|Doctor Who Internet Adventure #24 - "Remiel"
"This Is My Boom-Stick"
by Jon Andersen
"I'm not that good."
- — Ash, Army of Darkness
* * *
The Doctor leans in. "You can do it Mavis. Fight him! So many many people will be hurt if he wins. You can fight him."
His answer comes in the female voice again. "No. I can't. He's too strong. I won't be able to hold him back much longer." She hesitates, then brings the pulse rifle in her hands up to her face.
"Mavis, NO. There has to be another way."
She manages a weak smile. "Sure there is. You can do it. I was never as ditzy as I let on. He has to die. This is the only way." She hesitates a second more, the barrel millimetres from her lips. "Tell me Doctor, is there a word for the feeling you get when you do something that is really really hard, but you manage to do it well?"
Mavis nods. "I think I can die with that." And she puts the barrel in her mouth and pulls the trigger, painting the ugly grey wall behind where her head used to be an even uglier shade of crimson. Fragments of tissue and blood fleck the Time Lord's grief-stricken face, body-warm.
"It's better this way," a voice says as the body, hands still clasped around the rifle, teeters backwards and collapses into a heap from which more blood begins to spread.
"How can you--" the Doctor snarls angrily, only to pull up short, his expression changing radically. "Oh, my."
"Oh my indeed," the Doctor answers himself back, looking grim in the half-beat it takes him to fire the staser in his hand.
* * *
"I can't believe we're doing this," one of the observers says sourly. "I can't believe you're letting all our careful work implode like this just because you thought the Doctor had to be taught a lesson."
"Oh, do shut up," the other snaps irritably. "Ever since those bloody perverts got to him on Dust, this has been an inevitability we've been waiting for. A crucial nexus point in the Doctor's evolution has begun, one that we require for what is to come. It's merely unfortunate that it had to occur in the project perio--"
"But what if They find out?" the first interrupts fearfully. "It was risky enough sending the agent in to try and prevent this operation from being compromised to our own people, but this upswelling of Paradox on top of the converging temporal vectors is going to attract the cult and Them."
"So what?" the other shrugs. "Even if the perverts do show, they won't care about the real reason why it's happened, only that has and it's the Doctor's fault. Rassilon help us, having them turn up would only serve to increase our cover on the project."
"The Paradox again works to our favour, because it obliterates the incriminating temporal vectors and focuses attention away from where it would be... inconvenient. But in a way, you're right — it's time the project was ended anyway: we have what we need."
* * *
"We've let things get a little out of hand."
The voice of his paradoxical twin filters through the grogginess still possessing the Doctor's senses. For a moment he fights the pull the sound exerts, but then the memories of the chaos and the deaths reawaken, forcing him into wakefulness with a jolt.
"If you call the end of the universe 'a little out of hand'," the Doctor retorts, hand going to his forehead. "And you aren't helping by standing here, which I thought was something I'd given up a lifetime ago. No, no, this isn't right. What in Rassilon's name am I doing here?!"
"Talking to yourself," comes the answer from the other side of the console, which looks in much better condition than it had when he and Ryan-Mavis had left it. "One of the classic signs of madness, amongst other things. But in answer to your question, I'm the version of you from not very far in your personal time line come to throw a causality loop into this bubbling cauldron of insanity."
"Insanity is right!" the Doctor spits, leaping up off the newly repaired chaise lounge Luke had earlier eviscerated. "Why would I be so monumentally stupid as to compound an error that's very likely to collapse
the entire universe?" He starts circling the console, forcing his future-twin to do likewise. The time rotor rises and falls between them.
"Our rather inept interventionist friend has gone and done something really rather rash," his future self answers, pulling the left sleeve of his coat up to reveal the unmistakable shape of a time ring sitting around his forearm and looking almost like a cancer against the white sleeve of the shirt. "This is how you manage to set up the little loop in time that's getting me so flustered."
"That still doesn't explain why."
"You'll understand why when you rejoin the others, including the remaining version of Mavis over whom Purity has yet to claim control," his future-twin waves the question aside, instead holding up the staser. "And I'm rather afraid I use this to make sure that doesn't happen because once you have your epiphany, Kirena has one of her own and this whole Fortean knot starts to come undone and we cannot risk the slightest interference
from someone who should have remained dead. Here."
The Doctor catches the staser, looking at it distastefully before pocketing it. "How did you get me in here? Even given that I've become insane enough to be standing across from myself, there's no way I'd risk another Blinovich discharge in any form. Come to think of it, why did I even staser myself in the first place."
"Think of it as an apology," comes the evasive reply as the time rotor grinds to a halt. The doors swing open a few moments later. "I'll wait here until you're gone."
Brow furrowed, the Doctor straightens his lapels and walks out.
* * *
"A time ring? Do you even know how to work one of those things?"
Luke didn't, but he isn't about to admit that, especially to someone as big as Jadi. "It's all thought controlled. Just think of when and where you want to go, and the ring takes everyone in contact with it to where you thought."
"And where and when were you planning on?" Zeke-Kirena asks. "Can you honestly think of something that wont make things worse?"
Luke thinks that one over for a minute. "No," he answers at last, "I can't. But I can think of someone who can."
Zeke-Kirena is genuinely surprised. "I thought you were planning on never speaking to him again."
"I wasn't. Not for something that didn't involve the fate of the universe anyway." Something of the old him flashes through in the little smile he offers to no one in particular. "So I get an exception on those grounds. And besides, he always has a plan."
Zeke nods. "Like Batman."
Before Zeke can answer, the painfully familiar sound of the TARDIS materializing fills the air as the blue box fades into existence.
"Speak of the Devil," Jadi mutters, sounding like he can't make up his mind whether or not to be angry, ashamed or relieved.
"You shouldn't you know," Mavis says quietly. "He might hear you."
"That's rather the point, isn't Josiv," the Doctor remarks lightly as he steps out into their midst, closing the doors behind him. "I hear our faux Mr Young has left us with a parting gift."
"How did--? Luke begins to ask, realizing he's feeling something like the way Jadi seems to be and hating it.
A look of utter shock crosses the Doctor's face as he stares at Luke, takes in the bruises and the hastily repaired makeup that had come from Mavis while she was talking to the butterflies no one else could see. The young man doesn't expect what happens next, doesn't expect the crushing, almost desperate hug the Doctor envelops him in.
"Please Doctor, it hurts," Luke manages to squeak, clutching the time ring convulsively. "Not that I don't enjoy that sometimes, but--"
"You're alive!" the Doctor exclaims somewhat redundantly.
"I almost wasn't, but..."
"That's you in there, isn't it Kirena?" the Doctor asks, releasing Luke and turning his embrace on the NCPD cop.
"Most of the time," Zeke-Kirena answers, hugging the Doctor back. "Is this what regeneration feels like?"
"No," the Time Lord sighs, standing back. "But one thing at a time: the Time Ring please, Luke."
"How did you know we had it?" Luke asks, holding on to it for a moment before doing as he's been asked. "How'd you find us?"
"It's amazing how enlightening talking to yourself can be," the Time Lord answers blithely, moving into universe-saving mode faster than the bruised eye can see. "Would someone mind explaining exactly why he took the four of you back in time, again, when the prospect of your initial jaunt was giving him hearts failure?"
"He wanted to show us the new time line we'd created," Luke answers when the others don't. "He showed us you and Kirena saying good bye to me before going off in the TARDIS because the bomb didn't go off because I was responsible for Jadi being in the past and killing Mavis's friend before it could be planted and so Kirena didn't die."
"Luke just said he did, didn't he?" Jadi asks a little aggressively. Probably spurred on by guilt at Luke selflessly taking all the blame. Or perhaps resentful that he hadn't been hugged too.
"Did he show you that," the Doctor clarifies, "or did he tell you that was what you were seeing? Are any of you familiar with the old Zen question about trees?"
"If a tree falls and no one sees it, does it make a noise," Mavis says, beaming. "Someone inside me asks things like that all the time."
"Yes, that's it," the Doctor smiles back, but Luke feels there's something slightly strained about his... friend's... manner. "It's actually quite astute as an observation on quantum mechanics, which holds that things don't exist in a particular state until they're observed in it. Um,
like electrons in orbit around the nucleus of an atom. Time, big letter Time, is quantum; it doesn't exist until it's observed. It's one of the reason time travellers have to be so careful, because by interacting with the quantum state of Time in any given period, they're creating ripples in the continuum between these islands of crystallized, observed time."
"Your point being, Doctor?" Zeke-Kirena asks.
"All that any of you observed was the event of Kirena and myself parting company with Luke, but you saw nothing leading up to it. Those events leading up to what you saw still exist in a quantum state!" The Doctor beams as he reaches his conclusion, looking exceptionally pleased with himself.
"But how does that help us, Doctor?" Jadi asks. "I killed... whatever his name was--"
"My special Pumpkin," Mavis supplies.
"Holmes," Zeke answers at the same time.
"Whatever. The point is he's dead. As a result the bomb wasn't planted, Kirena wasn't murdered, her biodata wasn't put into Zeke here, so she couldn't stop the Institute goons from murdering Luke after he went back in time."
"Because now we only have to resolve two time lines instead of three, which rather simplifies matters. In the original one, I was taken in for questioning about Kirena's murder and Ezekial received her biodata. Before the graft, I was shown surveillance footage of Luke and Jadi at Hiroshi's, and immediately after the operation took place, while you were in recovery Ezekial, someone tried to blow up the lift I and someone I assume is your partner was in. Following that, our interventionist friend appeared and took me back to the point where someone's gun went off. Which reminds me."
"Reminds you of what, Doctor?" Zeke-Kirena asks as the Doctor turns to face Mavis.
"How long will you live?"
"Until I die?" she asks back.
"Yes," he nods. "I'm sorry."
Jadi's hand isn't even half way into his jacket by the time the Doctor has pulled the weapon from a voluminous pocket. It looks like some kind of children's toy, perhaps even some kind of abstract plastic and crystal sculpture. The sound it makes is harsh and unlovely as it glows, and then Mavis glows and collapses to the ground.
* * *
"She's not dead," the Doctor says with stony calm to the shocked silence his actions have precipitated, handing the weapon to Kirena without looking at her because he's looking at Mavis. "I just needed to stun her."
"Why?" Jadi hears himself ask, hand easing away from where his gun should have been concealed in a shoulder holster if Luke hadn't taken it away from him after the murder.
"Because there's a monster living inside her called Ryan Purity," the Doctor states simply as he bends down and picks the unconscious woman up. "He took control of the other Mavis, but she committed suicide so I wouldn't have to murder him again. Luke, open the door."
"Who's Ryan Purity?" Kirena asks.
"He crucified the Doctor," Jadi answers as they all follow the now silent Time Lord into the TARDIS. "He kept him alive, nailed naked to a cross, for weeks."
"Oh." A pause. "Why the cruk would the Institute resurrect him?"
"This is the same Institute whose bully-boys tortured and then tried to execute me, remember?" Luke reminds them. "They're evil shits who need taking down."
"What happened in here?" Kirena asks, looking around the abused console room.
"I was slightly annoyed you'd been murdered," Luke answers. "I needed to express my conflicting emotions."
"We both vented our spleen on the one entity that couldn't escape them," the Doctor announces harshly, placing Mavis on the chaise lounge that shouldn't have been in one piece. "People we loved were dead, and we blamed the TARDIS for bringing us here. And we were both terribly wrong to do so."
"Okay," Kirena cuts in. "So far we've established that somehow there is a distinct possibility that I get out of Zeke and into my own body, and that the people behind the biodata technology have some kind of distinctly unpleasant agenda possibly involving the desire to achieve corporate dominance, at least according to Mavis whose veracity is now seriously in doubt."
"Could we just go back and stop me from killing Holmes?" Jadi asks hopefully.
"Was he ever grafted onto anyone?" Kirena asks before the Doctor can answer. Jadi turns to look at his sister, at the foreign body she's inhabiting.
"No," the Doctor answers. "Ruth said that they'd had enough circumstantial evidence to execute Luke without having to."
"Is the TARDIS still working enough for you to check to see if he still hasn't?"
The Doctor's expression shifts. "You're grasping at straws."
"We are drowning here," she points out reasonably.
"You haven't asked how she died."
"I don't have to, do I? We've been travelling together long enough now for me to know how some things just... are."
"You do realize the scale of what you're talking about, what we'd have to do?"
"What's our other viable option?"
"What's all this about?" Luke asks as the Doctor goes to work on the console. He's wandered over to Mavis, perching on the edge of the lounge.
"Quantum mechanics," Kirena answers, looking slightly smug. "The Doctor, Luke and the other Mavis were arrested because the police found them with the body of someone they'd been told was Holmes, but nothing has apparently happened to confirm that identification."
"Except that Luke and I were there along with the Doctor and that other Time Lord and the future Mavis, and I distinctly remember pulling the trigger even if I can't remember exactly why."
"Tricky thing, memory," the Doctor muses. "So easy to tamper with if you know the correct techniques."
"You Machiavellian bastard," Luke whispers in something that sounds like awe. "You utter scheming bastard. Both of you."
"Shush," the Doctor responds, moving away from the console to one of the shelves that had been spared the vindictive wrath of two men out of their minds. Opening a draw, he pulls out an identical copy of the weapon he'd used on Mavis. "I have a house call to make. Be back soon."
Holding out the time ring, he favours them all with a smile and heaves out of existence.
"What are we supposed to do now?" Jadi asks.
"Get down to business," the Doctor answers, emerging behind them from the door leading into the TARDIS interior. Behind him floats a large repulsor-lift gurney burdened down with vials, which he gestures to with a flourish. "Here's a smart nano-virus I prepared earlier while I was waiting for myself to wake up..."
* * *
"My, my, what an inventive individual," the second observer remarks, touching a control. "He's collapsing the bubble."
"But how?" the first asks. "At this rate, there will never have been a Paradox incident in the first place."
"You sound surprised."
"The Doctor would be of little use to us if such a situation proved to be beyond his capabilities to resolve such an elementary problem of tactical temporal mechanics. We're expecting far worse, which is why we undertook this project in the first place."
* * *
The timeline now unrolls in the following manner:
On the morning of January 12th, eight hours before the initial arrival of the TARDIS, Luke and Jadi (both of whom come from a time period after the creation of the virus) follow and confront Hiroshi Holmes and tell him they know what he plans for that afternoon. The terrorist tells them not to become involved. The incident occurs long enough to provide a window of opportunity for certain events and is recorded by the police surveillance team following Holmes.
Simultaneously, Luke and Mavis from the period following Kirena's murder, along with Jadi, arrive at Holmes' flat and meet Mavis from the current moment. After the Blinovich discharge is funnelled into the Time-Space vortex and the Doctor and Young arrive, the situation is intercepted by the post-virus creation Doctor and Zeke/Kirena. The body of Mavis/Ryan is put in place and the memory of Jadi murdering Holmes is implanted in the participants, causing the current Mavis to run out and call the police. Young, Zeke/Kirena and the future Doctor leave, their presence covered by the virus. Jadi then leaves and eventually meets up with current Mavis, while Luke, future Mavis and the Doctor are arrested.
At the police station, Ruth Armstrong lies to the Doctor about the surveillance tape showing Luke murdering Holmes, then lets him and future Mavis go after Luke is sent to be executed after the Institute goons torture him. At this point, the post-abduction Doctor arrives with Zeke, still unconscious after receiving the graft of Kirena's biodata. Zeke wakes up, Kirena assumes control, and they rescue Luke. Ruth is informed about the escape and orders an APB for both Luke and Zeke. Before this can be carried out, the post-virus Doctor administers the rest of the virus and the entire incident at Holmes' home is forgotten.
Eight hours have passed since Jade & Luke first meet with Holmes, and the TARDIS arrives for the first time. Luke, Kirena and the Doctor go out for a night on the town. Holmes and Mavis plant the bomb in the restaurant.
Luke and Zeke/Kirena meet up with current Mavis and Jadi. Future Mavis and the post-arrest Doctor visit the Institute where Ryan Purity reveals himself. After Mavis commits suicide, the Doctor is confronted by a version of himself from a short distance in his own future who then abducts him and Mavis' body.
Kirena is killed in the restaurant. Luke runs after Holmes, the Doctor runs after Luke. When Luke catches up with Holmes, he abducts Mavis, rescues Jadi, and goes back in time with them to the incident at Holmes' flat. The Doctor is taken in for questioning and meets Ruth Armstrong for the first time.
Holmes returns home after having met Luke for the second time. He is ordered by two high ranking members of the Remiel Objection to assassinate the Doctor by bombing the elevator shafts of the police station.
The Doctor is shown the surveillance footage from that morning and realizes what is beginning to happen. He is later shown Zeke receiving Kirena's biodata, after which he enters the lift with Ruth and a bomb goes off in the workings. After escaping this, the Doctor is taken out of time by Young, during which they experience the Blinovich discharge created by the two Mavises meeting. They go to what Young tells the Doctor is Gallifrey where the Doctor is shown a time line in which Kirena was supposed to have died, then to the incident at Holmes' apartment.
Utilizing the distraction, the post-abduction Doctor removes the unconscious Zeke and takes him back in time.
After learning of the attempt to cancel the paradox bubble taking place there, Young reappears to Luke, Jadi, Zeke/Kirena and Mavis, taking them to what he says is the alternate time line created by Luke's actions. He then departs, leaving a time ring behind. A few moments later, the Doctor from the Institute arrives. After realizing the way out of the paradox and stunning Mavis before Purity can assume control, he takes the time ring and abducts himself, creates the memory virus, and returns to the others to begin rectifying the paradox.
Leaving two glaring but not unsolvable problems: Kirena back in her own body, and Mavis lying unconscious in the TARDIS console room with a monster in her head and one trip away from seemingly inevitable death.
* * *
"Doctor, what the hell happened!" Ruth demands after the Doctor taps her on the shoulder. "Who was that man?" And then she stops, because even in the half-light she notices that this isn't the same man that just vanished into thin air seconds ago. There's something harder about the line of his mouth, something behind his eyes darker and more intense than when she'd last looked.
"I've interfered with the basic nature of Time to stop it curling in on itself and ripping the universe to shreds," he answers. "I've seen far too many people die, the most recent of which I thought I'd stopped from happening the last time I was here. And it wouldn't have happened if not for this aberrant technology that quite rightly has you feeling very unsure about it. Get the door please."
"Just wait one minute, Doctor," she protests, standing in front of the door. "Stop all this cryptic shit and give me some straight answers!"
The Doctor sighs melodramatically. "It's very simple. The reason your little DNA tagger didn't work is because I'm not human, and I'm almost certain that the technology behind the grafting process is not only also extra-terrestrial, but specifically from my people. Either it's an
accident, which has been known to happen, or else someone who shouldn't be is up to something that does not bode at all well. Either way, I have to stop them, and finish undoing the damage that they, my friends, and I have all collectively caused. Is that good enough for you?"
"It'll do," she allows, looking at him hard. The same thing that told her it would be fun becoming his friend for as long as it took to get the information she'd wanted is telling her now that she should trust him, trust the pain she hears in his voice. "For now."
He smiles, like a child given free run in a sweet shop. Despite herself, Ruth feels a smile touching her own lips only to have it turn into a frown. "Damn."
"The building's power is down, so the servo mechanisms for the door aren't working."
The Doctor just seems to internally shrug. "We'll just have to be creative. Let's see wha--"
From somewhere else in the building comes the faint sound of shouting.
"That'll be the emergency crews," she decides. "Probably going to have someone from the Institute with them to make sure no one's stealing their precious equipment."
"What a splendid idea. Come on."
* * *
"Where is this?" Luke asks, looking much more like his old self. Feeling like as well.
"Capadoceous Prime," Zeke-Kirena answers, shoving the time ring as far up hir arm beneath hir borrowed jacket as shi can. "We fetched up here one time after the Doctor accidentally shorted the destination circuits with a tequila sunrise. "You were drunk, also the result of tequila sunrises, so we left you to sleep it off."
"And what's so special about Capadoceous Prime that you told the Doctor the answer to saving the universe lies here?" he asks, casting an eye over an extremely attractive woman with blue skin and a red suit
walking past them. At least, Zeke-Kirena assumes it's a woman, because its not like these things are exactly concrete.
"It's a cloning facility," shi answers before holding up a credpen. "And we have unlimited credit at the First through Fifth Galactic Banks to order up as many blanks as we need to get almost everyone out of Mavis's head who wants out, and certainly for everyone in mine."
Luke's eyebrows shoot up. "You can do that?"
"Order genetically blank clones to be shaped by the donated biodata?"
"Get unlimited credit from the First through Fifth Galactic Banks."
"Hell yes. And this isn't leaving my possession."
A mischievous grin spreads across Luke's face. "Then, darling, I suggest you take me shopping."
* * *
"Oh my God," Ruth says as she follows the Doctor into the TARDIS. "You were telling me the truth."
"I did say I was," he answers, feeling a little put out that she hadn't believed him and letting her know it in his tone of voice as he closes the doors and starts entering co-ordinates. "Tell me, what's the legal status of the bio-data grafted onto a host."
"How do you mean?"
"Take Kirena, who currently exists as a bio-data graft on your friend Ezekial. What legal rights does she possess? Can she own property, is she protected from removal from her host?"
"Bio-data is just information," Ruth answers hesitantly. "It exerts no real presence on its host."
"But you don't believe that any more, do you?" he asks quietly, gently shifting the time ship into flight.
"I don't know," she answers, sounding slightly helpless in her conflict. "What did you just do?"
"The TARDIS is in flight," he explains. "In about two minutes we'll be inside the Institute's holiest of places. The reason why I ask is that the monster I was talking about took control of the woman lying on that chair and tried to make me kill him again along with the other thirty odd people living inside Mavis' head. So, according to the law, when she removes most of her head with a high velocity round to stop him from doing that, she's
only committing suicide and not mass murder."
"That's the woman who was with the waiter that was responsible for your friend's death," Ruth realizes. "What is she doing here, and what the hell are you talking about?"
"Do you really want to know?"
"I was tortured, abused and nailed naked to a cross in a night club for almost a month by Ryan Purity. I know, from having looked through your computers, that you've been ordered to find out what my relationship with him is. I shot him so he couldn't hurt anyone else, only now I've discovered that he's part of a terrorist organization bankrolling this Institute, and they've put him inside Mavis there. I want to find out why, and I want to find out how, and I need to do it so I can extract the bio-data of all the people inside her head who want out, then return her to her proper place in the time stream so she can set the bomb that kills Kirena and eventually commit suicide to save me from a moral dilemma."
"You frighten me," Ruth says, stepping away and obviously asking herself exactly why she agreed to be here. "You've just admitted to committing a murder I'm sort of investigating, and that you're going to willingly allow the death of your friend, but you still expect me to tag along while you break into the Institute to facilitate another person's suicide."
"Do you want your partner back?" he asks as the TARDIS begins to land.
"If I can discover what was done to Mavis and extract the foreign bio-data from her, I can do the same for your friend who jumped out of that window because he had a suicidee grafted onto him."
"He's dead!" she snaps, advancing on him, hands balled into fists. "The person they put in his head killed him."
"Being dead isn't all it's cracked up to be," the Doctor smiles gently. "I should know, I've died often enough. But I've got friends working on that now, people I trust with my lives. Will you trust me with yours and your partner's?"
There's a long and terrible silence between them until she finally answers. "Yes. But if you've lied, about any of this, I swear to God you'll wish Purity had left you on that cross."
"I can live with that," he answers, opening the doors.
To be continued...
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