|Doctor Who Missing Internet Adventure #23 - "False Life"
"What Thoughts Are Fantasies, What Memories Real?"
by Timothy E Jones
The planet of Paradise-1 was a tropical heaven, with lush jungles and forests, mountains that touched the sky. The beaches had warm pink sand, with crystal blue waters beating against the shores. Twin suns beat down on the planet, but the distance of the planet from the suns was at a perfect degree so that they were never scorching the planet's surface.
This was in contrast to her twin, which was much, much closer to the twin suns, and everything that lay perfect on Paradise-1 was almost hellish
Several people lined the beaches, wearing their bikinis and suits. Some wore nothing at all, which didn't seem to bother too many people.
What made the planet all the more interesting was that there were scores of alien races that paid the planet a visit, many of whom were deadly
enemies of one another, yet they didn't bother with each other.
Not much, and not often. Now was one incident when the contrary was true.
* * *
The Doctor slipped his way through the business district of Paradise-1. The one thing that bothered him about the planet was that it was never dark; night and day were the same here. That made it hard for him to be sneaky, but he managed to do it.
He snuck up behind the one he was stalking, not even conscious of the security cameras that permeated the business district.
"Hello!" He tapped the man on the shoulder.
"Huh?" The man spun to look the Doctor in the eyes. He was the President of United Earth. "Oh, it's you Doctor."
"That's right." Romana almost literally popped out of nowhere with a beaming smile on her face. "It's the Doctor and Romana!"
"Shush!" the Doctor hissed. "We don't want unneeded attention."
"Right! OOH!" Her hand reached up to her face, and her finger touched along the side of her face in a pressing motion. "This thing is starting to come loose!"
"Wait a minute!" The President's eye began to twitch. "Something's wrong."
"Are we going to do it here?"
"Might as well!" The Doctor worked his way behind the President, and presented a long thin blade.
"Good, do it here," the President sighed, then a look of fear came to his face. "Do WHAT here?"
A smile came to the Doctor's face. "Murder you, of course." The blade slid across the President's neck.
"Wha--?" The President felt a sharp pain in his neck, then blackness subdued him, and he slumped to the ground.
"Success?" Romana let out an even bigger smile than before.
"Success!" The Doctor too beamed into the nearest camera. "Let's get out of here."
"Right." Romana started to scratch at her face. "This false face does not fit right."
The two waited until they were out of range of the cameras, then the faces were pealed off, revealing two quite different faces. Suffice it to say, they were NOT the faces of the Doctor and Romana.
* * *
The console let out a slight humming sound, as it guided the TARDIS through time and space, after just moments before dematerializing from the pleasure planet situated in the centre of the Hydrarioun system.
Romana came skipping across the console room; her sandy blonde hair flowed behind her. "I found out one thing about you."
"What's that?" the Doctor, who was still hovering over the console table, inquired.
"You really CAN take us to a planet where we can explore things, and simply have fun without a sense of urgency or danger."
The Doctor's face beamed. "Oh, it's just a matter of getting the TARDIS to actually obey my input commands."
"Danger, Master, DANGER!" K-9's voice was barely audible and at best slurred.
Romana kneeled down over the robot dog. "K-9, what is it?"
"My movements seem to be stiff and at points almost non-existent." He stiffly staggered back and forth on his wheels as if to prove his point.
"Let me take a look at you." The Doctor sounded sympathetic, yet there was something insincere in his voice, as if he already knew the problem. He pulled the sonic screwdriver from his coat pocket, flipped his multicoloured scarf over his shoulder and smiled, as he pulled a small metal plate from the dog's side. "I see what it is!"
"What?" Romana inquired.
"Am I bound for the scrap-heap, Master?"
"Oh, no, no! Nothing that drastic, it's just that you've been left running for three days straight, and your battery packs are all but depleted." The Doctor started digging around the mechanisms and pulled out hands full of sand. "Not to mention, your gears are all stopped up with sand and shells." The Doctor pulled out a smallish rainbow tinted shell.
"OOH!" Romana took the shell and examined it. "That's a pretty one. Mind if I add it to my collection?"
"I don't mind." The Doctor finally began to take off his coat as Romana headed back to her quarters. "Could you pull out the vacuum while you're back there?"
"Good." The Doctor started going back to cleaning the sand he could get with his hand from K-9. "What have we here? OW!" His hand lurched out with a sand-crab dangling from his finger. "Oh, hi there, little fella!"
The crab looked up at the Doctor and quickly scurried to the pile of sand that sat on the floor and began to bury itself inside it.
"Doctor?" Romana's head popped around the corner.
"Yes?" the Doctor looked up from watching the crab's actions, as the last bit of sand covered its small body.
"Since this was more of a pleasure-trip than most of our previous ones, could this be considered as a..." a smile came to her face, "...date?"
"A date?" the Doctor pondered.
While on previous occasions, he'd found himself romantically interested in one or two of his companions, he'd never acted on it, at least not intentionally, and never ever directly. With Jo Grant, he had always wanted to, but never got around to it, then to his surprise she fell madly in love with that scientist on Earth. She promised to save him a piece of her wedding cake, and she did. But any hopes of a relationship between the two were dashed against the rocks in a blow that took him a long time to get over. That was one regeneration and several companions ago now.
He had convinced himself that a relationship would never have worked anyway. But with Romana it was somewhat different, especially since her regeneration. They were after all from the same planet, and were both Time Lords, this incarnation of Romana was a pleasure to be with and get along with, and they were both within the same age range, give or take a few hundred years.
"I guess s--" He stopped himself short of setting them both up for as heartbreak. "What I mean is, I guess if the circumstances were different. What with us always being on the move from one planet to another, never knowing if one of us were just going to up and stay behind if we find a cause we can stay behind and fight for or some such--"
"You want it to be considered as one, but can't," Romana tried to simplify things as much as possible, at least in her own mind. She slowly walked towards the Doctor.
"I understand." She kissed him on the forehead and walked away.
* * *
The courtroom was huge, and almost typical of most courtrooms in the known galaxies. A judge sat at the head of the room, almost on a pedestal behind a large desk, and several lawyer types sat on either side facing the judge.
"The next case," the court officer bellowed out, "the criminal masterminds known as 'The Doctor' and 'Romana' vs. the people of the planet of Paradise-1."
"Your honour," the public defender stood up and slowly walked towards the bench, "I would like to call for a brief delay on the proceedings, as the defendants are not present."
"Why not?" The Judge's voice was loud and deep, deep enough to invoke fear into the hearts of even the innocent.
"Contact with them has been made by neither me nor my office. Your Honour, it clearly states in the mandates that when an incident is brought to trial it MUST proceed whether or not the defendant is present," the district attorney pointed out.
"Agreed," the judge nodded. "State your case."
"Your honour, as you well know, the planet of Paradise-1 prides itself on the peace kept between her and all of her visitors."
"Yes, I know."
"And that is despite the fact that many of these races are virtual enemies of each other, they all seem to lay their guns at the door, so to speak, bringing a sort of a harmony. It only on rare occasions that this harmony is broken."
"What is it that this 'Doctor' and 'Romana' have done to bring disharmony to the planet of Paradise-1?"
"They have cold-bloodedly and even openly murdered several people. One of which was the President of Earth, who was merely here on a brief getaway.
"They have they been captured on security cameras." As if on cue a view-screen slid from the ceiling showing images of the brutal murder in question. It was indeed the Doctor doing the killing, and he even paused to let out a large toothy grin at the camera.
"How brutal and crass!" The Judge motioned for the screen to be disengaged.
There were several observers in the room, some present for other cases, some reporters, among several others. All of their mouths dropped, as if
to agree with the sentiments of the Judge.
"If I may say something in his defence?" The defender stepped forward.
"It just came up on my console that the one known as the Doctor had signed out of a hotel," he paused and let out a deep sigh, "on the other side of the planet," again a sigh, "at that exact moment in time."
"Yes," the D.A. conceded, "but all that proves is that someone was giving him an alibi."
"He was seen by various cameras on the other side of the planet, as well as quite physically."
"His coat and scarf were left at the scene."
"How do we know that he wasn't framed for the murder?"
"Your Honour, the evidence that he was here in this city is overwhelming, I plea that you find him guilty of murder."
"Granted." The judge pondered. "The defendants are guilty of murder. Punishable by incarceration on Paradise-2." He washed his words away with a sip of water.
"Sir," the Defender cried out, "isn't that a bit drastic?"
The D.A. spewed out the water he was swirling around in his mouth. "Drastic?"
"We do not know the whole story. There are events that must be weighed and counter-weighed."
"He commits a murder most brutal, and you ask for what? Leniency? A smack on the wrist?"
"There may be some reason as to why he committed this murder." A pause. "We must answer the question of why he was seen on both sides of the planet at the same time."
The Judge slammed down his gavel. "They will live out a fantasy of their own creation, a fantasy that will become their own living nightmare for the rest of eternity. Their memories of any existence outside that world will be rendered itself a fantasy, and the fantasy will become their reality."
"Sir about their still roaming free off the planet...?" the D.A. asked.
"Find their ship and use any means necessary to bring these fiends to justice."
"Your Honour, granted they may have killed somebody," the defender paused and sighed, "but shouldn't we hear their side of what happened?"
"They have disrupted our way of life, murdered people on our planet," the judge bellowed ever so louder than before, "the sentence will be carried out." the gavel came crashing down on the podium.
"Next case," the Court Officer read the list, "a mass murderer of several families of off-worlders. Kris Cranchee..."
* * *
Romana stood behind the stove, as she pan-fried several trout, turning them ever so often until they were a golden brown.
"Something smells good!" The Doctor poked his head through the door and smiled a large toothy smile.
"It better," Romana fanned her hair as she turned to look at the Doctor, "I'm cooking them the way you like them."
The Doctor saw a smallish black speck on Romana's neck just before her hair fell into place behind her neck.
"Hold very, very still," he moved towards Romana.
"What is it?"
"Get it off!" She held her hair back so the Doctor could see what he was doing.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pair of tweezers, his hand was steady as the tweezers pinched the tiny insect and pulled it off her neck. "Got it, head and all."
"Good, I hate those things." Romana's head shook until her hair fell back into place, "You never know what sorts of diseases they carry."
"Quite true, while it's true that--" An alarm cut him short. It was as ear piercing as could be.
Romana looked at the Doctor. "What is it?"
"We're under attack." The Doctor headed towards the console room.
"Damn!" Romana threw the pan to the back of the stove and ran after the Doctor.
* * *
It only took a few paces for the both of them to get to the console room. He threw on the screen and saw several missiles coming at them from every direction.
The Doctor didn't speak, just punched at a few switches on the console as he almost sped around it.
"Where are you taking us?"
"Anywhere, anywhere but here," The Doctor yelled. "Even the Old Girl might not be able to withstand a direct hit from whatever kind of missiles they are!"
The TARDIS cried and whined as she began to de-materialize, but in the meantime the heads of the missiles had opened, and grappling hooks took hold of the TARDIS, pulling it back from where it came.
"Too late!" The Doctor watched as the planet Paradise-2 came closer and closer on the screen.
"Criminals," a strange voice roared throughout the TARDIS, "you have committed a crime most heinous on the planet Paradise-1."
"There must be some mistake!" Romana protested.
"You have murdered several people on the planet Paradise-1, a crime most heinous and punishable by imprisonment for life on the planet Paradise-2."
"He must be joking!" Romana had to stop herself from laughing.
"It's no joke, I'm afraid," the Doctor frowned. "The people of Paradise-1 take life and death, and murder very seriously."
"Okay, okay, fine I understand that. But life imprisonment? Insane! There was no trial for crying out loud."
"Oh, I'm sure there was a trial, just we weren't invited."
"What are we going to do?"
The Doctor saw the ground rushing up at an ungodly speed. "Prepare for impact!"
* * *
The ground of Paradise-2 was a rocky terrain, a hellish feel of 220°F was the norm for the day, and one couldn't expect it to cool down at night, since there were no nights here. There were no oceans, no lakes, no beaches, just rock. Forget about any vegetation, there was never enough rain to water a leaf in a year let alone to sustain any sorts of vegetation.
There was no indigenous life, but the occasional tower peaking through the mountains indicated that there was some sort of a transplanted civilization. They were the technicians and doctors in the unlikely event that the fantasy machines were to break down or the patients died.
The fantasies worked as thus: the mind essence of each prisoner was removed from the body and placed inside REM Amplifier where they were in a constant dream state. Through the machines, each prisoner's fantasies could be intertwined with another's to give the illusion that the fantasy is a reality. As time progresses, the intensity of the fantasies intensify until it gets to be too much to bear and the prisoner dies.
The bodies (now just worthless shells) of the prisoners were left to rot by wherever their ship was forced to land. They decay of the bodies have an effect on the fantasies as well as the intensity level.
The mindless bodies of the prisoners lay spread around like so much garbage, some still living, but not for long.
One of these living corpses heard a loud almost violent screeching sound as a tall blue rectangular box crashed towards the ground. As the box crashed the ground shook as if the box were much heavier than it appeared.
The lifeless body staggered over to investigate, there was writing on the side which read "Police Telephone free for use of public... pull to open."
He heard a movement behind him; the techs and doctors were approaching in their bio-suits. He quickly ducked away, so as to not be seen.
* * *
The crash of the ship caused the Doctor and Romana to be first thrown against the walls, then the ceiling and finally, as gravity control switched back on, the floor.
"Doctor!" Romana cried, as she did all she could do to stop her head from crashing against the console, and in fact she has missed it by mere inches.
"The grappling hooks have disengaged." The Doctor threw himself towards the console table, and began to throw the switches at a seemingly random formation as frustration set in. "Come on."
The TARDIS began to pulse with a faint sign of life whining and groaning, but then fizzled out. For the first time since he first boarded the TARDIS all those centuries ago, the ambient hum fell silent. The silence was deafening.
"Someone's outside!" Romana stared at the screen; several men in bio-suits were approaching.
"Come on, you piece of junk!" the Doctor cursed as he kicked the console. Something happened, something he didn't want to have happen, the doors opened.
* * *
Maffew was new to the job, in fact it was his first day on the job, so even through the bio-suit, with the internally controlled climate, he still couldn't bear the heat, but he kept on going anyway.
He held out a high intensity laser to the lock, and the door popped open. He loved the technology, he felt like a king being able to open any door in the galaxy, no matter what the key coding. Even a genetic locking system was no match for his magical key.
He entered the TARDIS and immediately hovered over Romana. "This won't hurt!"
"What won't hurt?" she groggily asked.
He pulled a helmet out of his bag of tricks, and slammed it onto Romana's head, the tiny electrodes made their connections.
"Stop that! Stop that this instant!" The Doctor pushed at Maffew so he could get to the helmet, but he forgot about the second intruder who had worked his way behind him. The last thing he felt was a sharp pain through his brain, he screamed in agony, then fell unconscious.
* * *
The Doctor screamed as he awoke from his sleep, and looked around the room, which appeared to be a part of a summer cottage. The window was open, and a slight sea breeze was pouring through the window.
"W-where am I?" The Doctor slowly looked around, taking the sudden change of scenery in.
"At home, silly!" Romana sat on the edge of the bed in which he was sleeping and caressed his face. She wore nothing but a silk shirt, which was unbuttoned and that was intentionally thin, so the contours of her body could be seen.
"Home?" he mouthed out.
"I know, it's disorienting, with us still unpacking, but, we'll get used to it."
"The TARDIS," The Doctor sat up suddenly, "where is the TARDIS?"
"TARDIS?" Romana looked puzzled, as she unfamiliarly formed the word in her mouth. "What's that?"
"Our time-ship that we travel around in."
"Oh, that thing from your dreams and stories! You've been working too hard on them as of late," Romana motioned towards a stack of books.
The Doctor picked one of the books up, he read the title: "Doctor Who vs. the Daleks."
"You've been up all night working on your latest one." She held the manuscript in her hand and looked it over. "Interesting concept. Do all of these come from your dreams?"
"Dreams?" The Doctor's eyes narrowed. What was Romana talking about? They had lived them all out, yet he could vaguely remember them. He knew something was wrong, yet he couldn't place his finger on it.
"What bothers me, is that you spend more time with your stories at night, than you do with me."
She pulled her shirt open to reveal her nakedness. "Do you suddenly find me so un attractive as when we first joined?"
"J-joined?" The Doctor was bewildered, and unintentionally pulled away from Romana. "As in m-married?"
A tear ran down Romana's cheek, as she threw a robe on. "I'll get breakfast ready."
"Sure." He tried to hide any further confusion as he made his way out to the kitchen.
* * *
Doctor Vvoxx walked into the lab with his note-pad in his hand. There was a look of anger on his face.
"Why didn't anybody mention that the last two prisoners were Time Lords?"
"Does it really matter?" Maffew groaned, as he rolled his eyes.
"Hell yes!" Vvoxx felt like spitting fire. "We have no idea what effect it will have on a Time-Lord. Their systems are completely different from any of our previous subjects."
"So they have the power of regeneration for one, secondly while their minds are more intimately entwined with their bodies than many of our previous subjects, they seem to have some sort of a back-up system of thinking that we aren't familiar with."
"So... forget it, just forget it. Just remember, they can still think and act."
"You mean... they won't be zombies like our other experiments?"
"Zombies, yes. But not like no zombie you've ever seen before!"
* * *
The TARDIS was a wreck, the frame was cracked from the impact, the console was jarred to bits, still in working order but many of the switches and components were jarred loose, and in some cases completely off.
The Doctor's body lay almost where it fell after the brain drain. His hearts were no longer beating. Then there was a loud thumping sound as both hearts jump-started each other, his eyes popped open and he smiled.
"Doctor?" Romana slowly sat up. "What happened?"
"You know," he sat up and moved towards Romana, "I don't remember."
"I feel... different."
"So do I, almost like someone sucked something vitally important from us!"
Romana shrugged. "So, how soon do you think it'll be before we get the TARDIS working again?"
"Soon," The Doctor started to work on the console, "very soon!"
To be continued...
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