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Doctor Who: The Internet Adventures - #9
REVOLUTION 9
Chapter 8 - 'The First Meeting'
by Rebecca Dowgiert



Wil looked uneasily at his friend.  The Doctor was staring, evidently
at a loss, at the small figure hovering in mid-air within the soothing
white confines of the Zero Room.  The end of the green hospital shift she wore
hung down like a christening gown.
   "What's wrong?  What is it?"
   The Doctor shook his head slightly.  "I'm not sure.  She's
regenerated."  He turned his head to look at Wil, a furrow between his
brows.  "Into someone who died in my arms years ago."
   Wil's eyes widened.  As time travel paradoxes went, this one was a
doozy.  "So you... knew--know her?"
   "I was her godfather."  Wil's eyebrows crept up further.  "At the
behest of a good friend of mine, an ex-UNIT man.  Her life was short;
she was ill, so very ill, at the end, her whole body breaking down.  I'd
only seen her once, but when I visited her on her deathbed, she said she'd
seen me twice before.  I regretted not having known her better..."
   He approached the floating child, stood looking down at her.
   Her eyes opened, and she smiled.  "Hello."

******

Jadi Morok sat up, knuckled his eyes, and blinked into relative
darkness.  There *was* the slightest bit of illumination coming from
above.  He could barely make out the sinisterly-hooded figure standing
before him.
   "I hope you find the accommodations suitable," the figure sneered. 
"Because you, my friend, are never leaving this place.  Alive."
   Jadi's head jerked to look as another voice chuckled, to the right of
the first speaker.  Another shrouded figure moved forward.  "Yesss,"
it hissed.  "You are now completely in our power.  Oh, the *things*
we will do to you..."
   There was a pause.
   "Oh, this is *so* much fun!" the second voice exclaimed, talking
normally now.  "We should've tried this long ago.  Except," it mused,
"we never had a real prisoner before, did we?  Aside from ourselves."
   "You're not supposed to break character!" the first figure complained.
   "Oh.  Right.  Sorry."  Sheepish.  Then, eagerly:  "I know -- let's
do 'Good Cop, Bad Cop'!"
   A loud sigh came from the first figure.
   Jadi leaned to the side and gathered his feet under him.
   "Wait a minute.  Did you shackle him?"
   "I thought *you* did..."
   Jadi grinned ferally, there in the near darkness.
   "Uh-oh."

******

Tim Matheson sat hunched on the hard orange plastic bench, hands
jammed into his jacket pockets, and stared out the plate glass window.
   Pedestrians passing in front of the fast food restaurant glanced
uneasily at the figure looking blankly at them.  It wasn't the smudges of
dirt on the knees of his jeans, or the way his blond hair was rumpled, but the
look in his eyes that made them hurry on, grateful that they weren't in
whatever trouble he was in.
   One little girl stopped to stare back, entranced by his sad, sad blue
eyes.  She tilted her head.
   Tim sighed and glanced away.  Out of the corner of his eye, he
saw the girl's mother grab her daughter's hand and urge her along.
   Looking back up, he noticed that two men in military green were
crossing the high street, heading towards the restaurant entrance.
   Looked like his ride was here.

******

"That the target?"
   "Yup.  Visual confirmation," the operative added softly into his
com-link.  "We're moving in now."
   "No sign of UNIT," his companion said as they crossed the street
and pulled open the plate glass doors.
   His fellow glanced at his chronometer, tutting softly.  "Seven minutes. 
They're slipping.  I guess we'll just have to fill in for them, then."

******

Angela stood, her hands delicately splayed out over the computer
console, her eyes wide, and a 'puter cable snaking away from the
back of her head to an adapter fashioned of Rutan.
   You had to admit, the little buggers could be very useful...
   "No turning back now," she breathed, a half-smile curving her lips,
her eyes not focused on her present surroundings.  Nothing quite like
it, being in a system.  The dance of data...
   It was a gift, an almost instinctive ability to slither her way through
the pitfalls and security subroutines to the gold.  Not many people
could do this.  And of those people who could, an even smaller number
were willing to tackle alien systems.
   The principals were the same, really.  You had to be flexible,
adaptable.
   And of those who worked at the level she did...  She might well be the
only one who could handle this particular job.
   Which of course was what the rebel Rutans were counting on.
   The fact that they were racing against time to gain an advantage,
a bargaining chip in their dealings with the mysterious proprietors of
The Planet Formerly Known As Paradise, before the aliens orbiting
above wiped the surface clean of all contaminating life, added urgency
to the proceedings.
   Definitely.

******

Bambera was watching the Doctor carefully as he hurried along
before her.  Such a strange character...
   "So you've seen Matheson recently?  I'm surprised you didn't
bring him along yourself, then," she commented.
   "Eh?" he commented distractedly, glancing behind.  "Matheson. 
I had something urgent to attend to.  I knew you lot were up to finding
him.  Efficient as always."  He beamed his approval at her, turned
back to resume his journey.
   Bambera's eyes narrowed.

******

Jadi burst out of the corridor and onto the bridge of his captor's ship,
and stopped, staring.
   "Flit me," he muttered, walking forward.  The ship itself was
unimpressive, all featureless charcoal-gray corridors with the occasional
door set into the wall.  He'd ignored those, gone right for the command
deck.
   It was not much more complicated than the rest of the vessel.  What
*was* impressive was the view -- he'd at first assumed he'd been
transmatted away to another part of the planet, but they hung above
Paradise.  Below him he could see the silver flashes of ships of all
types as they flitted away from the planet like frightened minnows.
   Jadi checked his chronometer.  Just a few hours until time zero.  He
found himself wondering what percentage of the population would
make it off-planet.  The survivors would, of course, be represented
disproportionally by those above a certain income level...
   He turned his thoughts away from that.  He had to find the transmat
controls so that he could get back down to the surface, find Ferris, and
get out.  That is, if someone didn't steal his ship first.  The longer it
took him to get back, the higher the probability that some desperate
soul would manage to break in, despite his booby-traps.
   He frowned.  He'd sunk a lot of money into the Kirena.  She was
nothing fancy, but she was dependable.  So far, he'd more luck with
her than with his consistently ill-fated land vehicles.
   Prowling around the 'Bridge', he found nothing obvious.  In fact,
the whole thing seemed more like a mock-up of a bridge, a 'set',
than the real thing.
   Frowning, Jadi leaned over a console, ran his eyes down a row of
studs.  There was no labeling, no script to identify the buttons.
   His 'captors'.  The ones who had gone down like ten-pins when
he'd decked them.  He sneered.  'Good Cop-Bad Cop', indeed. 
Well, *they'd* tell him what he needed to know.

******

Wil was bemused.
   He watched as, with a mischievous smile, little Bea drifted down to
the floor, then stood up, the green hospital shift practically sliding
off, her dirty-blond hair tousled around her face.  Peering up at the Doctor,
she grinned, raising her arms in invitation.
   He looked down at her, an unreadable expression on his face, then
bent to obey, lifting her.
   "Thank you," she said, in a child's lisp, throwing her arms around
his neck.
   The Doctor said nothing, his eyes distant.  Turning, he left the Zero
Room and headed down the corridor towards the Console Room, Wil
trailing along behind.

******

"Mr. Matheson?"
   Tim looked up.
   "This is Corporal Smith, and I'm Lieutenant Thompson, from UNIT. 
We're here to escort you to a safehouse."
   Tim sat, waiting for the codeword.  They glanced at each other, then
back at him.  Thompson reached forward to take hold of his arm.  "You'd
better come with us, sir; it's not safe for you here."
   They weren't UNIT.  They were *them*.  Whoever they were.  Or
else UNIT *was* them, despite what the man in the green velvet coat
had said.
   He looked up at them fatalistically.  "You killed them, didn't you?
he said quietly.  "You killed them, and now you're going to kill me."
   The hand pulled, and he stood, yanked upright.  "If you'll just come
with us, everything will be explained, Mr. Matheson," Thompson said
smoothly.  His partner touched his arm, pointed surreptitiously out the
window.
   Turning his head to look in the direction the two 'UNIT' men were
glancing, Tim saw two men crossing the street towards the McDonalds. 
They looked ordinary enough to him, but Thompson's eyes suddenly
narrowed.  Tim abruptly found himself being forcibly escorted through
the restaurant.
   "Let go of me!" he exclaimed.  Several people looked up, startled. 
Behind the counter, the manager stared out at the trio, his face creased
in worry.
   Smith held up an ID, quickly flipped it open.  "Internal Security," he
snapped crisply.
   Even as the manager opened his mouth to reply or protest, they were
moving down a dark hallway and through a door, emerging into the
alleyway behind the restaurant, with the dumpsters and the two people
pointing guns at them--
   Tim blinked.  *This* was unusual...
   "UNIT!" one of them, a woman, snapped.  "Don't move!"

******


Holding Beatrice, the Doctor walked the stretch of corridor leading to
the Console Room, his mind light years and millennium away

      He was being carried down through the swaying purple
      tube-grass in the lower orchard.  He leaned against his
      mother, so secure, and listened to the low humming as
      the wind played through the reeds, the sky a clear,
      cloudless orange above...

The Doctor's eyes refocused on the here and now.  He looked down
at Beatrice.  Her eyes were closed as she leaned her head against his
chest, humming, a tuneless, comforting drone.
   A wry smile twisted his mouth.  "I've heard of finding your inner
child, but this is a bit much."
   Bea opened one eye.  "Don't be facetious," she scolded.  "You know
full well you emerged from the Loom fully-fledged, wanting only buffing
to be complete."
   "Then these memories are...?"
   She snorted, a mischievous gleam in her eye.  "Fantasies, pure and
simple.  *Your* dreams of Gallifrey's golden past."
   His own smile grew.  "We *are* our memories, Bea.  Whatever their
source.  Especially we Time Lords."  He would have tapped the tip of her
nose with an index finger, but his hands were otherwise occupied.  He
frowned suddenly .  "But if I was never a child, as you say, then how
have you come to be here--?"
   "An aberration; a regenerational quirk of unstable cloned DNA.  Once
in a great while Looms send forth immature forms, you know.  Stunted
in mind and body.  They are immediately given back to the source."
   She sighed, an incongruously adult sound from an apparent
four-year-old. "We never were meant to be cloned.  I'm amazed I've survived
this long.  And that I have this much mental clarity, in such an immature
state."  She leaned her head back against him.  "It won't last; it will
slip away, until I'm little more than..."  She paused, her gaze flicking to the
side as she suddenly noticed Wil where he trotted along behind them,
listening raptly.  " ...a newly-Loomed.  I expect the body will last
little longer."  Her tone was clinical, detached.
   "I know," the Doctor said softly, his eyes distant again.

******

"*Move*!" Jadi snarled, pointing the way out of the small room in
which he'd first awoken.  His two erstwhile captors jumped, startled,
as they scurried out.
   "*We're* supposed to be the ones shout--" one began sullenly.
   "This is your lucky day," Jadi commented, slapping the speaker
good-naturedly on the back and almost knocking him over.  "You
don't need to shout.  We're all going to the bridge, where you are
going to show me how to operate this ship."
   One of the figures turned to the other.  "*This* has never happened
before."
   "True.  It is... different," his friend concluded.
   "Yeah, yeah; different.  Leg it."  Jadi reinforced his message with a
boot to the rear of the one lagging behind.

******

Bambera was somewhat bemused.  After initially rushing along the
hallways in a state of nervous excitement, the Doctor had insisted on
following her around like a puppy as she prepared a briefing room for
Matheson.
   She stepped into the room, placing a tape recorder on the polished
wooden table.  "Don't let me keep you from whatever you're working
on, Doctor," she told him, looking at him narrowly out of the corner
of her eye.
   His head shook vigorously, an inane grin on his face, as if he were
either very happy, or insane.  "Oh, no, no!  Don't worry about me. 
What I'm doing concerns you, anyway."
   The Brigadier paused, staring down at the table.  She was not
particularly surprised to see the image of the Doctor reflected in the
table's surface, inane expression still plastered across his face,
sneaking towards her from behind.
   What she *was* surprised to see, as she whirled, was the blue
crackle of energy frizzling at the ends of his finger-tips as he lunged
at her.

******

"Now," Jadi commanded, "I want to know how to operate this thing. 
Viewscreen first.  Give me a better viewing angle."  He leaned forward
menacingly, blaster pointed at one of the humanoids' heads.
   One of the hooded figures moved to obey, reaching slowly forward to
push a stud on the console in front of him.  Jadi's eyes fastened on it,
memorizing its location, then looked up to the screen to see--
   There was the planet, smaller now, the occasional fleeing spacship
arcing away.  None of them appeared to be heading in their direction.
   "Show me how to work the transmat."
   They looked at him blankly.
   "The transmat!" he snapped.  "What you used to bring me up here!"
   "We do not--"
   "Stop jerking me around," Jadi growled.  "I've had a *really* rotten
day so far today.  Believe me, putting a hole in your head would not
make it much worse."
   "As I was going to say, before I was so *rudely* interrupted," the
figure said serenely, a new confidence entering his tone.  "We do not
have a 'transmat', as you so quaintly put it.  One of us merely exchanged
places with one of you."
   Jadi's eyes narrowed.  "What, you mean you sent someone down
to the cave?"
   "The infiltrators must not be allowed to interfere with our business
here.  They will be dealt with."
   'Infiltrators'.  The Doc and Wil.  And Ferris and her cohorts?
   Morok was no Sherlock Holmes, but he wasn't stupid.  His eyes
widened.  "Then you're--"  His eyes narrowed.  "You're going to stop
the countdown until *all* the people get off the planet."
   The being's answer was matter-of-fact.  "The schedule stands.  It is
no concern of ours who decides to remain."
   "There's no 'decide' about it -- they have no choice!  They need more
time!"
   The figure shrugged.  "As I said; no concern of ours."
   Jadi placed the muzzle of the blaster delicately against the being's
head.  "*This* makes it your concern," he growled.  "Now do as I said, or--"
   He was lying on the floor.  Someone removed the blaster from his
suddenly nerveless grasp, as he lay, blinking in astonishment.  One of
the beings stepped over him in a swish of robes and moved away to a
console.  There suddenly seemed to many more than more than two,
moving rapidly about the bridge.
   He blinked again, groggily, as one of the figures came into his field
of view.  "You little bast--" he began.
   Lights out.

******

"Here we go again," Wil whispered, as they stepped out of the TARDIS. 
"You going to suck on a stone again?"
   The Doctor gave him a narrow look, then turned to continue the
argument he was having with Beatrice.
   She forestalled him with an upraised hand.  "Don't start.  I *am*
coming with you two.  From the sound of the situation here, you'll
need my additional expertise.  Such as it is.  While it lasts.  Two heads
better than one, etc."
   The Doctor stared down at her.  "Bea, you said it yourself; you're
unstable -- anything could happen!  The stress could kill you!"
   She looked unflinchingly up at him, the child seeking to outstare the
man.  "And when did that ever stop *you*?" she said softly but
implacably.
   The Doctor grimaced.  This was the impossible thing about arguing
with yourself -- you knew all your own moves.
   And it was ten times worse when you were stubborn.
   "Come on, you two!"  Wil's voice came from several meters into the
cavern.  "We've got to find Jadi!"
   Still glaring at each other, the Doctor and Bea each took one step into
the cave--
   "Um, guys--"  Wil's voice broke off, a peculiar retching noise
coming from where he'd just spoken.
   The two Time Lord's heads snapped around.  Wil was nowhere
to be seen.  Instead, a darkly-shrouded figure was standing in front
of them.  As they gawped, it raised its arms...

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