Doctor, wait!" Agamemnon called to him. "There is a way to get to the Tower faster." He went to the opposite side of the room. "We can follow this tunnel all the way there. It is used by Menelaus when repairs need to be made to the generator. Follow me."
The Doctor hesitated. "But if we abandon this place Priam' s forces will simply come back in and turn on the generator, " he said.
" My forces will defend it," Agamemnon answered. "Hurry, we have to save them while we still have time."
"Jack! Jack!" Phaedra screamed as she watched the tube close and the platform started to rise. She was losing someone she had come to love in such an amazingly short period of time, and worse, it signalled her own end. She had run forward, her hands bound, toward the tube, what she hoped to accomplish she did not know. The soldiers had grabbed her after only a few steps and she was weeping desperately, knowing Jack couldn't stay dead, that what was happening to him was more horrifying than imagination would allow.
Suddenly the lights turned off and the platform stopped rising. Everyone looked around in confusion. "What is this?" Priam barked. Agamemnon must have found the generator, Phaedra thought to herself, and a ray of hope entered her heart.
"Agamemnon and his forces have shut down power," Menelaus reported, and confirmation of Phaedra's suspicions caused the hope on her heart to swell.
"Menelaus, send a detachment of soldiers to the power station to turn on the generator," Priam ordered. "But stay here. We shall execute the prisoner Phaedra by firing squad. When the power is restored Jack Harkness will be ejected. Then we shall eject her body."
Phaedra's hope shattered as Menelaus sent soldiers away, then pushed her up against the wall, watching as four soldiers lined up and pointed their rifles at her. "I have a final request," she announced. "Jack asked for my life, now I am asking for his." Phaedra realized Jack probably could not hear her, and that was okay; she simply had no strength to argue. "I am the traitor here, not him."
"You are both traitors," Priam answered. "Denied. And your friends will be dealt with shortly. Proceed."
"Ready," Menelaus ordered. The soldiers raised their rifles. Phaedra took a breath and her mind gave her pictures of those who mattered to her in her life: her father, her mother that she lost in childhood (she couldn't remember her voice or the sound of her laugh, but could remember images of her), her first lover Marius, who taught her about physical and spiritual communion, Agamemnon, her own creation Clymenstra, as dear to her as a daughter, The Doctor...
The soldiers tensed. Phaedra tensed.
Suddenly there was a high pitched whirring sound and a violent explosion that felt as if it rocked the foundations of the Tower itself. Phaedra was pinned to the wall as Menelaus and the soldiers who were her firing squad were knocked off their feet. The door at the opposite end of the hall fell forward with a clang as the walls around it shattered and crumbled. In ran Agamemnon and an overwhelming force of Android fighters followed by The Doctor and Clymenstra, who had caught up to them in the tunnel. Before Menelaus and the remaining soldiers could get to their feet, they had been surrounded and their laser rifles seized.
"Stop this!" Agamemnon ordered. "Priam, stop!"
Priam stood at the controls of the lift. "Are you ordering me now?" he asked defiantly. "I am the leader of Socrates, Agamemnon, not you."
Meanwhile The Doctor ran over to Phaedra and unlocked her cuffs with the sonic screwdriver. "Phaedra, where's Jack?" he asked. "Where's Jack? "
"He is in the tube, Doctor," Priam answered, his voice almost smug. The Doctor could see Jack's shackled legs near the top of the visible tube; the rest of him was out of sight in the darkness. "The tube is made from soundproof, shatterproof glass," Priam stated. "The moment power is restored the platform will continue to rise. Once he is completely out of sight the process will be irreversible. So you see, Doctor, you may have saved the False Android, but I will still have my satisfaction. One less inferior being is still one less."
"Not if I can help it," The Doctor growled at Priam. He held up the sonic screwdriver and burned out the controls. But that still left the tube intact with Jack trapped inside. "Agamemnon, Clymenstra, take everyone to the end of the hall. Quickly."
"But, Priam said the glass was shatterproof," Phaedra argued. "How are you going to get him out?"
"I have my ways," The Doctor smiled, twirling the sonic screwdriver playfully in front of her. "And nothing is ever anything-proof. But what I'm about to do can be quite dangerous, so go. Now." Phaedra backed away and then ran as The Doctor held up the sonic screwdriver once again. "Sorry, Jack," he whispered as the glass tube began to hum. He knew how dangerous this truly was: if the glass exploded, shards would rip through his body like shrapnel. If the glass fell, it could fall on Jack, the weight crushing his skull, shredding him to ribbons, even decapitating him. But he had to get Jack out of there some way; if he'd been wrong about burning out the controls of the platform, he certainly needed to get Jack down before the power came back on.
The sonic screwdriver reached higher frequencies and the tube began to thrum and vibrate. Then the glass broke, falling straight down in a shower. The Doctor turned his back, protecting himself from any flying glass until he heard the last of it fall. The Doctor smiled at his triumph, and then ran to the platform. "Jack," The Doctor called. "Jack, are you alright?"
It took a moment, but Jack finally answered. "Doctor, what the hell took you so long?"
"Sit down on the platform and slide off. I will catch you," The Doctor said, chuckling slightly at him. It wasn't a graceful maneuver on Jack's part, considering both his hands and feet were bound, but he managed to kip his legs out in front of him and came down onto the platform, landing on his bottom. Wriggling, he scooted to the edge and then slid off. The Doctor broke his fall as Jack and he collapsed to the floor.
There was a sudden loud cracking sound. The Doctor didn't waste any time. The sonic screwdriver was used to release Jack's leg shackles. The sound got louder and the floor trembled. The Doctor and Jack, slight cuts on him from the glass, shared a panicked glance for a full second. "JACK!! RUN!!!" The Doctor roatred, getting Jack to his feet. They stumbled down the hall together, finally leaping forward as glass and concrete crashed down, burying the spot they had been standing under tons of rubble. Then there was silence.
The Doctor glanced up, coughing from the dust. They had run just in time. Behind them there was nothing left of the tube or the hallway, the rubble just feet away.
"Doctor," Jack gasped as he coughed, still lying on the floor. "Your entrances in the past have brought the house down but this time you're being too literal." With a grin The Doctor released Jack's cuffs and helped him to sit up. Then they embraced, brushing the dust off each other. "God, Doctor, I didn't think I would see you again," he said, burying his face into the side of The Doctot's neck.
"I told you I would never abandon you again," The Doctor answered, softly kissing the top of his head. "Good thing you can run as fast as me."
"What happened?" Jack asked. "How did you get me out of there?" He continued to brush the dust off himself.
"There is no such thing as shatterproof glass, at least not completely," The Doctor explained. "There is always some infinitesimal flaw in the glass that can be exploited. The sonic screwdriver can find that flaw and use the sonic frequency to expand it" He coughed again. "I just didn't count on the tube taking the Tower down with it.."
"You won't hear me complain," Jack smiled. "Even though I can't die, the thought of being ejected into space wasn't my idea of a good time." Then Jack remembered. "Phaedra. Is she--"
"She ran down the hall, along with everyone else," The Doctor answered. "And now it's time to figure out what is to be done."
The others had retreated into the tunnel when the Tower collapsed, but emerged once the dust inside had settled. When Phaedra saw The Doctor and Jack emerge from the destruction she ran over to them, giving The Doctor a joyful hug and examining Jack's face carefully. Jack cupped her face in his hands and kissed her lips, and when he pulled away The Doctor could see the love in his eyes.
Instead of stewing on his flash of jealousy, The Doctor decided to focus on the pressing matter. "So, I guess the question to ask would be: what next?" The Doctor observed. By this time Clymenstra, Agamemnon and his soldiers had reemerged with Priam and Menelaus, surrounded by guards.
"The other soldiers will face no harm," Agamemnon said.
"They were following the orders of Menelaus, and therefore Priam," Clymenstra added. "They cannot be faulted."
"But what of Menelaus and Priam?" Agamemnon asked. "Logic dictates they should be placed on trial for their offenses to Socrates and face execution."
"But would you really want to give birth to a new society based on violence and death?" The Doctor asked. "There has been enough of that today already."
"Plus, the Tower has been destroyed," Electra spoke up from the shadows. "We would face imprisoning them until a new Tower was built, or use another form of execution."
"Those other forms would be more horrible than the Tower," Paris observed.
Clymenstra turned to Phaedra. "What do you believe, my creator?" she asked.
"I believe," Phaedra answered gently, "now is the time to use all the wisdom and emotion I have given to you to make your decision. Your time to demonstrate leadership has come."
Priam was stunned. "You have given non-Android emotion to an Android?"
"I have," Phaedra announced. "Because for all of their intelligence Androids have lacked compassion."
"Compassion is a highly complex emotion," The Doctor stated. "Though I admit Agamemnon has done remarkably well without realizing it."
"It is an effect of being around non-Androids," Agamemnon explained. "All these years of ensuring non-Androids are treated fairly. And now Androids are being built with the capacity for such emotions, because of Phaedra."
"So you see, Priam," Jack continued. "An inferior being has created a superior being to you. Not bad for a Human."
"And for Androids to learn these new emotions, non-Androids will have to be here, not just as visitors looking for a good time," Phaedra stated. "Intelligence coupled with compassion breeds wisdom, not just a programmed response, but actual wisdom. But my time in this is over. It is up to Clymenstra and Agamemnon to steer the course for the others."
"Which brings things back to my decision," Clymenstra said quietly. She paused. "Menelaus, Priam, it would be logical to put you to death, as Agamemnon said. But that would simply be vengeance instead of justice. Justice is what I wish to dispense, without regard to distinction between Android and non-Android. Justice for you would be obsolescence. As the Android race evolves into emotional sentience, you shall be left behind. As others grow in their happiness, you shall be without true happiness, doomed only to give programmed responses. You shall be nothing more than the relics of a bygone era, a time when Androids were incapable of expressions of love or joy, to wonder at the beauty of this world or hope for its improvement. And as Androids find contentment in developing their imagination to create, as non-Androids do, you shall watch and realize your shortsightedness in attempting to destroy the non-Android who created me and brought the Android race into the light."
The Doctor looked upon Clymenstra and felt the stern demeanor of her personality. On the outside she appeared as any pleasure Android would: soft and yielding in the right places, willing to accommodate. But make no mistake, there was a backbone of steel within, a guarantee that she would stand up to anyone and anything that challenged her authority. And, when needed, exert that authority in the harshest terms possible. He had no grounds to complain, however, as he had dealt with the Family of Blood in a similar way. And there was a part of him that found this idea attractive, as it reminded him of Jack.
And with that thought came a realization that he would have to sit down and talk about Phaedra's condition with Jack. He needed to know she was dying, that her time would be short. The Doctor wasn't sure what Jack's reaction would be, the news coming from him. Would Jack believe him, or would he believe The Doctor was telling him out of jealousy, of not wanting to share. Would it be a horrible reminder of his inability to die, or was Jack's love already so encompassing that her death would crush him under the weight of grief, like the times he had described in The Doctor's bed? Nevertheless, Jack had to know the truth.
"Menelaus and Priam should be placed in a cell, for protection," Agamemnon stated. "There are non-Androids in our ranks who were badly mistreated. They would take advantage of seeing them without power."
Clymenstra nodded. "I agree," she answered. "Ensure they will be treated well. They should want for nothing."
"Yes, Leader," Agamemnon acknowledged. He started to lead the two away with Paris and Electra.
"Well, that is a positive end to our stay on Socrates," The Doctor said happily. "I think it is time Jack and I left you to the future and discovery of who you can be."
"Your TARDIS should be where it was," Clymenstra reported. "You are both honoured guests, and shall have free reign of this planet upon your return.
"Come with us, Phaedra, " Jack pleaded tenderly, staring into her eyes.
"Yes," The Doctor offered, pushing down his jealousy and accepting even if Phaedra had a short time to live, he would be sharing the time Jack had with her. "You've done so much here, it's time for you to come see the universe."
"Creator," Clymenstra stated, The Doctor hearing the affection in her voice. "You have taught all you can teach. Because of you the future now exists, where Androids and non-Androids can live together in peace. Your legacy shall be us, our example, our evolution. It is time to get your reward and see what else is out there."
Phaedra sighed. "I believe you are right," she replied. "But now it comes to it, leaving you is difficult. You are as close as you shall ever be to my daughter, and non-Android mothers want to stay with their children to help. But, you are Android, and I gave you all you need to lead this world. And as The Doctor told me, it is time for me to act as your mother and trust your decisions." She walked over to Jack. "Jack," she told him gently. "I shall go with you and the Time Lord. But before you consent, it is time you knew the truth." She took his hand in hers, and Jack noticed it trembled.
"Phaedra, why is your hand so hot?" Jack asked. He reached up and stroked her cheek. "God, you're burning up," he gasped. Then he remembered Phaedra had not been well. "Doctor? I--"
"HE IS LOOSE!" came Agamemnon's voice down the hall. Everyone turned. Suddenly Priam appeared, grabbing a laser rifle from another soldier. He fired a wild shot at Clymenstra, who dove out of the way as the shot went wide. Just as soon as he fired the shot he pointed the gun at The Doctor. Jack reacted instantly, leaping in front of The Doctor to protect him, his instinct to give his life to save the Time Lord he loved.
But Jack wasn't the only one reacting instantaneously. Or with the instinct to protect. Phaedra immediately jumped in front of Jack. She heard Jack scream, PHAEDRA!!DON'T!! as the shot from the laser rifle burned into her body. There was a horrifying burst of agony ripping through the core of her being. Then she collapsed to the floor as Priam was wrestled down.
There was commotion, but Jack hardly saw or heard it. All he could see was Phaedra, his lovely genius, lying on the floor gasping for breath. Almost as quickly as he could grasp her hand and kneel next to her, The Doctor, Clymenstra, and Agamemnon were beside her. "Phaedra? Phaedra?" Jack called to her, worry soaking his voice. He couldn't seem to stop his hand from caressing her face. "Phaedra, Love, look at me. Stay with me." He looked up. "Doctor. we need to get her back to the TARDIS. The TARDIS can help."
"It's too far away," The Doctor answered. "We could never get there in time."
"The laser blast has compromised most of her components, if I remember what she showed me of non-Android workings," Agamemnon stated.
"Oh come on, Doctor," Jack pleaded. "You can do anything, I've seen you do it! You can defeat anyone, anything. This is simple! Of course you can help her!"
"Not this time, Jack," The Doctor replied sadly. The look in his eyes showed both hearts were on the verge of breaking. "I'm sorry."
"Phaedra is dying, Jack," Clymenstra explained, her voice cracking. "She was ill before this, a long illness, and she lacks the strength to fight this injury. Even if we had the knowledge of non-Android care, we cannot save her."
Jack looked into Clymenstra's eyes, seeing the grief and sadness in them, and knew she was speaking the truth. The loss was overwhelming to him, All Jack could do was lift Phaedra into his arms, cradling her the same way he had when he lost Estelle on Earth. Even though she was dying, the feeling of having Phaedra in his arms was a feeling of belonging, an act they were meant to share among themselves forever.
Slowly Phaedra opened her eyes. "Jack..." she weakly gasped.
Jack kissed her hand. "Phaedra, honey, why did you do this?" he asked. "You know about me, what I can do...why did you do such a thing?"
"Oh, my Jack," Phaedra said to him, her voice faint. "I knew...but I could not watch you die."
Jack shook his head. "I would have come back," he countered tenderly.
Phaedra reached up and stroked Jack's cheek, brushing away a tear. "My poor Jack," she whispered. "Always thinking you are alone. I will wait for you in that special place I will go. But you will not be there yet. Be with the Time Lord, learn from him. He loves you...as I love..." Phaedra's breath slowed. "I feel warm, Jack," she murmured as her hand fell limp from Jack's hand. And she died.
The Doctor's eyes filled with tears as he placed his arm across Jack's shoulders, trying to comfort him as he rocked Phaedra's body in his arms, silently letting the tears fall. Clymenstra was next to them, openly sobbing, the loss of her creator so keenly felt. Agamemnon stared at Phaedra, bewildered by the loss in front of him.
After a moment The Doctor turned to Agamemnon. "She deserves honors fitting her significance," he said, his voice breaking.
"She will receive them," Agamemnon replied. "Her name shall not be forgotten among us."
Jack kissed Phaedra's forehead as he gingerly laid her body on the floor, his tears still coursing down his cheeks. He quietly held his hand out, a silent request for The Doctor to help him to stand. The Doctor complied, Jack standing to his feet. Then in two strides Jack was in front of Priam, the laser rifle in his hands pointed at the Android.
"Jack, NO!" The Doctor warned him. "Jack, this isn't the way!"
"Yes it is," Jack argued. There was a cold light in his blue eyes The Doctor found terrifying. "He killed her. He deserves the same." Jack raised the rifle.
Priam stared directly at Jack. "Go ahead," he coaxed, his voice calm and cold. "She was Human. Just one less."
"Jack, would Phaedra want this?" The Doctor asked. "To kill in her name? To seek vengeance? Jack, she was dying, nothing was going to keep that from happening. To kill now, you know that simply diminishes her honor. Do you really want this for her? For the woman you loved?" Jack wavered. He didn't want to let the thoughts in, he wanted to react without thinking, pull the trigger, destroy the one who destroyed her. It would have been quick and immensely satisfying. But this is the way Jack had been his entire life, always impulsive, always grabbing for what was right in front of him at the moment. It was always about immediate gratification, being right, now, not later. Never the big picture. Then Jack began to think of what Clymenstra had said
For a long minute Jack still held up the rifle, clear intent to use it on Priam. Her idea of Justice wouldn't play out for awhile, but the idea Priam would have to stand back and watch as other Androids reaped the benefits of Phaedra's genius was a good one. The more Jack considered the idea, the more he liked it. In this way, Phaedra would go on, a mechanical race becoming an actual lifeform because of her. Phaedra would be revered long after Priam eventually malfunctioned and repair would be seen as a waste. Clymenstra's way was Justice after all. With that, Jack lowered his rifle and turned away. Priam was led back down the hall by Agamemnon, and Paris made sure Phaedra's body was taken away with all the dignity and honor she deserved. The Doctor noted Phaedra never asked for it, but she did deserve it.
There will be a slight delay. Reading over things I've decided there's a major section of the final chapter that I don't like, so I am going to try to rework it.
"We wish you to stay among us, Time Lord," Agamemnon said as The Doctor and Jack made ready to leave. "We are aware you are the last of them. You would have a home on Socrates, other beings who are similar in mentality, and yet as curious as children to learn. And Jack would offer much in teaching us emotional growth. Paris and Electra both would benefit from his imprinting."
"I thought Clymenstra was going to imprint them?" The Doctor said.
"They have begun with me," Clymenstra replied with a slight slight grin. "As for Jack, he has certain heroic qualities it would be good to capture."
"I am hardly a hero," Jack answered, his voice solemn. "All I can teach is that a hero is an ordinary someone who sees an extraordinary event take place and chooses to do something about it. Many here fit the description. Including Phaedra."
"Agreed," Clymenstra nodded, The Doctor hearing the sadness in her voice; it was true, from what The Doctor had seen, that Androids did indeed mourn the loss of their creators, regardless of having emotional sentience.
"And as for myself," The Doctor stated, "I can never stay put in one place for long. I do love visiting, but living here on Socrates I would eventually get bored, and boredom can lead to trouble with me."
"From studying your history, Doctor, you raise a valid point," Agamemnon conceded. "Very well. We shall hold a place of regard within our heart for you." Agamemnon left, waving from the top of the hill.
"Jack," said Clymenstra, placing her hands affectionately on his chest and staring into his eyes. "I know the feeling of loss, for I share it with you. Know that my creator left me with an example to follow, and I vow to try to live up to that example leading Socrates in the time to come. She shall never be forgotten." Clymenstra kissed his cheek. Jack merely nodded. "Take care of him, Doctor. Use what skills you have to heal him."
"That I can do," The Doctor replied. Clymenstra also kissed him on the cheek, then turned and followed Agamemnon up the hill.
The Android Astyanax ran up to The Doctor and Jack as they approached the TARDIS that had been under his care. 'It is exactly as you left it, Time Lord," said the Android. "The fuel cells have been completely recharged. A really fine machine, this."
The Doctor smiled up at her. "She is something," he sighed, stroking her wood panels. "Thank you for keeping her safe."
"We live to serve," Astyanax acknowledged. "And there is no charge. Agamemnon took care of it."
"Good on Agamemnon!' answered the Doctor as he opened the TARDIS door and Jack entered. "He should make an excellent counsel for Clymenstra." He turned to look at Astyanax. "Maybe I shall visit again, and next time I will give you a tour." With that the door was closed, and with a whooshing, wheezing scrape, the TARDIS disappeared.
Jack wandered around the control room as The Doctor set the coordinates to Random once again. Neither spoke, and The Doctor was aware they were dancing around the subject. Finally, he plucked up the courage. "Jack.." he began. "I could see what Phaedra meant to you..."
Jack couldn't hear anymore, not without breaking down. "If you don't mind, Doctor, " he softly replied, "I think I'm just going to my room. I need to be alone." Jack didn't even wait for a reaction. He simply left.
Later that night, Jack awoke to The Doctor sliding into bed with him. There were no words. The Doctor simply pulled Jack into his arms and kissed the top his head. Jack snuggled into The Doctor and tried to keep down the shaking of his body as he silently wept.
This interaction lasted for awhile between them. Jack would wake up with The Doctor holding him. Instead of initiating sex, Jack would simply get up and go catch a shower. Sometimes The Doctor would catch a muffled sound and realized what he was hearing was actually sobbing. Whether Jack was simply mourning the loss of Phaedra, or if her death triggered his grief for everyone else he'd ever lost, The Doctor could never be sure. Jack would dress while The Doctor caught his own shower. Then they would share a quiet breakfast together, the TARDIS consistently humming her concerns to The Doctor over Jack's demeanor.
The rest of the day would be spent in the control room or visiting planets or galaxies. Even though Jack never said anything and The Doctor never felt Jack was ungrateful, whatever they would see The Doctor would look into Jack's eyes and see the same thought: that Phaedra should be seeing it instead of him. And it wasn't okay for him to be there instead of her.
At night Jack and The Doctor would lie together side by side, but there would be nothing else between them. The Doctor would simply hold him., kiss his head, and go to sleep.
"Doctor, maybe you should return me to Earth," Jack said one night.
The Doctor sat up. "Do you want to go back to Earth?" he asked gently.
"No," he answered. "But I can't be very good company to you."
"You are going through a hard time right now," The Doctor tried to reassure him. "I'm here." But he knew it was more than that: the TARDIS had been humming at him all day about Jack. He knew Jack was grieving, and when the TARDIS made her typical show of locking certain rooms when Jack had approached, alone, a reaction the Time Agent knew well, this time the act had infuriated him, causing him to scream obscenities in a variety of interstellar languages. Still, when Jack had said nothing else in bed that night after The Doctor's statement, sleep had come quickly.
Hours later the TARDIS woke The Doctor in a panic. A quick look told him all he needed to know--Jack. "Where is he?" The Doctor asked, slipping on his warm robe. The TARDIS' hum indicated the control room. Was Jack trying to change the course?
When The Doctor entered the control room Jack wasn't at the console. But the scene showed Jack was someplace worse: sitting by the open TARDIS doors, staring at a collapsing star. The atmospheric shell made sure there was heat and air inside the TARDIS, but in that position Jack could easily jump. Or fall. "Jack, what are you doing?"
"This is what Priam wanted to do to us, Phaedra and me," Jack said, the first time he'd indicated he knew The Doctor was there. The Solar Wind was blowing through Jack's hair, the glow of the star's collapse illuminating his face, making Jack look unbelievably beautiful. "We were going to be ejected out here, and I was going to keep going, dying over and over again. She could only die once. Killing us was just going to make a couple less Humans." He sighed. "If I were to fall into this star's event horizon, do you think I would die?"
"Jack, please come away from there, back towards me. That always makes me a bit nervous." Jack said nothing, and he didn't move. "Phaedra would never want this for you," said The Doctor. "She was not unkind. And you matter. Losing you would not simply be one less Human. Not to me."
Jack sighed and was silent a long time, still staring outside. "It doesn't get any easier," he told The Doctor, his voice breaking. "I've lost so many. I thought I could shut myself away before, keep myself from getting hurt. After all I have eternity to live, so why not? But that didn't help. Then we found each other again, and then Phaedra came along, and...God, it hurts! How do you manage it? How does it get easier?"
"It doesn't," The Doctor answered, going to Jack and stroking his hair as Jack leaned into his touch. "Phaedra was special. I would have wanted that brilliant mind of hers with us, traveling the universe. I would have understood sharing you with her. You would have been fantastic together. But not if you allowed yourself to fall. Not if you give Priam what he wants. Then I will have lost you."
Jack was again silent, staring out at the collapsing star. "She would have loved this," he finally said. "She derserved this."
"Yes," The Doctor agreed. "She's not here, and I am so very sorry for that. So we have to be here, seeing these things for her, experiencing them, understanding all of it, all for her." He held out his hand and helped Jack to stand up, then he closed the TARDIS doors. The Doctor held Jack's face in his long hands, then reached in to tenderly kiss his mouth. He led Jack back to the bedroom and lay awake, holding Jack close as he openly cried for whom he'd lost.
Several mornings later The Doctor awoke to Jack looking at him, and knew a corner had been turned. He reached in with a tentative kiss. Before The Doctor's mind began to work fully he found himself on top of Jack, slowly thrusting into him as Jack had wrapped his legs around The Doctor's waist, making love to each other. The Doctor felt Jack surrendering himself again as his cock was stroked by The Doctor's masterful grip, and both breathed the other's name as they came, feeling once again they were together, without the ghost of a third present.
At breakfast, Jack finished his oatmeal before The Doctor did, staring pensively at the bottom of his coffee cup. "Do you think Phaedra will be as revered on Socrates as you believe?" He asked.
The Doctor, hair sticking up in various directions from a combination of sleep and Jack grabbing it during their lovemaking, gave a wistful smile. "I like to think so," he answered. "She took what are essentially machines and gave them the ability to develop into lifeforms. Not many can say they're the mother of a new species. I would like to return to Socrates in about a hundred years to see how they're progressing, give them a few decades to work the bugs out." He placed his hand on Jack's, giving it a light squeeze. "I would like to wait until I felt you were ready. There are other places to go and adventures to have."
Jack's smile was gentle. "Do you still want to be with me in a hundred years?"
The Doctor appeared surprised by Jack's question. "I can't imagine myself being with anyone else." The Doctor stepped over to Jack, sinking into his lap as he gave the immortal Human a lingering, inviting kiss. "How about we grab a nice, hot shower, and then snuggle together in my nice, warm bed?"
"That sounds like a good offer," Jack agreed. In the back of Jack's mind he hoped the place Phaedra had gone to was also nice and warm.
40 Years Later
"Paris? How is she doing?"
"Nearly there, Electra," said the Android to his invented twin. "The new component has been installed. I know it works in theory, now we need to see if it works in reality."
"Does she know this experiment could easily fail? That we might have to start over?"
Paris nodded. "She is aware," he answered. "Agamemnon told me the emotional component failed several times in the beginning, but every time there was failure something new was learned. By the time the component had been given to us, it had been perfected in Clymenstra."
"But this is something entirely new," Electra argued. "This might stress the other working components, cause them to fail."
"In the past that may have been true," Paris acknowledged. "But the modern technology allows for these stress factors. There...finished. Now we need to wait a few moments."
Clymenstra entered. "Have you awoken her yet?" she asked eagerly.
"I just finished," Paris answered. "We must wait."
"If this works," Clymenstra announced, "it will be as important as the day I achieved emotional sentience."
Electra smiled. "That is hardly true, Leader," she replied. " Yes, it will be wonderful. But this is merely an improvement. You were the beginning of a new lifeform."
"This will be even better," Clymenstra smiled softly. "If it works no one will be able to distinguish between Android and non-Android on a physical level. There will be genuine equality."
"And greater responsibility," Paris added. "Androids must be taught to be honest about their identity. No trying to pass themselves off socially. After all, Androids cannot reproduce in the non-Android way." Paris paused, staring. "She is starting to awaken," he announced. Clymenstra and Electra leaned over in anticipation.
She wasn't the first Paris had succeeded in creating. The first had been a female named Hecuba, named after an Android who had been destroyed that fateful day, and because she had been first it had taken awhile. Hecuba was fully sentient, had a personality of great intelligence and wit, and was currently working off-world. This one had also taken awhile, but only because Paris wanted to take his time. Everything needed to be right. She had to live up to her name. And she did: tall, pale, black hair, impossible blue eyes, a personality warm and giving, modeled quite successfully by Clymenstra herself. The Leader of Socrates also wanted to make sure this creation lived up to her name. She was beloved and special.
"Phaedra?" Paris called. "Phaedra?"
She opened her eyes and looked around. "Leader," she whispered. "Electra." She looked at Paris and smiled, the way a child would smile at her father. "Creator." She sat up. And within her pale skin a rosy undertone appeared, causing the three Androids to stare at her in wonder, watching a rare and beautiful flower blossom, becoming even more rare and beautiful.
" How do you feel? " Clymenstra asked, eyes wide.
Phaedra smiled and answered, "Warm".
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