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Seventh Doctor Drabbles

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Sontarans. SONTARANS!

The Doctor looked frantically for somewhere to hide in facility’s computer hub, but there were few options. Finally he settled on the uniform lockers. “It’ll be a tight squeeze,” he muttered, trying to fold himself into one of them. “But, could be worse, at least this isn’t one of my taller incarnations.” Bending his knees to his chest, he slipped his umbrella in diagonally, and pulled the door shut.

“Oh! My hat,” he cried, suddenly realizing he wasn’t wearing it. Opening the locker briefly, he pulled it inside, only just closing the door as the Sontarans walked in.

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“You don’t have to do this, Jackson.” The Doctor stumbled as he was dragged up the staircase. “Mel is still somewhere in the building, as are your friends.”

“Wouldn’t go so far as to call them friends, Butler.” Jackson tightened his grip on the Doctors arm. With his other hand, he brandished the lasercutter he’d killed Gyte with. “More like fellow lab rats. If they have any sense, they’ll find their own way out. But that’s not my problem-“

“It’s a problem for all of us. There’s something here, something that drives everyone mad! Why won’t you listen to me?”

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“Where can we drop you, Mr. Ketch?”

“Anywhere a slow death means a bad night on stage,” the contortionist looked wide-eyed around the TARDIS console room, “rather than the Sontarans’ less than tender attentions.”

“Your wish is my command!”

“I’m sorry,” Mel said, touching Ketch’s shoulder. “I wish we could’ve helped the others.”

“Thank you, Ms. Melanie. I suspect Tethneka and Stettimer were past knowing what was happening, but poor Mr. Jackson...” He sighed, “The man’s ego was legendary. Still, I’ll miss him.”

“Perhaps part of him will live on?” The Doctor glanced at the planet below. “You never know.”

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The rising sun failed to warm the bitterness of the morning. Mel shivered, wrapping her arms around herself as she followed the Doctor and Reverend Ellacombe through the snow.

“…which is where I ran into Sedgwick and Murchison. You remember them, HT,” the Doctor chattered happily, “such fine fellows, when they aren’t bickering with De la Beche.” He laughed. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that. We’ve certainly had our share of intellectual disagreements over the years, haven’t we?”

Ellacombe nodded but remained silent. Mel eyed him suspiciously, in turns angry and heartbroken for the Doctor at this chilly reception.

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“What’ve you been up to, HT?” The Doctor studied the assorted objects laying around the parlor. “It’s been awhile since I’ve heard from you.”

“My work is…absorbing,” the reverend replied without emotion. He stared at the door with a deepening frown. “I shall see if your friend needs assistance.”

“That’s unnecessary,” the Doctor tried to intercede, “she’s quite good at making tea.”

Ellacombe stepped around the smaller man. “Wait…here.”

“Oh dear,” the Doctor muttered as the door closed. He had no doubt Melanie was snooping into places she wasn’t supposed to go. After all, he’d do the same.

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“Will he be okay?”

The Doctor closed the vicarage door and led Mel back to the TARDIS. “Over time he’ll find it easier to hold onto his human form.”

“And, as long as there are no more cloven footprints in the snow,” she added, “the village should get back to normal.”

“There won’t be.” The Doctor was emphatic. “The tracks appear over two nights and are never seen again.”

“Odd that the villagers left after being so angry. It’s not as if you said much.”

“Is it?” The Doctor smiled. “Well…I suppose I just have a way with words.”

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“Listen to me, rattling on.” Mel smiled apologetically. “Sorry to monopolize the conversation, Aglae.”

“Your words are strange and I do not understand most of them,” the slave smiled back, “but I enjoy your company.”

“I’m glad.” Melanie looked around the city market. “Now, where to first?”

“Your master said you needed new clothes-“

“The Doctor isn’t my master, but yes, anything to help me blend in.”

“A stole, palla, and a pair of sandals.” Aglea linked her arm with Mel’s. “I know just the place.”

Unnoticed by either woman, a young, well-dressed man followed them from a discrete distance.

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The Doctor was still sitting in Valeria’s inn, staring gloomily at Vesuvius when they found him.

“Doctor?” Mel eyed him disapprovingly. “You can’t sit around here all day.”

“Why not?” he grumbled. “With the TARDIS lost-“

“About that,” she interrupted, “this is Popidius Celsinus. He’s an important official in Pompeii and he’s asked us to dinner.”

“It would be my pleasure.” The young man bowed. “Lady Melanie believes that I may be of service to you.”

“Does she indeed?” The Doctor studied his companion suspiciously. “Far be it from me to turn down an offer of hospitality. Lead on, Celsinus!”

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Melanie glanced outside the tomb. “I don’t see anyone out there, but we’d better stay here for a while just to make sure.”

“What have I done?” Aglae held her head in her hands. “Helping you escape imprisonment, attacking a centurion, running away from my mistress? Only death awaits me!”

“It’s not your fault.” Mel sat down and put an arm around her friend. “If I hadn’t agreed to have dinner with Celsinus, if the Doctor and I had never gone to Eumachia’s house, or better yet, if I hadn’t asked to explore Pompeii, none of this would have happened.”

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Melanie coughed loudly. “The ash, it’s so thick I’m not sure I can keep going. Can’t we rest a moment?”

“Keep walking.” The Doctor gripped her wrist with one hand and held the lantern up with the other as he peered through the gloom. “We’re nearly there.” Moments later, he dropped the lamp and pushed a tomb door open. “In, quickly!”

Stumbling inside, Mel breathed shakily. “Not a moment too soon. Is it here?”

The lamp had gone out, so the Doctor relit it. Shining the light around the room, he smile. “There she is - the TARDIS, safe and sound!”

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“Will this work?” Melanie asked.

“Absolutely. Just follow my lead.” Striding forward, the Doctor lifted his hat in a brief salute. “Good evening! I’m the Doctor, here to see the artifact recently unearthed in Pompeii.”

The UNIT soldier studied him. “I’ll need to see some credentials, sir.”

“Your brigadier has them already. Besides,” he smiled, “weren’t you expecting me?”

“We heard you were in England.” The soldier pulled out a walkie-talkie. “Just a moment, sir.”

As soon as his back was turned, the Doctor unlocked the door with his sonic screwdriver. “And we’re in! Did you miss us, Old Girl?”

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Mel watched her roommate warily. “Aren’t you coming to the dance?” she asked, not really expecting a response.

“I’d like to.” Delta glanced nervously over her shoulder. “I’ve met someone here. Someone…kind.”

“That young mechanic?” Mel smiled. “I saw you two eating lunch together.”

“His name is Billy.”

“Well, he’s sure to be a the dance too, so why not join me?”

“I’ve nothing to wear that is appropriate to this time period.”

“Not to worry!” Mel reached into her suitcase and pulled out a polka dot covered dress. “This should do. Go ahead, try it on - I insist.”

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Despite the seriousness of the situation, Ace couldn’t help laughing quietly to herself.

Mel frowned at her. “What are you giggling about?” she whispered.

“Come on Doughnut, didn’t you notice what the Dragonfire crystals look like?” She elbowed her friend. “I’d bet anything that whoever designed that dragon was a bloke. Freudian, that is.”

Mel stared at the crystals in the middle of the Starlight drive. Finally she saw what Ace meant. “Really? We’re being kidnapped by a murderous criminal and that’s where your mind goes?”

Ace shrugged. “It’s not my fault that they look like a spiky, glowing dildo.”

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“Where now?” the Doctor asked. “There’s Cerberin - lovely place if you observe it from orbit, the planet itself can be deadly. Or there’s the Garazone System. There’s a wonderful market on-“

“Earth,” Ace replied, searching through her backpack.

“Earth?” He wrinkled his nose. “Why? Are you leaving? I mean, you can…but so soon?”

“Don’t get your knickers in a bunch, Professor!” Ace pulled out a cassette tape. “Earth. England, 23rd of November, 1988. The Courtney Pine concert!” She smiled wistfully. “I’ve always been a fan, but I’ve never heard him play live.”

“Ah! I’ll see what I can do.”

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“You understand what I need you to do?”

“Buy you some time?” Ace tucked the bag of gold coins and the slingshot into the pocket of her jacket. “Sure, I can do that.”

The Doctor nodded as he set the controls back to England, 1988. “And be careful, Ace. The Cybermen-“

“Won’t stand a chance once I’m done with them!” She grinned at his look of consternation. “I’ll be careful, Professor. Or as careful as I can be, given that I’ll have to be a one woman army.”

“I’ll be as quick as I can. Nemesis must complete her mission.”

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Ace stepped through the time portal, out of the ruins of 22nd century Washington, DC, and into the same city in 1814.

It was a hot July day and the streets were empty.

“Guess I should try blending in.” She peeked through the window of a nearby home before tentatively opening the door. “Hello? I’m not here to rob you, just borrowing some gear.” Hearing no reply, Ace ran to the wardrobe, stowed her leather jacket and other clothes in a satchel, and pulled on a white shirt, brown trousers, and brown waistcoat. “It’s not Vivienne Westwood, but it’ll do.”

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Washington was on edge now the British were on their way, so joining the militia wasn’t difficult. Tracking down the book CEREBRA had fled into was another story. Ace finally identified it as a copy of Robinson Crusoe owned by Albert Gallatin, a close associate of President Madison. Gallatin was an avid reader, meaning every book he’d read could be infected.

“This feels so wrong,” Ace muttered, adding a beautifully bound copy of Don Quixote to the flames. As the pages crinkled and blackened, the sentient virus inside screamed. Ace cringed but continued piling book after book on the pyre.

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Captain Cook lifted his cup. “More tea?”

“Is that all you can say?” Ace pushed the now disabled robot onto its back. “The Professor and your friend Mags could’ve been killed.”

"No." Cook tutted. “I knew you had it in hand.”

The Doctor helped Mags to her feet. “Due to your great experience as an explorer?”

“Of course.”

“Of course,” the Doctor repeated, narrowing his eyes. He turned to Ace and Mags and grinned. “Ladies, shall we continue on to the Psychic Circus?”

“Wait for me,” the Captain packed away the tea things. “You lot will get lost without me.”

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“Shrine,” Cook roared outside the bus. “I knew it was nothing of the sort-”

Ace rolled her eyes. “That’s not what you said two minutes ago!”

“Clearly a conveyance of some sort. All very dull. Come along, Mags my dear, the circus awaits!”

“You don’t have to go with him,” Ace whispered to her. “We’re going to the same place-”

“I do actually.” Mags’s smile didn’t quite reach her eyes as she pushed past Ace. “Thanks for all your help.”

“But-”

“Ace,” the Doctor patted her shoulder, “let it go.”

“She deserves better, Professor. Anyone would. That guy’s a loser.”

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The Doctor turned away from the center ring and leaned against the cage’s bars. “Could you let something like that happen to you?”

Mags growled. “Could you?”

Grinning, he held up the three juggling clubs. “It won’t come to that, if we work together.”

“Nonsense!” Cook sipped his tea. “Survival of the fittest is the order of the day, believe me-”

“Or we could escape.” He tossed a juggling club into the air. “What do you say, Captain? Three stand a better chance than two.”

“I’ll trust to my own plans.”

“Suit yourself. And you, Mags?”

She nodded. “I’m in.”

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The Ringmaster took off his hat and looked from the disabled robotic clowns to Captain Cook. “Where’s the Doctor?”

“Ran off. Mags too, I’m afraid. I tried to tell them it was no use, but they did it anyway. Reminds me of that time on Xigrora-”

“No, no! I have to find him.”

“Why didn’t you say so?” Cook stood and saluted. “Captain Cook at your service. I’ll happily track the blaggard down…er, for a price.”

The Ringmaster eyed him. “Such as?”

“Oh…nothing you can’t spare.” Smiling, Cook stepped out of the cage. “Just put me on last.”

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The moonlight spotlight spun recklessly, completely unattended in the chaos of the fight. The light came to rest at last on the body of Captain Cook. Mags cringed away from them both and, freed from the light’s influence, slowly turned back into herself. In the darkness of the stands, the three audience members held up signs with the number 9 on them.

The Doctor edged towards Mags as the clowns brought a stretcher into the center ring. “Are you okay?”

“I’m alive, unlike Cook.” She sighed. “I’m sorry…I didn’t like the Captain very much, but he didn’t deserve that.”

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Putting her knee into Ancelyn’s back, she twisted his arm behind him. “Had enough?”

“Lady, lady, I yield!”

“Call me that again and I’ll thump you harder. I’m Brigadier Winifred Bambera.”

“A military title, yes? You are clearly a mighty warrior.”

“Better.” She flipped him over and got out her handcuffs. “Give me your hand.”

“Lady,” he caught her eye and corrected himself, “Brigadier, this is most sudden and forward. Do all warrior women in your land marry the men they best?”

“In your dreams.” She secured the handcuffs around his wrists and pulled him to his feet. “Now move!”

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The lights went out and everyone screamed.

Bambera recovered first. “Anyone have a torch or something?”

After a bit of fumbling, Warmsly switched on a small penlight.

“Doctor?” Ace knelt beside him. “You okay?”

“No,” he groaned. “Morgaine has entered our dimension.”

Ancelyn struggled to his side. “Dire news indeed, Merlin.”

“One problem at a time.” Bambera turned to Rowlinson. “Is there a fusebox? Good, try that. Then I suggest you all go to bed.”

“You think we’ll be able to sleep after this?”

“She’s right.” The Doctor stood shakily. “I have a feeling tomorrow will be a busy day.”

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The lights came back on just as Bambera reentered the hotel. “All clear out there. No sign of those armored freaks we saw before.”

“They’ll be back.” The Doctor leaned on the handle of his umbrella and frowned. “Although hopefully not tonight.”

Bambera settled herself on a chair. “I’ll stay up to watch, just in case.”

“I will stay as well,” Ancelyn sat behind her on the sofa, “to help guard the safety of this house and all who sleep within it.”

“You’ll stay because you’re my prisoner and I want to keep an eye on you.”

“…As you say.”

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The knock drew Ace out of her reverie. “Come in, Professor.”

“It’s me, actually.” Shou Yuing peeked around the door. “Can I come in?”

“Sure, I was just working on-“

“Are these explosives?” Shou Yuing took the small silver canister from her with a look of excitement.

“Just something I cooked up. Never hurts to be prepared.”

“But prepared for what? What’s going on?”

“Near as I can tell, the Dungeons and Dragons rejects are invaders from another reality, led by that Mordred bloke and his mum.”

“What do they want?”

“I’m not sure even the Doctor knows that yet.”

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“You’re not leaving me behind!” Shou Yuing hopped in and closed the door just as the car sped off. “Who are you?”

“Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart of UNIT,” he replied, keeping his eyes on the road. “I apologize for commandeering your car, but I need to find a chap called the Doctor. The fate of the world could depend on it…it usually does.”

“The Doctor? Ace’s Doctor?”

“Ace? Who’s he?”

Shou Yuing frowned at him. “She and the Doctor arrived together.”

“And where are they now?”

“Ace said they were visiting the archeological dig. Take a right turn here-“

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The Brigadier strode into the archeological dig, followed closely by Shou Yuing. “Brigadier Bambera, I presume,” he said, addressing the woman in military fatigues. “Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. I understand the Doctor is here?”

“He’s down there,” a waterlogged girl in a leather jacket pointed urgently at the lake, “in a spaceship.”

“Of course he is,” the Brigadier sighed, “and in danger too, most likely.”

“Yeah.” She blinked in surprise at him. “There was this green worm thing-“

“Thank you, I can imagine. Right, give me a moment and I’ll have him topside again.” Without another word, he disappeared into the tunnel.

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“Greyhound One to Seabird - over!”

Bambera picked up the communicator one-handed as she drove. “Receiving you Greyhound. Over.”

Lethbridge-Stewart’s voice was barely audible over the static. “We just had a spot of bother. Two knights shot at us with laser pistols. Over.”

“Mordred’s men,” Ancelyn said, “attacking those they think carry Excalibur.”

“Anyone hurt, Greyhound? Over.”

“No, but this vehicle’s windows have seen better days.” He paused. “They may try ambushing you as well. Over.”

“We should prepare.” Ancelyn searched the car’s interior. “Does this conveyance carry weaponry?”

“Relax.” Bambera patted the gun beside her. “This is all we need.”

Chapter Text

“PS,” Ace continued reading, “Morgaine has just seized control of the nuclear missile.”

Ancelyn didn’t wait to hear more. Feeling a sense of impending doom, he sprinted out of Arthur’s tomb and through the tunnel to the surface. He retraced their earlier journey and soon found what remained of the two armies.

“Where are you, my lady?” he muttered, scanning the scene. “If any harm has come to you-“ Ancelyn spotted Mordred exit the largest of the stranded vehicles. Over his shoulder he carried a limp Brigadier Bambera.

“Dead?” Ancelyn gripped his sword. “Then I swear she will be avenged!”

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“What ho, Merlin?” Ancelyn wiped his face as he entered the kitchen. “The Brigadier is a harsh task-master-“

“He always was-“

“But he has shown me many useful implements such as a device called a WeedWacker.”

“You’ll have much to learn if you stay in this dimension.”

“Doubtless I have little choice.”

The Doctor stopped cutting vegetables. “But you do. I can take you home,” his eyes twinkled, “if that’s your wish.”

“Stop jesting with me, Merlin, you know I will not leave.”

“Ah, the spectacular Winifred Bambera.”

“Spectacular indeed. In what other dimension could I find such a woman?”

Chapter Text

“Okay Professor?” The Doctor stared straight ahead and didn’t acknowledge Ace, but she persisted. “Hello? Earth to Gallifrey? You gonna to fill me in on what you’re planning or you gonna keep me in the dark, as always?”

“Hush Ace,” he said at last. “I’m thinking.”

“You usually are. What about?”

“Spoons.”

“What?”

“Spoons! They’re so very useful.” He took two out of his pocket. “You can eat ice cream and soup with them or,” he slapped the spoons together on his knee and elbows, “you can make music!”

“So?”

So...sometimes simple things can be used in unexpected ways.”

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“That’s it,” Ace dusted off her hands, “one dragon-shaped elder god trapped in a…what did you call it?”

“The Shadow Dimension.” The Doctor carefully placed the clay jar on a shelf amidst rows of identical jars.

“Contained in something that small?” Ace grinned. “Lemme guess: it’s bigger on the inside?”

“Exactly,” he chuckled.

“Guess we can go now?”

“Not quite. Nauger may be imprisoned, but it has many followers who will not doubt try to rescue it.”

“Okay, so we hunt them next-”

“I've another idea. Ace,” the Doctor’s eyes twinkled, “how do you feel about becoming a dragon?”

Chapter Text

The Doctor was humming happily to himself until the voice screamed into his mind. It sounded young, male, and emphatic.

“Doctor! Find the Voice of Stone. The fate of the universe depends on it!”

Once he could think clearly again, the Doctor hurried to the TARDIS databank. A quick search pointed him to Tarsus Six and a small box with a question mark on its side. He recognized the Time Lord hypercube instantly.

Getting access was problematic, as its location was unknown for centuries. The only place he was sure it would be was at the end of the world.

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Ace smiled at the child with confidence she didn’t feel. “Do you remember what your mum was wearing? No? It’s okay, we’ll find her.” She took the girl’s hand and led her through the spaceship, stopping periodically to ask other passengers if they knew her.

“KayEight!” A woman ran toward them and swept the girl into her arms. “Thank you,” the mother whispered, “one moment she was there and then-“

“Easy to get lost in this lot,” Ace said, gesturing at the crowd of refugees. Peering through the observation window, she wondered how long they had before the sun exploded.

Chapter Text

Ace look around nervously. All the scientists and military officials were hard at work implementing the Doctor’s plan. Well, her plan really - her plan to prevent the destruction of everyone on this planet and the entire solar system.

“No pressure,” Ace muttered.

She’d been in a lot of dangerous situations since meeting the Doctor. Usually she faced them with a grin and a sarcastic comment, but this was different. “It’s never a good sign when even the Doctor’s worried,” she said quietly, watching him run from person to person, directing their work. “Why couldn’t I keep my big mouth shut?”

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Ace peeked inside to make sure she had found the library the Doctor had mentioned. Satisfied she was in the right place, she slipped back out and sat on the base of a statue. She had a lot to think about.

“Jan.” She smiled lopsidedly. “Nice name. And he’s…well, he’s the most gorgeous person I’ve seen. And the way he looked at me, maybe-” She shook herself. “Come on, Ace! Get it together. He looked at you like that because you gave him money. Don’t be a complete idiot.”

“Still,” she leaned back, “wonder if I’ll see him again?”

Chapter Text

“It’s open!” Clive stepped cautiously through the door. “I thought we were going to break it down today.”

Benny knelt, studying the inscriptions on the chamber’s walls. “That was the plan, but last night I met a man with a handy device called a sonic screwdriver.”

“I’m glad because…this is amazing.”

“It’s an observatory of some kind. And this,” she pointed to a pile of bones, “was a Heavenite.”

“How can you tell?”

“Oh trust me, I just know.”

“Can you read the inscriptions?”

“Not yet, but I know someone who thinks he may have a shot at it.”

Chapter Text

Ace ducked into the tent. “Máire and her lot are clearing those fiber-things from the camp. Any word on how many came in contact with them?”

“Three people…maybe?” Jan followed her through. “Given everything, it could have been worse. Roisa is trying to help them…probably to keep her mind off of whatever’s bothering her.”

“Isn’t it obvious?”

He pulled her into an embrace. “It isn’t us. In fact, she said she hoped we’d be happy together. But enough of that.” Leaning down, he kissed her. “This has been a horrible day. How about we make some better memories?”

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“One capsule hit about two clicks that way.” Clive pointed with his sword and the corpse he was fighting lunged through the gap. He stumbled backwards into Bernice. “But why do you care?”

Benny cut off one of the corpse’s hands and kicked a bookcase so that it collapsed onto another copse. “Because there are living people inside them and one of them is especially important. Can you hold things here?”

“No!”

“Well, do your best. I have to find Ace.” Gripping her sword tighter, she ran in the direction of the first capsule. “Good luck! Try not to die.”

Chapter Text

As the Hoothi sphere exploded, something ghosted past Ace like a breath of wind on her cheek. “Jan? Is that you?”

“Finally lived up to my name: Aradrath, one big fire,” he whispered, his voice fading into nothingness. “Love you, Ace-”

“No!” She scrabbled after the sound as if she could pull Jan back to her by sheer will. But Puterspace was empty except for herself, Christopher, Phaedrus, and the Doctor.

“He knew. The Doctor knew Jan was infected and he didn’t tell me. He used him!” Ace felt a tug and was pulled into reality with an angry gasp.

Chapter Text

“So,” Benny leaned over the Doctor’s shoulder, “where now?”

“Christmas,” he trilled back at her. “I know a planet where they do Christmas really well.”

“Never been much of a fan.” She shrugged. “Although I do like a bit of mulled wine.”

“Don’t like Christmas?” The Doctor looked horrified. “But it’s a spectacular time! Snow outside and cozy fires inside. Lots of food and games. Singing carols and sneaking a wee shake of presents laying under the tree. Besides, it’s a time to remember friends and family-”

“Yes,” she replied sarcastically, “because relationships are something we’re both so good at.”

Chapter Text

They raced through an industrial area. Fairy lights and small Christmas trees dotted the landscape even here.

“What do you mean,” Benny looked for a sign of the crowd chasing them, “you’ve been running from this for a long time? I’ve been with you for months and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

“There was this dying species,” the Doctor huffed, out of breath. “It was their own fault and I did try to warn them-”

“Let me guess, they blamed you?”

“Correct. So they created a sentient meme to hunt me…something that hides in the silence between words.”

Chapter Text

“…That’s why we’re going to get out of it. What have you got to say to that?” The Doctor looked expectantly at Bernice.

“Ah,” she began. She struggled to express her frustration with his flippant attitude, her fear of the mob, or her determination to help him survive, but nothing came out. In a flash, she realized why.

Benny ran. The Doctor called to her, but she ignored him. She sprinted down corridors, past oversized equipment, until she reached the roof. Sagging into the snow, Benny covered her mouth with her hands and rocked slowly in horror.

She was infected.

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The mob caught up with her eventually. They circled around Bernice, quietly muttering "ums" and "ahs." The virus in her mind called back to them and slowly they drifted away in search of the Doctor.

Finally alone, Bernice collapsed into the snow. She lay there, exhausted and cold, until the urge to hunt the Doctor down eased a bit and she could form words again. Then she stood up and began walking back to town.

“There’s…uh…only one thing for it,” she whispered. “They’ll find…um…him and the…ah...TARDIS otherwise. I have to…uh…forget the Doctor.”

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“I thought so,” Benny swaggered into the TARDIS control room, “we’ve landed.”

“Very good,” Ace smiled condescendingly, “but where?”

“Let’s see.” The archeologist flipped the switch that turned on the scanner. The screen fizzed to life to reveal a darkened room crowded with various objects.

Ace came to stand beside her and squinted at the screen. “Did we land in a cupboard again?”

“No, it’s a museum.” Benny smiled. “Love a museum.”

“Of course you do.”

“Wait,” Benny looked around, “where’s the Doctor?”

“Gone out apparently.” Ace held up a Post-It note. “I found this stuck to the door controls.”

Chapter Text

“‘Gone out,” Benny read aloud. “Will return soon. Try to keep a low profile.’ What the hell does that mean?”

“The Professor’s up to something, as usual,” Ace replied bitterly. “‘Course he can’t just tell us his plans so we can help. Oh no, much more fun to keep us in the dark and let us stumble completely unawares into whatever ancient evil he’s fighting.” She hit the door controls. “Might as well get on with it.”

“Shouldn’t we wait here for him?”

Ace grinned. “Why? Scared?”

“No, it’s just-” Benny sighed and ran to catch up. “Wait for me!”

Chapter Text

“Any luck?”

“Nothing.” Ace slouched into a chair beside Benny. “You?”

“No. It’s like the Doctor just disappeared.”

Ace stole a sip of Benny’s coffee. “It’s getting dark and the TARDIS is locked. You got any money?”

Benny moved her cup out of Ace’s reach. “A bit, but not enough to last. We’ll have to find jobs.”

“And new identities.”

“Without IDs?”

Ace shrugged. “It’s the early 1990s, they’re not that hard to fake in this time period.”

“Of course,” Benny chuckled. “I forgot who I was speaking to. You’ve probably done this in every epoch.”

“Probably,” Ace agreed, grinning.

Chapter Text

The university official stood as Benny walked into her office. “Ah, you must be-”

Benny shook her hand. “Dr. Beatrice Winters.”

“Indeed. Your arrival is quite timely, Dr. Winters.”

“Oh?”

“Dr. Palmer, one of our Archaeology professors, left suddenly this week without giving notice.”

“That’s…very unprofessional.”

“Indeed, and so very unlike him. But it does mean we need someone to cover his classes. You’d be hired on in a provisional capacity to finish out the term and, if all goes well and you are still interested, we can make the position permanent. How does that sound?”

Benny smiled. “Perfect.”

Chapter Text

Ace pushed through the crowd to the kitchen. “Any chance of something to drink,” she yelled to a young man with messy brown hair.

“Hold on.” He pulled a can from an ice water filled tub and handed it to her. “You must be our new flat mate-”

“Ace.” She waved. “Hiya! You’re Harvey, right?” Before he could answer, she grabbed his arm. “Wait…do you actually have a maths problem tattooed on your arm?”

“It’s Schrodinger's equation for the wavefunction of a particle,” he replied proudly.

“Right. Maths major?”

“Yeah. You?”

“Cleaning lady.” Ace shrugged. “For now, at least.”

Chapter Text

Ace and Vassa struggled for control of the blank book, both of their minds swamped by the voices of the imprisoned.

“Ace,” one voice whimpered.

“Harvey?”

“Ace! It…hurts.”

“Ace,” called another voice, “is that you?”

“Benny!”

“The pain…it’s too much-”

Distracted by her friends, Ace failed to notice Vassa reaching toward the TARDIS.

“Big, blue humming box,” Vassa leered, touching the doors where she’d placed the coin.

“Vassa! Don’t-” Ace tried to stop her, dropping the blank book in the process.

With a whir, the TARDIS and Vassa disappeared. In their place lay a large, humming blue book.

Chapter Text

Benny grabbed the blue book that once was the TARDIS and ran, dodging flying tongs she went. “Hate leaving Ace behind, but she can look after herself. Get off!” She swung the big book and smashed one of the bots into a nearby bookshelf. Turning a corner, she spotted something she recognized. “The way out! Can’t stay here to be pecked to death or imprisoned again by Vassa and Lycurgus.”

Hefting the book with a grunt, Benny sprinted towards the door. “Goddess, you’re heavy!”

The TARDIS made an irritated noise and buzzed angrily.

“Calm down! I’m just making an observation-”

Chapter Text

“Har-VEY!” Ace rushed inside the flat. “Please, please-”

“What’re you yelling for?”

“You’re alive!” She knelt beside the couch where Harvey lay blinking at her

“Of course. Must have fallen asleep.” Harvey checked his watch and groaned. “Oh no! I missed Professor Winter’s class!”

“You didn’t. Don’t you remember? She was missing and we went to look for her. Then you got turned into a book-”

“You’re joking," he laughed. “Sounds like you’re the one who’s been dreaming.”

“Maybe.” Ace eyed him. “Listen Harv, I need to see a friend. You’ll be alright?”

“Yeah.” He frowned. “You’re coming back, right?”

Chapter Text

The Doctor opened the TARDIS doors. “Happy hunting, Professor Summerfield.”

“You’re sure this,” she waved the research ticket, “will actually get me into the Braxiatel Collection?”

“Quite sure.”

“Why?” She narrowed her eyes. “And why are you grinning like the cat who got the cream?”

His smile broadened. “No reason.” He motioned as if pushing her out the door. “Go on. Have fun.”

“Right. Fun.” Benny wagged a finger at him. “But if they won’t let me in and I get stranded here, heads will roll-”

“See you soon.” Once she was outside, he closed the doors again. “I hope-”

Chapter Text

Braxiatel was sipping a particularly fine Madeira when the call came in.

“I’m sorry to disturb you, sir.” Elliniko’s voice sounded strained. “But I have a Professor Bernice Summerfield here. She wishes to use our facilities to research…” There was a pause and Brax heard a female voice in the background. “…a theatre on the planet Menaxus.”

“Indeed? Does she-”

“Yes, she has a ticket.”

Brax sat up. “A real one?”

“It reads as authentic, only…the issue number is 0001.”

Irving Braxiatel threw his head back and laughed. “Send her to the main induction area. I’ll meet her there.”

Chapter Text

“Come along, Gilmanuk.” The Doctor glanced behind him as he ran. “We’re lucky the statues are slow. Still, better keep an eye out to make sure they don’t cut us off from the ship.”

“Slow? Really?” The archeologist followed him through the ruins of the theatre. Once they reached the room with the dream machine, he collapsed against a wall, breathing hard. “Didn’t realize I was so out of shape. Then again, I didn’t plan on being chased by living statues on an archeological dig.”

“No?” The Doctor chuckled wryly. “This sort of thing happens to me all the time.”

Chapter Text

Kicking back in her chair, Benny clicked a button on her research terminal to bring up the next document. “A bill for repairs...fairly straightforward.” She clicked again. “Advertisement for a performance of Death's Bane. It was one of the plays on the machine, so I suppose that makes sense.” Click. “Cast list and stage directions for Hamlet.” Reaching out without looking, she snagged her wine glass from a nearby table. “Did they have plays performed by real actors and computer-generated ones created by the machine? More importantly, why do all the surviving documents from Menaxus relate to that theatre?”

Chapter Text

“Doctor?” Ace adjusted the helmet of her space suit. “Fortalexa? Can you hear me?”

“Yes.” She heard the frown in the Doctor’s voice. “Why?”

“We’ve got a plan.” Ace opened the airlock. “I’ve attached some explosives to a grappling gun - enough to blow up the engine of the ship chasing us.”

“I sense a ‘but’-”

“The grappling line isn’t long, I’ll need to get close.”

“That’s suicide,” Fortalexa yelled.

An explosion rocked the ship. “We don’t seem to have any choice.” The Doctor sighed. “Be careful, Ace.”

“What fun is that?” Clutching the gun to her, Ace leapt into space.

Chapter Text

Fortalexa carried Ace through the airlock and lay her carefully on the deck. “Get her helmet off!”

The Doctor and Lannic scrambled to do so. Once it was removed, the Doctor searched for a pulse. “She’s alive!”

Between them they removed Ace’s space suit and carried her to the sickbay. “Her readings look good.” Fortalexa nodded. “She’s unconscious but should recover.”

“Good.” The Doctor pulled a chair over to the bed. “I’ll wait here until she wakes.”

“That’s not necessary,” Lannic replied, “the computer will alert us to any changes.”

“All the same,” he sat down and smiled, “I’ll stay.”

Chapter Text

“Damn you!” Benny slipped from the ship’s claustrophobic cockpit into the equally tiny escape pod. “Can you sill hear me, Brax?”

“Loud and clear, although once the Heletian security satellites fire on your ship I will lose contact.” When Braxiatel spoke again his voice sounded urgent. “Which will happen any second now.”

“All strapped in.” A warning sensor blared in the cockpit. “What happens if they don’t mistake the pod for debris?”

“They’ll kill you. Good luck, Benny.”

“This is the last time I trust anyone who tells me they have a plan.” Bracing for impact, she released the pod.

Chapter Text

“Benny!” The Doctor strolled backstage swinging his umbrella. “Where’s Ace?”

“Probably caught by the guards by now. I’m sorry, we failed to sabotage the dream machine and I'm afraid Fortalexa is dead.”

He sighed. “I couldn’t get in to see the Exec or stop the performance. A bad day all around. Let’s find Ace.”

“Doctor, Braxiatel asked me to complete his plan - lower the defense grid and let the Ripareans in. Do you think I should?”

“At this point all we can hope for is to reduce the loss of life.” He turned to study her. “What do you think?”

Chapter Text

She could’ve had a different life.

McShane tried to imagine growing up knowing she had a brother. Someone to look after and talk to who might’ve understood what she was going through. And her father! Sure, maybe he’d have disappointed her; but the man who wrote that letter and never gave up on finding her, at least he cared.

The sun was just peeking over the horizon. She’d been sitting on the beach, watching the waves and thinking all night. McShane felt bad about yelling at Liam now, but it was too late for regrets.

She’d messed everything up again.

Chapter Text

He stared at the bottles behind the bar, wishing he drank.

“It’s Liam, isn’t it?”

“Whassit to you?” Liam looked up angrily. “Oh. The guy from the club.”

“Yes, my friend Ac…McShane is staying with you and your friend.” The Doctor frowned. “Is everything all right?”

“How’s that your business?”

“It isn’t,” the Doctor sat beside him, “but I’m a good listener.”

Liam sighed. “It’s…I’m Ace’s brother, you see.”

“Oh.” The Doctor’s eyebrows arched. “And?”

“So I told her and…she wants nothing to do with me. End of story.”

“Maybe,” the Doctor leaned forward, “but maybe not.”

Chapter Text

“Doctor!” The Brigadier stood up. “Ace. So good to see you both again.”

“And you, Brigadier.” The Doctor shook his old friend’s hand enthusiastically. “What’s this about you needing our help? I thought you were retired.”

“I am, this is just a temporary assignment.”

“Got bored,” Ace asked cheekily. “I bet Doris isn’t keen about it-”

“She’s just glad to get me out of the house for a while,” he replied, eyes twinkling.

The Doctor interrupted. “Doing what, exactly?”

“Investigating a series of thefts at high security facilities, including UNIT bases. How would you two fancy doing some undercover work?”

Chapter Text

Hex slapped the snooze on his alarm for the third time that morning.

He’d been having a weird dream, full of fighting monsters, last minute escapes, daring rescues, and lots of other action-adventure elements he enjoyed in movies. Two other characters repeatedly appeared in it - a girl with a ponytail and a leather jacket whose face he couldn’t quite remember and man who, despite a constantly changing appearance, was somehow always the same person.

The alarm went off again. Blearily, Hex looked at the time.

“Oh hell,” he yelped, leaping from his bed. “I’m late! And on my birthday even!”

Chapter Text

“Any luck?”

The Doctor looked up as Ace walked through the console room. “Some. The hospital’s computer system has been very helpful. Going out?”

“Yeah. There’s a birthday party tonight at the White Rabbit for Hex, one of the nurses from A&E. Nothing like a few drinks to loosen lips, right Professor?”

“I wouldn’t know. Be careful. The people behind this could become very dangerous if they realize we’re onto them.”

“This isn’t my first rodeo. Besides, Hex and his lot are good people. They may have overheard rumors or noticed something, but they’re not involved.”

“Are you sure?”

Chapter Text

“I’m coming too.”

“Absolutely not.” The Doctor studied Hex. “If you can’t handle the TARDIS, you’re not prepared for what we’re about to do.”

“So what? Way I see it, you two may’ve investigated St. Gart’s for weeks, but I’ve worked there a lot longer.”

“That hardly matters-“

“I know the people and departments.” Hex looked to Ace for support. “I can’t sit around and do nothing.”

“An actual medical professional could come in handy.” Ace nudged the Doctor. “Come on, you know we’re right.”

“Fine, but on your head be it.” The Doctor sighed. “I’m going to regret this.”

Chapter Text

“Run!” Ace yelled and Hex did as he was told, running full pelt out of the morgue.

Dr. Mathias didn’t react as quickly. He stood frozen to the spot, staring wide-eyed at the five advancing figures. “What…what are those things?”

“Come on!” Ace grabbed his sleeve and tried pulling him along. “No time for a Q&A. Shift it!” But, due to either his hangover or the shock of seeing Cybermen for the first time, Mark Mathias wasn’t budging.

“Sorry mate, but if you won’t leave-“ Ace turned to run, only to find three more Cybermen blocking her way.

Chapter Text

Ace fiddled with the lock on a supply closet until it popped open. “Come on everyone, in here!”

“Why have we stopped?” Dr. Farrer looked around nervously. “We must leave the hospital before they come for us!”

“Can’t you hear that?”

They all listened. “Are those…guns?” Hex asked tentatively.

“Definitely.” She pushed him inside. “Now, get in and keep quiet.”

It was a tight squeeze, but they all fit. Ace left the door open a fraction so she could keep watch.

Mark peered over her shoulder. “What are they doing?”

“They’re killing people, Mathias. It’s what the Cybermen do.”

Chapter Text

“What now?”

“Now,” the Doctor entered coordinates, “we leave.”

“Won’t I need clothes or a toothbrush or anything?”

“The TARDIS isn’t a summer camp, Mr. Hex. Ace? Please show him around.”

“Come on, newbie.” She clapped Hex on the back. “Let’s find you a room, then I’ll take you by the wardrobe to get kitted out.”

“Is there a uniform like on Star Trek?”

“Not exactly.”

The Doctor watched them go. “What are the odds,” he muttered, “I’d bump into Cassie's son? Could just be a coincidence…except I don’t believe in those.” He shrugged. “Time will tell, I suppose.”

Chapter Text

It was all a bit much.

An hour into Hex’s first trip in the TARDIS, he’d seen Ayers Rock (Uluru, the Doctor had called it) standing at the end of a dead-end street on an asteroid traveling through space; spotted his first spaceship (from a distance); and seen the Doctor turned to stone by something called a Bunyip.

“Focus,” he whispered, glancing down at the unconscious Ace. His priority had to be to get her to safety. “Look, if you can hear me, McShane, just so’s you know…I hate this, but it doesn’t look like I’ve got much choice-“

Chapter Text

“Sure you wanna go down to the mines, McShane?”

“I definitely want to keep an eye on the Galyari,” she whispered back to Hex.

“You think maybe they’re up to something?”

“They’re eight feet tall lizard-people carrying heavy-duty weaponry, would you want to risk it?” Ace grinned. “Are you nervous about being on your own, newbie?”

“I’m fine, don’t worry about me,” Hex lied. “It’s just…you’re more experienced at all this than I am. What if I don’t know what to do when we find the Doctor?”

“Improvise.” Ace patted his back. “It’s what I always do. Good luck!”

Chapter Text

As the Doctor approached the encampment around Uluru, he prepared a list of reasons the inhabitants should let him through. “Hello, I’m the Doctor. You have no reason to trust me but I’m here to help, if you’ll let me.”

“Yes Doctor,” an older man said, “you are expected.”

“I am?” The Doctor blinked in surprise. “May I ask by whom?”

“Baiame.” The man pointed to the top of the monolith. “You’ll find him there. But you should hurry if you wish to speak to him and leave here before everything starts.”

“I doubt that’s an option,” the Doctor muttered.

Chapter Text

Hex was way out of his depth, but he couldn’t give up just because he didn’t understand or believe what what happening.

Placing his hand on the standing stone that had once been the Doctor, he concentrated on the vibrations of the bullroarer Wahn swung in a circle overhead. He closed his eyes and pictured the Doctor wearing a brown jacket and question mark jumper, his Panama hat pushed back on his head. “Doctor? It’s Hex. Can you hear me in there, or wherever you are? Come back to us, okay?” He glanced back nervously at Wahn. “Is this working?”

Chapter Text

“Is this such a good idea?”

“If we’re to find out what’s going on in Colony 34, we need information.” The Doctor slid the immigration forms over to Hex. “And a well-placed medical professional could prove invaluable.”

“What about the rumors of immigrants disappearing?”

“I’ll investigate that,” Ace said, arms folded. “Supposedly they’re keeping them outside the outer districts.”

“That’s not what I meant-“

“Medics are in short supply on planets like this.” The Doctor leaned over his shoulder. “And after I provide you with credentials, the authorities will fall over themselves to supply you with a job, Mr. Hex.”

Chapter Text

Five minutes into the “Wareing’s World” program on LIVE 34, someone tapped “Shave and a Haircut” on the door to Hex’s apartment.

“Did I miss anything?” the Doctor asked as Hex let him in.

“They haven’t gotten to her yet. Everything okay? That crowd sounded nasty-”

“My injuries are minor. Don’t fuss.”

“I just-“ Hex paused as the voice they were waiting for emerged from the speakers. “At last,” he smiled with relief, “Ace!”

The Doctor smiled too. “Our very own ‘Rebel Queen.’”

“She sounds tired.”

“As we all are. Now quiet! This interview could be very important for everyone-”

Chapter Text

“It’s time.”

Hex adjusted the ambulance headset so he could hear better. “Anything I should know beforehand?”

“I’ve given old woman medical care already. Just make sure you and the reporter explore the building. The government can’t censor the truth if it happens live on air.”

“Do we have to involve Charlotte, Doctor? You heard what happened to Ryan Wareing.“

“‘Suicide,’” his tone was angry, “so the official reports say.”

“More like executed for broadcasting the interview with Ace.” Hex shifted. “I just…don’t want to be responsible for getting another reporter killed.”

“Don’t worry, Hex. I have a plan-“

Chapter Text

“Have Marla’s people left?” Ace asked.

Jones checked the time. “Ten minutes ago. If the authorities arrest the reporter and your friend, our people will get them out of there and into a safe house as soon as possible.”

“Good.” She smiled. “It’s been weeks since I’ve seen him-“

“Boss!” Another resistance fighter ran into the room. “Something's happening outside!”

“What?” Ace hurried to a window and peered out cautiously. “Security forces. Someone must have talked. Check the back!“

“We’re surrounded.” Jones called from the rear of the house. “What do we do?”

Ace looked grim. “We go down fighting.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor looked up as Hex entered the control room. “How is she?”

“In bad shape. Dehydration, malnutrition, and who knows what kind of drugs they’ve used on her.”

“Oh Ace,” the Doctor sighed sadly. “If only we’d gotten to her sooner.”

“I’ve hooked her up to the equipment in the infirmary and she’s asleep right now. It’s odd…all that tech makes more sense after the training I got in Colony 34.” Hex leaned against the console. “Will they be alright, Charlotte and the others?”

“I hope so. At least we’ve given them a chance for a new start.”

Chapter Text

“I can do it, if you want,” Hex began.

“If by ‘doing it’ you mean lopping off a limb,” Ace scoffed, illustrating her point by slicing downward with the laser sword. “Sit down, Newbie. Watch an expert at work.”

“Be careful, Ace-”

“Relax Professor, I’ve seen Star Wars at least seven times so I know the basics. Besides, can’t be too different from a baseball bat.”

Lord Zei gave Ace a sarcastic salute. “I hope your friends appreciate your willingness to die for them, woman.”

“It’s Ace, and you’re pretty mouthy for a David Bowie knockoff. Let’s do this already-”

Chapter Text

Hex pulled on a jumper and attempted to flatten his unruly hair. “This keeps up, I’ll be needing a haircut soon.”

“You gonna spend all day staring at yourself?” Ace leaned in through his open bedroom door. “We’ve aliens to see, planets to save-”

Shrugging self-consciously, he hurried to join her. “I’m just trying to make myself presentable-”

“Trying to pick up girls, more like.”

“It isn’t like that-”

“Just be careful. Sex pollen isn’t just a Star Trek thing.”

His mouth fell open. “You’re kidding?!”

“Maybe I am,” she smirked, backing into the console room, “or maybe I’m not.”

Chapter Text

“Doctor,” Hex said as they entered the control room, “is sex pollen a real thing?”

“Hmmmm,” the Doctor mused absentmindedly while pulling several levers.

“What Hex means,” Ace laughed, “is where are we headed?”

“Towards inspiration-”

“That’s helpful.” Ace folded her arms. “Is this ‘inspiration’ a person, place, or thing?”

“Yeah,” Hex leaned against the console, “a clue would be nice-”

“A clue?” The Doctor smiled mysteriously. “How about the Eiffel Tower?”

“Paris?” Ace frowned. “I’ve seen it before-”

“Not like this you haven’t. The 1920s are the perfect time to visit. So many artists! So many exciting new ideas!”

Chapter Text

“‘Pop in and get us a table...’” Hex looked around the cafe in bewilderment. “Where? This place is like the White Rabbit after a long shift in A&E.”

He wound his way through the tables. Everywhere people sat huddled in twos and threes, talking about music, art, poetry, and politics. Finally, he spotted a table with a few empty chairs. At it sat an attractive woman of indeterminate age wearing a large, floppy hat.

“Excusez-moi,” he began, blushing as she looked up at him, “this place…is so busy. Would you mind if me and my friends joined you?”

Chapter Text

Hex made room for the Doctor and Ace. “About time you showed up-”

“The Professor had to do his good deed for the day,” Ace turned her chair around, “rescuing an American who fell down the stairs.”

“Was everything alright?”

The Doctor opened his newspaper. “Nothing an evening’s rest and a hot chocolate couldn’t fix.”

“Well you just missed the most amazing lady. A real class act-”

Ace smirked and fluttered her eyes dramatically. “Is it young love?”

“It wasn’t like that.” He smiled. “Although she did invite me to hers to be an artist’s model. Can you believe it?”

Chapter Text

“Mate,” Hex grabbed the last painting before the artist could throw it into the river, “you’re Salvador Dali.”

“I know who I am! Let go-.”

“But you’re famous! Or…you will be. I don’t know art history, but I’m sure trashing your career and becoming a bank clerk isn’t what you’re supposed to be doing.”

“What do you know, you strange man?” Dali elbowed Hex in the stomach and, with an agonized yell, hurled the final painting away.

Gasping for breath, Hex watched the image of melting clocks disappear beneath the water. “This isn’t right. I better find the Doctor.”

Chapter Text

Clutching the blanket around himself, Hex patted Iris’s arm. “I’m sorry you’re worried. What kind of mission are you on?”

“It’s complicated, Chuck.” She leaned against his shoulder. “Sit down and we’ll…talk about it.”

He blushed. “I’m glad to help, but…maybe I should put my clothes on first? I wasn’t cold while I was modeling for your artist friends, but now-”

There was a commotion on the stairs. Moments later Ace and the Doctor trudged into the room, followed by a toy panda who held them at gunpoint.

“Oh no,” Hex sighed, “I’ll never live this one down.”

Chapter Text

“Panda,” the Doctor’s face was very serious as he studied the cyborg, “you must tell us: did Iris kidnap Dora Muse?”

“Not that I know of,” Panda shrugged, “but I was distracted while we were on Brock.”

“I can’t imagine Iris doing that.”

“Hex,” Ace rolled her eyes, “you don’t know her!”

“But I do, and believe me she’s perfectly capable of that and more.” The Doctor stood swiftly. “Come along, Panda! We’re going to convince all the artists to return to Paris.”

“What about us?”

“I need you two to find Kevin Archer. I’m afraid he’s in terrible danger.”

Chapter Text

“Hex!”

“I know what you’re gonna say, Ace,” Hex kept walking down the hospital corridor, “but I can’t give up. Kevin, Panda, and Iris could still be alive. They could’ve lost their memories, or be unconscious somewhere-”

“Or they could’ve given us the slip.”

He turned. “Huh?”

“The Professor and I went looking for Iris’s double-decker bus.” She waved away his questions before he could ask them. “Her TARDIS! And it wasn’t there. She must have called it to her and used it to escape the river without being seen.”

“You sure?”

“The Professor’s sure and that’s enough for me.”

Chapter Text

Hex woke suddenly, his dream still wound so tightly around him that for a moment he was confused. Recognizing the hum of the TARDIS, he relaxed. “Just a nightmare.” He scrubbed a hand through his hair, making it stick out at odd angles. “I swear, they’ve gotten weirder since I met the Doctor. Operating on a doll? What’s that about? That one guy…what was his name…Hattie?…Hearty? Being forced to operate by…some other weird guys in surgical masks?”

He sat up, shivering as his clammy skin cooled. “A psychoanalyst would have a field day with all that.”

Chapter Text

Ace heard shuffling behind her and peeked around the side of the refrigerator door. “Hex, mate, you look awful.”

“Cheers.”

“Bad night?”

“Just…bad dreams.” He barely glanced at her and instead made a beeline towards the coffee maker.

“Not surprising given what our lives are like.” She ducked back inside and finally located what she’d searched for. “Hungry? There’s some cold cuts, cheese, bit a bread-“

“No thanks.” He poured a cup of coffee and added sugar. “This’ll do me.”

“You sure? The Professor’s in a foul mood. Personally, I wouldn’t want to face that on an empty stomach.”

Chapter Text

“This place is weird.”

The Doctor busied himself making cocoa. “You should be used to that by now, Ace.”

“Usually there’s a point to the weirdness. I don’t see one here.”

Hex sat beside her. “Major Dickens is a bit of a creep-“

“Oh,” the Doctor’s tone was low and menacing, “he’s more than that.”

“Fine, but the others seem harmless. Unless one of them did for Hartley?”

“Not one of them-”

“Doctor,” Ace groaned, “stop being so mysterious.”

“I can’t tell you what I don’t know…yet.” He handed them each a cup. “Off to bed, both of you.”

Chapter Text

“Ace!” Hex burst into her room. “Wake up!”

“Bloody hell.” Ace pulled the blanket over her head. “For the last time, go to sleep!”

“Shut up, will ya? Somebody locked me in the kitchen.”

Ace pushed the blanket down. “How’d you get out?”

“They unlocked it after they’d scared me witless with lots of heavy breathing and whistling.” His voice trembled. “And they gouged out Hartley’s eyes.”

“What?” She sat up and grabbed his arm, squinting in the dark to study his face. “Are you alright?”

“I am now.” Hex took a deep breath. “We need to tell the Doctor.”

Chapter Text

“He asked me to go with him-“

“Ace.”

Her voice was low and urgent. “I thought he was overreacting when said he heard someone whistling, so I laughed and went back to bed.” Ace glanced at Hex as he sat talking with the others. “He could have been killed.”

“But he wasn’t.”

“Hex is still new at this, he shouldn’t have been alone-“

“Ace.” The Doctor put an arm around her shoulders. “Clearly whoever was in the kitchen didn’t wish him any harm. They just frightened him.”

“Yeah, and I’d like to have a few words with them about that.”

Chapter Text

“Ace! Sue!” Hex ran as if his life depended on it. “What kind of idiot leaves bear traps laying around? Worse yet, who electrifies them and sets them on other people?” He stopped to orient himself. In the darkness, he could make out the vague shape of a distant building. Female voices drifted to him on the wind, but he couldn’t tell where they were coming from.

“Ace?” Unbidden, all the possible consequences of getting caught in an animal trap popped into his mind. Hex shivered and began running again. “No way am I letting that happen. Not to Ace-“

Chapter Text

“One, two, three-“ Sue and the Doctor dropped the heavy stones onto either side of the bear trap. It didn’t move. “Good.” The Doctor smiled. “Ace, slowly lift your leg out of the trap.”

Ace did as she was told, sighing heavily once she was clear. “That was too close.”

“Come on,” the Doctor helped her up, “let’s get you back to the chapel.”

“What happened to Hex? I heard his voice,” Ace laughed bitterly, “and ran out to stop him from getting lost.”

“He went back to the manor for torches.” Sue chuckled darkly. “Should’ve been back by now.”

Chapter Text

Hex and Ace ran up the basement steps. “Any idea where the Doctor is?”

“Dickens forced him upstairs to complete some sort of time experiment.” Ace rubbed her arms where the ropes had bitten into them. “I bet they’re in the attic where all that equipment was kept.”

As they neared the attic, they heard the Doctor and Major Dickens yelling. Hex held a finger to his lips. Ace nodded and they climbed the ladder in silence. The Doctor noticed them instantly, but kept talking to distract the Major while they crept behind him and waited for the Doctor’s signal.

Chapter Text

Hex was so engrossed he didn’t hear Ace join him on the observation deck.

“Whatcha staring at,” she asked cheerfully, chuckling he jumped slightly.

“What do you mean? Look at it!” He pointed outside. In the distance, two stars circled each other in a binary formation. “We’ve seen some awful things, but something like this-“

“Makes it all worth while?” Ace nudged his shoulder. “Yeah, I suppose so.”

“Don’t tell me you’ve traveled with the Doctor so long that a view like this isn’t breathtaking?”

“You get used to anything, with time.” She smiled. “Doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it.”

Chapter Text

“Owwww.” Hex rubbed his head and sat up. “Who knew getting in touch with yourself would be so physically painful?”

“I could have told you,” another Hex stepped from the shadows, “if you’d asked.”

“My God! You’re him! Me! My shadow self.” He approached the other Hex. “Weird.”

“You have no idea.”

“So…what now?”

The Shadow Hex pointed behind him. “You should take care of that first.”

“What?” He turned to look and his other self sucker-punched him. Hex landed awkwardly against the bed.

“Let’s tie you up,” his shadow self grinned, “so I can get out of here.”

Chapter Text

As Shadow Hex ran through the Unity facility, someone barreled into him. “Hey! Watch where you’re-“ He paused. “Ace? Wait…which one are you?”

“The Shadow Ace, of course.” She dusted herself off. “I see you ditched your other self too.”

“Yeah. I’m tired of the selfless martyr routine. Time to put myself and what I want first!”

“I hear that. Me? I just want away from her, the Doctor, and all the noise and danger.” She cocked an eyebrow at him. “Maybe we should find the other shadows, yeah? Give them a chance to get what they want too?”

Chapter Text

“We have to get down there,” Shadow Ace cried. “They…I could be dying!”

“There’s no point.” Shadow Hex sagged against the communication equipment. “We’ll all be killed soon anyway.”

“Not Ace,” Hex glared at his other self, “and not the Doctor.” He searched the schematics for other options. “Okay, we’ll find the shaft down to the core. Maybe there’s a ladder or-“ He felt a tingle up and down his spine. “Hey, did you feel that?” Hex looked toward the shadows but they were gone. In their places were plastic mannequins with blank faces. “Ooookay? Did we just win?”

Chapter Text

“Why is this so hard? You like Ace, so just tell her! What’s the worst that could happen?” Hex kicked a stone in frustration and watched as Ace and the Doctor raced each other to the caves. “She could laugh in my face and never let me hear the end of it. It could ruin the friendship we’ve got now. Plus, if she doesn’t feel the same way it’d probably make things really awkward…”

“But if she does,” Hex couldn’t suppress a lovesick grin, “how great would that be? I mean…Ace is the most amazing person I’ve ever met.”

Chapter Text

Ace woke up first. It had been a long, mostly sleepless night for both of them, between the storm, the cold, and the shock of being abandoned on a hostile planet. Not abandoned, she reminded herself, just lost…temporarily. Pushing down her gnawing doubts about the Doctor, Ace focused on the positive. She had to, for Hex’s sake.

She rolled over. Hex lay beside her, still asleep. A warm fondness spread through her and Ace could feel the potential it had to become something more. She pushed those feelings away too. Only survival mattered right now, everything else could wait.

Chapter Text

Hex glared at the crabs with disgust. “How is it that everything on this planet tastes horrible?”

“Hey, at least they’re edible. Like you said, we’re running low on protein packs. This gives us…options.”

“How long do you think we’ve been here?”

Ace shook her head. “Impossible to say. Time feels…weird here. Like it’s not consistent?”

“Is that likely?”

“As likely as a planet that moves itself around the universe. The Doctor said something about the rocks on the beach being younger than the stone in the caves-”

“The Doctor,” Hex said bitterly. “Wonder where he is now?”

Chapter Text

It was the first time Hex remembered being warm in ages. He rolled sleepily toward Ace, but she was gone.

“Ace?” he called out, trying to keep calm. “Where are you?”

“Hex!” Her voice sounded distant. “Help…me…”

“Oh God!” He ran toward her but the ground shifted under him. Looking around, he noticed the cave floor was pink and the things he’d taken for stone outcroppings were actually teeth. They’d fallen asleep in a giant mouth.

“Ace!” Hex screamed. He jolted upright, eyes wide open now.

“It’s okay.” Ace shifted closer, touching him gently. “It was just another nightmare.”

Chapter Text

“I can’t believe him!” Hex turned angrily to Ace. “And don’t you defend him, not after what we went through!”

“I’m not.” She closed the door to Hex’s room and slumped into a nearby chair. “The Doctor’s not like us-“

“That’s for bloody sure!”

“We look at Nirvana and see a monster-“

“Because that’s what it is!”

“But he sees a sentient creature. Like a shark, yeah? Potentially deadly, but unique.”

“If it’s a choice between a shark and us, I’d hope he’d pick us.”

“That’s just it. The Doctor tries to save everyone,” Ace explained wearily, “even carnivorous planets.”

Chapter Text

“You sure this will work?”

“Of course it will! Just don’t mess up the accent this time, Bobo.”

“You could try being a bit more supportive, Bunty my dear.” He dropped his attempt at a posh 1920s accent and spoke in his regular voice. “I’m a nurse not an actor.”

“Hex,” Ace admonished, “this is important!”

“I know, I know. But I'm worried about what it’s doing to the Doctor.”

“Him?” She laughed. “He’ll outlive us all. But if we ever want to get out of here, we all have to keep to the plan and defeat the Celestial Toymaker.”

Chapter Text

Hex sprinted through the dimly lit caves. Finding himself alone, he stopped until Professor Corbin could catch up.

“You all right, Prof?”

“Keep moving,” the older man gasped. He grabbed Hex’s arm and dragged him deeper into the island. “I can hear Whytecrag and his thugs catching up! They’ll kill us, if they can.”

“Don’t I know it.” Like he’d killed Ace and the Doctor as they’d clung to an icy cliff face. Hex pushed the memory aside. “I hope you know where we’re going-”

“To our deaths!” the Professor ranted. “But better that than whatever Whytecrag has in mind.”

Chapter Text

Once the escape pod reached Ventalis, the authorities took Farel away. Then there were questions from planetary security and debriefing by company investigators. Liv expected to be fired after all the rules she’d broken to find the murderer on The Lorelei. She was surprised when they offered her a chance to resign with a fairly generous severance package. Whether their leniency was due to something the captain and Cravnet had said or a desire to hush up the whole incident, she’d probably never know.

Liv was grateful but still unemployed. She wondered if nearby Nixyce VII was recruiting med techs…

Chapter Text

This had all already happened, he reminded himself, you’re just making sure it turns out for the best. The Doctor hated being shoehorned into a course of action, even by Time, so the mantra wasn’t very comforting.

“Ah, good morning ladies,” he said as Lysandra and Sally walked into the console room. “We have a new target.”

“What is it this time?” Sally asked eagerly.

“I need you to infiltrate a moving train and remove the cargo.”

“Which is?”

“I’m afraid I can’t say.”

“Because you don’t know,” Lysandra studied his face, “or because you don’t want to tell us?”

Chapter Text

She’d blown the charges earlier than planned, hoping the derailment would distract the Forge soldiers long enough for her to locate Sally and complete their mission. Nothing here made sense - the train, the tech, all of it was familiar, but Lysandra didn’t remembered ever being here before.

In a carriage designed to carry living cargo, she found a young private lying dead in a pool of purple blood. A small device lay discarded nearby and Lysandra recognized it as a Truthsayer, used during interrogations. Something stirred in her memories. Without understanding why, she pocketed the device before continuing her search.

Chapter Text

“Are you alright?” Sally asked tentatively.

Usually the Captain didn’t welcomed personal questions, this time was no exception. “I’m fantastic.” Lysandra snorted. “My former employer brainwashed me to the point of madness and I’ve got an Elder God trapped in my mind. It doesn’t get any better than that!”

“I’m sure the Doctor didn’t mean-“

“The Doctor knew exactly what he was doing.” The older woman sighed. “But he was right, this was the only way to stop Derleth.” She squared her shoulders. “Besides, it’s what we do isn’t it? Save the universe from ancient evils by whatever means necessary?”

Chapter Text

The Doctor hummed a tune as he bustled around the console room. Suddenly he froze, tilting his head like a dog hearing something. “Always seemed peculiar for them to give up so easily after trying to start a war,” he said quietly to himself. “Unless they haven’t. Hmmm, I should check.” He grinned. “No time like the present! Besides, it’ll only take a hour.”

Moments later, Ace found him pushing buttons busily.

“We almost there?”

“No. Change of plans.”

She narrowed her eyes. “Why?”

“Actually Ace, it’s just occurred to me that I’ve got some unfinished business to attend to.”

Chapter Text

Ace looked smug. “Did you ask him?”

“Yes.” Mel frowned. “He…wasn’t very forthcoming-“

“Told you!”

“But that doesn’t mean he’s up to something.”

“Yes it does.”

“Have it your way. Since we’re not going to a party, I’m going to go change.”

“Good idea. If the Professor’s about to drag us into a grudge match with some ancient evil, you wouldn’t want to fight it in that dress.”

Mel glanced over her shoulder as she left the room. “We can just stay in the TARDIS, you know.”

“And let him cause havoc on his own?” Ace muttered. “No way.”

Chapter Text

“Are you sure this is a good idea?”

“Don’t worry about me, Peanut,” Ace laughed, “I can take care of myself.”

The Doctor handed Ace two devices. “That’s true, but be very careful. We need to discover the source of this time ripple as quickly and quietly as possible.”

“Careful’s my middle name.” She grinned. “So what’s this then?”

“A communicator that will allow you to reach us wherever or whenever we are.”

“Even in the future?”

“Indeed. The other is a…virtual map, let’s say…of East Berlin.”

“Maybe you should install one in the TARDIS?”

“Oh, very droll.”

Chapter Text

Ace half-dragged, half-carried the man as she took cover around the corner of a building. She could still hear the guards shouting, but the sound seemed muffled by distance and the fog. Fog that seemed to come from nowhere.

She looked down at the stranger bleeding in her arms. “So much for keeping a low profile, but I couldn’t let you die. What we really need is somewhere to hide.” She pressed a button on the tracker the Doctor had given her. “Is there a hotel near here?”

“Turn left,” it droned in a falsely cheery voice, “on Rüdersdorfer Street-“

Chapter Text

Mel glanced both ways down the street before hurrying from Anna’s flat. “Should have kept my mouth shut,” she grumbled, dodging behind a trash bin as a car approached. “It’s just so confusing to have two versions of reality competing inside your head. What’s actually real: the Cold War or the peace and brotherhood brought about by the Republic of Mokoshia?”

“The worst part is I don’t know where to find the Doctor and, even if I did, what then? I doubt whoever took him will let me stroll in and free him.” Mel sighed. “I wish Ace was here.”

Chapter Text

“Whatcha doing?”

Mel glanced up. “Reading the TARDIS manual.”

“Why?”

“The Doctor’s teaching me to pilot it-“

Ace flopped into a chair opposite of her. “He tried teaching me once, but she didn’t like me.”

“Perhaps the teacher was the problem? I’m not sure he understands it himself.” She lifted the binder before dropping it into her lap. “Which is why I’m reading this.”

“Is it making sense?”

“I think so. I mean, I may never understand the physics, but the physical controls-“

Ace closed her eyes. Within minutes she was lulled to sleep by the sound of Mel’s voice.

Chapter Text

Arkallax’s expression was cagey as he asked about the Doctor. Ace had been wary of him before, but now all her warning bells were ringing.

Mel wasn’t similarly alarmed. “Oh he’s brilliant,” she gushed. “He’s got mental energy to spare. If anyone can get us out of this, he can.” Ace reached for her friend, hoping to distract her without drawing the attention of the nearby alien. But how do you avoid being noticed, Ace thought, when the potential threat is a psychic?

Suddenly Arkallax closed his eyes and fell back against the couch.

“That works, I guess,” Ace muttered.

Chapter Text

“Yes, everyone’s sorry,” Daniel repeated emotionlessly.

Linda swallowed and looked away. “Follow me, sir. I’ll take you to see the bodies.”

Daniel followed meekly, but inside he seethed. Three months since his family’s deaths and the pain was still unbearable. He wanted to scream at Linda, Lieutenant Colonel Price, or anyone else in earshot. How could they act as if nothing had changed when, as far as he was concerned, the world had already ended?

As he went through the motions of checking the bodies, something else became aware of Daniel. It looked into his mind and began making plans.

Chapter Text

The private saluted. “I’m sorry, sir, we can’t find Corporal Maxwell anywhere.”

“She can’t have disappeared, there’s only one way out of this place.” Price looked at Daniel. “Did she say anything or act strangely?”

“She heard something and went to check it out, but that’s all.” Daniel shouldered his pack. “I’ll help them look.”

“No. You take the bodies back to headquarters, I’ll oversee the search.”

“Yes sir.”

“One way to end the suffering,” a voice whispered in Daniel’s mind as he left Warlock’s Cross.

Daniel didn’t tell anyone he’d heard it. He wanted to keep his options open.

Chapter Text

“Colonel McKenna wants to see the…intruder in his office.”

“Intruder,” the Doctor trilled as the soldiers led him inside at gunpoint. “I ended up here by accident. Although…this place does looks familiar. I believe it was run by a woman named Annabel Morden when I was here last time. It’s interesting that UNIT turned it into a base-”

“Quiet,” the Sergeant ordered.

“Why? Communication is important in order to build trust in any relationship. Besides, I’d expect a much warmer welcome from UNIT. I mean, I hate to be that person, but don’t you know who I am?”

Chapter Text

The Doctor tried hooking the sonic emitter with the handle of his umbrella, but only managed to push it further away. As it slid across the floor, the device hit the leg of a desk. The impact changed its settings, intensifying the sonic blast. The Doctor screamed.

Cringing in pain, he spotted the unconscious intruder’s headset. On a hunch, the Doctor again reached out with his umbrella, successfully snagging it. He slipped the headset over his ears and sighed in relief. “This won’t help for long, but at least it’ll keep my brain from liquefying for the next five minutes.”

Chapter Text

“I could do it. Put my hand on this panel and damn the world.” Daniel stepped away from the machinery of Ship’s bridge. “And I might've seven years ago, but that’s no longer what I want.”

“So long restrained.” Ship’s voice in his head sounded desperate now. “One chance to live free. Forever free-”

“Calm down. As it happens, I’m not your only option. UNIT soldiers are here looking for me and Linda.” Daniel smiled bitterly. “The Doctor’s probably with them. I know all of them very well, better than they know me. So let me suggest an alternative strategy.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor glared at Daniel. “And what is Ship’s purpose?”

“Now that,” smiling, he stepped into light, “is the part you really won’t like.”

“Why am I not surprised?”

“Ship wants to be safe and free.”

Greg shrugged. “What’s wrong with that?”

“Ship doesn’t care how it achieves those goals. If freeing itself means destroying everyone on this planet, so be it. If UNIT soldiers threaten it, Ship feels no compunction about reaching into their minds and convincing them to kill each other.”

The Doctor’s expression darkened. “Where are Colonel McKenna’s men, Daniel?”

“Follow me. I’ll take you to them.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor looked at all of their faces - Klein, McKenna, and Daniel Hopkins - and found he could no longer stand to be in their presence. Turning on his heel, he walked away in disgust.

“Greg is dead,” Ship whispered into his mind. “Another innocent killed by reckless, self-centered humans.”

“You can be quiet as well,” the Doctor muttered.

“That said, you’re the one who brought him here,” Ship continued, sounding more and more like the Doctor himself, "knowing that he couldn’t handle it. Why?”

“I wanted him to see what dealing with aliens was really like.”

“Mission accomplished,” Ship replied.

Chapter Text

The TARDIS landed on a green hill. The Doctor hurried outside, but Klein took a bit longer to get her bearings. “So that’s it,” she nodded toward a facility nearly hidden in a nearby hill, “Warlock’s Cross?”

“The Warlock's Cross of seven years ago.” The Doctor gestured with his umbrella. “Do you doubt my abilities, Elizabeth?”

“In rewriting history?” She laughed humorlessly. “No, I have personal experience with that. But I wonder if you’re sure about it here?”

“When we have the chance to save fourteen lives?” He pulled his hat lower. “I would risk quite a lot for that.”

Chapter Text

Klein walked him to his TARDIS. “Goodbye Doctor. Will we meet again, do you think?”

“Who can say?” The Doctor smiled at her. “Take care of yourself Elizabeth.”

“I’ll try. And if I decide to stay with UNIT, I’ll keep an eye on Daniel.”

“Good. He’s sure to try again.”

“To escape or destroy the world?”

“Both. Colonel McKenna may think he can contain him, but Daniel is much more cunning than the Colonel could ever be, even on his best day.” He patted her arm. “You however are different story.”

“Compliments?” She chuckled. “From you? Now I am suspicious.”

Chapter Text

Ben squinted at the screen. “It can’t be what I think it is-”

“A humanoid form, frozen in the ice for millions of years.” Genevieve turned off her equipment. “Let’s move it to my lab so that we can control the thaw more precisely.”

“You heard her.” Lord Barset gestured at the nearby soldiers. “Someone get a gurney!”

McIntyre paced as the younger men got to work. “A police box and a body uncovered on the same day? What next?”

“Aliens.”

Barset glared at Ben. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“...Just a joke?”

“You’re not being paid to be funny.”

Chapter Text

As she made the hot chocolate, Genevieve glanced at the newly awakened man. “You’ll need some clothes. Yours rotted away while you were frozen in the ice.”

“I noticed.” He clutched the thermal blanket tighter around him. “I suppose I can’t wander around naked-”

“Not in Antarctica.” She paused in the act of stirring. “Not anywhere, really. We didn’t bring a lot of extra clothes with us, but maybe there are some coveralls somewhere?”

“That’s kind of you.” His intelligent eyes twinkled. “What is your role on this expedition?”

“Scientist extraordinaire.” She laughed. “Basically, I do whatever I’m told…mostly.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor ran his fingers over the equipment in the expedition’s control room. “Something about this feels familiar.”

“Better drink your cocoa before it goes cold.”

He reached out absently. “Thank you, Hex.”

“Who?” Ben laughed.

The Doctor blinked. “Sorry, Ben. My memories are thawing much slower than I did.”

“You called the Mademoiselle something too. Ace? Ace and Hex…odd names. Who are they?”

“Friends.” The Doctor leaned his head to the side and thought. “Or maybe family? All I remember is they’re not with me now. I’m completely on my own.”

Ben grinned. “Not from where I’m sitting.”

Chapter Text

Professor McIntyre peered through the back window of the snowcat. “Are those creatures following us? I can’t tell through the snow.”

Genevieve joined him. “No, they’re…returning to the cave. Would they really give up so quickly?”

“Not normally.” The Doctor’s voice was grim. “They’re relentless, but I suspect this lot have other priorities at the moment.”

Ben struggled with the vehicle’s gearshift. “What did you call them, Doc?“

“Ice Warriors.”

“What about the other members of our team?”

“They’ve kept Lord Barset and Captain Harman alive.” The Doctor took her hand. “But I’m sorry Ginny, everyone else is dead.”

Chapter Text

“Come on, Mademoiselle, talk to me.”

Genevieve exchanged a look with the Doctor before turning on the helicopter’s radio. “Yes, Ben?”

“What are you two doing? We barely survived traveling through that storm the first time! If you’re trying to rescue the Professor-”

She sighed. “We both know it’s too late for that. The Doctor wants to stop the Ice Warriors before they kill more people.”

“What can they do? They’re trapped in a cave in Antarctica.”

“Like we were?”

“Fine but…why’d you have to go with him?”

Genevieve smiled. “He can’t stop them on his own, can he?”

Chapter Text

“You sure this will work, girl?”

“The name’s Mags.” The young woman glared at the village’s head-woman for a moment before relaxing. “No, I’m not sure. The wreck I pulled this comms-unit from was old, but I’ll try to get it running again.”

“Good. We appreciate your help…Mags.” Trella’s eyes narrowed. “Where did you say you found it?”

Mags shrugged. “I didn’t. Just stumbled across it on my way,” she paused, “well…on a walk in the marshlands.”

“You shouldn’t wander too far from the village,” Trella warned, “there’s monsters in the forest.”

“And in the village,” Mags muttered.

Chapter Text

“Halt!”

“Get down,” Mags whispered, pushing Wilric into the damp grass so that the arrow flew harmlessly over his head. Then she was off - through the gap in the village fence and running for the shelter of the forest. She heard raised voices and hoped Wilric would give himself up, but she didn’t look back.

Wilric. He clearly liked her, which soothed her ego. Sometimes she thought he had potential, then he’d start disparaging outsiders and aliens like everyone else here. It was like he forgot she too was an alien. In those moments, Mags felt more alone than ever.

Chapter Text

Mags groaned as she ran from Dr. Maleeva’s castle. “No, not now. Please! Just stop-”

She felt the change coming. The pain hit her stomach first and, although she doubled over to clutch her abdomen, she didn’t stop running. Then it rippled up her spine, lengthening and converting her musculature into a new form. “I will not give into this,” she growled, feeling the change reach her face and hands. “I’m…a person…not…an animal.”

Mags fled through the forest, barely aware of where she was, and with one thought in her mind: she had to reach the village.

Chapter Text

“Everyone to the village hall,” Porrow yelled, herding the fearful townspeople ahead of him. “Trella has something she wants to discuss with everyone.”

“What’s this about?” The Doctor sauntered through the streets towards him. “Surely not the young lady who was just here? She’s no threat-”

“Lady?” Porrow shook his head. “No, it’s a man. An alien! He says he’s come to help free us from the monsters.”

“Has he indeed,” the Doctor replied quietly. “That sounds fascinating…and potentially dangerous.” With a smile, he followed the others to the village hall. “Just the kind of situation I specialize in.”

Chapter Text

Mags lopped ahead while the Doctor and Wilric struggled to keep up.

“W-why isn’t she attacking us,” Wilric gasped. “I mean…she’s a wolf.”

“A werewolf,” the Doctor corrected, “a native of the planet Vulpana. And she’s not attacking because I’ve convinced her we’re her pack. At least I hope I have-”

Mags froze and sniffed the air. “Hunters-”

“She’s right.” Wilric turned to look behind them. “The monsters are getting closer.”

“We need a distraction.” He pulled several clockwork mice from his pocket and, rubbing them on his jumper, Wilric’s arm, and Mags’s hair, released them into the forest.

Chapter Text

“How?! You said we were trapped!”

“That was before we had,” the Doctor held up two pieces of metal, “spoons.”

“Spoons,” Maleeva spluttered indignantly. “You mean to dig our way out of this cell?”

“It’s an idea, but no.” Placing the spoons to the side, he searched his pockets and began pulling out odds and ends. First he laid down the watch Mags had broken earlier, followed by two power packs, a few springs of various sizes, a bag of jelly babies, a spool of metal wire, and a yo-yo. “You see? All the makings of a perfect escape plan.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor looked up from his book. Only the hum of the TARDIS engines disturbed the silence of the control room. It was a far cry from the days when he had regular traveling companions. He smiled wistfully, remembering Melanie, Ace, Bernice, Hex, Chris, and Roz. So many good memories…and some horrible ones too.

“Enough of that.” Closing the book, he walked to the console. “Time to lighten the mood. I know…tea! And where can you find the best tea in the universe?”

He waited a moment, but there was no one left to reply. “Tasak, of course.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor meandered through the curiosity shop, perusing items on sale. “A monopticon! I haven’t seen one in ages.” He examined the device before dismissively tossing it away. “Broken. What’s this…a bust of Pliny the Elder?” He studied the inscription. “Joanna the Mad? What a terrible likeness.”

A small device lying nearby caught his attention. Turning it on with a touch, he scrolled through what appeared to be a list of names and jobs.

“For sale: one Doctor,” he read aloud, “excellent condition, six previous owners, only 900 years on the clock-“ His eyes widened in realization. “Oh no.”

Chapter Text

The Doctor hurried away from the employment window. It was the third he’d visited in the hopes of drawing the attention of whoever was in-charge of the city of Valhalla. Something was wrong here, he would have sensed it even if he hadn’t found the slave catalog with his name in it.

The sub-city grid seemed to be where the action was happening. Using his sonic screwdriver, he unlocked the security clamps on the nearest manhole and scrambling down the ladder. “Which way? I’ll try…right.”

He turned a corner and almost tripped over a dead body. “Or perhaps left?”

Chapter Text

He sat in front of the piano and began playing, but his mind kept wandering to back to his former companions. Mel, Ace, Bernice, Hex…

Times like these, alone in the TARDIS, were difficult for the Doctor now. He was always too busy to feel lonely while he explored new worlds or situations. There were always people around - wonderful people trying to help each other survive and thrive - but after each adventure, none of them joined him in the TARDIS. Not anymore. The Doctor wasn’t sure if that was because no one wanted to or if he’d just stopped asking.

Chapter Text

The Doctor leaned on his umbrella and tried to make sense of the situation.

His Sixth self was impulsive, but surely he wouldn’t willingly help the Forge, not after Nimrod tortured him and murdered Cassie. Not after Evelyn. The Doctor had lived in his current incarnation for a very long time and there were many things he’d forgotten, but those moments were painfully seared into his memory.

But it was more than just that. If they already had a TARDIS here, even a disabled one, why did they need his? And why hadn’t that question occurred to his former self?

Chapter Text

The Doctor watched as Dr. Crumpton tried to reattach the other Doctor’s arm. The aliens’ attack was regrettable and the damage extensive. It should have caused him to regenerate, but the fact that it didn’t confirmed all of the Doctor’s suspicions. There was only one answer that fit: Nimrod was trying to grow his own Time Lords. He’d cloned the Doctor's Sixth self based on DNA stolen during his last visit, but the results were flawed, unable to regenerate, and dying due to rapid cellular degeneration.

The Doctor frowned angrily. It was time to put an end to this charade.

Chapter Text

Sgt. Frith never liked Dr. Crumpton. From the moment he’d been forced join the Forge they’d been like oil and water, arguing over even the most meaningless details. But she was part of his life - a predictable, reassuringly human connection that helped mitigate the horror of the work they did here.

Seeing her lying dead in the lab, he’d felt surprisingly sad.

“Damn Nimrod! He’ll kill us all in the end,” Frith muttered as he paced the portal room. “So might the Doctor if he doesn’t hurry-“

Oracle’s voice interrupted him. “Hades Protocol active. Serialization in one minute thirty seconds-“

Chapter Text

“Congratulations Doctor!” Cardinal Padrac smiled. “I see your mission was a success.”

“One psychotic Time Lord down.” The Doctor paused, watching the Chancellery Guard drag his prisoner away. “If only the Master and the Rani were as easily dealt with.”

“You think this is over,” the Eleven chuckled, “but, trust me, it’s just beginning!”

“He’s right. There’s still the trial-”

“After which he’ll be found guilty.” Padrac shrugged. “Then he’ll be frozen indefinitely.”

“No molecular disintegration?” The Doctor nodded. “Good.”

“Things have changed on Gallifrey, for the better I think. Speaking of which, President Romana is waiting to see you.”

Chapter Text

The prickling at the back of his mind had bothered him for a while and for some reason it reminded him of the Forge. After some research he learned that they had given up the pretense of serving the British government, instead setting themselves up as an independent force in a gleaming, technologically-advanced tower. A tower that was impossible to infiltrate, even for him.

A sensor on the TARDIS console dinged. Checking the readings, the Doctor discovered a low-grade telepathic signal being beamed at his ship from the Forge’s tower.

Impossible to infiltrate perhaps, but what if you were invited?