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Doctor Who - The Internet Adventures

IA#9 - "Revolution 9"

Chapter 12: "Relationships" /or/ "Rutan Nature"
by Will Howells


Jadi Morok was staring at the view screen, watching the metallic fleet of
ships getting rapidly larger.  Wil was watching over the bounty hunter's
shoulder, as if his companion's muscular body would somehow shield him
from the force of the inevitable collision.
   "We need the control rock, kid."
   The rock was vibrating almost imperceptibly. Wil wouldn't have noticed
had the rock not been in his stomach.
   "I think I'm getting indigestion," he complained.  The ship
accelerated.
   "Whatever your metabolism is doing," Jadi said, moving away from the
screen, "now would be a good time to stop it."
   Wil was transfixed. The light from Paradise's sun was glinting
beautifully off the ships that would, in a minute or two, end his life.
"That's easy enough to ERRRRKH!"  Wil had hardly eaten in the previous few
hours so precious little vomit accompanied the rock as it came flying out
of his mouth.  He turned and faced the bounty hunter, rubbing his solar
plexus.  As he began to send words to his open mouth, he realised that
they were no longer on the alien craft.

"Number Nine, respond!" Number Three demanded, an image of the
subterranean cavern of power accumulator 75492/J fading onto the screen
before him.  "Do I need to explain the difference between stopping your
ship and increasing its speed?"  He took in the scene.  Four red-faced
humanoids, two short and two relatively tall.  One of the shorter pair had
a white beard and unmoving eyes.  Then Number Three noticed the two
Mysterious Robed Guys lying on the ground, out cold.
   "I doubt they know what hit them," the taller, male humanoid said,
patting the bearded one on the head.
   "What have you done?!" Number Three squealed at him.  "Wake up, Number
Nine!  Your ship is headed straight for the centre of the fleet!"
   Number Nine's groggy figure emitted a groan and shuddered.  The short
female nonchalantly sat on him.
   "Oh, that does it!" Number Three barked at her.  He turned to Number
Four, positioned at the weaponry discs.  "Destroy vessel 3i."
   "Number Three?"  The tall humanoid was addressing him again.  "There
must be some other way.  Can't you move out of the way?"
   Number Three hadn't intended to answer, but he noticed Number Four was
hesitating. "The ship is moving too fast; it just needs to strike one
ship, and that we do not have time to avoid."
   "But -"
   "It is a risk we must take, alien."  Number Three turned to his
subordinate.  "I said..."
   "OK, ducky," said Number Four, "keep your robe on."  He picked up one
of the weapons discs and snapped it in two.  "Forward zappers activated."

Two Mysterious Robed Guys materialised on the bridge of vessel 3i and got
a rather nasty shock when it blew up.
   The explosion spread through the ship, from the crown along the trunk,
finally reaching the power core at the rear.  The power core detonated as
the ship reached the fleet, the energy evolved enveloping every ship
within a five hundred mile radius.  Those ships ignited, their exploding
power cores engulfing more and more of the vessels, the chain reaction
continuing until...
   Debris.

Inside the planet, the Doctor's face fell as Number Three's holographic
projected dissolved in an intense flash of light.
   "Fireworks?" Bea asked.
   The Doctor looked at her sadly.  "I wish he hadn't done it.  I wish..."
He sighed.
   "Can I play with Jadi and Wil now?  I like Wil, he juggles."
   The Time Lord frowned, his face seeming suddenly centuries old.  The
Mysterious Robed Guys dead.  Wil and Jadi dead.  Beatrice showing all the
signs of finally losing her maturity and the last vestiges of Time Lord
physiology, finally becoming the human girl who would die in his arms.
"No, Beatrice.  Wil and Jadi..."
   "You called?"
   The Doctor spun round to find the two young men wandering casually into
the cavern, alive and well.  He ran forward and hugged Wil, then turned to
Jadi who niftly side-stepped him.
   "I thought you'd...  How did you get off the ship?"
   Jadi smiled.  "Heh, where there's a Wil..."
   Wil groaned, half at the joke and half at his indigestion.  "I don't
suppose you've got an aspirin?"
   "Certainly not," the Doctor replied, "but if you're feeling a bit under
the weather, I'm sure there's something in the TARDIS that'll help."  He
hoisted Bea under one arm and the gnome under the other, the dazed aliens
catching his eye as he did so.  "From what I've seen of their physiology,
those two robed fellows should be fine if we leave them here.  I suggest
the rest of us find somewhere that wreaks slightly less of death.  Coming,
Miss Ferris?"

The blond-haired chairman hushed the other members of the group labelled
variously as the Directory and the Directorate.  Its real name and purpose
was a mystery to all but an enlightened few, and, the man was pleased to
remind himself, those few who answered to him.  "I understand your
concerns, but this is only a minor setback, honestly.  Experiment 462 is
already on schedule."
   "The Subject knows, doesn't he?  He'll make a move against us."  The
newest recruit, making trouble.
   The humanoid Rutan steepled his fingers and rested his chin on them.
"All the Subject knows is that *someone* has been trying to clone him.  He
doesn't know where we are, who we are, what are motives are, or where we
are.  He can do nothing."
   "And UNIT?"
   "Even more in the dark than the Subject.  They need not bother us."
   Another member of the group, a woman, piped up.  "I understand you have
taken prisoners.  Are you sure that's wise?"
   The blond man snorted softly, adjusting his shades.  "Dr Browning dealt
with Experiment 461 at the Institute.  461 may have revealed useful
information to her during its time there."
   "And the boy?  His family have appeared on television, for Christ's
sake.  It's not exactly subtle."
   "Two of his friends died from drug abuse.  It's only a matter of time
before another victim turns up."
   "Why the delay?"
   The greying biologist answered.  "We need fresh genetic material," she
told the room.  "We use Matheson to get to the Subject."
   The chairman smiled.  "Thank you."

Angela didn't know why she'd agreed to come. Well, she corrected herself,
she did: a) it was the only way off the husk of a planet that was
Paradise, and b) Morok had been very convincing.  Having no choice was
still little compensation.
   Here she was, in the TARDIS.  It was bigger on the inside, but that had
been no surprise.  She'd pretended to be shocked, of course, but it had
all been there in the files.
   Morok had wanted the Doctor to take them straight to Alcestus.  The
Doctor had dodged the question and appeased the bounty hunter with 60,000
mazumas.  Did he know what she'd done then?  Was that why he wanted to
keep her in his craft, for interrogation, or worse?  Morok seemed to think
the Doctor would relent and drop them off.  How much did *he* know about
the information she had hacked?
   Oh, Lady, what have you got yourself into *now*?
   The Doctor and his companions actually seemed quite friendly, she had
to admit, although Angela couldn't help wondering why he had such a young
girl travelling with him.  Perhaps, if she kept quiet about her dealings
on Alcestus, the Doctor would never find out.  A moment with him without
that blasted bounty hunter breathing down her neck and she might be able
to get the Time Lord to drop her off in a quiet backwater.
   *If* she could get away from Morok.
   Angela sighed quietly to herself.  *Might as well make yourself at
home,* she thought.  *You don't know how long you're going to be staying.*

Bea had just beaten Wil at draughts when the Doctor returned to the
TARDIS.
   "Uncle, Uncle, I beat Wil!"
   The Doctor smiled.  "It would have been nice to let him win just once,"
he told her.  Wil noticed there was no accompanying sparkle in the
Gallifreyan's eyes.
   "It's time to go now, Bea," the Doctor said.  "Your daddy's waiting for
you."
   "Will I see you again, Uncle?"
   The Doctor's smile wrinkled for a moment.  "I promise," he said softly,
walking her to the door.  "Go on now."
   Bea hugged the Doctor's legs, grinning mischievously at Wil from
between them.  Then, spontaneously, she turned and ran out of the TARDIS.
The Doctor stared after her for a moment.
   "So there are nine of me now," he murmured.  "You beat the rest hands
down."
   He turned and walked through the room, disappearing into the depths of
the TARDIS.  The time machine closed its doors reverentially and
dematerialised.
   Three days passed before Wil saw the Doctor again.

***

Epilogue


"Doctor, did you really go to sleep for ten years?"
   "Mmmm."
   The Doctor was playing with the underside of the console again.  It was
impossible for Wil to tell whether the Time Lord was dodging the question
or simply engrossed in his work.  But that seemed to be par for the course
since the Doctor had reappeared: the Time Lord would work away at the
TARDIS, keeping himself to himself; Jadi would follow Angela around
everywhere she went, as if she might slip away into the space-time vortex
without his stare to keep her in check.  The crew had doubled in size, but
the expanse of the console room seemed emptier than ever.
   And, Wil realised, there was someone missing. "Doctor?"
   "Mmmm."
   "Where's the cat?"
   It might have been a verbal kick.  The Doctor sprang into a seated
position, his head narrowly missing one side of the console.  "Wolsey?"
   "Unless there's another one.  I haven't seen him since you left me on
Paradise.  Is he taking a catnap as well?"
   "His time had come."  For a brief moment, Wil thought it had died too.
"I left him with an old friend.  I'm sure she needs him more than we do."
The Doctor disappeared back to whatever job he was doing.  "More than I
do."
   Wil couldn't help wondering when *his* time was going to come.

Tim Matheson didn't dare guess how long he'd been alone in the dark.  He
wished he'd picked he digital watch with the built-in light instead of the
now-useless analogue affair currently residing on his wrist: he'd be able
to tell how much time had passed (it couldn't be years, could it?) and
he'd have at least some light.  As it was, this place seemed to have
managed to scare all the photons away.  Which was fair enough - if he was
a photon, he wouldn't come here.
   "If he was a photon?"  Crazy talk.  Or a crazy thought.  In the
nothingness, his thoughts seemed as loud as his speech.
   He was sure there were other people in there with him - the occasional
screams, the arm that had pulled him in, the /feeling/ - but he couldn't
find them.  There was nothing, and it was driving him mad.
   Then one day they let him out.


THE END

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