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Doctor Who Internet Adventure #30 - "The Memory Game"


Chapter 1
"Planet of Memories"
by TimeLadyX


---


A man with a rather colourful patchwork jacket and blond hair was seated at a small metal table at an outdoor cafe. He had his legs crossed and was skimming a newspaper. He turned the page and glanced up at the young brown-haired woman sitting across from him. She was watching the people hurrying by on the sidewalk next to them. "If you watch long enough, everyone passes by."


       "You're probably going to say you saw Elvis like this."


* * *


A group of six people stood in the middle of a room, several of them taking shuffling steps backwards. A young girl, probably of no more than 5, her straight black hair tied in a pony tail, stumbled over a loose power cord on the tiled floor behind her and fell backwards, her arms splayed behind her as she had attempted to catch herself. Tears welled up and a sob escaped from closed lips. But still she kept her eyes glued to the horror in front of them. Her parents standing behind her put hands under each of her arm pits and hauled her to her feet, pulling her closer to where they were standing. A young woman and man were tightly embracing each other, a look of panic on their faces.


       A slightly older man stood at the head of the group, with his arms out to keep the others behind him, almost a futile attempt to ward off the being in front of them. The creature took another step toward them, raising its rather large black blaster weapon. It was clothed head to toe in silver, with large empty robotic eyes, staring directly at them. It levelled the blaster at the group with its hand on the trigger. The group took several more shuffling steps backwards, and the young woman suddenly shrieked as her back met the wall behind her. The metal man almost seemed to laugh for a second. "Welcome privileged adventure seekers."


* * *


A grinding noise filled the air of a spacious room. There was a darkened library off to the side, old musty books climbing the walls, as far as the eye could see. An easy chair and coffee table stood at the foot of the endless bookshelf. An old-fashioned record player sat on the table, its music getting drowned out by the grinding noise, continuing to escalate to a deafening roar. A weathered blue police box slowly faded into existence, and the grinding noise diminished and stopped once the box had completely become solid.


       The door opened and a young man strolled out, dressed in a brown leather jacket, and tight black pants. He gave the place a long glance around, and walked over to the table with the record player. After a minute or two a young woman walked out, still putting on a bright blue blazer. The third in the group followed herout and paused only to close the door behind them. The woman had already walked over to join the first who had found a pile of records underneath the table and was quickly going through them. The third still standing at the door was taking a long suspicious look around. He had short hair, a rather large nose and ears, and was fumbling through his pockets for something.


       "What's wrong, Doctor?" Rose asked, looking back at him. Her friend, Captain Jack, had finally picked out a record and was playing with the controls to stop the current one.


       "Someone went to a lot of trouble to create this place. Look around you. This is what the inside of my TARDIS looked like before I met you."


       "Nice. A bit dark though. So, this isn't the real inside though, right?" A lively Charleston music suddenly trilled out of the record player and Captain Jack gave them a large grin as the both of them turned to look at him.


       "No, I'd know if it was."


       "So, who built this then?"


       The Doctor took another long look around the place, his glance stopping on something off to his left. He suddenly turned back to look at Rose and shrugged, with a grin playing about his lips. "Let's find out, shall we?"


* * *


Japa Silva ran down a darkened corridor, her heels clacking on the steel tile beneath her feet. She was already 10 minutes late for her shift. It hadn't helped that she had stopped to talk to those two tourists. It bugged her that the man was dressed like the main character in several of the exhibits in the South quadrant, the one with the velvet smoking jacket, frilly shirt, and fluffy white hair. But it was to be expected that this place would drag in fans, she just hadn't been expecting it so soon. And he looked so exactly like the man portrayed in the exhibits. The girl with him, too, looked like the blonde-haired girl often presented with him in the exhibits, but she seemed just a bit more generic. They had been lurking just outside of the secure area and claimed to have been looking for the loo. So she had retraced her steps and led them back to the public restrooms in the nearest exhibit area.


       She stopped to smooth the wrinkles from her silver uniform, shifted her clipboard to her other hand, and pulled out a white key card. She pushed it into the slot next to the reinforced steel door, and held still while the camera next to it shot out a beam of light and did an instantaneous retinal scan. The door swung open onto another darkened corridor. A series of doors stood on both sides of the hallway. Several of the rooms had glass windows, though most of them had louvered blinds that were closed.


       One still had the blinds open. It displayed a meeting room with a large table in the centre of the room and chairs surrounding it. Most of the chairs were occupied by men and women dressed in business suits. Two of the people, a man and a woman, toward the middle of the room were holding up what looked like playing cards. The man had two cards in his left hand and he was making gestures with his right hand while explaining something to the room. Another person was pacing behind them. The pacing person stopped pacing and turned to look at the two, then suddenly jerked his head in the direction of the window, staring directly at her. He crossed to the front of the room and closed the blinds.


       Japa continued down the corridor and opened a door on her left. She passed several banks of computers with other technicians busy monitoring read outs, and data entering programs. She reached the empty computer console she was assigned to and set her clipboard off to the side.


       She had gotten as far as logging in, before the computer terminal next to hers suddenly lit up red and started beeping insistently. A boy in his early teens came running from the other end of the room, pushing aside everyone in his way, and came to a skidding halt in front of the blinking terminal. He paused to get his breath and then immediately dropped to his knees, yanking out a wrench from his pocket, and practically dropping it in his haste. He nearly tore off the front panel and searched around through the interior wiring. His young body suddenly jerked and the red lights just as suddenly switched off. He put the front of the panel back on and gave her a tired smile.


       "You know, that's the fifth time today I've had that happen. The bosses say I should be happy since it keeps me in business."


       Japa picked up her clip board and made a notch on it. Five times: that wasn't good! Her eyes flicked around the room, stopping briefly on the darkened far end of the room where three large blue boxes stood. Cables were strewn around one of them.


       "You think the problem might be coming from those?"


       He had turned to look to where her gaze had rested. "None of them work, aside from the two we downloaded from during the original scoop. And they've been moved to a more secure area. All three of those are just copies, like half the stuff in this place."


* * *


Jack, Rose, and the Doctor were now standing in the centre of a large hallway, its ceiling practically reaching to the heavens, a patchwork of stars and clouds above them. The room itself seemed to blaze with an unearthly light emanating from the white walls and columns bordering the room. It had six walls, total bordering in the shape of a pentagon. Jack and Rose were both looking curiously, while the Doctor stood by himself, off to the side, with a faraway lonely look in his eyes, and a frown pulling down the corners of his mouth. "A memorial to a race long since deceased--"


       "Ah, I see that you've arrived." A tall lady waltzed into the room, her long white and gold robes sweeping the floor around her. She stood erect, with a tall collar framing her face. Her hair was upswept into an elaborate coiffure. "Allow me to welcome you to the wonders of Rassilon, a glimpse into the Eye of Harmony, and yes, a journey back into your own life, my dear Doctor." She made a grand sweeping gesture with her hands. "We have re-created everything down to the smallest detail, and brought in elements to authenticate the experience. You are our most honoured of critics since this has entirely been inspired by you."


       "Haven't missed the party, have I?" All eyes turned in the direction of the doorway where a man in a pin striped waistcoat and pants stood watching them. "Since you did say Doctor, I assume that this invitation was meant for me as well."


       "Ah, yes, my dear Doctor. This invitation is open to all of you. Those of you who haven't arrived yet and those of you who are already here."


* * *


A group of children all dressed in identical black school uniforms stood on a sidewalk. A cobble stone street spread out behind them and an occasional carriage raced by, the horses' hooves clattering into the distance. There was a chilled breeze and a low fog twisted itself through the air. Lights were just turning on in several of the windows of the town houses looming in front of them. People dressed in clothes from the 1860s occasionally pushed past the children, hurrying to work or home.


       "You are instructed to look at the man one meter to my left," said a silver robot man. The people passing by seemed to take no notice of him, though he obviously didn't fit with the antique surroundings. His hollow eyes blankly gazed over the group of children in front of him. "This Earth human was known as Charles Dickens. He was a great author and met the Doctor during the winter of 1869."


       "Ah, yes, delightful fellow. I met him at the Taliesin Lodge playhouse where a spirit had appeared. It was rather apt since I was doing a performance of A Christmas Carol. I was convinced it was some kind of trick. Some fellows took a liking to his lady friend and carted the poor girl off. The Doctor then decided to give chase and forcibly borrowed my carriage. Since it was my carriage, I had to accompany it, and there was a lady in distress, after all.


       An energetic, playful light seemed to glitter in his eyes. Most of the children watched him, fixated. One or two in the front had taken out small black boards which they were scribbling notes on with pens with lighted ends.


       "But you aren't the real Charles Dickens!" a young boy in the back protested. He sighed with an air of boredom and kicked at a loose pebble on the ground. "He died."


       "I did, did I?" Dickens glanced in the boy's direction, a frown creasing his lips. "Yes, yes, not even a year later. I never managed to finish Edwin Drood. But that isn't the topic at hand."


* * *


A young man hurried along the street, pausing only for a minute to adjust his red cap emblazoned with a twisted gold circular logo. He straightened his matching red shirt and approached the couple seated at the cafe. He glanced at his clipboard and then at the two in front of him. "Sorry to have kept you waiting. My name is Kyler Jenkins and I have been assigned to be your guide. My bosses sent me here personally to answer your questions and bring you to where the others will be waiting. We have quite an adventure awaiting you, our privileged guests."


       "Yes, yes, I'm sure you do. Especially since this place shouldn't even be here. Now, if you can explain this?" the Doctor gave him a scowl and held up a yellow card. On one side was the logo printed in metallic gold.


       "That is your invitation to the game."


       The girl gave a short laugh, prompting the Doctor to give him a hard look. "Look, I know that! That's what it says right here! I meant, how did you get it into my TARDIS?"


       "I'm sure I don't know what you mean. My company hasn't violated any criminal laws. I have been briefed on all of the press releases from the past year when this facility was first started."


       "Then how do you explain them?" The Doctor jerked his head in the direction of two newcomers who were now seated at a table inside the cafe. A tall man with an extremely long scarf reclined in a chair and a young woman with long blonde hair and a school girl uniform with a straw hat sat across from him. A man sat a table away and was drawing something in a sketch book, pausing to sneak glances at the blonde haired woman.


       "They are characters in the exhibit. They were observed in real-time and then copied for use in it."


       "Copied, is still a violation," the Doctor grumbled. "I never gave my permission."


       Kyler looked at him questioningly. "Sir?"


       "Oh, never mind. I suppose you want to take us to this game your company has set up."


       "Yes, Sir, if you wouldn't mind following me? Only the most privileged patrons have been invited for this. And we've been preparing for this for months. They had to completely rebuild the Eastern quadrant for it."


       "Eastern quadrant?" questioned the girl.


       "Yes, if you'll refer to the map that you received when you arrived here--"


       "Map?" she asked.


       Kyler sighed. Of course they hadn't been given maps. Why had he expected for things to be done by the system? "You should have been provided with maps when you first entered here by the people monitoring the arrival centre. The planetoid this facility was built on was divided into four sections, East, West, North, and South," he explained as he walked over to a small car. He opened the doors for the Doctor and Peri and climbed into the front seat himself. The car faded from view on the street of Paris just as it passed underneath L'Arc de Triumph and reappeared in a large foyer bordered by Corinthian columns. Two large double doors lay in front of the car.


       "Ah, a matter transmat. Of course you would have that here," the Doctor commented.


       "We couldn't just expect our patrons to walk everywhere. The facility is much too large for that. You are to meet up with the rest of your party through those doors."


       "Come on, Peri," the Doctor said, getting out of the car. "We mustn't keep 'the rest of our party' waiting."


       "Of course, Doctor," the lady answered, with a touch of sarcasm to her voice. She glanced warily at Kyler before following the Doctor. Kyler hung back to consult his clipboard. There were still a couple of parties that hadn't been rounded up yet, but everything looked like it was proceeding on time. He just hoped the bosses were watching his performance. He'd be up for a raise soon.


* * *


The Doctor and Peri pushed open the double doors and entered. Books were crammed on shelves that spread from floor to ceiling ran around the length of the room. There were hallways that spread out from the main hallway that also seemed to be lined with books and even had separate shelves that stood on their own, as well as a second floor that seemed to mirror the first. The main hallway disappeared into the distance.


       "If you shouted, I'd expect there to be an echo," Peri commented.


       "Peri!" A young man wearing a loose white shirt and red kilt, shouted from the second floor.


       "Jamie!" Peri grinned.


       Jamie ran down a nearby flight of stairs and crossed the distance to where she was standing with the Doctor. He quickly hugged her warmly. "It's nice to see a familiar face in all of this, though this place is nothing but familiar faces. Doctor, look who's here!" he shouted in the direction of the nearest hallway.


       The second Doctor popped his head out from behind a shelf. "Bless my soul, if it isn't me." He walked over to the others and grasped the sixth Doctor's hand, vigorously shaking it. "Now what brings you here, I wonder."


       "Same thing that brought you, I'm sure." The sixth Doctor pulled out the yellow invitation.


       The second Doctor padded his pockets and quickly pulled out a yellow card completely identical to the sixth Doctor's card. "But this isn't right, you know."


       "Yes, I know," admitted the sixth Doctor. "Someone is breaking several of the Rules of Time, and I would like to know exactly how they're doing it and why. And the only way I see right now of finding out is to play along."


       "And now that's settled, I'd like for you to follow me," a woman dressed in white Gallifreyan Time Lord robes announced, smiling, with her arm around Peri's shoulders. "We're still waiting for a few more of our players to join us, but this shall be fun."


---
To be continued...



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