"The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

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"The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-15 09:11am

So, while I'm still due to post the nUF series regularly, some thoughts and the encouragement of LadyTevar have led me to decide on finally revealing to my readers on SDN why it took so freaking long for nUF season 1 to come out. After all, I posted episodes 1-5 at the end of 2013 and start of 2014, then episode 1-06 a few months later, then 1-07 through 1-09 half a year or so after that, then episode 1-10 some months later, and finally I put up 1-11 through 18 earlier this year. So you might ask why it took two years to do it.

That's because of this story which I am now, for the first time, posting on SDN.

So here we have 920,000 words, written from about Christmas Day 2013 through to January 4th 2016, on a project that was nothing more than me letting a plot bunny out to play so I could get my focus back on nUF (1-06 was giving me trouble), just to have the reaction to the first part being posted on Spacebattles become far greater than I had ever expected. A silly little plot bunny thus became an epic-sized fic fueled by vox populi. I didn't post it here because... well, it's an SI fic. That is, a self-insert, a normally wanky subgenre I had never delved in before outside of the SDN World STGODs (and indeed you can see my overreaction to the subgenre's tendencies with the too-heavy foreshadowing of the early stories, before I found my bearing). I didn't want some people to see it because I was still a bit embarrassed by it, even with its runaway popularity on SB (at least, runaway popularity compared to my normal fic popularity, as is seen with nUF these days).

And I do not exaggerate the popularity, I think. TPOAN is arguably my most popular fanfic ever, even moreso than "Anatomy of a War" back in 2005. It's my only work to make it on TVTropes (the Fanfiction.net link is listed under two FanficRec lists on that site, the Dr. Who list under Crossovers and the MegaCrossover list under Individual Stories).

I did post it on LibArc, though, which is how our resident White Mage found it, and became one of the story's most devoted (and critical) fans. She even made a suggestion that caused me to shift an entire planned plot arc.

Anyway, I will be posting this piece-by-piece over the next.... three or four months, I imagine. 920,000 words is a lot of story material and I don't want to smother anyone with it. I'll instead post daily updates, or perhaps even bi-daily ones, of no more than 10,000 words at a time (roughly 10,000 at least).

Anyway, without further adieu (and in the next post), I now give you Episode 1 of "The Power of a Name". It's title is... rather appropriate, I think you'll agree. :wink:
Last edited by Steve on 2016-12-15 09:14am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-15 09:13am

Episode 1 - A Madman in a Box

How does the story begin? It begins with blackness. One moment, a vacant office building over the holidays and a desk manned by a lone soul, working the holiday. The aforementioned blackness came next.

Waking up was an education. An education, for one, in how much a head can hurt but have capacity for more pain. An education, as well, in how quickly danger can make the most groggy person jump to attention.

I awoke in the midst of screams and shouts. Metal clanged and a dreadfully familiar sound was repeating itself around me. I came to in what looked to be a storage room of sorts. A storage rom that stank, a pungent odor that made me want to gag. Moving actually triggered the light to turn on.

A scream of shock formed at my throat, held down only by the sheer strength of my horror.

The odor was from bodies.

The bodies were arranged haphazardly, simply tossed in for, one suspects, incineration. They were clothed in dirty rags and many had scars and burns. Most importantly, it was easy to see not all were... human. Not with their pigmentations.

I looked down at one set of vacant eyes in particular, on a head that had little pyramidal shapes where ears should be. And two very familiar tendrils - or tentacles? - attached to the back of the head and skull.

A Twi'lek.

The first thought is that it's a dream. But it's only the first thought. The senses are too powerful for it to be a dream. No, I was not dreaming. Something bizarre had happened.

I had no more time to think about it. The necessities of the moment intervened.

The door opened and a man appeared there. His uniform was dark gray, with red and blue markings on the breast, and my mind immediately connected the dots: Imperial uniform. His blaster was coming up as he gawked at me in surprise.

Thankfully he was barely five and a half feet tall and maybe weighed a hundred and fifty pounds. Outmassing the poor Imp by about three to one was an advantage in close quarters that even the untrained can exploit. I slammed into him and kept going, eventually smashing him against the far wall. He cried out and went limp. His blaster pistol dropped from his hand. I scooped it up. Not that it'd be worth much as I'd never used a firearm before. But there is security in holding a deadly weapon when you've got gunfire and screaming going on in the distance.

I took a good look at him now. While his uniform was clearly Imperial, the red insignia was not that of the movie-era Galactic Empire but of the TOR-era Sith Empire. Which really did me nothing; both were bad picks to be stuck in.

A flood of what I would normally call humanity rushed down the hall toward me. I say normally because aside from the different skin tones, I saw enough fur to know it included Wookiees. On second glance were some Houk too.

My choices at that point were to get trampled or to try to run as quickly as I could. So I did something I was soon to get a lot of practice at: I ran. I ran and ran until I found a junction. Lettering above it told me both ways led to personnel quarters. I turned right while most of the others turned left.

The fact that I could read Aurabesh off the top of my head and on the run should have been my first freaking clue as to what the future had in store.

Unfortunately, running is not part of my usual routine, and I have the bulky obese body of a 21st Century American to prove it. Going up and down three stories every day is about the limit of my usual physical exertion. Adrenaline and sheer terror helped a bit but soon enough my heart was beating so hard it made me sick and I couldn't even feel the air entering my lungs given how hard they were heaving.

I didn't get trampled, at least.

Other figures rushed passed me. I made out people dressed like the abbatoir I'd been in when I first arrived in this damn place, of various races and with devices attached to the backs of their necks. The monotony of their ragged clothing only temporarily faded at two figures who were in what I would generously call dancer's outfits. Generously because there was precious little on their bodies that wasn't uncovered. I got only a glimpse of green and white skin before they were passed me.

I, meanwhile, came to a stop. The green-skinned figure turned back. "They're almost here!", she yelled at me.

"Can't.... run.... can't.... go on!" Or rather that was what I tried to say. Looking back I was wheezing so hard I wouldn't be surprised if it sounded like an asthmatic Wookiee.

As for telling them to go on, well...

There comes a point when your mind just kicks in with a hard dose of reality. Now that I was trying to catch my breath I did the calculation. I was too fat to run. I had a pistol and I was betting they had, at the very least, blaster rifles, if not battle droids and even Sith. There was no way I could escape and no way I could win a fight. So I had to pick my doom. I decided that I would probably not like the result of getting captured. So I picked the other alternative.

Sounds brave doesn't it? All heroic, all noble, with Mel Gibson's voice shouting "FREEEEDOM!" or the old Patrick Henry adage "Liberty or Death" and all.

The truth was I was pretty damned terrified. I didn't want to die. I really didn't want to die in this place, never to find out how the hell I wound up here. It was just that, among all options, dying was the best. Dying while shooting at Imperials was icing on the crap cake.

I'd barely begun to regain my breath when the first Imperials entered sight. I squeezed off a shot that went way over their heads and did nothing but reveal my position. Blaster bolts sizzled by me, their heat hot enough to scald even from a near miss. I was still wheezing from my run earlier and could barely aim my next shot. This one went right between two troopers as a small squad of them advanced.

A blaster bolt struck me in the side. Pain went through me and sent me down, unable to move. This was it then? A couple piddly shots? I knew I sucked at this but I'd hoped to buy a little more time.

A thought came to my head. How would those people who ran on remember me? The overweight Human in the brown uniform that looked nothing like they'd seen before? Would they speak about it? Would they ever talk about my staying behind, buying a few precious seconds? If any escaped here and got back to some nice world in the Republic would there be stories about me? Maybe a historical oddity to be debated over?

Probably not.

The first trooper came up toward me with blaster rifle leveled. I couldn't see his face through his helmet but I imagined it was confusion at my dress. It would only buy me another moment of agonizing pain in the blaster wound that was slowly killing me.

And then his blaster flew out of his hand.

I looked over to see the two who had called out to me. The light-skinned girl was staying back, but the green-skinned one - clearly a Mirialan given the black triangle tattoos on her cheeks - had her hands extended. The rifle flew into her hands and she fired one shot after the other until the four troopers who'd come after me were dead, too surprised to return fire. She walked up to me as I felt my breathing slow. "Alright tubby, we've got a place to hide."

I let both of them pull me to my feet. I suspect the Mirialan girl was using whatever Force power she had to help support my weight. Others ran up ahead of us, including a Wookiee who was quick to lift me up.

I started to black out. When I came to we were in an Imperial officer's quarters. "...starting to regain control, we have to find a way off this station before..."

I looked up. One of the older beings, a Twi'lek, was talking. I'd been set down on the bed. "Woh, don't move too much," a Twi'lek woman said. "I still don't know if you're going to make it."

"Probably not," I muttered. The pain was still inside of me and my breathing was becoming shallow. The damage to my body was far too severe. "Where am I?"

"In deep bantha poodoo," the Mirialan said, smirking. "You're lucky we came back for you. We'd have rolled you along but..."

"Ha ha, very... ungh..."

The pain changed. Somehow I knew that the growing sensation of pins and needles spreading through my body was not the kind of thing you got from a bolt of excited plasma to the side of your torso. Something else was wrong. Very wrong. Was I having some kind of heart attack?

"Get... get away...", I mumbled to them as I stumbled to my feet, energy welling up inside me as the sensation grew stronger. What was going on? What was happening to me? I looked down to see golden light forming around my hand.

Before another thought could be had, I threw my head back and felt the sensation fill every fiber of my being, golden light filling my vision. It was... I can't describe it. I can only say that I felt a sense of invigoration.

When the light ended I staggered back to the bed. My head was spinning and I was, for the moment, incredibly disorientated. It was only when this feeling faded, after what felt like hours and had to be a few minutes at least, that I realized what had happened; my pants, both normal and underpants, were literally in a pile around my ankles. I looked down and was surprised to not see the gut I was used to. Instead I had a waist that was probably no more than thirty-six inches... explaining the wardrobe malfunction. "Okay, this is just embarrassing," I said.

Everyone stared at me, and for good reason. In place of my nice, normal American accent was a proper English one, with my voice a little deeper, just a little, and not quite as... okay, I'm not sure how to describe my normal voice save that I have never liked hearing it. Racking my mind for well known English accents I was familiar with I couldn't say for sure which one was closest to what I had now.

I looked at their expressions. Of course. This accent was, to them, an Imperial accent. "Why do you sound like an Imperial now?", the brunette girl with the Mirialan asked, ironically with the same accent I now had.

"I don't sound like an Imperial, they sound like me," I remarked defensively. "Can someone find me new pants? And.... is that a medical scanner?" I looked at the Twi'lek woman, noticing her cyan complexion was marred by scarring. "I have a suspicion. Please scan me."

As someone rifled through an Imperial officer's drawer for the pants I requested - thankfully my uniform shirt now provided modesty - the woman did as I asked. She stared at the readings. I could already guess why. "Let me guess." I drew in a breath. "Two hearts."

"Well, yes," the woman answered.

Yeah, like losing twenty inches of waist and developing an accent that makes me sound like I should be teaching at Oxford hadn't already clued me in on what happened.

"What are you?", the Mirialan asked, her tone cautious.

"Well, not Human anymore," I mumbled. No indeed, I was something else entirely now.

I'd been turned into a Time Lord.

Another Human from the group huddled in these spacious quarters pulled a pair of pants out of a closet and some red fabric I realized was the local equivalent of underpants. The Twi'lek behind him was carrying a plain gray jacket. "Thank you," I mumbled to them. The pants pulled on easily enough and the jacket was a bit large, but not overly much. I slipped it on over the white undershirt that I had been wearing. I took a long look at my guard uniform and put it away. A quick peek at a mirror on the wall confirmed I was about the same height as before but with the lost weight. My cheekbones weren't as prominent and my face was now an oval more than it was round, the distance between my chin and forehead slightly more than that between my cheeks and the width of my jaw. I was cleanshaven now too, with short dark hair, with my old light complexion still present.

It occured to me that if I put on a black duster and walked around with a wooden stick I could be mistaken, at a distance, for Harry Dresden. Not exactly the figure I wanted to be comparable to given all the crap he endures.

And then a thought came to me. I picked up the old pair of pants and checked the pockets. The rear pocket where my wallet should have been yielded another item in brown leather. I opened it and saw a plain piece of white paper. I put it in the pocket of my new garb and reached into the other pocket to pull out two other very important tools.

"What is that?", the Mirialan asked, suspicion evident in her voice.

"This?" I brought the light gray object up. I suppose it could have passed for a very small lightsaber hilt. I pressed a button that I knew was a test function key and saw the purple tip light up with a whirring sound. "Sonic screwdriver. And it's purple. I like purple. It's my favorite color. They should make purple lightsabers."

"They do," the Mirialan hissed. I didn't know her name yet and really should have asked by that point. "The Sith use them."

"Oh, they won't always. One day there's going to be a very powerful Jedi Master feared for his purple lightsaber. Not the brightest, but certainly one of the best." I held up the other object to put it around my neck. "And this key is very important as well. Now then, I believe we are in the middle of an escape attempt, correct? We probably should get going, I'm thinking... the nearest shuttle bay." I smiled at them. I wasn't entirely smiling on the inside. I may have survived dying, but I was still in a lot of danger. I could be shot again and then killed before I could regenerate. Even if I did survive such, capture certainly meant the Sith finding out what I'd become. I wasn't particularly interested in a future involving Sith alchemists and scientists given their idea of ethics involved the idea that cold-blooded torture was an acceptable past time and that empathy was for pussies.

As I did so, I was realizing that another effect of regeneration had kicked in: I was being enormously chatty in a social situation when my usual instinct was to stay quiet unless something relevant to my interests came up. I mused what other aspects of my personality had changed. I was certainly feeling less passive at the moment, for one thing.

"What makes you thinK we trust you?", the Twi'lek nurse asked, breaking through my thoughts.

"Are you seriously that upset over the accent? I..."

The door opened suddenly. Two armed Imperials entered, blaster rifles raised. "Surrender now or we open fire!", one demanded, their voice modulated through the helmet.

I used to have a mind like a steamroller; slow but sure, moving from one point to the next, but I could never do things like win those annoying games in school where teachers held up math problem cards and you only advanced if you spoke the right answer faster than the other guy. I sometimes did well thanks to rote memorization, but never as well as my math grades should have allowed.

Now? My mind, in a second, already knew exactly what I had to do.

"Oi, nice lads," I said to them, holding up the wallet-like object from my pocket. "Very good form. But that's not necessary here, as you see."

They looked at the blank paper I was showing them. Of course, to them it wasn't blank. It was a holoprojection of my head with appropriate rank. "Moff, sir, are you okay?", one asked. "We weren't informed you were here."

"Of course. My poor dears here came to me to make sure I knew of their loyalty. We're all due to leave for Vaiken Station soon enough." I smiled. "I believe you have other renegades to be chasing down. Come on lads, the Emperor wouldn't want you dallying about with me, right?"

"Of course not, Moff," the other said. His voice was young. "We'll be going sir, sorry for interrupting."

"Oh, no bother. You're doing your duty to the Empire, my lad. I trust you'll have those rebels in the cages soon enough. Off with you."

When I finally got them out and looked back, I was staring into the barrel of a blaster rifle. The Mirialan girl had a very angry look on her. I brought the item up again. The girl stared at it and made a face. "You are not Master Din," she replied.

"Not at all," I agreed. "Psychic paper. It lets me pass as whatever I have to." A grin crossed my face. "As for escape... the fact that I have these things and that the paper works means I have a means of escape handy. What is your name, by the way?"

"Janias," she answered. "This is Camilla."

The brunette in the "dancer" outfit nodded. "And who are you?", she asked.

"Time for that later... and I think it's rather unfair that I got sass over the accent but Cami over here gets a free pass." I motioned to the door. "Alright everyone, off we go. Just stay behind me and we'll get out of here. Yes yes, come on, allons-y my friends, allons-y! And hold out that rifle, Janias, I need to do something with it..." I pulled out my sonic and activated the scan feature, running it over the surface of the blaster.

"You'd better not be disabling it," Janias remarked.

"Not at all, not at all," I assured her. "Just... being prepared. They say chance favors the prepared mind."

"That sounds almost like a Jedi saying I know."

"Yes, very wise saying, yes?" I had gotten it from one of the villains of Under Siege 2, actually. I wasn't surprised to hear her talk about knowing Jedi sayings given what I'd seen from her so far. If we got out of this, I had questions for dear lovely Janias. "Anyway, we had better get going."

I took the lead, following the signs and my own senses towards the shuttle bay. "Do you have a ship big enough for all of us? One we can escape their fighters in?", Camilla asked.

"I've got something better," I promised. At least, I was sure I did.

We entered the receiving area for the shuttle bay and the various hangers. I reached the far door and opened it to find a blaster rifle at my face. I brought the psychic paper back up. The soldier began to inspect it.

"I will see this."

The voice was deep and not entirely organic, being spoken through a respirator unit. The guards parted and allowed a large figure to approach me.

I cursed my luck. It wasn't just a Sith Lord, but perhaps the scariest one in this era: Darth Malgus. The man took an RPG to the face and then a grenade, after which he got blasted with Force energy sufficient to make a rock formation explode. He didn't just survive that, but survived it intact enough to lead the massacring of the Jedi on Coruscant during the sack of that city-world.

You don't mess with a man who considers getting his face exploded by an RPG to be an inconvenience.

Which, of course, was exactly what I intended to do. Because among other things, it seemed I was also now confident to the point of near-arrogance.

"Mental trickery," he said dismissively, batting away my psychic paper. I lost my grip on it and it went flying to the metal ground nearby. "Sufficient to fool those without the Force, perhaps. But not me."

"They're surrounding us," Janias muttered in my ear. I could hear their footsteps. More troops had arrived from different points. We were caught in a trap.

"You may want to put the rifle down," I whispered back.

"Never."

My hand closed around the sonic screwdriver in my pocket. It should have had enough time... but I wanted to be sure. If I could buy a second or two, especially to keep Malgus from using the Force to stop me.

"Who are you?", he asked.

In retrospect, my thought on this is "God damn you, Malgus. God damn you for giving me that."

At the time, my thought was "He actually gave me the perfect setup line! He gift-wrapped it!"

I smiled at him and let out a laugh. I'd decided on how to answer. I'd decided, honestly, far too quickly, but I was buoyed by newfound confidence and an assertive streak in my new personality, now mixed with my habitual enjoyment of the dramatic.

"Who am I?", I said, repeating the question.

"Do not toy with me!" He brought his right hand up. I suspected if he didn't like the next thing I said I'd have a crushed trachea.

My hand came out of my pocket.

"I'm the Doctor," I answered.

Oh the arrogance.

At the time I was grinning like a Cheshire cat, like I'd just said the most awesome thing ever. I could see the bewilderment in his face and I could sense the same from the Imperial troops. The question on their minds was obvious. "Doctor who?"

All in all, it bought me an extra two seconds. Which, as it turned out, was enough.

I said one more word. "Run."

I brought up my right hand, the tip of the screwdriver pointing upward. My thumb pressed down on the activation button of my sonic screwdriver. The purple light came to life with the familiar whir of active sonics.

It was drowned out by the hisses and pops coming from Malgus and his men as their weapons and active electronics exploded with sparks. Janias shrieked as the blaster rifle she'd guarded jealously did the same, forcing her to drop it. Her reaction was quick enough to avoid burns to her bare hands.

Malgus' lightsaber had erupted in sparks as well, some of them backfiring and striking his arm and shoulder to cause serious injury there. But he had another piece of technology; his respirator, now sparking just as badly. He clawed it off his face.

By this point I'd turned back to the others. "I meant you!", I shouted at the escapees. "Run!" I turned to retrieve my psychic paper just to see it fly into Janias' hand. I was definitely curious about that one...

The confusion, and the fact that Malgus was now too busy clawing for air to focus on us, allowed us to force our way past Malgus and his men and to the next blast door. I turned and, the moment everyone was through, used my sonic to close it and then seal it.

"How are you doing that?!", Camilla demanded.

"The sonic screwdriver is handy for just about everything," I answered. "Rather like a Swiss Army Knife."

"What's a Swiss?", was her confused reply.

I would have explained further if we weren't so rushed for time.

No one challenged us on the way to the shuttle bay. Once there I sealed the door we came through. But we didn't have long. My priority now was making sure we were in the right place amongst the half dozen or so shuttles.

"If we have enough pilots we can take them all, at least some will escape," a Duros said. I understood him perfectly despite his vocal cords being literally incapable of English aka Basic.

"We're all getting out together," I answered. There was no time to try my key on every craft. This was punctuated when I heard a clang on the sealed door. I could almost feel the malevolent energies of Malgus' rage.

I brought my hand up and snapped my fingers.

In my old body, I couldn't snap my fingers at all. Even at best I barely heard it. But here and now? The snap seemed like a thundercrack in that shuttle bay.

And in the periphery of my vision, doors opened. I turned and faced a cargo pod sitting at the side of the shuttle bay. "And here we go."

"That's just a cargo pod," Janias said. " We can't hide now!"

"It's not a cargo pod, it just looks like one," I replied. "Trust in the Force and not the eyes, right? Isn't that what they teach you Jedi?"

"But it isn't...." Janias was still protesting as I walked up to the doors and inside. "...a ship...." Her voice trailed off as she stepped in behind me, Camilla at her side. The two slave girls' jaws dropped.

FTL drives that make going across the galaxy look like a cross-country drive, massive city-worlds, the Force... it seemed even this galaxy still offered room for some surprise to its denizens.

"What is this place?", Janias asked.

"Welcome to my TARDIS. She can travel anywhere in space or time," I replied, heading up to the central control station. The interior was sufficiently lit but not overly so; it resembled a combination of the Eleventh Doctor''s second control room, with sophisticated looking panels and controls, and the Ninth and Tenth Doctors' with the paneling and lighting, although the primary color was blue. "I suppose not everything can be purple," I mused aloud.

"It's bigger on the inside...", Camilla murmured, her voice tight with surprise. "It's bigger on the inside!", she repeated, her voice louder.

Janias got over being impressed quickly. She moved in and allowed the rush of escapees to enter. They had come to see what Camilla was shouting about. And once they saw the inside, I imagine their trust extended a bit further. I wasn't paying attention as they spread across the control room and toward the immediate side rooms. "Does it fly fast?", Janias asked. "The Imperial fighters will be on us the moment we launch."

"Fly fast? My dear, she re-defines 'fast'. She leaves fast in her dust," I answered, smiling. "Is everyone in?"

There were nods and mumbled affirmations. In the distance we could all hear the groan of metal. Malgus was breaking in.

"Alright, let's not waste time." I snapped my fingers again. The TARDIS doors closed.

By all practical matters I knew the TARDIS controls were meant to be almost non-sensical. They were like Okuda surfaces in Star Trek; the buttons were there to be pressed, it didn't matter how. But somehow I knew how to pilot the TARDIS. What levers to pull, what switches to trip, how fast and how long to rotate the knobs. I surveyed destinations. Coruscant was still rebuilding, the majority of these people would probably end up enthralled to the Migrant Merchants' Guild or in some other trouble. Alderaan... no, civil war there. Corellia was a safe choice for now but I knew it wouldn't be for much longer. Naboo was too close to the Imperial border. There had to be a planet I could...

The control room rocked under my feet. I stumbled against the control center and checked my monitor. Malgus was slamming my TARDIS with the Force repeatedly, determined to break in. "Okay, just go somewhere," I grumbled to myself. I smiled; I had just the place in mind. "Janias, Camilla, get our big friends ready, we're taking on more passengers!", I shouted. I quickly manipulated the controls to set a nearby destination and pulled the switch lever - which looked like something you'd expect for a big fuse box or, well, an electric chair - to start her up.

The glass pillar in the center began moving. A solid VWOOSH VWOOSH VWOOSH came from the pillar, like a vacuum cleaner being turned on and off with the sound being played in slow motion. Within seconds the shaking stopped. I rushed to the door, nearly running into a couple of the others on the way, and threw it open. We were in the slave holds on the station now, the failed escapees corraled in makeshift forcefield cells and looking rather hopeless and dejected even if they saw me. There were a few guards present as well who were raising their blaster rifles. I lifted the sonic screwdriver and triggered it, this time pointing it at them and setting it to a cone-shaped field of effect. The blaster rifles exploded in sparks. The troopers were going for their pistols but the Wookiees and Houk on my side got to them first. The resulting melee battle was short and violent. And it was not in the troopers' favor.

This gave me an opening. I ran up to the central controls. There was a pass code on the forcefield locks so I resorted, of course, to the screwdriver. The little purple light at the end lit up, the whirring filled the room, and after a few moments that were necessary to crack the security I was able to input the shutdown code. The forcefields went down. "All aboard!", I shouted. "Don't worry, she's bigger on the inside!"

I had to smile. As dejected, as lost, as they'd looked earlier... having freedom returned made them act. A few were initially reluctant to get up until prodded by the others, not that I could blame them. I saw the children being hurried along by their parents, or at least guardians. My heart swelled with delight.

Of course, I couldn't stop there. I had to make sure we had time to get them all in.

First I raced around the perimeter of the room, closing blast doors and sealing them. All of the running was getting me winded, although not as badly as before. That done my next trick was to hack into their security systems and disable the blast doors further in the station. It was going to take them hours to get through.

The door at the far end rumbled. Okay, maybe not hours when they had a pissed off Sith Lord present.

I looked back to see the final group getting in. "Come on, Doctor!", Janias shouted at me.

I nodded. At the time I felt, well, like it was the height of coolness that she called me "Doctor". My ego swelled. My freaking ego. I did not need that fed any more at that point, but fed it was. I can look back now and laugh at the absurdity of it all.

It was a harbinger of things to come, of course. Yes, I now use the word harbinger for that moment even if harbinger is usually a sign of something bad coming. Or the name of an excessively talkative metal cephalopod. More on that one later.

I ran faster than I'd yet ran and made it to the TARDIS just as one set of blast dors curved inward, an invisible force having forced them to split. Malgus was on the other side and just oozing rage.

Now you may ask if I stopped to taunt him. If I made some snippy, Doctor-like comment at him. Even my sense of the dramatic can't overcome my survival instinct though. I slammed the TARDIS doors closed, secured their lock, and returned to the control station. We had to get out and fast.

I knew just where to go. I grabbed the relevant knobs and levers and wheels and did what I had to. Then it was time to pull the lever again. The VWOOSH VWOOSH VWOOSH filled the control room.

"Alrighty, we are at our destination," I declared. "You'll find a lot of helpful people here, they're sure to find you a new home." I threw open the TARDIS doors and stepped out onto the gra....

...the stone floor. I looked up and saw a circular table with several individuals sitting around it. Most were in vests or robes of brown or other earthy colors. One woman with her hair pulled into tails on the sides of her head looked at me with surprised teal eyes. Her compatriots were similarly bewildered by our sudden appearance. There was a scowl on the face of the red-haired teenager beside a Togruta female.

I immediately recognized the woman with teal eyes. Grand Master Satele Shan.

I'd just crashed an open session of the freaking Jedi Council.

"Uh, pardon me," I said, hands in front of me. "I seem to have parked in the wrong spot here. Just give me a moment and I'll have my ship somewhere less intrusive."

Yeah, uh, speaking with an "Imperial" accent was probably not the wisest thing I'd done, as at least two lightsabers activated. "Who are you and what are you doing here?", Master Satele demanded.

"Well, I happened to have some passengers in need of assistance," I explained. I moved to let them see inside the TARDIS doors, where a couple of the Wookiees were stepping out with a Twi'lek between them. "I believed it safest to submit them to your care."

"I sense no deception," an older Jedi said. The Human male had a gentle, if rugged, voice; I recognized him as Orgus Din. "Let's hear him out."

"It's got to be a Sith trick," the red-haired girl insisted. I recognized her now as Kira Carsen. The fiery young Padawan was a bit younger than I'd expected, but this was clearly before the decade anniversary of the Treaty of Coruscant.

"I agree with Master Orgus," Tol Braga, the fearsome-looking Kel Dor, chimed in. "Speak, stranger."

"Thank you, Masters," was my response, with a bit of a deferential bow of the head. A part of me bristled, but I shut that bit up. Diplomacy was the rule here.




Now, I couldn't exactly tell them the entire truth. That they were fictional in my home... universe? Reality? I guess cosmos is the best choice there. I also couldn't tell them what I knew of the future, of the fates that Tol Braga and Orgus Din and Syo Bakarn would face. I even had to be cooperative knowing full well that the Empire would eventually learn of what happened here because I couldn't warn them of the dangers ahead. I wasn't going to interfere with history, especially if it could mess up the fixed points in time that were coming.

But I gave them the gist. I was from another galaxy. An unknown power yanked me here. I was a different species that appeared like Humans did but was not Human. I had them verify my second heart to show I wasn't trying an outrageous lie. I may have fudged a bit on being Human before, but after giving it some thought I figured it best not to let slip the entire idea of changing species. As much as it was my impulse to be truthful... there are limits to a being's tolerance for the outrageous. Not only would it make me look insane, it would - if believed - lead to very uncomfortable questions.

When it was all said and done, I think they were convinced, or at least convinced enough to let me go on my way. The slaves I'd rescued were being given quarters until the Jedi could arrange their transit off world.

Finally, the mystery of Janias was revealed.

"Master Ordal Lai died on Druckenwell," Janias said, speaking to the Jedi Council. She and Camilla had replaced their skimpy "dancer" outfits with respectable vests and pants provided by the Jedi. "We lost the ship to the Imperial garrison. I was trapped and had nowhere to go. Eventually slave hunters caught me in the wilderness and took me for a Mirialan taken from a conquered world. I was enslaved and sold into the Imperial markets." Her voice was strained. Given her visible age and the time span being mentioned it occurred to me that she'd spent half a decade in this state. I remembered what she was wearing and her attitude and the probabilities of her life these past few years...

Just because the movies are made to be kid friendly doesn't mean the wider galaxy has to be the same. I shall leave it at that.

"How did they miss the fact you were Jedi?", Master Jaric Kaedan asked.

"I hid my talents with the Force, Master. I did my best to avoid being tested. I don't know how much longer it would have worked but I was determined to not be found."

"A good choice," Satele agreed. "The Force has led you back to us now, Janias. When you recover we will find another Jedi to finish your training."

"No."

Looks focused on Janias, who barely budged in her seat. "When I was young I wanted to be a Jedi," Janias admitted. "But I've changed. I've had things happen to me... done to me... and I have new priorities now."

I noticed Camilla take Janias' hand and give it a gentle squeeze. I wasn't the only one who saw that and it made her reasoning quite clear.

It was just my luck too. I was now occupying a body that wouldn't make the opposite sex wrinkle their collective noses in disgust and the first ladies I really interact with turn out to be a lesbian couple. Somewhere my friends, everyone who ever made a joke about my stories having too many girl-on-girl romances, are laughing.

"That is your choice," Master Braga conceded. The look on Kaedan's face was the harshest, but I suspect many of those on the Council were displeased to see a partially-trained Padawan throw away her future in the Jedi for love. I had no issue with it, but then again I've always been critical of the "Love leads to EEEEVILLLL" attitude of the Jedi.

"May the Force be with you then, Janias." Satele nodded to her. She turned to face me. "And what of you... Doctor?"

"The Doctor, yes," I answered. It was laziness I suppose; they were calling me that now so why stop it? It swelled my ego too, which had the unfortunate side effect of stimulating my arrogance. "Oh, I'll be off. I would like to return to my home if I can find it."

"And you will not reveal the routes to get to Tython?", Kaedan asked bluntly.

"I don't know them, Master Kaedan. The TARDIS doesn't fly like your space vessels, I don't use hyperspace." I'd almost put that as "I make no use", but at the last moment my newly-found wordiness lost out to my desire to not sound, well, like a man talking floridly to prove he can.

Kaedan clearly didn't like my answer but he was a minority at the moment. "If you need provisions we would be happy to provide them," Master Satele informed him. "You've done a good deed."

"You'll need those provisions for the people here, Master Satele. I'll be fine." I smiled at her. "I'll be going now. Best of luck to you all."

"May the Force be with you," was the response I got.

I strode into the TARDIS and went up to the controls. My current plan was to just move it to somewhere secluded as I examined things and got my bearings. Home had to be out there somewhere, after all.

Wasn't it?

Granted, I expected the TARDIS may be less than cooperative. What were the odds it'd do the same thing to me as the real Doctor's TARDIS did to him?

Especially given the sheer variety of possible destinations. I could already tell this TARDIS wasn't limited to just one cosmos. It hadn't been left in this galaxy without being capable of leaving. The possibilities of where I could travel were almost mind-boggling.

I was reaching for a control when I heard the door open. I turned to see it close again. Janias and Camilla were standing on the inside now. "I'm sorry, I suppose I was a bit quick and forgot to say goodbye to you," I remarked.

"We want to come with you, Doctor," Janias said.

For a moment I was silent. Companions were the last thing I was expecting. "You have lives here," I reminded them.

"There's a war coming," Janias replied. "We all know it. There's nowhere Cami and I can go to be safe from the Sith Empire."

"It's not going to be safe with me either," I pointed out to them. "There's a lot of danger out there."

"It can't be worse than what we'd get if the Sith captured us," Camilla retorted. "They'll find us on the record as escaped slaves."

I knew that she was right about that. The war would begin soon and no world would be safe from the Sith. Even Corellia would nearly fall. And I wasn't sure how long or horrible the war would get.

What harm would it do? Janias had Force abilities that could help me. Camilla looked fairly smart. And it'd give me company, something to keep me from going mad as I searched for a way back home. Although that presumed I was sane in the first place.

"You young ladies need to understand something." I walked up to them and looked them in the eye. Well, eyes. "I got ripped from my home, my life, everything I loved. It wasn't perfect and it could be boring or depressing or frustrating but it was still my life and I've lost it. I've been changed into something I wasn't before. My very mind and personality have been altered. And I realize I am being somewhat wordy so I shall try to sum this up simply by saying I am probably very mad right now."

"Mad?"

"As in crazy, not angry," I clarified. "The question is this. Do you really want to trust your lives to a madman in a box?"

Janias and Camilla looked at each other. They clasped hands. "We would, Doctor," Janias answered. "After everything we've been through, we'd rather be here than anywhere else."

I was silent for several moments. I could see they were determined. It'd probably be better for them if I tricked them off the TARDIS, but I wouldn't betray trust like that. If this was their decision...

I suppose it made it easier that I really didn't want to be alone right now.

Besides, it wasn't like they were going to conceive a child here on the TARDIS that would later be brainwashed to kill me, right? No harm in letting them have a room and taking them with me to see some sights. I could investigate, maybe see if there was a place they would be happier than this point in time for their galaxy.

"Alright then. I do apologize ahead of time if I sometimes call you Vastra and Jenny. Green alien woman with human woman, the joke practically tells itself."

They looked at me like I was, well, mad. Hey, I did warn them.

I jumped back up the stairs to the controls. I wanted to check the dressing room to find an appropriate suit but for the moment the TARDIS was still, y'know, partially blocking the hallway to the Jedi Council Chamber. It would have been the height of rudeness to leave it there.

The girls got settled in while I shifted us to a quiet place in the Jedi Temple's courtyard. Night was soon to come to this part of Tython but I barely noted as I was instead checking the dressing room for a suit. Something had thoughtfully provided suits that looked much like the known Doctor outfits. I resolved to throw the Sixth Doctor's clown costume into the nearest star at earliest convenience.

In the end I picked none. I wanted something unique to myself. I ignored the purple coat if only because I knew it'd make me look like a Batman villain. A navy blue suit jacket looked better. For the button down I wore under it I picked a lighter blue. No ties. I hate ties. For pants I eventually found a nice pair that matched my jacket. Dark green running shoes topped that off; thankfully regenerating had turned my insane size 22 feet into a more reasonable 15.

I emerged from the dressing room and found Janias and Camilla waiting for me. They were still in the clothes the Jedi had provided while my TARDIS was, well, not stocked in the latest in ladies' wear. A visit to a clothier was probably in order. Janias asked, "So where are we going?"

"Oh, anywhere," I answered. I played with the TARDIS controls and found all the settings I needed. "All sorts of sights to see out there. I'm still thinking of where to... wait." I snapped my fingers lightly. "I'm forgetting something. I know I'm forgetting something."

"What?", Camilla asked.

I stood there musing for a moment. "Oh yes!" I smiled at them. "I'm the Doctor. I can't go traveling around space and time and the whole of reality in some bland Imperial cargo pod, that'd be... it'd be... I wouldn't be the Doctor if I did that." I reached over and played with the chameleon circuit. It took a couple of moments to get what I wanted. "Let's check." I rushed to the door and left the TARDIS, the girls behind me.

"What did you make it into?", Janias asked. "Why is it... blue?"

"This isn't just blue!", I protested. "It's TARDIS Blue." I pressed my right hand on the door that remained closed. "It even feels like real wood!"

Camilla was looking up at the lettering. "What's a Police Call Box?"

"What you're looking at, my dear, is the appearance of an authentic police box of the City of London, circa 1963 Common Era, run by the St. Johns Ambulatory Service," I responded proudly. "It's the only proper appearance for my TARDIS if I'm the Doctor."

"But why would you need a box for that? Didn't they have holos?", Camilla inquired.

"Not at that time, no. No cell phones, no holos, if you wanted to contact someone remotely you had to have a radio or a phone." I smiled at her. "Don't worry, I'll show you how things worked, we'll visit Earth sometime. Well, probably quite a few Earths. So, come along."

I re-entered the TARDIS with them behind. Janias thoughtfully closed the door. I went to the controls. "Well, ladies, it's time to leave this galaxy behind for a while. So many places to see, people to meet!"

"You said we can go anywhere." Camilla walked up and put a hand on the control panel. She didn't press any controls, she just rested her hand on it. "How does that work?"

"The TARDIS can go anywhere in space and time, like I said. Do you know what that means?" I looked up from where I was turning one of the knobs. "Every Planet. Every Star. Every Cosmos. And at any point in time! The Multiverse is our oyster, my dear Companions! We could travel for life times and not see it all!"

As I said that, the thought occurred to me. If I never got home, if I remained a Time Lord, I'd live for centuries. And when my body got too old or was too badly wounded I'd regenerate again and have yet more time. I could almost hear the chords of "Who Wants to Live Forever?" in my head.

Then again, I had nearly died. It sucked. Immortality had its perks.

"So where to first?", I asked. "We can go to the crystal cities of Minbar. Or the rolling hills of Bajor's Kendra Province. Maybe the snowy peaks of Andoria. The City-Ship of Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy! The Firefalls of Gal Gath'ong..." I stopped. "Okay, we'd have to be careful there, the Romulans can be tetchy about outsiders. Wait, how about Centauri Prime during the reign of Emperor Vir? The Centauri throw marvelous parties. Although I admit I am partial to the spires of Thessia..."

"Just pick," Janias insisted. "Close your eyes and pick if you want. Let the Force guide us."

Given the normal behavior of TARDISes, Janias' suggestion didn't seem much different from normal. On the other hand, flying the TARDIS blind wasn't something that sounded quite safe. "I think I know just the thing," I finally said, smiling. "Everyone ready?"

They nodded.

I thought of what to say at that moment. I felt an urge to just shout something, something inspiring or fun or simply adventurous, the equivalent of "Allons-y!" and "Geronimo!" It had to be something good. No, not "Let's Get Dangerous", that would be silly. "Let's go!" was simple but was just the English for Ten's line. I needed something good. "Let's roll"... sounded too much like Optimus Prime's "Roll out!" I needed something with... style. Something... British-sounding?

And then I think I got it.

I smiled at them as I gripped the lever. "Tally ho!" I pulled the lever and we were off.

Looking back, this all seemed so innocent at first. Here we were heading out into everything that was, starting our adventure in space and time (Yeah, sorry, couldn't help myself). Adopting the name of the Doctor, well... going by my real name wouldn't work as well, I thought. There was a mystique about a name like "the Doctor" that couldn't be avoided and could be useful. I'd adopted the moniker on a bit of spur of the moment bravado and kept it because Janias and Camilla used it and it felt easier to not change that.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into, what my arrogant presumption could cause. But I would learn. I wouldn't enjoy it, but I'd learn.

Oh boy would I learn.

Because something I should have realized was that names are more than just something you call someone or something else. Names have power. Especially a name like the Doctor's.

Ultimately, as much as this is the story of my travels through time and space... it is also the story of how close to disaster I came. It is the story of the fool who forgot the power of a Name.

A story I now share with you.

”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Enigma » 2016-12-15 05:35pm

Bravo! Bravo! Encore! Encore! :)
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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2016-12-16 01:38am

Not a bad start.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the next destination is.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-12-16 03:56am

Good to see this make its way to SDN.
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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-16 02:10pm

Short - Remember Them



My first stop in the wide Multiverse was a mixture of business and pleasure.

I stepped out of the TARDIS ahead of Janias and Camilla. We were on a lakeside in a lovely forest, not too hot and not too cold, with a bright yellow sun shining down on us. "Where are we?", Camilla asked. "There's nobody here."

"Yes, there is." Janias was looking around. I could see the paranoia from her years as a Sith slave was taking hold again. "I can feel it."

"Of course you can. It's the biggest life form in this entire universe!", I said with glee. "Ladies, please, say hello to Mogo. Hello Mogo!"

HELLO DOCTOR.

The voice reverberated through our minds, booming without hurting. "So we've met?", I asked. I briefly wondered if the actual Doctor had somehow met Mogo. If so, I suspected the conversation to come would be rather interesting in the unfortunate sense.

IN MY TIMESTREAM, YES.

"Really? Anything else then?"

SPOILERS.

"Ah yes." I nodded and noticed the amazed looks on my two Companions. "Mogo is a living planet. Not just a living planet but the largest, most powerful space policeman ever."

"Space police?", Janias asked.

"Yes. Dear Mogo here isn't just a living planet but is also a member of the Green Lantern Corps. They are to this universe what the Jedi Order is to your galaxy. Well, in function anyway."

YOU ARE ALL TROUBLED. I WILL PROVIDE YOU REST.

"And that is why I chose here first." I looked to the girls. "It's been a busy day. You two have gone through so much and had no time to truly relax from it, to... decompress and recover. That's why we're spending the night here." I motioned to the lake. "So enjoy the scenery. Talk to each other. Talk to Mogo. Go skinny dipping if you want, I doubt he'll... will you mind, Mogo?"

I WILL NOT.

"See?"

The looks on their faces were full of gratitude.

I left them at that point. I entered the forest around the lake and enjoyed the view of Mogo's vibrant biosphere. After ten or so minutes of walking I entered a clearing and sat in the soft grass, looking up at the sky.

I found I was weeping.

Janias and Camilla weren't the only ones who needed to recover.

It had all happened so fast. In just hours, mere hours, my life was altered beyond all comprehension. I should have been squeeing with glee at sitting on freaking Mogo, and having a chance to meet all of the Green Lanterns I admired. But I couldn't. I felt pain in my, well, my hearts. Yes, even that kind of spiritual pain that feels like it's in your heart now radiated from two spots in my chest.

Would I ever go home? Would I ever see my family and friends again?

Hard to believe I missed guarding an office building on night shift instead of reveling in an entire Multiverse to explore. But there it was.

Time passed in that clearing. The distant sun was starting to fall. I just sat there feeling lost. My memories of my old life felt... old. Like my grasp on them was failing.

I looked up and gaped. The clearing wasn't empty anymore. I saw everyone there. My parents, God rest their souls, and my brother. My grandparents living and passed, uncles and aunts and cousins. My friends, even ones I had barely seen before. They stood around me in a semi-circle and were smiling, like they were happy to see me.

Ironic, since I knew I might never see them again.

"I thought you only showed the deceased?", I asked quietly.

I SHOW MEMORY. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT.

The problem being that those memories hurt right now. "Everyone I know and love. Or knew and loved. It reminds me what I've lost, why are you picking them?" The hurt in my voice was as real as I'd ever known to come from me.

SO THAT YOU REMEMBER THEM.

I remained silent after that. With all of those eyes looking at me I laid my head back in the grass and closed my eyes. Given everything that had happened I was surprised it took me this long to give in to exhaustion.

The issue of Time Lord sleep necessities is murky, especially given Rule One: "The Doctor Lies" (Something I was not used to being able to do and do well). But I slept for, it seemed, most of the night. It was still dark when I awoke and looked into the night sky and the stars there. The clearing was empty now.

I walked back to the lakeside and the TARDIS. There was a campfire still burning, if not blazing, sending orange light over two huddled forms under a blanket retrieved from the TARDIS. I could make out Janias' and Camilla's clothes laying on nearby fallen logs, dried out from the heat of the fire. I stepped up and saw Janias' arm slip out from under the blanket, baring her shoulder as well. She turned in her sleep slightly so that her face was pointing toward me, allowing Camilla's head to nestle under her chin. That face had shown so much emotion the prior day, so much anguish and defiance against despair, but now she was at peace. I could sense happiness from them both. They had suffered so much. And they would have suffered more if we hadn't met.

That was a moment I am still proud over. No matter how things went from that point - no matter how many victories or defeats were waiting for me in my future - I knew this was something I should cherish forever. Two young souls who had suffered and endured, freed from their tribulations by my actions.

That was the moment where I decided I would continue to call myself the Doctor. I had, at least, the proper motivation. I made the decision not out of ego, or arrogance, or bravado. I made it because then and there I knew what I wanted to do with the life I had now. Whether or not I could go back home I would continue to travel, not just to explore the Multiverse but to defend the people like Janias and Camilla. I would remember that every life, no matter how small or insignificant, was precious and had to be protected.

It was at this point that I started down the path that would bring me joy and woe.

It was when I started to become the Doctor.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-16 02:22pm

Episode 2 - Answers and Questions


The TARDIS thrummed under my control while Camilla and Janias looked on, clad as usual in their Jedi-provided vests and leggings. I checked every system yet again and ran another intensive scan on my sonic screwdriver. "You call me paranoid," I overheard Janias murmuring to Camilla, "and even I think he's overdoing it."

"He can hear you, love," Camilla responded, kissing her beloved on the cheek.

"I know."

"And yet you talk about me like I'm not even in the room." Despite the comment I was grinning. Even more so as the scan confirmed what I knew it would probably confirm given the prior scan outcomes; my sonic screwdriver was... a sonic screwdriver. No hidden explosives, no traps, nothing but the bits that made it the greatest tool and instrument a time and space-traveling adventurer could ask for.

"Doctor, you've been doing this for days," Janias protested. "And making us search every room when you admit there can be infinite numbers of them!"

"I have to be sure," was my reply. "I told you. Someone yanked me right from my nice, boring, slightly-contented, and did I mention boring life as a Human on Earth and made me into a Time Lord. Then they plopped me onto that station with a nearby TARDIS and all of the tools of the Doctor's trade in my pockets." Note that when I was saying my old life was boring, I wasn't not complaining about that fact.

Now one might ask why I told them the truth. The fact was that we needed to trust each other and given their recent lives Janias and Camilla were understandably disinclined to full trust. Oh, they trusted me to an extent - I had gotten them off that Sith space station with their skins intact - but to trust me more, I had to show them similar trust. Nothing helps trust along like uncomfortable truths.

And it felt good to tell someone.

"I find that very hard to believe," Camilla replied.

"And you're telling us you're not really called the Doctor?", Janias added.

"Well, it's a title more than it's a name," I pointed out. "I'm a Time Lord who's traipsing across space and time in all of its glorious six dimensions doing good deeds alongside my trusty Companions. That is essentially being the Doctor." I was, of course, lying. There was so much more into actually being the Doctor. Ironically, I was actually being more like him by lying so brazenly and easily. I wasn't good at lying normally. Lying doesn't just require having a deceptive mind but the patience and skill to see the lie through.

There was a lot more to being the Doctor, truth be told. And at the time I wasn't really worthy of the title. Not yet. I hadn't earned it. You had to do a lot more than I'd done at that early point to be the Doctor.

Of course, that meant that at some point in his life even the Doctor wasn't worthy of being the Doctor, and I'm not just talking about the Last Great Time War. He had to start from somewhere.

I fully submit that these thoughts are self-serving, mind you.

"Ah." Camilla crossed her arms. "So basically you're trying to borrow off the prestige of another person's identity instead of making your own."

Did I ever mention how insightful and smart Camilla was? I mean, in addition to being beautiful. If she wasn't already deeply in love with a green-skinned alien space babe who could throw me around the room with the Force...

"In other words, he's an identity thief," Janias cackled.

...and did I mention Janias was entirely too witty for my own good sometimes?

"Oi, come on then," I said to them. "It's a name I've picked for the moment that sounds appropriate. If I come up with something better I'll use that instead. It just seemed like the right one to use when I was facing Malgus down." Truth, lie, truth. At that point, honestly at most points, I was never to consider giving up being called the Doctor. Especially when I really should have been considering it.

"I do give you credit for that, Doctor." Janias walked up beside me, a hint of amused irony in her voice as she called me by the name I'd just admitted wasn't really mine. "Nobody in the Sith Empire would ever want to confront Darth Malgus. There were Dark Council lords scared of him from what I heard."

"I can imagine." I looked over the last scan result. "Nothing. Nada. Blank. There's nothing in the systems to indicate this TARDIS is anything but a TARDIS. Well, except for me being able to use it to move across six dimensions instead of four." That, of course, left questions still to be answered. "How did it get to your galaxy? How did I, for that matter?"

"Maybe someone took you there, put you in the disposal room, and wiped your mind of the memory?", Janias proposed.

"Reasonable. I'd need another full telepath to know one way or the other. And that's assuming the change to my brain from regenerating into a Time Lord doesn't make that impossible." I drew in a breath of frustration. "There has to be answers out there somewhere."

"Perhaps the Doctor, the one you are naming yourself after, would know where to look?", Camilla suggested.

I stared ahead. Now that was a good idea, but... maybe it wasn't. How would he react? There were what, twelve versions of him out there, each with their own attitudes and behavior, and I could run into any of them. Would he help me or just as likely be distrustful of what I had become? How many of his enemies might have made something like me to get at him?

The idea of any of the Doctor's enemies being responsible for my re-creation as a Time Lord was not a comforting thought.

Still... I realized it was best to get it over with. I began manipulating the TARDIS controls, trying to lock onto the Doctor's cosmos - my chosen word for the "reality" of the Doctor's setting or any other around, parallel worlds included - and see if I could find a point where his TARDIS was active. I worked the controls and pulled back on the lever... and nothing. My brow furrowed and I repeated the directions. I pulled the status screen on its track over to my location. The result was an error message, informing me it could not lock onto the sixth dimensional coordinate I'd entered.

"It looks like I can't," I remarked quietly. "I'm not able to enter the Doctor's cosmos."

"So how did stuff from there get to our 'cosmos'?", Janias asked.

It was a really good question. One that I wanted answered, certainly.

If only I had answers.

"I've no clue." I input a few items to see if I could get more data, but nothing was clear from it.

This wasn't a case of curiouser and curiouser. This was a case of "Something's going on and I'm in the middle of it and it's frightening".

"Okay, I can't seek out the Doctor." I remained quiet for a moment. "There are other entities though, beings who might know something."

"And here I thought you promised to take us where we could get something new to wear," Camilla teased.

I looked back at her smirking... and then it hit me. The perfect answer. "A brilliant idea, Camilla." I went back to the controls and began operating them. "I know precisely where we need to go! I need beings with exotic knowledge of space-time and you need a good clothier..." I raised my hand and extended my finger upward. "...or should I say a good tailor?"

"Because those two things sound really alike." I suppose I could understand Janias' snarkiness on that unlikely combination.

"Ah, my dear Janias, there is one place in this wide Multiverse, one cosmos, where those two things exist together." I smiled as I finished putting in my destination. "I've always wanted to say this... Setting course for Deep Space Nine!"







Somehow I imagined plopping the TARDIS into the middle of the Promenade would not be a Bad Idea but a Worse Idea. An Infinitely Bad Idea.

The habitat ring made for more private choices.

I stepped out of the TARDIS in the middle of a vacant set of guest quarters. I brought out my sonic and went to the nearest computer, using it to access the station's systems and plant a fake quarter rental for where we were currently located. By the time I was done Janias and Camilla had exited as well. "It's almost like being back home," Camilla said in a low tone.

"The Cardassians spend a part of their history as little better than the Empire," I informed them while leading them out of the room. My sonic quickly sealed it. "No appreciation for well-lit architecture. They have to be all sharp and pointy. And don't get me started on their airlocks, I'm surprised more people don't get crushed in them."

"So why are we on a Cardassian station then?", Janias asked.

"Oh, it was built by them, but we are actually at a point in time about three years after they left. The station is currently owned by the Bajorans, the people who inhabit the solar system the station is located in, and is run on their behalf by the Federation. United Federation of Planets, that is. Very nice people, a bit too smug sometimes unfortunately, but they tend to be better run than the Republic."

"Like that's hard," Camilla said, her followup laugh harsh. I imagine that growing up in the Empire, even as a slave, didn't necessarily leave her willing to give the Galactic Republic much credit. Janias didn't seem to disagree with her either. I suppose the Republic did often come off as an edifice so bloated that it barely functioned.

"Another good thing is that Janias will not need the holographic suit again," I added. "She'll just be mistaken for an Orion. At least, so long as she doesn't use the Force. Alright ladies, this way."

I had considered warning them of the prominent mental image of Orion women - that is, the iconic Orion Slave Girl - but opted on the side of not jabbing them with their own painful history so quickly.

Deep Space Nine was abuzz with activity. Despite the Dominion trade through the Gamma Quadrant had resumed by this point in the timeline and the ships were coming and going again. We found it pleasantly active on the Promenade. The girls remained with me as I sought out a particular shop and the Cardassian entrepreneur who worked within: Mister Garak.

We found him idle, looking over a PADD. I briefly considered trying to scan it with my sonic to see if there was something more interesting than invoices or inventories, given what I knew of the tailor's history, but I decided that violating the man's privacy wasn't worth the possible gain. "Excuse me, Mister Garak?"

He looked up. "Ah, hello. How may I be of service?"

"My young friends would like your assistance in finding new choices for their wardrobes, I'm afraid their current fare is rather bland."

"So I see. And I certainly agree."

I reached into my suit jacket's inner pocket and removed a credit chit containing a preloaded value worth, well, more than enough in local currency. That the device would effectively electronically print money for Garak when he took his pay was perhaps not the nicest thing I've done to the local economy, but it was easier than acquiring the necessary local currency and unlikely to cause too much damage. What's a little inflation between friends? "Let them indulge themselves. They've earned it."

Camilla laughed in amusement.

"Of course, Mister..."

"Oh, my apologies, how rude of me." I smiled and nodded my head. "I'm the Doctor."

"Doctor?" Garak's eyes focused on me. "Just... Doctor?"

"The Doctor," I corrected. "It's a personal name. I fancy it." I ignored the bemused looks on my companions.

"So I see. Well, Doctor, I shall gladly aid your young friends in getting rid of those horrible garments. I have several styles I think they will prefer."

"Excellent. Ladies, I'll be back soon and waiting at the Replimat."

I left them at the tailor's shop and made my way to the Bajoran temple. The prylars and acolytes there were almost painfully helpful in my inquiries as to how Bajoran faith worked and glad to inform me of whatever I asked concerning the Prophets. I was very studious in not asking about the Orbs or the Celestial Temple, of course.

There were two ways to converse with the timeless beings the Bajorans worshiped as the Prophets. The direct way was to fly into the wormhole and get their attention. I considered that and found it questionable; there was no telling how the Prophets' pocket of timeless space and the TARDIS would interact and I didn't want to risk anything happening to either. And I wasn't keen on getting in with a starship from the difficulty it could present if attempted in the short-term.

That left the other route. The Orbs provided a link to the Prophets. Usually they simply granted visions, but I was hoping I could use the enhanced senses and mental powers of my Time Lord physiology to enhance the connection and speak with them directly. Even if that failed it might grant me insights to have visions with them.

That was why, as our conversation continued, my sonic screwdriver was quietly accessing the computer systems of the Temple, pouring through Temple records to determine the location of the Orbs historically and now.

As I walked out of the Temple, I nearly walked into someone. We both mumbled apologies and continued on... but I stopped and turned as my mind made me realize I recognized the person. I turned to see a woman in a red suit who, at that moment, turned to face me. Her hair was short and red and her brown eyes stared at me.

A small smile curved across my face. "Major, my apologies," I said aloud.

Major Kira Nerys looked back at me and, for the briefest moment, I saw something approaching recognition cross her vision. Her mouth opened as if to say something. "Oh, sorry, I'm... I'm just in a hurry," she finally said, rushing inside.

"Aren't we all?", I mused, moving on before she could ask who I was.

I was no fool. It was clear she'd seen me before. It didn't really surprise me though; one of the issues with being a time traveler is that personal time streams don't always match up.

I had little idea of the role she would play, however.




When Janias and Camilla finally left Garak's, they were wearing a matching set of blue blouses and skirts with cut-off left shoulders. Each had a bag with them. I tried not to smirk as they walked up to me. "Well, it looks like you've both got shopping down. Did you take all of poor Mr. Garak's inventory?"

"I don't think you can call him poor after all the credits you gave him," Camilla retorted with a grin. "And I think we have enough. I'm not impressed by what Humans in this cosmos wear."

"Yes, they do like their jumpsuits, don't they? Ah well, fashion is in the eye of the beholder. At least they're not wearing patchwork color suits." I reminded myself I hadn't yet tossed the copy of the Sixth Doctor's suit I'd found into a star.

We walked onto a turbolift and I called out the deck where we'd left the TARDIS. Something was starting to nag on my mind as we rounded the hall. I realized what it was when we got to the door of the quarters and found a young woman standing there, in Starfleet science colors, trying to get into them through the seal I'd put on the door. I wanted to slap myself. The TARDIS had probably lit up the stations' internal sensors with chroniton radiation without buffers turned on and, well, guess what I hadn't bothered turning on.

One of those occasions where I felt like I'd leave my own head behind if it wasn't attached to my shoulders.

I brought out the psychic paper just as the woman heard us and looked up. The long dark hair and spots on her forehead immediately told me who I was dealing with. "Ah, Lieutenant Dax." She had yet to be promoted to Lieutenant Commander, I noticed. "Jolly good show, monitoring internal sensors like that."

"Who are you?", she asked, bewilderment clear on her features. I searched for the sign of recognition and didn't see it as I saw on Kira. So we hadn't met yet in her timestream... or she was better at hiding it. Either explanation works.

"Department of Temporal Investigations, I'm a covert agent for the Department, code name is the Doctor," I replied, holding open the psychic paper and hoping her symbiote didn't make her impervious to it. Thankfully it didn't seem to. "We've been tracking this errant machine. I'm going to secure it now."

"I'd like to see it for myself, if you don't mind," she answered.

"Unfortunately I must insist otherwise." I recalled, easily, that Starfleet and DTI had a traditional friction. "I hate having to pull this on you, Lieutenant, but department regulations are strict. And Agent Lucsly gets oh so temperamental when they're bent, especially if Starfleet is involved. I'll make sure Starfleet is told any necessary information."

She clearly wasn't happy, but she did start to walk off.

I brought out my sonic and quietly undid the seal I'd put. "Ah, Starfleet science officers, always so damnably curious about... everything. That'll teach me to leave the buffers off." The door opened and we approached the TARDIS. "Well, go set up your rooms. Next stop...."

The door opened again. Dax had returned and now had a phaser leveled at us. A look of confusion crossed her face when she saw the TARDIS. While her eyes were focused on the TARDIS I changed my grip on my sonic and prepared to use it. "And how may I help you now, Lieutenant?"

"I don't know how you have DTI identification, 'Doctor'. I'm guessing it's part of the reason why you're at the top of their list of wanted Temporal Prime Directive violators," she answered.

Ah, the problems with time travel. Apparently I was already known, and hated, by DTI - probably and most especially by the redoubtable Agent Lucsly - and from my perspective I hadn't done anything to earn that... yet.

"I would call attention to not being a Federation citizen and having never agreed to follow Federation laws," I remarked. "And that we are currently on a Bajoran station."

"It'll get worked out." Dax touched her comm badge with her free hand. "Dax to Odo. Constable, I need a security te...."

I brought up my sonic screwdriver and activated it on a disruption setting.

To my horror, Dax fell over like a rag doll.

I hadn't had time to scan her phaser and let the screwdriver narrow down the disruption effect. I immediately realized what had happened; I'd disrupted the connection between Jadzia the host and Dax the symbiote, and that was not a good thing. I brought the screwdriver up and ran to her side. She looked up at me, barely conscious, and I thought I saw a bit of fear joining the uncertainty in her eyes. "I'm so sorry about that, Lieutenant." I began scanning her with the sonic.

"Is she going to be okay?", I heard Janias ask.

"That's what I'm finding out. Get into the TARDIS, now." I knew I only had seconds, if Ops beamed security personnel straight here, especially if it was Odo himself... I checked the readings and breathed a sigh of relief. "You'll be fine, Lieutenant. Just a temporary disruption. Take it easy for the rest of the day and I'm sure you'll be bright as rain tomorrow, ready to tackle the mysteries of the universe. I owe you a trip in the TARDIS, by the way. I'll even make it another cosmos so you're not violating that Temporal Prime Directive of yours."

As I got to the TARDIS door I heard the familiar chime of a transporter beam. I didn't look back to see who it was, knowing that by my luck it'd be a shapeshifting cop who was brought up with a Cardassian view of civil rights; that is, none. I locked the TARDIS door and scrambled up to the control panel. "Okay, we need to get out of here. And I need to turn that buffer on." I reached over and did so. The sound of someone or something trying to get into the door spurred me to hasten our exit. I quickly entered a new set of coordinates and sent the TARDIS into motion.

When the VWORPing ended I breathed a sigh of relief. "Alright, put your things up. I have some research to do."

It was time to find an Orb.




When I next stepped out of the TARDIS I was in a cavern. Only one figure was seated nearby and she was not alone, a Bajoran woman in religious robes; I found her holding a baby in her arms. She was staring at the TARDIS in wonder. "Hello," I said, trying to be as reassuring as possible. "I'm the Doctor."

"I'm... I'm Sulan," the young woman answered. "How did you appear... are you...?"

"I'm not quite the same as a Prophet, if that's what you're about to ask," I replied, trying to not scare the young lady. "Although we have some similarities. I've come because I need to consult with the Orb and talk to the Prophets. I won't take it anywhere, I promise, Miss...?"

"Opaka," she answered. "I am Opaka Sulan."

The future Kai Opaka in other words. It had been that kind of day. And undoubtedly she was holding her infant son. The one she was fated to kill when she betrayed his Resistance cell to the Cardassians to prevent the reprisal slaughtering of a thousand Bajorans. I could only imagine her suffering at that choice.

That brought a thought to mind. One of these days... I was going to have to make a few visits to Occupation-era Bajor and see just what I could do.

She was rattled and uncertain, but I'd kept my behavior low key to be reassuring. She remained seated with her sleeping son while I stepped up to the Orb ark. I put my hands on it and opened it, beholding the hourglass-shaped object within as it swirled with green light. The light engulfed me.

As it did so, I focused my mind upon it, feeling for its connection with the Prophets. I need to speak with you.

I found myself in the TARDIS, but with an amber tint to my surroundings. Janias and Camilla stood to either side. I immediately noticed neither was the actual one. I found myself both curious and grateful that they weren't using the faces of family and friends. "We see you now, a lost man seeking direction," the Prophet-Janias said. "You are linear but you are not defined by it."

"You are not like the Sisko," Prophet-Camilla added.

"You have many faces. Many natures. But always the same. The Doctor."

"I'm not the real Doctor," I admitted. "I haven't earned the right yet."

"You are always the Doctor."

"Not always."

"Always... as of now." The Prophet-Camilla screwed her face into a displeased expression. "It is difficult. You are linear."

"I've come with questions seeking answers," I said aloud. "Something's happened. I don't know what. All I know is that I have a TARDIS and my nature has been changed. I'm trying to find out how."

"You know."

"You mean I will know?"

"You know," Prophet-Janias repeated.

"You come with answers seeking questions," Prophet-Camilla recited. "You are the Doctor. That is your answer. You seek the right question."

"I beg your pardon?", I asked, uncertain of their meeting.

"We see you at the walls. We see the walls broken. We see the walls complete."

"But that is all. We cannot see more. The walls bar our vision."

"The walls must be defended."

I figured they were saying something important, but it wasn't what I wanted to hear. "I... see. I apologize for bothering you. I'll be going."

They said nothing as I cut the connection. I was closing the orb ark when I saw it again. I looked over to the wide-eyed Opaka Sulan. "Don't concern yourself, young Sulan. No harm, see?" Except to my hopes for finding out what's going on...

I returned to the TARDIS. It was time to leave.




Everybody knows the TARDIS doesn't always take you where you're trying to go.

I had forgotten about that. And it had decided to remind me.

"So, Kendra Province." I stepped up beside my young companions, still wearing those shoulder-bearing clothes they'd opted to keep from their purchases with Garak. "Lovely place. Hills and trees and big, beautiful mountains. And the villages, scenic little Bajoran villages as far as the eye can see!" I threw open the TARDIS door and stepped out.

Instead of soft grass, it was hard soil. I looked out at a land in dusk, a mountainous land that didn't look nearly as picturesque as I'd claimed. "Really lovely," Janias mumbled. "I see brown. And brown. And some... brown."

"I think we're in the wrong province," I mumbled. I turned to step back into the TARDIS.

That was when I saw a ragged figure running up from nearby. In the distance another crested the hill, a small cloud of dust around their feet, and silhouetted by the setting sun so that I couldn't make them out. I saw the profile of a firearm come up. "No!", I shouted, but it was too late. The weapon fired, sending a beam of yellow energy into the running figure and making them tumble.

Shouting caused the figure on the hilltop to spot us. As it turned I saw the signature curves of a Cardassian military uniform. I saw him - I was sure it was a him - raise the rifle up.

Janias acted before I could. She reached her hand out. The figure went flying as he tried to hold onto the rifle, sending more dust into the air as he rolled down the hillside.

I rushed to the side of the person who'd been shot. As expected, it was a Bajoran, a middle-aged man. He was grimacing while I ran the screwdriver over his body for a medical scan. "Oh, multiple organs damaged, not good," I mumbled.

The man grasped my forearm and pulled. I turned to face him. "Please help us," he begged. "They're going to kill us."

I could guess the who and what. "Reprisal killings," I mused aloud. "Where?"

"Singha.... labor camp." The man breathed one last time. "Please," he said as he exhaled. His chest stilled afterward.

There was nothing I could do for him. I closed his lifeless green eyes and sat on my knees beside him. Shadows loomed over me. "The other one is dead. He broke his neck on a rock," Janias told me in a very soft tone.

It never occurred to me to ask if he had help in striking that rock. I trusted Janias enough to not question her account of what had happened. It was perhaps naive, especially given the look in her eyes.

Then again, I am not one to judge given the future I had ahead of me.

"What just happened?", Camilla asked.

"He escaped from a nearby Cardassian-run labor camp. They're going to begin reprisal killings of Bajorans there." I stood. "Come along, we don't have much time. Janias, I need that rifle."

"What are we going to do?"

"Save them," Janias answered for me, holding her beloved's hand.

"Save as many as we can," I corrected grimly.

It was one of the rules, I knew. The Doctor lies. The TARDIS doesn't always go where you want it to. And finally... the Doctor doesn't save everyone. It simply doesn't happen.

But I'd save some.




I went for shock and awe when I materialized the TARDIS right in the middle of the Singha camp. As it turned out it wasn't necessary. The orderly reprisal decimation was turning into a massacre; the Bajorans were resisting and the Cardassian commander was losing control of his troops. Screams, pleas for mercy, demands for order, it all echoed around us.

Several Cardassian troops faced us as we exited the TARDIS. They hesitated a moment before deciding I was a threat. It was a moment that they didn't have. My sonic screwdriver disabled their weapons with a single button press. Janias sent them flying with the Force. "Get as many Bajorans into the TARDIS as you can, but make sure you watch it! The last thing I need are Cardassian soldiers lost in my TARDIS!" Or Cardassian soldiers in my TARDIS period, really.

"We will," Janias responded.

I went off into the camp. I won't burden you with some of the sights I saw that night. It soured my mood considerably at seeing the suffering of the innocent here and the casual brutality of Cardassian military oppression. I met various Cardassians as I made my way. I introduced myself always and disabled their weapons with a press of the button. Few seemed willing to challenge me after realizing their phasers were useless. They ran, undoubtedly to seek new weapons or to find easier prey. I suppose the more competent would seek officers to bring order to this display. So much for superior Cardassian discipline.

The Bajorans I met were not much better off in some ways. Some were claiming weapons from dead Cardassians and using them to defend their friends and loved ones. But others were taking out petty grievances against Bajoran and Cardassian alike, convinced their lives were at an end soon anyway; I was quick to disable their weapons while leaving alone those who were defending themselves. Perhaps I was condemning the lost and crazed but I saw it as keeping deadly weapons from being used unwisely and only adding to the death count. It is a sad thing that people can be driven to such states.

Others were running frantic, not sure what to do, helpless against the first armed man they encountered. Some were praying as I found them on the verge of being butchered or worse. I must have looked like an angel to them when I intervened and directed them toward the TARDIS.

I moved into the caverns that old mining had formed in the labor camp site. There were more dead here than living, and the living were too badly wounded for me to move. Some groaned, some cried. I called to Bajorans from outside to help but none came.

I heard the weeping then. It was heart-breaking, full of the deep sadness of a child losing everything they loved. I followed the sobs into the near darkness and found a barely-lit end of the cavern. Two boys lay dead, their heads blackened by energy weapons. Laying with them, with an injured leg, was a child who couldn't have been more than six... although I supposed she could have been eight given the malnutrition. In the dim light I could see her hair was brownish or red... I couldn't tell at that time. Sad brown eyes looked at me, red with crying. "Oh, sweetheart." I got on one knee in front of her and brought the sonic up. I ran it over her leg. Nerve and tissue damage that would heal, but I knew she couldn't walk on it until it healed. Eventually some soldier would find her in here and given the current mood of the Cardassians... she would be helpless.

"I want my Dad," she wept.

"I'll take you to him," I promised. "Now up you go, and no weight on that hurt leg, okay."

She recoiled from me, full of fright. I'm sure she saw I was no Bajoran. "Who are you?", she asked, her terror evident.

I smiled at her, trying to be as re-assuring as I could. "I'm the Doctor, little one. Who are you?"

"I'm Nerys," the little girl answered. "Kira Nerys."

Given the day I'd been having, her answer shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did.

I looked at her for a moment. The smile on my face grew wider. "Nice to meet you, Nerys. Come along now. We've got to get you to your Dad."

She was reluctant and winced as I brought her to near standing, but it was only to make lifting her up with my left arm easier. I held her against that side of my torso, feeling her warm tears on the skin of my neck, while my right hand continued to hold the sonic screwdriver. Her arms wrapped around my neck and held on tight, almost uncomfortably tight, but with the desperation of someone gripping a life preserver in a stormy sea. We emerged from the cavern and faced... what, a half-dozen Cardassians? Their weapons were leveled and I saw the fear and anger in their eyes.

I don't think it rivaled the fury in my eyes, given how they flinched.

I could hear Nerys' intake of breath and her frightened whimper at the sight of all of the Cardassians. I shifted her slightly as I brought my right hand up, my sonic already active. The whirring filled the air. Energy feedback crackled along the Cardassians' rifles and forced the men to drop their weapons, most holding one hand with the other and grimacing. I must admit that my choice of switching from a passive disabling to causing such a feedback was a spur of the moment decision, as angry as I was given the pile of bodies I'd seen in the cavern.

I looked at them intently. "Run," I commanded firmly.

It was possibly my voice. Or the fury in my eyes, or the simple fact that they'd just had their weapons nearly explode in their faces. But to a man.... they did just that. They turned and ran.

I glanced downward to see Nerys' eyes had widened like saucers. I think this may have been the first time she ever saw Cardassians run away.

She remained quiet as I carried her back through the camp. Bajorans emerged from makeshift tents or the shadows at the sight of me and many turned to follow. And I had not one Cardassian face me again.

At the TARDIS I found Camilla and Janias standing around several fallen Cardassians with many Bajorans already inside. I carried Nerys in with me silently. She let out a gasp, a sharp intake that was undoubtedly from amazement. "Find a man with the family name Kira, tell him I have his daughter Nerys with me," I asked Janias in a gentle tone as I stepped up to the TARDIS controls. With my left arm still occupied holding up Nerys I used my right hand to shift a couple of knobs around until I had the settings right. "Get the rest inside and close the TARDIS when no one is left waiting."

Janias and Camilla went to enact my orders - and at that point I was giving orders, not making requests leaving me with an astonished, underfed little girl. I walked over and set her on one of the stairs leading toward the upper level of the control room. "We'll find your father, Nerys, don't worry about a thing."

"How is it so big?", she asked. "It's just a small box."

"Oh, yes, my box." I smiled at her and touched her on the cheek. "It's magic, you see. Bigger on the inside than it is on the outside."

"Did the Prophets give it to you?"

"No. They're rather nice chaps, I suppose, but they didn't give me my magic box." I patted her on the shoulder. "I need you to sit here, Nerys, and don't stand on your leg."

"What if the Cardassians come?"

I smiled at her. "Then I'll tell them to run away again. You are perfectly safe here, Nerys. I promise."

I received a nod in return. This freed me to go to my control station and check on things. "These are the last," I heard Camilla call out. "I'm closing the door."

"Good." I waited until she'd shut the TARDIS and reached for the lever. "Alright everyone, please be calm when you hear my TARDIS engine, it's really a most beautiful sound when you get used to it." I pulled the lever.

There was the proper VWORP VWORP VWORP from the TARDIS engine as we escaped that horrible night. I didn't count how many we saved, although I'm sure it must have been in the hundreds at least. There were only about fifteen hundred survivors in the records, I'd later discover.

I wish I could have saved more. I wish I could have saved them all. But, sadly, the Doctor almost never saves them all. There is only so much even one adventurous and brilliant Time Lord can do, after all.




I shifted the TARDIS a week ahead in time and about twenty kilometers away. This was farming country and the people I'd rescued wouldn't starve before they got back to civilization. If I could have gotten away with bringing them ahead to a time period after the Occupation I would have... but that would have altered the timeline too greatly and I didn't want to risk unraveling a part of reality.

It took some doing to get all the Bajorans out. During this time I was delighted to see Nerys reunited with her father. Kira Taban was staying back with his daughter in his arms, letting the others file out first while Janias and Camilla made sure to prevent stowaways.

When it was only the Kiras left, I saw a sad look in little Nerys' eyes. "I want to stay," she asked.

If it had been my choice, I would have said yes. But it was too late. I knew Kira Nerys' future. I knew all of the pain and anguish and violence that lay ahead for this poor little girl, and how a damaged soul who would come out of those experiences, a woman angry at the world in general and the Cardassian race in particular.

And, perhaps, well-deserved anger at one mysterious man for not letting her live in his magic box to protect her from the horrors of the Occupation.

Of course, I also knew about what would become of that damaged soul, of her destiny on Deep Space Nine and the key role she was to play in the future of her people. I knew of the potential end-points of her timeline. Interfering with that destiny would be as cruel as making her live the life to come.

"I wish you could," I answered her. "But you have a future, Nerys. It won't be easy to get to. It's going to take you into dark places. But the end of it will be worth it. In the end, you'll be far more happier than growing up in a box." I leaned in toward her. "We'll see each other again. Don't doubt that. And everything will be alright." I gave her a final pat on the head and tried not to look too deeply into her sad eyes. She clearly wasn't convinced. "Kira Taban, the best of luck to you," I said, offering a hand. He freed his right hand and shook mine.

"Thank you, Doctor," was his response, his eyes bright with tears. Grief for his murdered sons and relief for his daughter's survival clearly warred inside of him. "Thank you for saving her."

"Don't mention it. And..." I leaned close and lowered my voice. "Please, when the day comes... forgive Nerys if she is too wrapped up in her problems or scared of what's coming. She still loves you and she always will."

Taban nodded. I knew it wouldn't change anything. He would die calling her name and she wouldn't be there; she'd be off fighting the Cardassians who were responsible for his mortal wound, unable to face his death. I hoped my words would stand in her place to reassure him of his daughter's love.

They left the TARDIS behind, Nerys looking longingly back over her father's shoulder. My companions and I waved at her until they disappeared over a nearby hill. We stepped in and closed the door. It was still hard for me to accept what I felt compelled to do. To send that little girl back out into such a horrible world seemed cruel, and the Doctor must never be cruel.

"Doctor, if you know her future, you did the right thing," Camilla said, taking my hand and trying to reassure me. "I may not be a Time Lord, but the idea of changing someone's entire life... you don't know what consequences could result. This is for the best."

"I know. But it doesn't mean I have to like it." I stepped past them and toward the TARDIS control panel. I had considered pointing out the obvious; would she object if I had gone back to her as a little girl and freed her from slavery in the Empire?

Given how much she loves Janias... quite possibly yes, she would reject that, wouldn't she?

I forced myself to move on. "Well, this has been an unexpected excursion. Still, perhaps I can get us locked onto Kendra Province after all."

"If it's all the same to you, Doctor..." Janias lowered her eyes. "I've had enough of Bajor for now."

"Oh. Well." I drew in a sigh. "Somewhere else then. But if it's okay with you two, I have somewhere to go first. A quick stop."

They answered with nods.

"First things first then. I'm double-checking our buffer system."




I didn't wait for long in the hall on Deep Space Nine, right outside the door to quarters belonging to, well, I'm sure you realize who I went to see.

Major Kira rounded the corner, undoubtedly on her way to a well-deserved rest. She stopped in her tracks the moment her eyes tracked over to see me. "Hello, Doctor," she said.

"Hello Nerys." I nodded slightly. "I was just in Singha, by the way. So this is our third meeting. The joy of personal timestreams."

She nodded and stepped closer. "I couldn't believe it was you earlier today at the Temple. It's been so many years."

"I get the feeling fewer years than the time from Singha," I remarked. I brought up a hand before she could speak further. "Don't tell me. I can't stand spoilers."

She smiled softly at that. "So what happened between you and Jadzia?"

"It turns out that I have made adversaries out of the Federation's Department of Temporal Investigations," I answered. "I suppose I can't be surprised. They're rather unhappy with the idea of anyone playing with the timeline."

"Yeah, I got the whole warning about them years ago. You might want to stay away for a while, Commander Sisko wasn't too happy with what happened."

I winced. "Now that is one man I know I can't chase off with a word." That made her laugh softly and I had to laugh too. "I came to say I'm sorry, Nerys. I'm sorry for not bringing you with me in the TARDIS."

For a moment I watched to see what her reaction would be. Anger? Resentment? Bewilderment? "I understand now," she said, her voice soft with pain and, perhaps, a little understanding. "You knew I'd end up on Deep Space Nine serving with the Emissary of the Prophets. You couldn't take that away from me."

"If I could have made both outcomes work I would have." I lowered my eyes. "It broke my heart. And I know how little that compares to what you've gone through."

She said nothing immediately, walking up to me in silence. When she was close her arms came up and wrapped around me. I returned the hug. "I remember everything about that night," she said. I could sense the tears welling in her eyes. "I would have died if you hadn't come. And then you took me in your arm and you made a dozen Cardassians run in terror. I'd never seen that before. It was like the Prophets had sent you to rescue me."

"Come now, Nerys, it was only a half-dozen at most," I insisted.

"The survivors still tell stories about you," she continued. "You're a legend on Bajor. We spread word far and wide about the Doctor, who can make Cardassians run in fear with just a word. You inspired a lot of people to fight for the Resistance."

"Did I now?" The corollary, of course, was that I inspired a lot of people to die in battles they weren't prepared to fight. That was the problem with symbols sometimes; they made people stop thinking. "That wasn't my intention."

"I know." She nodded. "If you want anything for dinner..."

"Oh, no, I've taken enough of your time, Nerys. Besides, I don't imagine Commander Sisko would be very happy if he found out I was lingering. Best not to risk it. Maybe some other time... and on Bajor, where we won't have angry Starfleet officers complicating things."

"Well, I'll have to make a trip to Bajor soon," she replied.

I laughed at that and, reminded by what she'd just suggested, pulled a silver object out of my pocket. "Aside from your gracious offer of dinner... If you ever have the need, use this. It's a temporal beacon, trigger it and I'll be there. I do recommend you keep it hidden from your comrades, though. I don't think Starfleet will appreciate you having this."

"I'll keep that in mind." She accepted the beacon and smiled at me. "Thank you. I hope you'll come by sometime soon."

"I'll be coming and going as always," I promised.

I stepped back and let Nerys enter her quarters. I walked the other way and returned to the invisible door of the TARDIS from where I'd left it in an adjacent hall. Janias and Camilla were both standing near the controls, Janias in a bright blue sleeveless vest and white pants while Camilla was in a dark green sleeveless blouse and blue skirt. "Is she okay?", Camilla asked.

"She's fine," I replied. My hand went to the controls. My mind was thinking about other possibilities. Who else could I approach for any relevant data?

"So, where do we go next?", Janias asked.

"Hmm. A good question." I put my hands together. "Well, let me move some switches and we'll see where we head off to, how about that?"

"Just as long as it's better than what we just saw," Janias mumbled.

"Oh, I'm sure it will be." I pulled back on the lever, triggering the TARDIS to dematerialize and begin shifting.

In case you're wondering, no, the story of my involvement with Kira Nerys is not over. I haven't yet to scratch the importance she held in what was to transpire. But I will get to that eventually. I am not eager to, but I will. At that moment my focus was on where to take my traveling companions next. Provided my TARDIS cooperated after all.

If only I'd understood what the Prophets were warning me about then. I would have been better prepared. We would not have come so close to destruction.

But that is a story for another day.


Last edited by Steve on 2016-12-16 02:26pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-16 02:25pm

Figured I'd give you the second episode as well since it was short and Short 1 was... also short. That's still less than 10,000 words for the day.

Starting tomorrow, though, I leave you with cliffhangers, or at least dramatic breaks, as Episode 3 is about 20,000 words and features not one but two new allies. Including one that TRR will probably find interesting. 8)
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby LadyTevar » 2016-12-16 10:52pm

You have to admit that my idea did take the story in a far better direction.
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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-12-17 01:44am

When we get to that point in the story, will you tell us what your idea was? Having read the whole thing, I am curious. ;)
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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-17 09:16am

Episode 3 - A Bad Day


Traveling through six dimensions isn't always looking at good alien scenery or treating a couple of nineteen year old former slave girls to exotic refreshments. Sometimes things go, frankly, absolutely bollocks.

I had materialized the TARDIS with the intent to check out a particularly interesting alternate Earth, since it wasn't "Earth" at all but a planet like Earth with Human evolution and some very bizarre borrowings from Earth's biosphere. I'd come to see the sights, really. You know, the big statue of the bald kid, the golden arena.... yes, I'm talking about Republic City.

What, did you think the Multiverse only included space-faring science fiction cosmos'... cosmosoi... cosmoses.... whatever means more than one cosmos?

Anyway, some sight-seeing, maybe some of that Water Tribe cuisine even if I were no fan of green noodles, taking the girls to a Pro Bending match... just another stopover, right? Park the TARDIS, give Janias a little holo thing so no one asked why she was green, and off we go.

Well, it doesn't quite work out that way when you're turning into the Doctor.

The TARDIS had materialized inside a structure, a warehouse of some sort, and it was a quick jaunt from the storage area to the loading dock. I was in my usual suit. Janias was in a red and blue jacket and blue pants, Cami in pink sweater with light blue jeans. Their dressing room on the TARDIS now officially exceeded my own wardrobe by about four times the volume. I should have never introduced them to Old Navy.

We stepped into said loading dock, looking to see if it was abandoned or not. We found the loading dock occupied by fellows in masks with metal gloves. They had turned toward the door as I opened it, seeing the three of us at the entrance.

Upon seeing them I let out an exasperated sigh. The Equalists. "Not what I was expecting to see."

"Who are you?" A very young sounding voice shouted from the group. The voice's owner, a young man who was setting off alarms in my head as "rebel who's found a cause", emerged from them to face us. "How did you get into our stronghold?"

"Who, us? Just passing through," I replied. I could see the girls were tensing up to run. "Aren't you awfully young to be leading a rebellion?"

"The Bender tyranny has taken the rest of us, but they won't claim us!", the lad proclaimed. "We'll remain hidden, ready for when Amon returns!"

Well, that narrowed things down. This was after Amon's unmasking and the collapse of the Equalist Revolution. He was now resting peacefully at the bottom of the sea with his brother. Rather a sad family even if you account for the suffering he caused. Although I had to admit to some gratitude in not finding out if his bloodbending could lock out Janias' connection to the Force or affect my own Time Lord physiology. "Lad, you're aware Amon himself was a Waterbender, right?"

"Bender lies!"

Camilla giggled. I glanced at her. "Sorry, it's just.... 'Bender'? I'm guessing he's not talking about Jan and I, or men like us anyway."

Apparently the accent wasn't the only thing the Imperials had inherited from the British.

Going by some of the crowd I wondered if a few of them weren't as convinced as their leader, but a young man with energy could sway the less-convinced enough to pull them along, especially with the help of peer pressure. "I doubt every witness was a Bender," I pointed out. "But I'm guessing you're not the type to be easily dissuaded, are you Reg?"

Yes, I called him Reg. Something in the kid reminded me of Reg Shoe of Ankh-Morpork. Just without everything that made Reg such an endearing activist zombie policeman. Really, Reg Shoe is a rather swell dead guy when you get to know him. And I still owe him a few quid.

Long story.

"You're agents, sent to weaken our resolve!", the young man decided.

Janias cackled, amused. "Don't laugh at a political radical when they're being political and have you at a disadvantage," I warned her. "They don't particularly like it."

"He's cute for how naive and silly he is," Janias retorted.

"We won't be slaves anymore!"

I winced. Camilla and Janias shot him dark looks. "You have no bloody idea what you're on about," Camilla hissed.

"Okay everyone, please, let's calm down." I stepped forward, hands held up between them. "No need for this to become..."

"Long live Amon!" "Reg" brought up his shock glove.

"Oh please," I sighed. I pulled my sonic out of my pocket and briefly mused on the irony. In any other 1920s technological timeframe I'd be a bit more hard-pressed to deal with local weapons since pistols aren't as susceptible to interference by sonic screwdriver... at least until I figure out how to make it create that Sontaran anti-bullet field or something.

Electric gloves? Those I can handle.

A brief whir of sonics and there was popping and crackling as the gloves shorted out, victims of a short-lived feedback. "So, you lot realize you're the last vestige of a doomed revolution, yes? Without Amon you've got no way to take away Benders' powers - stop laughing Cami - and really, a dozen or so kids in a warehouse isn't going to topple the whole world. You kids need to walk away from this. Give time for things to change around here, and they will. And most importantly...."

There was a loud crash on the ceiling. Everyone looked up. I saw the metal roof begin to rip and curl inward. A voice echoed over a bullhorn. "This is Chief Bei-Fong of the Republic City Police! You are under arrest!"

I winced. All I wanted was to see Aang's statue and enjoy some local cuisine. Now I was going to have a lady who could move and alter metal with her freaking mind after me.

"And that's our cue to find another rest spot," I said to the girls. "Back to the TARDIS!"

We went for the door while, behind us, Metalbender police descended on the now-defenseless Equalists. I suppose I could have taken credit for it and used that to my advantage. I doubt it would have worked that well though. Lin struck me as the "arrest them all and let the magistrates sort them out type". And it was not a good time to be a suspected Equalist in Republic City.

We had gotten to the door when a Metalbender dropped behind us. "Halt!", I heard him shout. Brought his arm up, ready to ensnare us undoubtedly. I turned and sent off a quick burst with my sonic, an energy charge that magnetized the metal strongly enough that it would stick within his suit.

We made it to the TARDIS door when the far door flew open. And I mean flew. As in a gust of wind forcing it open. More like a miniature tornado, actually. A female voice demanded, "Alright Equalists, give yourselves up! It's over!"

You get one guess who it was. Only one.

Have you guessed? Good.

I do not lie when I say that the arrival of Avatar Korra, a young and headstrong teenager who was clearly and understandably convinced we were all Equalists, was not yet the worst part of that day. It was just very close.

Korra was in her usual attire. Blue sleeveless Water Tribe-theme top, arm bands, and darker blue trousers. Contrast to my navy blue trousers and jacket and lighter blue button-down shirt. I suppose the color theme was fairly close. There was nothing to it, of course, since my original desire to wear a purple jacket was overwhelmed by my desire to not look like I was a can of facepaint away from laughing a lot and plotting elaborate traps to kill Batman.

"This is the last time I try to visit this bloody city," I swore.

"Don't move!" She assumed a stance that I figured was in preperation for Earthbending. Most likely to trap us by pulling said element up from under the structure. Or just to throw rocks at us. We should feel lucky she wasn't already trying to punch us in the face with fireballs, undoubtedly known to her as "Plan A".

I had an advantage over my older namesake, however. Namely, I had a Companion who could fight metaphysical fire with metaphysical fire. So to speak.

Janias reached out with the Force, throwing a solid and entirely invisible blast of energy that staggered the other girl. She'd recover quickly but it did buy us the seconds we needed to get back into the TARDIS. "Some world you decided to visit," Janias said, smirking. "I've never seen the Force used that way before."

"It's not the Force," I replied, already hitting dials to shift the TARDIS out. "Well, it is the Force, but it's not.... it's all metaphysical stuff centered around life energy or something. Very complicated." I pulled on the lever to shift us out.

As I did so, there was a loud thump on the door of the TARDIS.

I heard that sound and was gripped by concern. "Oh no no, don't tell me..."

The TARDIS shifted violently under us, forcing me to hold onto the lever to prevent from falling over. Camilla would have hit the floor if Janias hadn't caught her and righted her, keeping one arm on a rail. I looked at readings to confirm my suspicion. "Of all the... that pigheaded stubborn...!"

"Doctor, what's happening?!", Camilla asked.

"Korra grabbed the TARDIS as it de-materialized!," I replied. "She's pulling us off course! I've got to take us back out of the Time Vortex before it kills her!" I quickly pushed the lever.

Normally the TARDIS just rematerializes in a stationary position. But this was an emergency shift. That meant it wasn't coming out of the Time Vortex into a stable coordinate but flying out. The TARDIS now had, in three-dimensional terms, velocity.

In other words, we were speeding through the air in a blue box, not the most aerodynamic of shapes, with the TARDIS's systems a little haywire on account of having a metaphysical super-being in a human form hanging onto the outside of it.

The next ten seconds involved a lot of shouting. Janias and Camilla hauled Korra inside- rather easy when she was almost frozen in place by the shock of vortex exposure - and I was busy trying to decelerate the TARDIS and land her.

"We've got her!", Janias shouted.

"Good! Now hold on to something!", I replied.

I don't suppose I need to state that I literally had no experience in flying the TARDIS through three dimensions at this point? It's a rather important fact on why, well, we crashed.

Through a wall.

Into a building.

It was going to be one of those days.






I suppose that we had some fortune on our side. The TARDIS remained upright and plowing through half the walls in the structure were enough to bring it to a stop.

The central console was still sparking a little as I pulled myself back to my feet. "Any landing you can walk away from," I muttered under my breath. I looked over to my Companions and our uninvited passenger who was just now starting to stir a little. I breathed a sigh of relief at the avoided catastrophe. I had significant doubt that her Avatar Spirit would find a new host on her world if she died in the Time Vortex... or anywhere else but her homeworld.

Her blue eyes darted around as she looked at each of us. She sat up, a hand on her head, and faced the TARDIS control. Her eyes widened at seeing it. "What's, where am I?" She looked up at the ceiling. "Where did you take me?!" Korra used her arms - rather muscled arms, mind you - to push her self backward and out the TARDIS door. She ended up staring at the ceiling of wherever we'd landed. A look of confusion crossed over her face. She looked back into the TARDIS. "It's..."

"It's bigger on the inside," Camilla explained with a smile. "Pocket dimension."

"Oi." I looked at her with mocking disapproval. "It takes all the fun out of it when one of us says it. She has to say it."

Cami made a sarcastic face in reply.

Korra was... well, a fish out of water. She looked out what I presumed to be a window in the building we'd crashed into. "But, we were just in Republic City. Where did you take me?"

"We took you, well... I don't know," I admitted. "I didn't see where we were when I had to take us out of the Time Vortex. I was too busy getting us back to normal space so that our tagalog" - I pointed toward her for emphasis - "didn't die from exposure. In case you missed that, you were the tagalong. When will you ever learn to show any kind of restraint?"

"Well, you were trying to escape!"

"I'm sorry, but I didn't feel like dealing with all that bother of being arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. After I had nearly convinced the Equalists to give it up, by the way."

"Actually, I'm not sure you were quite that close to doing that," Camilla interjected.

I should have thanked Camilla. My ego needed a bit of deflation.

"Guess we'll never know." I kept my eyes on Korra, wanting to make sure the fear I saw welling within her didn't turn into outright panic. "I'm the Doctor, by the way. These are my traveling Companions Janias and Camilla. We travel through space and time in my TARDIS, that is, Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. Yes, it's bigger on the inside. And she can appear as quite a few things but I prefer the police box look. Personal choice."

"Who is this again?", Janias asked.

"I'm Korra, you know, the Avatar," Korra answered before I could give an introduction. She crossed her arms and looked fairly impatient. "So how do I get home?"

"Excuse me." I went back up to the console and checked something. "Hrm. System damage is repairing fairly well. I can probably move her through local space easily enough, but I want to let the engine repair fully before I try to return us to Republic City. Assuming I can keep Chief Bei Fong from trying to clap us in irons, it'd be nice to get to play tourist after all. I do so wanted to see Aang's statue and try some of those green noodles. Not really a fan of green noodles, but I'll try them. Just never ask me to try gag'h."

"You mean those awful Klingon worms we almost had to eat?", Camilla asked wiht a disgusted face.

"What's a Klingon?" Korra turned and faced Janias who had just turned off her holo-emitter, revealing her green pigmentation. "And... how did you turn green?"

"I just turned off the holographic emitter," she answered. "I'm not Human, I'm Mirialan. An alien, I mean. I used to be a Jedi." Janias smiled and stretched an arm around Cami's shoulders. "She's mine, by the way. Don't even think about it."

"So possessive my dear," Camilla giggled. She gave Janias a kiss on the lips.

Korra's eyes widened and her jaw hung open. It was a look of utter confusion, moreso than when she'd realized the TARDIS was bigger on the inside. Somehow I suspected Korra's upbringing didn't include more than a very basic introduction to the birds and the bees. Janias and Camilla saw the look on her face and laughed.

I suspect that the entire scene was very bad news for the Korra/Asami shippers back home. Well, presuming there isn't some alternate timeline out there where Korra and.... you know what? I'm not going to bring that up. Getting into fifth dimensional alternate paths is just too much of a bother.

"Moving on," I said aloud. "I'm afraid that for the next few hours, Avatar Korra, you're stuck with us."

"But... but..." Korra was still transfixed by my Companions. I don't blame her, they were rather lovely... and there I go, reaffirming my own orientation. And no, Korra/Asami shippers, that look of transfixtion was still pure confusion, not sudden realization of inner longings. I'm afraid that she's still on course for relationship disaster with "Commander Makotay". And this discussion is now over. I still have a disaster to describe.

Yes. We nearly got mistaken for Equalists and arrested, then we accidentally dragged Avatar Korra across six dimensions before crashlanding the TARDIS. And the worst part hadn't come yet.

Of course, it did a moment later. For that was when I heard a crashing sound from outside the TARDIS. That broke through the awkward moment of Korra discovering alternative lifestyles and my Companions' rather mischievous enjoyment of introducing their existence. I dashed by them and was the first out of the TARDIS. They followed me out and our eyes tracked doward the knocked down wall and...

People were coming in, smashing through old drywall and wood like it was paper. Their bodies took damage in the process but they didn't seem to care.

Probably because they were too dead to care.

"Oh, this is good," I muttered. "We just arrived in the middle of a zombie apocalypse."

There was a sudden second crash and a shower of plaster above us. More of them came jumping down. In the process, they cut us off from the TARDIS.

Remember we had no firearms. I had a sonic screwdriver. Sonic screwdrivers normally don't work on zombies. Cyborg zombies, sure. Normal ones re-animated by various metaphysical energies? Not something it's equipped to deal with.

I found myself wishing Janias has a lightsaber.

As it was, Janias and Korra went into action first. Janias threw a blow with the Force that knocked one down but barely staggered the others. Korra showed some understanding of our surroundings, going for Air instead of Fire and trying to knock them around with a flurry of air blasts. It didn't do much unfortunately; these were rather robust corpses. I was wracking my brain on where I'd heard of zombies being more powerful than normal. I'm really not much of a zombie setting expert, I confess.

One grabbed Janias as she was concentrating to throw them back. She twisted to try and get away, but it wasn't enough. The thing took her and threw her across the room, causing her to slam into the far wall with a scream of pain.

One reached for Korra. It took a fireball to the face for its trouble. The fire did at least seem to slow it down. Of course, some also hit the TARDIS, so my involuntary reaction was to shout, "Oi, watch the finish!"

"What are these things?!", Korra asked.

"What, you've never heard of the living dead?", I asked, dragging Cami with me as we went to help Janias. "Zombies, my dear Avatar. Reanimated corpses." I knelt down over Janias to scan her with the sonic screwdriver, but I could tell from how her arm was twisted that she'd had the shoulder broken, pretty much twisted out of its socket in fact.

Camilla almost pushed me out of the way. "Are you ready?", she asked Janias.

Janias gritted her teeth and nodded. She let out a brief cry when Camilla set her shoulder.

"Since when do you know how to do that?", I asked her.

"I've been a slave almost my whole life, Doctor. You learn how to take care of yourself and others," Camilla pointed out.

"Uh, they're not stopping!", Korra shouted, throwing fireballs at them. Unfortunately, fire was only slowing them down. None dropped.

Camilla pulled Janias to her feet. "In the pain you're in, I imagine calling on the Force is a bit out of the question," i remarked to her. "Okay everyone, time for our favorite past time."

"And what's that?", Korra asked.

"We run." Even before I said that my Companions had gone through the hole in the wall the TARDIS had made.

"But I hate runniiingggggg!" The word "Running" carried a bit from surprise at me grabbing Korra by the wrist and hand to drag her with me.

Credit to Korra where it's due. The girl knows the value of a tactical retreat and didn't fight me. If she had I know I'd never have been able to keep her from going back.

So we ran. We ran away from my TARDIS because I knew there was no way we could've gotten through the attackers from above without getting overwhelmed from behind. I had hoped to double back at some point, maybe get around them.

Instead, I ran into trouble.

I literally ran into trouble.

We collided at a corner near the stairs. Each of us let out an oof and fell away from the other. I hit the ground before I even had a chance to take in the basic physical appearance. Thin, plain, brown hair and brown eyes.

Other details demanded my attention to confirm identity, but before my brain could process them the biggest clue appeared in his hand. I looked behind me to see another of the walking dead coming from a far room.

In a few more seconds, Korra could have thrown fire at the thing. It wasn't a danger. She just wouldn't get the chance.

A single word sounded out through that hall.

"Fuego!"

A solid lance of red flame, almost tight enough to be a laser, came from the wooden object in the man's right hand. It speared the approaching corpse and blasted away the thing's hips and lower spine, making it impossible for the reanimated being to move.

"I've got to learn how to Firebend like that," I heard Korra gasp.

I was too busy staring at the figure. But not his eyes. I knew better. I knew not to stare into those brown eyes.

He looked at me warily. I spoke more quickly, though.

"Harry Dresden, Wizard for Hire." I extended a hand. "I'm the Doctor."

Like I said. I ran into trouble.




"What do you mean 'the Doctor'? Doctor...."

Harry almost finished the line. But he held it off as we got back to our feet. Our similar height allowed us to see eye to eye. "Admit it, you wanted to say 'Doctor who?'," I remarked with a smirk.

"You know, I've got a lot of crap on my plate right now without dealing with some nut who thinks he's a time-traveling alien," Harry remarked. "You need to get out of here, now."

"Yes, we rather noticed the walking dead." I narrowed my eyes. "It's not Halloween, is it?"

"Not this time."

Okay, so that meant it was after the events of the attempted Darkhallow ritual, known to me as the "Dead Beat" case. I was going to have to be careful in what I said lest I, well, reveal to him things to come in his future. It would help to know how far along his timestream he was. His left hand being gloved didn't tell me much, unfortunately; he'd kept the glove on for quite a while after it got melted down, I recalled.

Of course, I also had to be careful that I didn't convince a powerful combat wizard that I was a threat. I doubted a sonic screwdriver would do so well against his blasting rod or his kinetic charge rings either.

More questions had to wait as the main gaggle of walking dead came for us, having followed my group from our TARDIS. "Get behind me." He brought the blasting rod back up and, with another evocation of "Fuego" sent a beam of flame into their midst.

Korra, not to be outdone, made an open palm strike motion and sent her own plume of flame down range, setting fire to zombie and crumbling drywall alike.

That piqued Harry's interest more than my choice of name. "How's a kid like you pulling combat evocation without a focus?", he asked.

"I want to know how you made that beam of flame. I've never seen that Firebending technique before."

Seeing the two of them side by side gave me a very good glimpse at the near future of the structure we were in; namely, that it was not going to survive this meeting of minds. Buildings are hard pressed to survive Harry Dresden by himself; throw Korra and her hotheaded impulsiveness into the mix and conflagrations become as predictable as gravity.

Digging the TARDIS out of a pile of ash and soot with crispy-fried zombie bits in it was not something I considered desirable. I remember thinking that I really, really needed to get to work on a remote beacon for the TARDIS...

"So what's your plan besides setting fire to the general vicinity, Mister Wizard?"

"Buying time for crazy English guys and their groupies to am-scray before they get ripped to pieces by zombies, Mister Doctor," was his retort.

"What's a groupie?", Janias asked, confused and still undoubtedly disorientated from the broken limb.

"Well, you two carry about your arson, I need to get my TARDIS before you bury it in flaming rubble."

"Yes, your cardboard box is so much more important than your life, be my guest!"

"Quit griping and keep Firebending!" Korra let loose with another plume of flame. It was rather effective fire compared to Harry's surgical flame lance; the plume made sure all the oncoming corpses were ignited, burning away muscle tissue and slowing them down. This, in turm, bought time for Harry to pick them off.

I already knew there'd be a reckoning here. Magic in this cosmos took energy in some form; Korra's effortless Firebending from her own personal energy would be immensely suspicious.

"Stay with them," I murmured to Camilla. "Their backs are the safest place in the building right now."

"And what are you going to do?", she whispered back.

"Get my TARDIS." I ran down a perpendicular hall. I heard Harry shout an irritated warning that the stairs were the other way but I wasn't quite paying attention to the words, so recounting them would be dicey.

Thoughts were coming to my head as I tried to get back to the room with the TARDIS. In this cosmos, zombies like this were controlled externally via energy link or some such, aided by pure force of will or by music or some other focus. Could my sonic, with a bit of recalibration, interfere with this? Energy was energy, after all, whether it's light or radio or necromantic.

Fighting sorcery with science had a bit of appeal, I must admit.

So I set my sonic to a scan state that would let it fix onto the energy pattern and determine how to disable them. It would take it time, unfortunately.

Time that I didn't have when I got into the room with the TARDIS and found it surrounded by curious zombies. "Oh, terrific." I brought my sonic out and hoped it'd learned enough. The purple light on the tip lit up as it whirred.

Nothing.

Oh, and, now I had more behind me. So I was trapped.

"Where are they all coming from?!", I shouted in aggravation. Now I had a bunch of super-strong corpses coming after me and my sonic still couldn't effect them. I backed up toward a corner near a window, hoping I would find some option, some opening to avoid getting torn to bits.

As I mused how that might effect my imminent regeneration - at least one of those might convince Harry, right? - rescue arrived.

In the form of a three foot high blur of fur blasting through their ranks.

Zombies toppled and even fell apart as the mound of fur charged up to me and barked.

"Mouse?!" I stared at him, recognizing his size more than his appearance. He was Harry's dog - or Harry was his human, depending on your point of view - and a magical creature in his own right, a Foo dog.

Mouse barked at me again.

"I'm not crazy, I'm trying to rescue my TARDIS before Harry burns this building to the ground." When Mouse barked an inquiry I replied, "Well of course I know that's what'll happen. He's Harry Dresden for crying out loud!"

By the way, yes, I was holding a conversation with Mouse. Yes, I could understand his barks without being turned into a hound. I'm a Time Lord now, remember? We can talk to babies. An intelligent canine like Mouse was even easier.

There was something of a huff of resignation. Pale light seemed to gather around Mouse and off he went again, barreling through zombies. When you're a three feet tall mound of fur and muscle and weigh a hundred pounds minimum... yeah, even super-strong Dresden-cosmos zombies will have problems with that.

Most importantly, the wake he left gave me an opening. I followed him straight up to the TARDIS and threw the door open. There were no zombies visible but... who knew where they could be hiding? Another search of the TARDIS would be necessary, it seemed, if I couldn't find a way to use the TARDIS to cut off the necromantic energy.

Something about thinking "cut off the necromantic energy" didn't seem right. Sure, the Doctor could see fantastical stuff sometimes, but it was always with some kind of science grounding. Actual honest-to-God magic is not really... well, okay, there were those witches that Tennant's Doctor had to deal with in Shakespeare's time. But that was just the one thing.

Mouse barked, reminding me of the zombies still on the outside. "Yes, I know!", I shouted at him, getting up to the controls. The fact that I'd stopped briefly to consider the issue of being the Doctor in a magical setting is something of a clue to me still being a rather big nerd.

I checked the status of the TARDIS. The repairs still weren't to the level of making me want to take her through six dimensions again. But I could move her out of the building easily enough. I manipulated the switch, taking the moment to snap my fingers and close the door. Mouse bounded up beside me. He barked again. "Yes, it is bigger on the inside. Despite what Harry may have told you, I am not crazy. Well, mostly not crazy. A little mad, perhaps."

That prompted an amused bark. I rolled my eyes.

When the VWORPing ended I stepped out of the TARDIS and looked up to see the building we had just been in. I knew it was where we'd just been because I could see zombies milling on the roof and flames licking from the fourth floor.

Only on the fourth floor, mind you. That was the shocker. Harry and Korra hadn't burnt down the building yet.

"Who are you?! How... how did you...?!"

A young female voice prompted me to turn my head. A head of blond hair with purple highlights was looking my way, a lovely young woman dressed in casual clothing and more piercings than I could care to count. "Molly Carpenter, I presume? Love the hair, good choice of color." I smiled at her. "I'm the Doctor. And yes, you just saw a British police box appear out of nowhere. It's my TARDIS. I couldn't very well leave it in a building with zombies and Harry Dresden, could I?"

Inwardly I was considering things. This definitely placed the timeline past the attack on Arctis Tor while her appearance made it clear this was before Chichen Itza. Unfortunately that left a few years and very important events still unknown. I fished a little. "How is your father, by the way? Still off fighting evil in the name of God?"

I'd hoped to get an instinctive reaction that would tell me something more about the time frame. But poor Molly was still far too rattled. "But... but... you're just..."

I remembered that the Dresden Files RPG made references to the Doctor. That made me realize how tricky this was about to be.

If you want an explanation about the whole nature of reality and fictional things not being fictional, I'm afraid it will have to wait. I'm still not entirely sure of it myself and that's after dealing with the issue several times.

"A TV show?" I smirked, having finished her sentence for her. I was amused and curious about how I was going to handle this. This was the first time I'd run into a cosmos close enough to my own that the Doctor was a fictional being to them. "For a young lady who casts magic, that is surprisingly close-minded."

There was a burst of wood that drew our attention. Harry came flying out of a broken door, Janias and Camilla behind him. Korra was taking up the rear, backing out with fire streaming from her hands. "Molly!", Harry shouted. "Did you set the wards?!"

Harry's voice snapped Molly back to attention. "Uh... yeah! Yeah, I did!"

He's letting her set wards in the building? Okay, so this is probably quite a bit of time after Arctis Tor if she was that experienced.

Harry turned and brought his staff up. A moment later he cried "PYROFUEGO!"

There was no light or energy from Harry himself. Instead there was just the fierce rumble of explosions as flame erupted from almost every window and on every floor.

"Well, that's a big shock," I said. "Harry Dresden goes into a building and now it's burning. Must be Tuesday around here."

"I've got to learn how to do that," I heard Korra say with astonishment.

My mental response was "No, my dear, you really don't." Naturally I didn't say such out loud. I do have some tact.

"Now that I've got that out of the way..." He turned and went up to me. As he did so he spotted the TARDIS. "So you're not as stupid as I thought. Find your spare?"

"I understand your skepticism. I know I'm not close to the Tom Baker look. More of a Tennant man myself. A bit of Smith. Maybe a bit of Pertwee too, never much saw the original ones."

"Smith? Who?"

Mouse let out a bark and ran up to the TARDIS door. I turned and said, "If you want. He is rather thick-headed and I left my stethoscope in the TARDIS anyway."

With a push from his right forepaw, Mouse opened the TARDIS so that both Molly and Harry could look inside.

I gave them a minute. Harry went so far as to step inside and then step back out. He looked back toward me. "So, what? You're a Sidhe who has an infatuation with 'Doctor Who'?"

"What kind of Sidhe travels around in a blue box?", I retorted. "Or could create a pocket dimension like that? Listen, we need to have a private chat." I got a little closer so I could whisper and no one else could hear me. "I need to ask you about Lash."

Harry's eyes didn't widen, but I did sense surprise and anger. I wondered if I had overplayed my hand.

"I'll be right back," he said to Molly. I nodded to the others and entered the TARDIS, closing it behind us. He followed me up to the controls. "Okay, what the hell is this?"

"First things first. No, I'm not actually the Doctor. I was a Human being living a perfectly ordinary life when I found myself, well.... long story short, I was dropped into a dangerous situation and when it killed me, I regenerated. I'm a Time Lord now. And given my situation, well, I had a moment of bravado and told a very angry man I was the Doctor. Boy, I was lucky to get away from that one. So here I am calling myself the Doctor because, well, why not?"

"So you think you're a Time Lord?", he asked, still showing skeptiicism.

I picked up a stethoscope I'd placed - for this very purpose - on the central control and handed it to him, keeping the receiver myself and putting it inside my shirt over the right side of my chest. Looking skeptical he nevertheless put the scope on and listened to my heartbeat. I moved the stethoscope to the other side of my chest.

The look on his face was almost priceless.

"I'll point out that I think it's got some steel in it. What Sidhe would want to be touched by that stuff?", I added.

"So this is a TARDIS?", he asked.

"Yes. No, I don't know how I got it, or my other tools." I held up the sonic screwdriver.

"Purple?", Harry asked, sounding a little incredulous.

"What's wrong with purple? I like purple," I responded. "Apparently, my unknown benefactor realized that. Hrm."

I hadn't thought of that before. Whomever it was knew I liked purple. It was something I had to mull over.

"So why did you ask about Lash?", he asked.

Ah, yes. Harry was just starting to get careful and clever given the other beings he'd had to deal with so far. A question that asked what he needed without admitting to Lash's existence was a good move on his part. "Let's just say that the Doctor isn't the only being I previously believed to be fictional," I answered carefully.

Harry stared at me. "So I'm..."

"Yes."

"And how far..."

"Far enough."

We had silence for several moments as he digested the news. Seeing he was having problems I made a gentle proposition. "I suggest we ask Bob about this. I have some suspicions about how the Nevernever works with this issue."

"So you know my future?", he asked. I could see the concern in his face.

"Some potential futures, yes," I replied. "No, I can't say anything. I may not be obligated to follow the Sixth Law but I do have to be careful with the timelines. You don't know the damage I could do if I told you about the future."

The very thought of the damage I could cause made me shudder. Telling Harry the things to come... it would change the decisions he made and possibly doom everything he loved in the process.

"So that explains the whole song and dance about Lash," he replied.

"Yes." I drew in a breath. "It won't surprise you to learn you have hard times ahead, Harry. All I can say is... stay true to who you are and everything will work out as it needs to."

The door opened. "Uh, Harry, I can hear sirens," Molly said. The other door opened to admit the others.

I nodded at that. "And I'm suspecting you don't want the constabulary knowing you were here. Where's your car?"

"Shop," Harry answered. "We had a ride."

"Oh?"

"My mother," Molly answered.

I had a mental image of Charity Carpenter driving them here. Before I could even think not to, I was busy laughing.

"Less of the laughing like a jackass, more of the getting the hell out of here," Harry insisted.

I stopped laughing, although some chuckles were still coming. "Yes, very much so." I reached for the TARDIS control. "Janias, how's the arm?"

"It still hurts," Janias answered through clenched teeth.

"That it will," I mused. "Korra, you learned healing from Master Katara, right? Have the girls show you to the swimming pool to get the water you need."

"You have a swimming pool in here?", Korra asked, confused.

"It's in the library," I answered. "Nothing like a good book and a gentle relaxing swim, you know." I pulled back on the lever.
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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-17 09:17am

The TARDIS door opened and we stepped out, finding ourselves just outside of Harry's apartment. "I hope the landlady doesn't ask me about having a police box in the yard," Harry muttered.

"Are you going to tell her?", I asked pointedly. The truth is, I didn't know where Harry lived, not on any map sense. The TARDIS brought us here. I looked back to see the others coming out. "I doubt your apartment has room for all of us."

"It doesn't need it. If you're staying overnight, you've got a pocket dimension to sleep in," Harry pointed out. He went to his door and began removing the wards.

I looked to Janias. Korra was standing beside her, looking fairly intent on the injured arm as she kept a field of shining blue water over it. "How are you feeling?"

"Better." Janias smiled a little and looked to Korra. "She's not bad compared to the Jedi healers I've known. Maybe we should bring her along?"

I could understand the sentiment, but I couldn't quite explain why Korra had to stay exactly where she was with her still standing there. She pulled the field of water back into a bottle that the others had provided her.

"Thanks... uh..." Korra had that confusion come back. "What's a Jedi?"

"Think of them as Energybenders from another galaxy," I remarked. "Just that they don't bend Energy as you'd see it."

"Can't you ever make sense, just once?!", Korra shouted. "And what's a galaxy anyway?"

I heard a grunt and saw Harry trying to force his front door open. I remembered that after he rebuilt his door from the last time he dealt with zombies he'd put in a new metal security door that gave him trouble. Before he could start to bang it open with his shoulder I brought my sonic up and turned it on, allowing its effects to gently nudge the door open. Harry looked back at me and shook his head. "Show off." He entered first. "And this is not an invitation for you to enter, by the way. You are not invited."

I entered anyway. As it turned out, Time Lords didn't have the same restrictions that magical creatures of this world did. Nor did the Avatar or Jedi going by the reactions of Korra and Janias.

We entered and a big ball of fur immediately went up to Harry. It was his cat, the aptly named Mister. Said cat looked at me, yowled with displeasure, and bounded away. "Well, someone doesn't like me," I muttered.

"Mister has excellent taste in people," Harry needled. "Flickum bicis." Candles across the apartment lit with flame for light.

"This world has lights, right?", Camilla asked, stepping in behind Molly. Harry retreated into the bedroom.

"Yes," I answered. "But magic practitioners emit a field that interferes with the operation of technology. Light bulbs and electrical fields are included."

"Sucks to be them," Janias murmured. She went over to the couch and sat down.

Korra was busy taking in the sights while Camilla joined Janias on the couch. Molly closed the door behind us and re-activated some of the defensive wards. She looked to me. "So... you're the actual Doctor?"

"More like a doppelganger," I answered. "I already explained things to Harry, you can ask him later. And speaking of Mister Dresden..."

He came back out with something in his hand. "A Sidhe could shapeshift," he said, walking up to me. "I need to be absolutely sure."

I felt a pricking pain on my hand and drew it up. I could see now where Harry had pressed a metal nail against my hand enough to make me bleed. My blood was now on the nail. He eyed it intently. "Satisfied?", I aseked, reaching in my pocket for a napkin.

"With you, yeah," Harry answered. "And now for the rest of you."

The prickings continued. If not for the warning I suspected Janias and Korra would have made him pay for it, but instead we were all rubbing our little wounds while Harry continued to observe each nail and the blood with it. When he was satisfied it wasn't boiling or anything he tossed the nails into the fire. It was a gesture to instill trust; for wizards having someone's blood gave you all sorts of options for inflicting injury on them or having power over them.

"What was that for?", Korra demanded.

"He's making sure we're not Sidhe," I answered. "Beings of Faerie have a severe allergy to iron." I looked back to Harry. "We all pass as Human? Well, near-Human enough in a couple of cases." I was quick to correct myself not just on Janias' account but my own. I was still having times when I thought of myself as Human, not Time Lord. The scary part was that they were decreasing. I was getting used to being a Time Lord.

"Yeah." Harry looked behind me to Molly. "If they want anything check the pantry. I'll be downstairs with Doc here."

"You and your nicknames," I muttered.

Harry led the way into the basement of his apartment and the magical lab there. I could see one of the workspaces arranged for Molly's studies and the scale model version of Chicago that he'd painstakingly assembled. I brought my sonic out and did a quick scan of it, tesitng my growing theories on magic and energy.

"Please, please don't mess with that," Harry pleaded. "Okay Bob, I need you to wake up. We've got something crazy going on here."

I had spotted the Human skull already thanks to the plethora of romance books scattered around it. The eye sockets lit up with golden energy. "You're going to have to narrow.... oh, wow. Yeah, crazy. Extra-dimensional visitor, Harry?"

"So he says," Harry answered, looking from the skull to me. "He's not Sidhe and he didn't flinch at crossing the threshold uninvited. And he's got two hearts. He says he's a Human turned into a Time Lord."

"Eh, not too big a change. I'm not sure of everything that goes into being a Time Lord, but they're structurally close enough to Humans. Not counting the insides, of course." Bob's glowing eyes seemed to shift a little, as if he were looking at me. "So, your name?"

"I'm the Doctor," I responded.

"No, I'm talking about what you were before. What was your name?"

Here is where things got scary. I could feel it start to form in my head and move toward my tongue, but it was like the name had become slippery. My mind couldn't focus on it without it sliding back into forgetfulness. "I... I..."

"What? It's an easy question." Harry crossed his arms. "And don't tell me it's Harry. I want to hear something better. Give me a Tom, a Rick, a Josh, or Bob. Maybe even a Steve."

"I...." I put a hand up to my forehead. Pain surged into my temple as I fought with my head, trying to force the memory of my name out, but I couldn't.

"Uh, that's not good," I heard Bob say. "Pal, I think you were given a major brain whammy."

"What do you mean?", I gasped.

"Someone locked your mind down. They took everything that made you, well, you and put it in a nice box with a 'do not touch' sign written memetically across your brain." Bob whistled. "That... that's some major mental mojo right there. Most beings I know that could do it wouldn't have stopped there, they'd have played with your personality too."

"They didn't have to," I said. "I was put in a place where I'd get killed and forced to regenerate."

"And that changes personality, huh?"

"Yeah, it usually does," Harry remarked. "So they didn't have to bother. And maybe they didn't want to. Changing a being's mind like that can cause a lot of damage."

"And then they gave me a sonic screwdriver, psychic paper, and a key to a TARDIS. Even stocked the dressing room with recreations of the Doctor's preferred clothing." I went over to a chair and sat in it, my hand still on my temple. This mystery was taking on a sinister tinge. "They even made the screwdriver purple. It's my favorite color."

"So, someone wants you to go around doing Doctor-y things," Bob remarked.

"I'm simply wondering why."

"So, Bob, you're telling me that this stuff isn't just from a TV show?", Harry asked.

"Oh, it is. You mortals always underestimate the power of thought. And once you get into stuff involving six-dimensional space? Things get groovy. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if we're fictional somewhere."

Harry coughed and glanced at me.

Bob took the hint. "...wow, really?"

"Umm, yeah," I replied, feeling like the conversation was getting very insane very quickly.

"So, like... movies? TV show?"

"Books." I drew in a sigh. "And a television adaptation that, I suspect, is its own separate cosmos."

"That doesn't sound good. Who plays me?"

"Some old guy. Uh... they reimagined you as a Human sorcerer who's spirit was bound to a skull."

"Wow, talk about no imagination. Making me mortal, they took away the best parts of me! I feel sorry for that other Bob, wherever he is out in the six dimensions." Bob made a disappointed sound. "So, uh... who are the babes upstairs? I can hear Molly has friends and there's a big source of spiritual power somewhere around them."

"My companions Janias and Camilla. And my unexpected passenger." I briefly laid out who and what Korra was and how the day had started.

"Sounds like you've had a worse day than Harry's," Bob remarked. "That takes a lot of effort."

"You know, I appreciate your problems, Doc, but in case you noticed, I have a big one right now."

"You never answered me about Lash," I pointed out.

"No, I didn't," he answered irritably.

"Oh, she's gone," Bob said. "Took a psychic bullet for Harry."

I could see Harry wasn't happy with Bob revealing that. I suspected Bob had done so because he could see what I was doing; establishing a timeline, or at least how far along they were, without even hinting at the future. "Well, I was about to point out that compared to prior problems you've had a building full of zombies is hardly apocalyptic." Or compared to the problems he was going to end up facing. "So, I'm guessing you're looking for a source of necromantic energy somewhere in the city?"

"Yes." Harry went up to Little Chicago. "I'm just having trouble finding it."

"How did you find the building I was in?"

"Other means," he answered.

"Ah. Good old fashioned detective work then. Guess there was a nearby cemetary that had vandalisms or some such." I brought my sonic out. "Would a sample of the necromantic energy help?"

"I don't touch that stuff, skirts the Fifth Law too much."

"Sue the T-Rex says otherwise."

"That was an emergency situation, exception to the rule."

I nodded and pointed the sonic screwdriver at Little Chicago. I pressed a function key and enjoyed the sight of the purple tip lighting up and that resonating whir my sonic always gave off.

Harry looked up to me. "I told you not to mess with it! Don't you understand how delicate..."

"Harry?"

"...how sensitive..."

"Uh, Harry?"

"...this thing is? You could make it blow up in my face if you..."

"Harry, look!"

I had remained quiet, unable to completely removed an amused smirk, until Bob finally got Harry's full attention. Harry looked back to the model. An area of it, presumably including the building he had just burned down, was glowing distinctly dark-purple. "How did you do that?", Harry asked.

"I took a sample of the energy fields in the building," I answered. "My sonic's been processing it since. I'm hoping I can disrupt the control field if we find any more."

"Yeah." Harry leaned over. He pointed to one of the miniature features. "We've got a cemetary here... and an entrance to Undertown over here."

"Well, that's not good, is it?", I muttered. "I'm guessing that could be where our necromancer friend is hiding?"

"Likely."

We could hear a knock come from above. "I'm not expecting visitors." Harry went to the stairs.

As I went to follow, I heard Bob call out, "Hey, Doc, a moment."

I stopped on the second step and looked back. "Yes?"

"I know it sucks, not being able to think of your real name... but you might want to think a bit on taking the name of another being like that."

"What do you mean?", I asked. I glanced back upstairs; I could hear conversation and wanted to see what was going on.

Bob sighed. "Why is it that you mortals can be so dense about these things? Why do you think the guy who changed you locked away your name in your head? It's because that name symbolizes everything that is you. It's what you are, well, were. Now you're going around calling yourself the Doctor. There's another Doctor out there, right?"

"Yes."

"Names have power, Doc. They make up what a being is. Look at me. Do you think I acted like this and talked like this with the Humans I served before? I'm guessing you know the answer, right?"

I nodded. I knew what Bob had been with prior masters. I made another impatient glance up the stairs, thinking of the necromancer situation as I did so.

"Then along comes big dumb Harry the wiseass and he names me Bob. Now I sit in his basement and read smutty books and act like, wait for it, a wiseass. And you know Lash. He gave her a nickname, and look what happened to her. He turned the shadow of a Fallen Angel inside out until she sacrificed herself for him. Hint, hint."

"Like Harry is quite capable of doing." I swallowed. "So, what you're saying is..."

"What I'm saying, Doc, is that you gotta be careful going around calling yourself the Doctor. It's going to change you, it's already started to change you. And you might not like how it ends up."

In a moment of gross stupidity, I remarked, "So, I'm going to start becoming more like the Doctor if I keep calling myself the Doctor? You know, I don't quite see the problem with that."

"Are you sure, pal? Are you sure this Doctor of your's is such a wholesome guy that you can take becoming him completely, his faults too?"

Looking back, Bob's warnings were spot on. I wish I'd listened more carefully to them. But I was more set on the issue of necromancers and Chicago being threatened by a plague of the walking dead. "I'll be careful," I insisted.

"Yeah, yeah. Just don't cry to me when it all goes bad."

As it turned out, I didn't. Bob would get to say "I told you so", though.

When I ascended the stairs, we had a newcomer in the apartment. If her police jacket wasn't enough of a give-away of who she was, her being the shortest figure in the room was more than enough. Harry saw me emerge. "Hey Murph, this is the jackass who parked that call box illegally."

A skeptical look was in those fiery blue eyes as I was immediately scrutinized by Sergeant Karrin Murphy, Harry's ally on the Chicago Police Department. "Murph, is it?", I asked politely.

"So what, you found your long lost brother and he grew up in England?", Murphy asked Harry with a sarcastic grin. "At least you've got someone else who wears your size now."

"No relation there, thankfully," he answered. "This is Sergeant Karrin Murphy, Chicago PD Special Investigations."

"Ah, hello Sergeant." I extended a hand. "I'm the Doctor."

"Yeah, because the English police box outside wasn't a giveaway of who you're cosplaying," she remarked sarcastically. "I think you're missing the scarf, pal."

"Uh, Karrin..." Harry cleared his throat. "You were saying something?"

"Yeah. We're getting reports of some sort of riot..."

"...and the rioters are proving remarkably resilient against bullets," I finished for her. "And look like they're made up to be zombies, correct?"

"Yeah." She looked to Harry. "I was out of town when this happened the last time. It can't be the same guy, can it?"

"Nah, he's gone," Harry answered. "We've got someone new here."

"Well, we've got to do something about this before SWAT burns down the neighborhood."

"And that we will, my dear Sergeant," I remarked. "Harry, now that we have a general vicinity I can use the TARDIS to track a closer location. If our source of trouble is within Undertown a surface approach is probably a bad idea."

Murphy eyed me with skepticism that had made Harry's earlier disbelief look like pure faith. "Is this guy for real, Harry?"

"Yeah, he is," Harry answered.

"I trust you completely Harry, you know that, but.... I mean, I used to watch PBS as a kid and..."

"Sergeant, this way please." I stepped out the door and headed toward the TARDIS, noting Murphy's motorcycle was parked not far from the door. The others followed me out, smiles on the faces of my Companions as they eagerly awaited the resulting reaction.

It would probably bore to repeat the whole thing, but yes, Murphy was astounded, and yes, she made the obvious statement about the TARDIS being bigger on the inside. I smiled widely. "It's always fun to hear people say that." Behind her Harry walked in with the others, Mouse included. "So, getting ready to track... are you really bringing Molly for this?", I asked.

"Only to keep the TARDIS hidden inside a veil," he answered. "We'll need to cover our escape route."

Yes, I imagine Harry didn't want Charity Carpenter coming by to toss him from a window should her little girl be hurt fighting zombies.

"Ah, good. I haven't gotten the hang of the invisibility circuit yet." I went up to the controls. "Sergeant, given your body armor and firearms I would guess you are ready for action?" When she nodded in reply I looked to the others. "Janias, how about you?"

"Arm's still sore, but I can help," she replied.

"Okay. You and Cami will stay and protect Molly. If she can't hide the TARDIS well enough I want you to get in and lock the door. The defenses will keep them out." I looked toward Korra. "And as for you. We could use your help on this, Korra."

"You've got it." Korra smacked her fists together and grinned. "This is the kind of thing I'm meant for."

"A word of warning, Korra." My expression turned serious as I approached her. "You need to be careful. This isn't your cosmos. I can't be sure your Avatar Spirit will find its way back if something happens to you."

I saw some concern cross her face. "You mean..."

"At best, the Avatar Spirit will find some child being born that is spiritually close enough to Earth Kingdom standard to be a host. At worst... it could get lost in the spirit realms attached to this cosmos or even fade into nothingness." I put a hand on her shoulder. "If you want, you can stay and protect the TARDIS. It'll be safer."

For a moment I saw doubt flicker in Korra's eyes. But it was replaced by fiery determination a moment later. "So? Nothing's going to happen to me, okay? Nothing. I'm the Avatar and I'm going in there to put down whatever maniac is making dead bodies walk around and attack people."

I had to smile at that one. I noticed Harry was smirking and Murphy, perhaps a little confused still about just who Korra was, still showed appreciation at her spirit. "Okay then." I turned and returned to the controls. "I'm scanning for the energy field, I'll get us as close as we can get." I manipulated controls and allowed the TARDIS to find and lock onto the necromantic energy. "Last chance to back out."

No one said a thing.

"Okay." Despite the danger of the situation, the moment was getting to me. I had Harry Dresden, Karrin Murphy, and Avatar Korra in my TARDIS, all primed and ready to go tackle an unknown threat to the city. And I would be right there alongside them.

Whatever had been done to my mind, I apparently still had enough of my old mind to be on the verge of a major fanboy nerdgasm at the prospect.

The TARDIS confirmed a lock and a new set of coordinates. I put my hand on the lever. As I pulled it, I let out a gleeful shout of "Tally ho!"

It was time to go hunt some zombies.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-18 09:08am

LadyTevar wrote:You have to admit that my idea did take the story in a far better direction.


I admitted as much in my coda on Spacebattles and Sufficient Velocity. :)
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-18 09:11am

We didn't have to wait long before we found our first zombies.

Remember how the TARDIS was left briefly unattended in the building Harry had burnt to the ground? My scans had shown nothing of import afterward so I hadn't worried about it.

It turned out that it was not because there were no zombies, but because, well... I'll get to that.

When we finished materializing I brought out my sonic. "I'll set the sonic to guide us toward higher concentrations of the necromantic energy. Just a quick test and...."

When I turned it on, the sonic immediately began pulsing rapidly. "Oh, that's not good."

"Down!" Murphy's shout echoed through the control room as her pistol came up. Everyone got out of the way and gave her the opening to fire. Fire she did, creating thundercracks that were deafening.

I wasn't happy with a gun being fired inside my TARDIS, but there were more concerns at the moment. Namely, the trio of zombies that had slipped into the TARDIS before and were now coming straight for me.

Murphy's bullets tore through muscle and flesh, but they were still coming. Figuring it was now or never I switched the sonic and tried the disruption again.

Thankfully, it worked this time. The trio collapsed just as they reached for me.

Of course, that meant I now had three rotting bodies in my TARDIS. The bad day luck was still on a roll.

Harry was looking around, his finger up. "Does anyone hear anything?"

We all looked around, wondering what he meant. "I don't," I said.

"Something's not right."

"Well, we have something animating corpses, that's likely to never be right," I pointed out.

Harry looked at me with irritation. "Where's the beat? Where's the rhythm for the zombies?"

I have to admit, I'd mostly forgotten that little detail. And remembering it created some very unsettling questions.

Murphy asked the obvious. "Zombies have rhythm?"

"It simulates their missing heartbeat," I remarked, drawing a dirty look from Harry. "So sorry. I forgot, you handle the magic stuff and I handle the science."

Harry rolled his eyes. "What he said."

"I didn't hear anything, though," Cami said. "And not at the building either."

"It can be a very silent beat. Someone thumping something on their leg works if they're powerful enough."

"We were the only living people in that building," Janias insisted.

"Can someone direct an undead without the heartbeat, then?" I looked to him.

"Shouldn't be possible," Harry insisted. "It's part of the package. It's a fake heartbeat, a simulation of life that makes the corpse work like that."

"So another source...."

Korra let out a breath. "Hey, why don't we just go out there and put a stop to this instead of sitting around waiting for them to jump us."

I couldn't help it. I glared at her. "Yes, because leaping before you look worked so well for you earlier, didn't it?"

That got me a glower in reply.

"Why don't we brainstorm on the way?" Murphy put a fresh clip in. "The more time we waste, the longer we give this sick bastard to overwhelm us."

"A good idea." I double-checked my screens. "I got us as close as we can, but the TARDIS can't lock on any closer, so no changing position to surprise. We go from here."

"Alright, we stick to plan then." Harry nodded to Molly. "Grasshopper, give them a veil."

Molly nodded and stepped up to the door, ready to bring the veil as soon as we were out. "Before we go..." Harry looked to Korra. "Hey, Avatar, we need to charbroil those zombies so they don't come back."

"Sure." Korra had that look that makes a property owner feel very self-conscious. I watched her make a quick movement and coat the zombie remains in flames.

I let out a sigh. We were going to have to do some cleanup in the TARDIS when this was all over.

Presuming we walked out of this alive, of course.

"A quick moment, then." I motioned for Camilla and Janias to walk to the side with me. "If anything happens to me, I want you to get into the TARDIS and initiate Emergency Protocol 1."

They shook their heads. "Why? What will it do?"

"It'll take you somewhere better, somewhere you'll be safe," I replied. "A peaceful point in the timeline of your home galaxy. You'll be happy there. And if Harry doesn't make it either, you should invite Molly."

Janias made a face at that. "Are you sure? I feel a bit of darkness within that one."

"Yes, and in Harry too I imagine." I drew in a breath. "She made a mistake when she learned of her power. She was trying to do something good and it backfired horribly. Under the rules of the magic-users of this world, any violation of the Laws of Magic is punished by death unless someone steps forward to ward the accused. Few ever do so because if the accused slips again they'll be executed too. Harry stepped forward for Molly. If something happens to him, the old sentence comes back into force. They'll kill her without hesitation and I sincerely doubt she'll get another sponsor."

Janias' jaw clenched. Undoubtedly that practical streak of her's was warring with the Jedi principles she'd been raised in. Eliminating a threat before it became a threat was a very practical solution, after all, if one didn't mind the dirty business of lopping a teenager's head off without regard to motive.

"Your galaxy is well equipped to deal with Molly if she were to fall to the Dark Side, so to speak," I assured them. "But she deserves the chance."

Janias and Camilla looked at each other. "Agreed."

"Okay. Be careful."

"May the Force be with you," Janias said.

I smiled at her. "Finally breaking out the Jedi farewell, Jan? Thank you for the thought." I turned and walked to the entrance where the others were waiting. I gripped my sonic in my hand and tried to stop my hearts from racing ever faster. This wasn't the first time I'd been in danger, but I felt something in the air, something that told me this occasion was of far greater weight than earlier ones.

Harry looked up from where he was talking to Mouse. "I'm leaving my fuzzball behind to give your Jedi girl and her friend some muscle."

"A good plan, that," I replied. "So, ladies and 'gentleman'..." Harry made a face showing he could hear the quotation marks on "gentleman", so to speak. "Shall we be off?"

And so we left the TARDIS.




Undertown is a place that easily lent itself to nightmares. Here, in the old buried parts of Chicago, the sun was never seen and all sorts of creatures could come out without warning. A suitable hiding place for a necromancer, all things told.

Harry and I were at point, my sonic and his blasting rod at the ready. Murphy took up our rear with Korra in the middle ready to support either side. It was, tactically, the best formation we could manage, and made us ready for facing the inevitable zombie horde.

"So, any ideas on the lack of music?", Korra asked.

"A couple and none of them good," Harry admitted.

"Do enlighten us," I asked.

"All I can think of is that if this guy's got a lot of power maybe he's found a way to control the corpses with his own heartbeat," Harry replied. "Or..."

"Or...?"

"He's not quite Human anymore," Harry conceded. "If he was Human at all."

"So like you, Dresden, to assume it has to be a guy," Murphy mumbled from the rear.

I swallowed. "Harry, are you thinking this could be someone who's used the Darkhallow?"

From the corner of my sight I saw him shake his head. "No, someone on that scale would be causing a lot more havoc."

"Then what else do we have?"

"Nothing," he conceded. "We'll have to find out when we get there."

As the energy grew I knew we were almost to our objective.

Of course, this was entirely the appropriate time for the zombies to attack. From both sides.

Harry's blasting rod came up. "Fuego!"

Not to be outdone, I smirked and cried out, "Sonico!" as I turned my sonic on. Harry's flame beam blasted one line apart while the other collapsed like a puppet with strings cut... an apt analogy if I do say so myself.

Harry glanced over at me. "No," he bluntly remarked.

"You're no fun," I retorted. "How many graveyards are around here?"

"A couple. And when you count all the dead bodies left down here over the years..." Harry let loose with another beam. "We're going to be doing this all night."

There were thundercracks behind us from Murphy's pistol. "I wish I had my other gun," she grumbled, clearly referring to the rather illegal P90 gifted to her once. "This couldn't have happened while I was off-duty, couldn't it?!"

"I would think you were familiar with the concept of 'Murphy's Laws', Sergeant!", I shouted in reply.

"Keep it up, Doc, and pow! I'll give you one right in the kisser!"

Apparently Korra got that because she laughed. Kicking and punching moves saw eruptions of flame that went down the tunnel, punctuated by blasts of intense air to drive the zombies back from our rear when they drew too close.

I directed the sonic over another group of oncoming corpses. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take such down permanently; the moment my sonic's disruption field moved away the corpses began to stand. It did buy time for Harry to blast them, at least. We alternated in this way just as Korra swapped between fire and air to keep the rear clear; Murphy contributed with shots to vital organs whenever she could manage.

This was the first real fight for my life I'd been in since I'd regenerated. The fact that I had these three at my side made it seem far more enjoyable than it should have been. But don't let that fool you. This fight was frightening. The space was so dark that only with the illumination of Harry and Korra's flames was visibility over the level of "shadow" over ten feet. The air stank of rotting flesh and waste. This was the scene for a horror tale, not an action-adventure.

And I honestly wasn't sure I'd walk away from this.

The issue was that Harry couldn't keep this up all night; he was quickly burning through his available personal energy and the local energy was primarily necromantic now. Murphy had only so much ammunition and Korra would tire eventually as well. If we kept fighting here we would be overwhelmed. "Harry, any ideas on how to clear these things quickly?"

"It's too confined to go crazy with fire," he remarked. "We need something to dampen the magic sustaining them."

"Like?"

"A stream maybe," he remarked sarcastically. "But they don't have those down here..." His expression changed to show a realization had struck him. He looked up as the same one hit me.

Water pipes.

"So the trick is not getting drowned." Harry looked back for a quick moment, having flamebroiled another zombie. "Hey, Korra, you do water too right?"

"Yeah. Water Tribe girl here, remember?"

"Never heard of 'em."

"Isn't there a rock band called that?", Murphy added after putting a bullet into a zombie's hip bone to lame it.

Korra's question reminded me of how different her world was. "What does Earthbending have to do with any of this?"

Murphy laughed. "A teenager who doesn't know rock and roll, I've gotta put this one in the record book..."

"Perhaps a little more planning?" - I ducked a zombie who got close enough to grab at me and brought it down with my sonic screwdriver -"And a little less wisearse banter?"

"Being a wiseass is my thing, okay?", Harry shot back. He made a punching motion and unleashed the kinetic energy in his charge rings, creating a blast of force that sent the entire gaggle ahead of us flying backward over each other. "That's like asking Spider-Man to not wisecrack. You just don't do that."

"So if we provide you a source of water, could you send it running along both sides to wash the zombies out?" I asked Korra.

"Uh, sure. What good will that do?"

"Running water grounds out magic," Harry explained. "A good stream of it and they'll be out for a bit."

"Any time!" Murphy jumped back to avoid a zombie and allowed Korra to set it on fire.

"I can open a hole, but you'll need to seal it shut," I said to Harry. "Can your flame weld it?"

"If Korra holds back the running water from it, yes."

"Alright then." I raised my sonic above my head and triggered a solid sonic burst to create a hole in the pipe.

Water poured out and made a spiral as Korra moved her arms in a matching motion, taking control of it. She gathered several spirals of water to flow around her before she set her feet and pointed outward with both arms. The water gushed to both sides, narrowly avoiding us. It wasn't quite strong enough to knock zombies over on its own. As it turned out, it didn't need to be. The running water sapped away the energy animating them, as planned. One by one they fell.

"That should do it," Harry said. "Hold it in the pipe now."

Korra raised her hands with palms out, like she was holding a weight. Harry lifted his blasting rod. One "Fuego" later and a lance of flame was melting the metal, welding shut the hole I had created.

The path was clear of zombies now. "Ugh." Korra grimaced in disgust as we advanced onward. She opened her palm and set fire to a pile of them. "Eww. I've got wet zombie on my shoes."

"Occupational hazard, kid," Harry replied.

"There are things far worse," I added. I held my sonic up with it set back to scanning mode. "And on we go."

The running water had diluted the energy signature somewhat, but I was able to continue tracking the higher concentration ahead. None of our remaining engagements were that exciting. A zombie or two would be spotted, I would hit them with my sonic's disruption, and Harry and Korra would make with the flames.

We got to a ruined wooden door. "The source of the energy is here," I said. I noted, with curiosity, the traces of another power source. Perhaps, I reasoned, the external source of the necromancer's power?

We were about to find out.

Murphy drew her gun and took up a position beside the door with Harry and I on the other. Korra opted to be the door buster, and bust it she did; a solid column of swirling air straight from her fist into the rotten wood. It cracked and splintered under the force of her Airbending. She stormed in, arms raised in a stance ready to fight, and shouted, "It's over, give yourself up!"

Harry and I exchanged a look that said a lot about overeager teenage girls. Murphy snorted from what I presumed to be amusement. We entered in behind her, just in time to see Korra's stance change.

One might have expected a man in a dark robe hissing at us, ready to unleash his hordes of undead upon the interlopers of his sanctum. Or some eldritch abomination plotting to destroy the world, ready to devour the hapless mortals who had dared to enter its presence.

It was none of those things.

Instead we were treated to a red-eyed, tearful boy of no more than sixteen, if not less, standing over the pale, motionless body of a slightly older boy. The resemblance was an obvious one. Both were in tattered clothing that reeked and looked like they hadn't known a bath in years.

"Okay, that's not what I was expecting," Murphy admitted, pointing her gun low.

I pointed the sonic at him and saw the light begin to flash rapidly.

We had found our necromancer.

The boy looked up at us. "Help me!", he cried. "My brother's hurt! Help!"

Not exactly what we expected from the encounter.




Murphy, ever the policewoman, rushed to his side. She put her hand on the boy's neck. "I've got a heartbeat."

I walked up and waved the sonic over him, set to medical scanner mode. I looked at the results. I couldn't help but sigh. "The body's alive but that's all. I'm picking up over seventy-five percent brain damage."

"I'll deal with this." Korra unhooked the bottle of swimming pool water she'd used to heal Janias earlier. I reached for her, knowing it was futile, but she brushed me aside. She popped the top off and brought the water out with a move of her hand. She formed it into a bubble shape and set it over the older boy's head, covering it completely save for his face. The water began to glow. "Come on, I can feel you in there, I know..."

"Korra..." I shook my head. "That's the necromantic energy. It's sustaining this boy's body."

"He'll come back!", the younger boy wailed. "I know he will."

"Kid..." Harry shook his head. "There's nothing there."

"You're wrong! He wouldn't leave me! Not after Mom and Dad..."

Harry and I exchanged glances. We were all orphans, it seemed. I knelt down beside the boy. "What's your name?"

"Du... Dustin."

"And your brother?"

"Lonny," was the sobbed reply.

"Listen, there's no way that kid is doing this," Harry insisted. "Even if he had the original Merlin's magic potential, it'd require too much power to control a horde like that. How was he simulating the heartbeat anyway?"

I did another scan of the comatose Lonny. His body was soaked with necromantic energy. His organs were working perfectly, but...

And then I saw the other energy source permeating the area. I put two and two together.

"Lonny is the heartbeat," I said.

"Excuse me?", Harry asked.

"Lonny is the heartbeat. It's a quantum link... you would call it sympathetic magic or... or thaumaturgy, is it?"

Harry stared at me, clearly incredulous up to a point. "You're saying that the kid's beating heart operated the zombies?"

"It provided the heartbeat that was missing."

"Hey, Dustin?" Harry knelt down beside him while he continued to hold his hands over his brother Lonny. Korra remained intent on her attempt to heal him, blue light shining from the water she had gathered around Lonny's head. "Did Lonny show you this stuff?"

"Y-yeah," he answered, choking back a sob. "He said he could get mom and dad back. He said we could go home."

"What happened?"

"I don't know," Dustin cried. "I woke up and he... he was like this. I'm doing what he showed me but he's not standing up!"

"Is it common for two brothers to be this powerful?", I asked.

"It's not unheard of for multiple siblings have potential," Harry answered. "But not power like this. A Senior Council member might be capable of this unaided. The kid has to have another power source."

"I believe they do. Lonny used it and played with necromancy, damaged his head in the attempt, and Dustin's now trying to use it to keep him alive. But the brain won't come back..." I swallowed. "All the while, Lonny's continued tie to this other power source is animating corpses all across this area."

There was movement by the door. We all looked up to see zombies start to enter. Harry stood and pointed his blasting rod toward them. I looked away as he started blasting. Korra was still focusing on the boy, but I could see frustration growing in her expression. "It's not working," she said. "Why isn't it working?"

"Korra, there's nothing left to save," I told her. "Harry's going to need your help now."

"No!", she shouted. I saw tears forming in her blue eyes. "I can save him! I'm the Avatar! I can save him!"

"Korra!" Seeing she wasn't being convinced I looked to Dustin. He was staring with fright as Harry and Murphy fired into the zombies lurching into the room. "Dustin, the spell you're casting, the one your brother showed you, it's causing this."

"I... I didn't know," he murmured.

"I know you didn't. But it's hurting a lot of people right now. You need to stop."

Dustin stared forward. "But... my brother will die! I'll lose him like... like..." He sobbed and for a moment the spell lost its cohesion. The zombies stuttered.

I took him by the shoulders and looked into his gray eyes. I looked intently and wondered if he was enough of a practitioner to....

And then I saw Dustin. I saw a life as happy as one could get in poverty. I saw a soul full of broken joy and memories, a longing for the happy past so deep and intense that it rivaled my own desire to regain my faltering identity. We shared the common pain of orphans and a feeling that the world had been taken away from us, and he'd endured it after only fourteen short years of life. All of that loss, that sheer sense of being left alone, on such a young soul was enough to break my hearts.

Our soulgaze broke. Dustin stared at me with amazement. He'd seen what I was and what I had become. I got the sense it didn't frighten him, at least. "You... you..."

"I lost my whole life, Dustin," I told him. "I'm trying to find it again."

"Any time now, someone!", I heard Harry shout. I looked over to see the zombies almost on him and Murphy. despite their best efforts.

"Dustin." I took his hand. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." I felt tears in my eyes that matched the ones in his. "But you have to let go. Please."

I would have given anything to take away that boy's pain. I saw his desire war with the knowledge he had gained from our soulgaze, that his brother was long gone and that this power was slowly corrupting him. I put a hand on his shoulder to reassure him as he cried as only the last survivor of a family can.

He closed his eyes and I felt the energy in the room shift. Lonny's body let out a death rattle. A zombie reaching for Murphy's throat suddenly faltered. It toppled forward into her, lifeless.

I took the poor boy into my arms and gave him a hug as he cried.

But Dustin wasn't the only one in that room who was defying reality. Even as the last life left the body of Lonny, Korra remained focused on his head. "No, no!"

"Korra." Harry walked up and knelt beside us. "He's gone. There's nothing you can do."

"I'm the Avatar," she insisted. "I'm supposed to save people!"

"You're supposed to try," I corrected. "But sometimes it can never be enough. Sometimes bad things happen regardless of how much effort you put into it."

She ignored us, continuing to hold the water around the boy's head. Her hands balled into fist and finally she threw them up and let out a scream of anguish and frustration. The water stopped shining and erupted in an explosion that matched her anguish, splattering us all. She put her hands on her face and wept.

Harry put a hand on her shoulder. I could see the sympathy in his face. I could imagine his own failures were echoing in his mind.

For several moments there was silence beyond the sobbing in the room. Dustin's stopped only as he fell asleep, exhausted. I took him and put him on a cot for the moment being. "This mystery has been solved," i said softly. "But another remains."

Harry looked up from where he was comforting Korra and nodded. "Where did these kids get that much magic power?"

"Perhaps it wasn't magic power per se," I remarked. "What if it was energy of a different sort that they tapped. An unending source, somewhere here..." I brought up my sonic and used it to scan. My senses told me it was close, so very close...

I walked toward a side of the room covered in old ruined cardboard boxes, the remains of denizens of this room long fled. I grabbed one box after the other to throw them out of the way. When I moved the last one I saw a sliver of light and followed it to a part of the wall we didn't see before.

My eyes settled on the source of energy that had fueled the brothers' dabbling in necromancy. I felt my hearts grow cold with dread at that sight and I couldn't speak for a moment. Murphy walked up behind me. "Just what the hell is that?", she asked. "It looks like a crack in the wall."

"Not just the wall," I answered hoarsely, my mouth dry from dread. "It's a Crack, Sergeant Murphy." I forced myself to breathe in. "A Crack in the Universe." I brought my sonic up and scanned it. As I got the result I felt my hearts beating even faster as my stomach twisted. "It is literally a crack through six dimensions of space-time. This is what was powering Dustin and Lonny."

"You've got to be sh..." Harry walked up and looked at it. "Oh crap."

"Oh crap indeed." I continued to scan it with my sonic. Unfortunately, I could find no real information on it. An origin point, when it was formed in this cosmos, not a single item of data I could really use. I couldn't even tell what might have caused it. The horrible thought of my TARDIS exploding and destroying all reality filled me. "We're lucky it's not leaking time energy. A Crack like this could literally erase someone from all space-time."

"Oh crap," Murphy muttered in further agreement.

"We need to leave," I said. "Now."

When it came to carrying Dustin, Harry volunteered for the duty, as did Korra. For reasons that are soon to be apparent, I backed Harry. Murphy went out first to make sure there were no surprises. "Don't you hear that?", she said.

"The original occupants of this area, if we're lucky," Harry explained. "Probably wildfae or Little Folk of some kind. But maybe something nastier. Now that the death stuff is gone they'll come back."

I had to nod. Left unsaid was the unlucky part of the proposition: if something hasn't come through the Crack. After all, this Crack wasn't like the ones that Eleven had dealt with when his TARDIS got blown up. The lack of existence-erasing time energy told me this was something else.

"Then we should get going. But first things first." I looked to Korra. "You've been avoiding Earthbending tonight, Korra. But we need it here. That chamber must be sealed shut with a pile of rubble that no one will ever dig through. The Crack is too dangerous to leave exposed."

"You'd better get away then," she answered.

We withdrew to a safe distance. I stayed close enough to watch Korra assume an Earthbending fighting stance and begin bringing the earth and earth below together. She literally crushed the room when she did so, sealing the Crack in what had become Lonny's tomb. With tears in her eyes I saw her use her bending to burn a nameplate in the Chinese-style characters of her homeworld, making it as Lonny's resting place. With the tomb marker formed she walked toward me. The weight of what happened left her shoulders low; there was nothing of the cocky, self-assured gait she had used before. Korra did not take defeat well.

Then again, nor do I.




When we returned to where we had left the TARDIS there were corpses laying at intervals around it. We exchanged worried looks before the TARDIS popped into sight. Molly was standing in the door, her hand on the frame, a look of joy flashing across her exhausted features. "You made it!"

Behind her, Camilla and Janias looked up from where they were rubbing Mouse's belly. They smiled at us and stood. "I knew you'd come back," Janias said.

I nodded at her and stepped up into the TARDIS. The others caught their first sight of Dustin and looked confused. "What happened to the necromancer?," Molly asked. "I mean, was the kid..."

"You're looking at him," Murphy answered.

Molly stared in shock. "No way."

Janias put a hand on Dustin. "He's in a lot of pain."

"Yes," I said, trying to not break into tears again. I was not a wizard, I didn't have the Sight or anything that could permanently etch itself into my memory.

I was just a Time Lord. With perfect memory recall. So I'd always remember that poor boy's wracked soul.

After I set the TARDIS back to Harry's apartment and returned us, Harry walked up to me. He warily checked to see if Murphy was in earshot before he began our conversation. "I've got the kid sleeping in one of your side rooms."

"Good," I answered. "So now we have a new problem."

Harry nodded. "You know what I have to do."

I swallowed in response. "If you didn't and they learned about this, you and Molly would be the ones to suffer."

"Nobody is going to step up to teach him, not with the taint of necromancy," Harry said. "And I already have an apprentice under the Doom."

"So they'll kill him." My fists clenched. "Your White Council will behead a fourteen year old boy who only wanted his family back."

"I know, dammit." Harry smacked the rail in frustration. "If not for what it'd mean to me and Molly I'd tell you to run with the kid, show him the Multiverse or whatever."

"I know." I crossed my arms. "Although that does give me an idea. When you convene the Senior Council to judge Dustin, I wish to be present."

Harry's gaze was sharp. "That's stupid, Doc."

"Oh?"

"You really want to go before them when you're always wiping your ass with the Sixth Law?"

"I'm not Human anymore and I don't use magic," I retorted. "The Laws of Magic hold no authority over me."

"If you know anything about them then you know damned well how much they think of themselves," Harry pointed out. "They can just as easily decide that the Sixth Law is so important they can enforce it on you anyway. If you go before them it's going to be trouble."

"If I don't, then Warden Morgan's sword will come down," I reminded Harry.

"Dammit, I know..." Harry paced around me with frustration. "But things are bad enough without putting you at the mercy of the Senior Council."

"We'll bring Korra to provide further testimony," I stated. "Dustin never actually controlled the zombies. His brother's remnant energy did. That stain is not his. With our testimony the Merlin may be convinced."

"So she'll be at risk too."

"Korra is powerful enough that even the Senior Council must take pause at facing her," i pointed out. "But it's for the best. Please, Harry. It's Dustin's only chance."

Harry remained silent for a moment. "Okay," he sighed. "Your funeral, Doc."

Quite possibly. But I had preparations to make first.





It only took a day for Harry to make the arrangements. I parked the TARDIS near the building he designated. Korra and I waited across the street. I could see the young Avatar was only starting to look like her old self again. "The girls treating you well?", I asked.

"Yeah. Molly's been explaining how spirits and magic work in this world." She crossed her arms. "Are you sure this will work?"

"It depends entirely on who attends the meeting," I answered. "Hopefully we won't be forced to our backup plan."

"I wouldn't mind," she grumbled.

"Different worlds, different methods," I reminded her. "Here magic requires belief. Dustin believed he should be able to manipulate the forces of life and death to save his brother. That kind of belief can be corrupting on a soul. The White Council's laws are harsh, but they are not without reason."

"They'd kill a kid. As far as I'm concerned, they all need a butt-kicking."

I smirked at seeing some of Korra's old fire return. "Just don't say that in front of them, Korra. For the boy's sake?"

"Fine."

I could hear an engine puttering in the distance. A multicolored, beaten up Volkswagen Beetle pulled up to the opposite building. I began walking over to it as a young Latino man in a gray cloak emerged from the door. Harry stepped out of the car with Molly; together they pulled Dustin out. He looked almost dazed if rather more healthy and cleaner than when I'd met him. They finished an exchange before Korra and I could step up. "Warden Ramirez, I presume?", I said aloud.

The gray cloak looked toward us. "You're the witnesses Harry called?"

"Yes. I'm the Doctor. This is Avatar Korra. We were present when Warden Dresden discovered young Dustin."

Ramirez looked over to Korra and a small grin crossed his face. "Ah, young lady. I am Carlos Ramirez. A pleasure to make your acquaintance."

"Uh, okay?" Korra looked rather uncertain as he took her hand and kissed it. "I've already got someone, though."

The faintest of sighs came from Ramirez. Behind him, Harry was trying hard not to laugh at his younger comrade's expense.

We were given the usual security examination before being allowed in. The temple dog statue growled a little as Dustin went past. Once we were inside Harry quietly put a hood over Dustin's head, leaving him blind and helpless. Korra noticed it and frowned. "They have to blind him too?"

"It is protocol," I murmured back.

"Wizards can throw death curses," Harry explained, moving up beside us. "The last thing we need is some condemned warlock tossing one at the Senior Council."

"That's just mean," Korra insisted.

"Yeah, it is. Scared me to death too."

Korra looked up at Harry but said nothing when he looked back at her.

As we entered the central chamber I watched Molly put a nervous hand over her face. When I saw the very old stain on the floor I realized where we were. It was the same building that Molly had been judged in, where the White Council had forced Harry to observe an execution of a Korean boy and had nearly executed her as well.

A dozen Wardens surrounded us. Standing by himself, near the old stain, was Donald Morgan, a somber and terrifying figure to be sure. His sword was unsheathed and the tip pressed against the ground, at the ready to be used in defense of the Council to which he had devoted his life and would give it at a moment's notice. Quite literally, as it would turn out.

My eyes noticed Wizard Peabody, the stenographer of the session and general secretary of the Council, sitting quietly at a desk he had set up, ready to take his notes for the official records.

I had thoughts on my mind about this, but I won't share them. Spoilers for those curious as to Harry's story without the meddling of madmen in blue boxes.

Chairs were made available for the members of the Senior Council in attendance. I recognized the stout figure of Ebenezer McCoy, Harry's teacher, and the cloaked and hooded visage of Rashid the Gatekeeper.

We looked toward each other. Not enough to soulgaze, thankfully, but I could see his expression loosen slightly. It was almost like he was smiling.

I didn't feel as comforted by that as I should have.

The figure in the middle was an old, broad-shouldered man with a long flowing beard who was clearly the Merlin; Arthur Langtry, a man who's arrogance could match that of a Time Lord. Beside him was another older man, closer to middle age, who was thin and balding. I realized by process of elimination that he was Aleron LaFortier. Beside him was an old, short Asian woman. Ancient Mai.

I swallowed. Unless McCoy or the Gatekeeper had been given the proxies for the votes of the two missing Senior Council wizards, this left the Merlin with a deciding vote and two votes already weighed heavily against Dustin. It would take all four of those present to overrule him. That was not very likely.

My hand itched as I longed to grab the TARDIS key in my pocket. But I forced myself to be calm.

"We are prepared to begin," the Merlin announced loudly. "Warden Dresden, have our witnesses been informed that all White Council business is conducted in Latin?"

"They have, Merlin," Harry answered.

I saw a flicker of intrigue pass through that old face. I had to smile. Harry now shared the Gift of the TARDIS, including the ability to have his speech converted perfectly from English to Latin. The same Gift would permit Korra and I to participate fully and understand the others; a needed advantage.

Unfortunately, it meant Dustin would hear it too. He would hear them debate to end his life.

"Then explain to us the reason for our attendance on this day, Warden."

"I have brought a prisoner before the Council, one who has broken the Fifth Law." There was a hushed silence amongst the others. "I have brought him here to see justice, Merlin."

"The young man with you is the prisoner?"

"The boy is, yes."

These two men had danced this dance before, I knew. I waited patiently as Harry explained the facts of the case and his assertion that Dustin had not acted with malice. He was more cautious than he had been with Langtry at Molly's trial, I noted. Experience was a harsh teacher, but it did teach.

When Harry presented us as witnesses we stepped forward. Korra went first, maintaining her composure admirably given her clear anger at the proceedings. When it was my turn, I introduced myself as I had been doing.

As I called myself the Doctor, I could feel the Gatekeeper's attention on me. It was not comforting at all.

I gave my testimony as concisely as possible. When complete I stepped back and bowed respectfully. The Merlin's eyebrow went up. I suppose he had not been expecting my manners given my association with Harry. Which, of course, was why I did it. Surprise works wonders on arrogance.

"The Council is ready to vote on judgement," the Merlin said. "Is there anything else to be said?"

"I would ask to address the Council, Merlin, and beg its indulgence in the name of humanity," I replied.

I could sense LaFortier's irritation and Ancient Mai's outright contempt. I had some ideas of why I'd earned it, but I was focused on the only man in the room who's opinion mattered.

"Speak, Doctor."

I nodded politely. "Thank you, my lord. Honored Merlin, venerable and wise elders of the ways of Magic, I wish to propose an alternative that has not yet been possible for one such as Dustin. The facts of the case make clear he did not act with malice but only grief, nor was he directly responsible for the true wrongs done. Yet I am aware of how unyielding your Laws and judgements must be to preserve the practice of magic from corruption. With the Council's blessing I would remove Dustin from this cosmos and take him to another, a place where he will not be alone and where wise masters can train him in the use of his gift. The Justice of the White Council would be served without necessitating the taking of a young life that can still know redemption."

"And you can accomplish this, Doctor?", Ebenezer asked.

"Warden Dresden can vouch for the existence of my TARDIS. Avatar Korra's very presence in this room should explain what it's capable of."

"Do you have a place in mind for the boy?"

"Yes, Honored Merlin. Avatar Korra has already vouched for his future."

This prompted some murmuring. Ancient Mai brought a withered hand up. "The stain of necromancy is great on a soul, you would risk that world to a therat they cannot combat, Doctor?"

"Korra's world has the means to deal with any trouble Dustin could cause if his corruption were to remain and take control. Korra would deal with it herself as the guardian of that world."

"A guardian? I see only an impulsive child," LaFortier said dismissively.

Korra frowned at that, but I held a hand up slightly. The Merlin's political allies were trying to provoke her and I couldn't let that happen. "Yes, she is young. But she hosts the guardian spirit of her very planet. Its elements, it's millennia of wisdom, are there to guide her and protect her. If that is not enough, I will observe the boy's progress as well."

"We know better than you the threat of necromancy, Doctor," Mai proclaimed. "You ask us to spare the next Kemmler to ruin another world. The only way to deal with a necromancer is to kill them."

She hadn't used the word "potential". It was painfully clear Ancient Mai considered Dustin a lost cause.

"That's a bit far, Mai," Ebenezer protested.

So says the Council's assassin, I thought to myself.

"I do not come to judge the Council's decision in this matter," I lied. "I plead for its mercy. You are already at war, Honored Merlin, and your Council has seen enough death. Staying the sword from this boy's neck could only help in dealing with the weariness of death that I know must have settled upon your soul."

For a moment, I saw the mental exhaustion tighten his eyes and knew my words hit home. The Merlin oozed arrogance, but he was still a man. A man who knew pain and anguish and loss, who had seen many colleagues and allies cut down in the war with the Red Court of Vampires.

"This boy is a lost cause," LaFortier insisted. He looked down at Dustin. "He will cause only suffering and death if you permit him to live. His death will save this world or the other from his eventual fall and, in the interest of mercy, will save his soul in the process."

The Merlin held up a hand before I could reply. "We will vote on your proposal, Doctor."

I remained silent as the present Council voted. LaFortier and Mai voted to reject, meaning Dustin's execution. Ebenezer and the Gatekeeper voted for acceptance. As I had suspected, the Merlin's vote would mean anything.

He looked down at me. "We are not heartless," he said. "It has been our way that if one willing to share the Doom of Damocles steps forward to teach and guide a child such as this, the Council can and will show clemency. I see no reason to do otherwise in this case. The boy may go with you, Doctor." The Merlin smiled thinly. "I pray he does not take our mercy lightly."

I could hear Harry exhale. I looked over at a smiling Korra and stepped up to where Dustin was on his knees beside Morgan. I pulled the hood off. He looked at me with forlorn eyes. "They're telling the truth, aren't they Doctor?", he asked me in a low, sad voice.

"Anyone can do terrible things," I replied. "But you're better than that. Your family is still in there, with you. They'll guide you to do the right thing."

"Come on, Dustin." Korra waved at him. "I'm sure Master Tenzin will be glad to help you. And wait until you meet Bolin, he's going to make you laugh."

Dustin looked from her to me and to the Council. And then back to me. "I'm scared, Doctor."

"Don't be," I assured him. I realized something was terribly wrong at that moment and, like a fool, I hoped my smile would make it better.

"I don't want to be bad," Dustin said. "I... I want to be with my family."

I saw the look in his eyes and knew what was about to happen. But it was too late to stop it.

Dustin twisted out of my grip and turned to Morgan. And he jumped, his hands outstretched to grab Morgan's sword.

Morgan was a combat veteran. He reacted in a matter befitting that experience and brought his blade up.

Dustin ran right into it.

Blood spurted from Dustin's back where the blade pierced his chest. It erupted from the boy's mouth as he hung limply against the blade. I saw him look up at Morgan and meet the older man's eyes. Despite the weakness in his voice, I heard his words.

"Thank you."

"No!" Korra was already almost to him, but she hadn't reacted in time. Her Airbending maneuver ceased in mid grasp as she saw the blade go through Dustin. She reached frantically for a water bottle that wasn't there. "I need water! Someone give me water! I can heal him!"

"It's too late for the boy," Morgan said quietly. "He is gone." The gruff old Warden, about as close to a Judge Dredd of Wizards that one could ever find, laid Dustin's body down and pulled his sword out. I could see that the wound was at the worst possible place; the blade had skewered Dustin's heart. "He rests with his family now."

Korra turned to the Council. I saw a fiery look in her eyes and knew her temper was starting to rise, so I grabbed her arm. "Not here, Korra. There's nothing left you can do."

"They made him do it," she insisted. "They scared him into it."

"Korra, it won't accomplish anything good. There's been enough suffering today," I murmured to her. "Please."

She looked back at me and I saw the tears forming in her eyes, the agony of failure. She blamed herself for both brothers now.

"If there is no other business," the Merlin said, "then I shall consider this meeting adjourned."

I took Korra in my arm and walked her back toward Molly and Harry.

"We have one more point of business, Merlin," I heard LaFortier announce. I looked at Harry and saw the "oh crap" look on his face and had a good idea who he was looking at.

"We now have clear proof that this man, this 'Doctor', is a chronomancer," LaFortier pronounced. "He is a violator of the Sixth Law."

"Pardon me, Councilman LaFortier, but as I am not Human and I do not use magic, I fail to see the issue or, indeed, your jurisdiction," I remarked.

"The Sixth Law is based on a greater principle than magic," Ancient Mai remarked.

"Our duty here is clear, Merlin." LaFortier pointed to me. "The Doctor must be executed. Immediately."

Oh crap.
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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-19 09:36am

"Merlin, this man is an ally of the Council," Harry protested.

"He does swim against the currents of time by his own admittance, Warden Dresden," the Merlin pointed out.

"This man is a grave threat to the very fabric of reality," LaFortier charged. "He must be executed to prevent him from destroying everything."

I began to raise my voice but I was drowned out by a roar of anger. "No!," Korra shouted. "I'm not letting you kill him!" She stepped in front of me.

There was bemusement in the Merlin's voice. "Child, you are clearly ignorant of the power you are threatening. If it is the finding of this Council to execute the Doctor, there's nothing you can do to stop it."

"Try me!"

By this point the Wardens were surrounding her. She noticed them and adopted a fighting stance. With a movement of her arm, soil erupted from beneath the floor and threw four of them off their feet. She moved an arm and sent another two flying backward with a blast of air.

The Merlin raised a hand and energy enveloped Korra, forcing her to her knees. She grunted and struggled against it. "You clearly do not deserve the power you've been given, child," the Merlin announced. "But it is not my place to judge another world, so I'll let you go with a...."

I saw Korra's eyes go white and swallowed.

Surprise flashed across the Merlin's face as his binding field came apart against the power that erupted from within it. Korra rose up into the air on a swirling pillar of air, the power of the Avatar State shining in her eyes. The Wardens, even Morgan, were tossed aside like dolls by the winds she commanded. She turned her attention to the Merlin and the others and with a wave of her arms created a cage of rock and concrete to cut their lines of retreat off. Water erupted from the water lines of the building and swished through the cage, cutting the three prisoners off from their magic. "YOU WILL NOT HARM HIM!", she declared.

"Korra, stop it!", I shouted. "This isn't solving anything!" I looked to see Ebenezer sighing and reaching out. I knew he was going to summon the Blackstaff and once that was out... I shuddered to imagine the consequences. Harry wasn't supposed to see it in action yet and if it worked on Korra and her Avatar Spirit... "Don't!" I shouted at, well, everyone. "Please, calm yourselves!"

I saw the first shadows of black begin to form on Ebenezer's arm. My hand reached into my pocket for the TARDIS key. I'd spent the prior day waiting for this meeting getting a remote control for the TARDIS ready, you see, since I imagined we might need a quick escape. We'd only have seconds before they reacted, of course, and only if this worked...

A hand grabbed Ebenezer's arm, causing the shadows to recede.

After taking his comrade's arm to stop him, the Gatekeeper took a step forward and raised his voice. "We cannot execute the Doctor," he announced.

Rashid's accented voice was rich and powerful, such that it cut through Korra's anger and worry. She remained in the Avatar State for the moment but she ceased her assault on those present. With a motion of her hand the rock receded into the building's foundation.

The Merlin, soaked to the bones, looked to his peer with a clear combination of anger and surprise. "You have something to add to this discussion, Gatekeeper?"

"It is true that the Doctor moves against the current of time," Rashid said. "But he is not the only one. There are many forces that threaten the stability of space-time with magic or technology. Beings such as the Doctor are necessary to preserve the timeline against them. As a Time Lord, the Doctor is a protector of Time and an ally in my own efforts." Rashid nodded to me. "I cannot support his execution and I move that the Council reject Councilman LaFortier's motion."

There was a glare from that quarter, but nothing more was said. The Merlin held the vote. Harry and I exchanged terrified looks, but we needn't have bothered. It was unanimous; I was spared. As soon as the vote was finished Korra settled onto the ground and returned from the Avatar State.

It was clear that Mai and LaFortier were itching for an order against Korra next, but the Gatekeeper preempted them. "In light of the heightened passions in this room I move that we give instructions on the care of the deceased to Warden Ramirez and adjourn, honored Merlin."

Langtry was glaring at Korra, but he didn't give any order. He simply nodded in affirmation.

After arrangements were made for Dustin's remains, the Senior Council retreated from the arena. The Merlin and his allies were still soaked to the bone and plainly upset. Ramirez and the other Wardens eyed us warily as we left the building. Molly couldn't take her eyes off Korra but Harry was... less than happy with her. "Stars and stones, kid, you don't know the hell you just caused me," he sighed.

"They had it coming," Korra insisted. "I couldn't just let them kill the Doctor!"

"The Gatekeeper was never going to let it get that far," I pointed out, even if felt rather glad at her defense of my person.

"Kid..." Harry looked like he wanted to say more but didn't. I guessed it was because we were out in public. "I'll tell you when we're back at my place. Come on, Molly."

They went toward the Beetle. I looked to Korra and motioned toward the TARDIS. "Thank you for your defense, by the way," I said.

"I can't believe they can kill people so quickly and think they're good," Korra replied.

"They've been at war for a few years now," I pointed out. "And you can get used to the ease of simply ordering executions."

We got to the TARDIS and Korra went in first. As I went to I heard a single footstep behind me. I turned, quite sure who was standing there.

"Hello, Doctor," said the Gatekeeper.

I closed the TARDIS door behind me and looked to him. "Gatekeeper. To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"I thought I would pay my respects," he said.

"My thanks for your intercession. I wasn't keen to see the Blackstaff applied on Korra."

"It is debatable on whether it would have worked, but I didn't wish to find out." He leaned slightly on his staff. "You're still fairly early in your timestream as the Doctor, aren't you?"

"Yes."

"And you just saw your first Crack."

I narrowed my eyes. "You know of them," I stated.

"Yes." He nodded. "I'm not yet sure what caused them. But it occurs to me that there is a coincidence here that needs consideration."

"Oh?"

"Here you are, recently altered and given the ability to traverse the six dimensions. And now we have cracks in those dimensions."

I had thought about that and gave a nod. "It's not a coincidence I like."

"Ah." He nodded. "You worry that you have caused them. I am not so sure of that. I do urge you to be careful, however, in pursuing them. It is possible they have a link to what was done to you."

"That thought also crossed my mind. I plan on being very careful."

"Good luck, then, and I hope you find the answers you seek." He turned to leave. But he stopped. "By the way, how much do you remember of your old life?"

I had been about to open the TARDIS when he asked. I looked intently at him. "What do you mean?"

"Who were your friends and family? What did you do with them?", Rashid asked.

I let my thoughts wonder. "Well, I did plenty of things. I..." I thought of memories with my friends. Of late night brainstorming chats, of political and historical discussions, and other things. And the times I'd been with people. I remembered meeting some friends to see Return of the King, or the following year when I met my friend Amy in person, and my trips to New York and to Oregon to see friends. I thought of the cool Pacific air whipping across my face out on Puget Sound.

"What about your family?"

"Oh. Yes, I remem...ber..." Horror crept into my voice as my mind tried to grasp the images of my parents, the memories of their voices... and found nothing. I put a hand to my head as pain began to gather in my temple. "....my parents. They're... I can't remember..."

"Who you once were is wrapped up in those memories."

"There's a lock in my mind," I gasped, remembering Bob's words. "It's taking everything I was and keeping it out of my head."

"Yes. Be careful that your new identity doesn't overwhelm what's left of your old."

"Can you help me with..."

"No," the Gatekeeper answered. "I cannot break that lock in your mind. Only you can."

"I don't know how."

For a moment the Gatekeeper remained silent, like he was looking at something past me. His eyes refocused on me. "Keep traveling Doctor," he said. "You may yet find a way. I wish you well."

At that point he turned and left. I watched him go and breathed in.

I can't tell you how much it hurt, losing those memories, and knowing it was just the start, that something in my head would soon take everything I knew and loved and keep it from me.

I remembered feeling anger at whoever did this to me. I remember wanting to make it stop. But I didn't know how. And as I stood there alone by the TARDIS, watching the Gatekeeper disappear into a Way, I grasped at the only hope I had, the hope he had offered me.

I had to keep going.




We were all gathered inside the TARDIS' library and sitting room, hiding in the Time Vortex and away from any possible spies from Harry's world.

Harry wasn't very pleased with Korra at the moment. "I'm going to spell this out for you, okay?", he grumbled. "I brought you to a Council meeting as a witness. Then you go and make a scene and humiliate the Merlin and two of his closest allies. Do you have any idea how bad this could be?"

"I wasn't going to let them kill him!", Korra retorted. "Maybe if your bosses weren't such... such jerks I wouldn't have done anything!"

"Jerk bosses are a part of life, kid! You can't go around kicking their tails in because you don't like it!"

"It sounds like we missed all the fun," Camilla remarked stoically from her seat.

"I think the issue, Korra, is that this may not remain a secret." I eyed Harry. "When word of this gets out, and it will, the supernatural powers of the world will know that you walked into a meeting of the Senior Council, attacked the Merlin and two of his peers, and then walked out without a scratch."

Harry nodded. I'm sure he could tell from my look that I knew about the traitor in the White Council, a figure working with the Vampires and more... disruptive forces at work in his world. I'm sure he had an idea that I knew who the traitor was - and I did - but I can't go messing with the timeline that blatantly. "We're in the middle of peace talks with the Vampires right now, kid, and you just cost us. You made us look weak and stupid. And you're not going to be around to take the heat for that. I am."

"Well, let's go hit the vampires too!"

"No!", I shouted. "No no no, young lady, you have taken enough risks outside of your world already. If any diversions begin happening from the timeline I will deal with them." I sighed. "I think it's time we ended what has been a very bad day."

"It's been more than one day," Janias pointed out.

"Earth day. There are worlds with longer, I'm going to go with those for this." I motioned to the control room.

"Hey Doc." Harry looked up at me as I went up some stairs. "What about that 'Crack'? What if more pop up?"

"The Gatekeeper is looking out for them," I said. "But... come here."

We all headed to the control room, where I landed the TARDIS in front of Harry's apartment again. I reached into my pocket and retrieved a device I'd just picked up. "It's a temporal beacon, use it on your phone and it'll let you call the TARDIS. Don't worry, I've shielded it from your magic field, it'll work." I handed it to him. "If you see any more Cracks, call. And if you need help with something... call as well." I swallowed. "Just remember that I can't risk interfering in some of the events to come, Harry. It'll disrupt your timeline too much."

"Let's just hope my timeline doesn't get too shitty," he replied. He pocketed the beacon. "Come on Grasshopper. Let's go."

Molly nodded and gave Cami, Janias, and Korra goodbyes. "I'd love it if you came back sometime," she said to them. "Harry can be a real sourpuss. And you haven't met my mom yet."

A mental image crossed my mind. It consisted of Molly introducing her devout Catholic parents to a lesbian couple, one of whom wasn't even Human. I started to laugh despite myself, getting looks from the others. "Sorry, I just had something stuck in my head. Very amusing. Something to bring popcorn too." I looked back to Molly. "Take care young lady, and mind that bit in your head that thinks about playing with the minds of others. Make sure to listen to Harry. Well, except when he's being dumb, then listen just enough to make him do something smart."

"Oh, the last thing I need is you undermining me with my own apprentice," Harry guffawed. He looked at Janias and Camilla. "Hey, girls, keep him from being dumb, okay?"

"A fair retort," I remarked. I looked up as they stepped out of the TARDIS and Harry began to close it. "It was an honor to work beside you, Harry Dresden. Take care of yourself."

"Same to you, Doctor." He gave me a crooked smile and a wink. "Same to you. Good luck finding out what happened to you."

As soon as the door closed I took the TARDIS out. I remember thinking I'd forgotten something, but I couldn't remember what...

I'd find out eventually, of course. But that's a story for another time.




It was sunset in Republic City when Korra and I stepped out of the TARDIS. I'd brought her straight to Air Acolyte Island a couple of hours after we'd left the city.

Her friends were standing in what I assumed to be combat stances. Master Tenzin was waiting patiently, but a smile came across his bearded face as Korra walked up to them. "Korra?!"

Mako grabbed her and brought her into a hug. I tried not to think about how badly that was going to end for him. They kissed warmly for a moment.

A figure moved out from behind Tenzin. I recognized Chief Lin Bei-Fong and tried not to frown. She pointed a finger at me. "Give me a good reason not to haul you in for kidnapping and associating with Equalists?"

"Well, I wasn't associating with them and it's hard for me to be a kidnapper when someone grabs my TARDIS as it dematerializes," I pointed out. "I'm the Doctor, by the way. Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Chief Bei-Fong."

"Yeah, that's kind of my fault," Korra admitted. She continued to hold on to Mako for the moment but she was looking at Lin. "He's not a bad guy, Lin."

"Where have you been?", Tenzin asked.

"Well, I grabbed the Doctor's TARDIS thing, and it kinda flew off toward another world but I was messing it up so the Doctor had to crashland it into a building. And then there were zombies - walking dead bodies, really gross - and this tall guy named Harry who could Firebend like nothing I've seen before using something called evocation..."

By the time Korra finished her tale Tenzin was alternatively sighing with relief and a face-palming. "The Avatar State isn't meant for you to have a temper tantrum, Korra," he chided her.

"Hey, those White Council jerks deserved it," Korra insisted.

"All that matters is that you're home," Mako insisted.

Tenzin's wife, Pema, stepped up to me. "Um, Doctor? Would you like to have dinner with us?"

I almost said no. But seeing the look on her face I allowed myself a small smile. "Wonderful idea. I have companions, two young ladies, who travel with me."

"Oh, we have plenty. We're used to having extra mouths around here." Pema looked toward Mako and Bolin.

"Very well. I'll be right with you." I opened the door to go invite Janias and Camilla.

"So, walking dead, huh?", I heard Bolin ask. "That's totally crazy. Man, that would have been fun..."




Dinner was swell, although it didn't involve green noodles. Oh well. When it was done and after I managed to extricate Janias from introducing Bolin to Jedi Force techniques the hard way, we returned to the TARDIS. I stopped and looked up at Aang's statue while the girls returned to the TARDIS to begin resting. It was, all things told, a lovely sight. The Republic City skyline at night is something one must see to truly enjoy.

I heard footsteps behind me and saw Korra walk up. "Good evening, Korra."

"You're leaving, right?"

"Yes. Other worlds to visit and all." I smiled at her. "Don't worry, I'll be back. I still need to try those green noodles."

She let out a small giggle at that. But I could see she was hurting. "I... I screwed up, didn't I?"

I was silent.

"I mean, I dragged your TARDIS around like that and made it crash. And I didn't help Harry and Murphy against the zombies when I should have. And then attacking the Council... and it was all for nothing anyway because we didn't save Dustin and his brother." I saw tears in her face. "I failed."

"You helped us end a threat that might have harmed hundreds of innocent people," I reminded her. "You showed mercy and compassion to a child who needed it. And... well, perhaps you gave the Merlin a little needed humility." I looked upward for a moment. "Okay, yes, that probably wasn't the best thing. That man's ego can survive a shower like that. Might be best if you don't go back to that cosmos until a bit later in the timestream there."

Korra shook her head, tears still in her eyes. "I didn't save Dustin, though."

"He made his choice, Korra." I sighed and gave the suffering young heroine a hug. "Sometimes you don't save everyone, Korra. Sometimes you don't save anyone. Sometimes winning is just getting out alive. It's something you're going to have to accept. Even the Avatar has limits." I heard her sob and let her finish. "Sometimes, Korra, you just have a bad day."

As I said those words, I felt a tear in my eye. They weren't just for her benefit; they reminded me that I couldn't save everyone either. It wasn't an easily thing to think on, but it couldn't be helped. It still can't. I have to live with this truth every day. It's part of being the Doctor.

After a few moments she let go and looked up at me with those bright blue eyes. "Can I come with you?", she asked.

"Uhm." I swallowed and thought of the issue. "As I said, Korra, it's a risk to take you out of this cosmos."

"We don't have to get into a fight all the time," she pointed out. "But there are so many worlds out there. I'd like to see them."

"I can't blame you for that." I thought of her past. Even Republic City was relatively new to her. She'd spent almost her entire life cooped up in a White Lotus training camp in the Southern Water Tribe. I can see that giving her a major case of wanderlust. And I could imagine the delight in those blue eyes at the wonders I could show her. "Sometimes... i suppose I can show you some sights. But not all the time. You have important work here, Korra. Very important. Being the Avatar carries responsibilities I can't interfere with."

"I know."

I drew in a breath and pulled something out of my pocket. "This is the same thing I gave to Harry, Korra. If you see any of those cracks, or anything beyond normal for your world, or you just need a lot of help... make sure you call me, okay?" I handed it to her. "I can't promise I can help with anything, but if I can... I'll be here."

"Thank you." She took it and put it into her belt.

I nodded at her and walked over to the TARDIS. As I opened the door I heard her call out to me and look back. "Doctor, how do you deal with a bad day like we just had?", she asked.

I stood there for a moment in thought. "I think about it. I think what I might have done to change things. And I remember I can't let it get to me."

"Oh?"

"It's the best way to think on these things. Can't dwell on them, it'll drive you mad. And I'm mad enough as it is."

"And what else?"

I smiled at Korra. "I remember, my dear Korra, that there's always tomorrow."

The words settled in. She smiled back.

And with that, I closed the door.

It had been a bad day, or rather a few if you want to be picky. But there was always tomorrow.

”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-19 09:40am

Short 2 - Dinner Date

Very shortly after we dealt with that whole mess involving Avatar Korra, Harry Dresden, and zombies, I received a signal from one of my temporal beacons. It was from Nerys, on Bajor for business and looking to have the promised dinner.

Given my mood after that mess, I decided to take her up on it.

I parked the TARDIS in the Bajoran capital Ashalla, gave the girls enough local currency to go have a romantic dinner, and stepped out to find Nerys waiting for me. She wasn't in uniform this time, wearing a long-sleeved brown and green jacket and trousers that passed for casual dinner fare for Bajorans. I was, of course, in my navy blue jacket, light blue button-down, and navy blue pants with green shoes. We made quite a clashing pair.

The meal was excellent, a combination of Bajoran seafoods and vegetable platters with a side fruit. We were served almost immediately, a custom at the restaurant, so we ate quietly for a time before Nerys spoke. "So, how far ahead are you?"

"Oh, not very far from when I gave you the beacon," I said. "I almost bumped into you when you and Chief O'Brien were hunting history for Sisko and the others. I wanted to show the girls a modern Earth and we were already in this cosmos so..." I sighed. "A shame Los Angeles is underwater in this timeframe."

"You almost bumped into us?"

"Well, I saw you, but I knew what you were doing and that you had no time to talk. I suspect the TARDIS may have been responsible for your reading on that era. Sorry."

"Any reason you didn't help?"

The question was a reasonable one and not said with any irritation. "I might have complicated it further. It's hard to mess with fixed points in time like that, Nerys. Sisko did what he had to in order to fix the situation, but you know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen."

"And you did stun Dax the last time," Nerys pointed out. "We had these two DTI agents debrief us all after that."

"Lucsly and Dulmur?", I asked.

"No. It was another pair of them. A Human man and Bolian woman. They'd already had to deal with Miles' time looping so they came back out."

"Ah, time loops. Always a bother." I took a small drink of the Bajoran tea I'd ordered. "Good to see you're doing well, at least. How is Shakaar?"

"He's got a campaign to plan."

"Good. He'll make a fine First Minister." My smile hid an uncertainty; I knew that in at least one possible timeline Shakaar would be taken over by an alien parasite and then assassinated by a Trill security agent hunting the parasites down. I hoped, for Nerys' sake, that this timeline was not that one.

I almost spoke about Kai Winn, but I didn't. Talking about the power-hungering woman serving as Bajor's spiritual leader would only lead to Nerys thinking about Bareil, the man Winn had slandered to take that office and Nerys' lover. That wound would be fresh in her heart.

"I'll let him know you gave your endorsement." Nerys smiled. "So, what have you been up to?"

"Oh, nothing too unusual. Well, save the zombies."

"Zombies?" Nerys' face showed her confusion.

"Oh, come now, three years with Starfleeters and not one of them have ever told you a good zombie story?" I laughed. "The walking dead, Nerys."

Her look was surprisingly skeptical. "What? 'Walking dead'?"

"As in corpses re-animated to life through metaphysical energy of some sort," I explained.

Her look remained skeptical.

"Each cosmos tends to have its own level of metaphysical activity. I found one with a very high level. And we had to deal with zombies. Fast and strong buggers too, due to the energy they fed off of." I briefly considered the Crack and pushed it from my mind. I was supposed to be enjoying myself. "Actually, it was a rather bad day, but it could have been worse."

"They can always be worse, it seems," Nerys agreed.

We shared a brief laugh. Our discussions turned toward the current status of DS9 and its crew. I enjoyed the talk greatly and seeing Nerys smile. It seemed to justify that horrible decision I'd made to leave an eight year old girl on a world full of violence and pain.

When our bellies were full and a bottle of springwine had given a bit of a buzz to the evening we made our way back out into the streets. "All you have to do is ask, you know," I said.

"Ask for what?"

"There are all sorts of wonderous cities in Bajor's past that we could visit," I said. "Just a quick hop in the TARDIS and off we go."

"I don't think I could justify that to DTI if they found out," Nerys answered, smiling wistfully.

"You're Bajoran militia, you don't answer to them."

"And I work on a Federation station. Working alongside Sisko is more important to me right now."

"Very well. It was just an offer." We stepped up into the alleyway where I'd left the TARDIS. "Would you at least let me return you to Deep Space Nine?"

Nerys drew in a sigh. "Well, it'd cut down the travel time. I'd just have to explain how I got back without being on a manifest."

"Oh, I'm sure Odo can cover for you if you ask nicely. Maybe not for me, but definitely for you."

She seemed to think it over. "Well, I suppose... I'll have to go get my things first."

"Oh, of course, I have to wait for the girls anyway. No telling how long those lovebirds will be. Shall we be off?"

Nerys wasn't staying too far away as it turned out. We retrieved the bag she'd brought to Bajor and returned to the TARDIS in time to see Janias and Camilla walk up, hands clasped. "I love this city," Camilla said. "I don't think I've seen anything more beautiful in my life."

"Thank you," Nerys said, grinning in reply.

"Well, when you grew up in the Sith Empire you don't see much in the way of beauty," Janias pointed out. "But she's right. I love Bajoran designs."

"They've been doing it for thousands of years," I pointed out. "Lots of time to practice. Anyway, ladies, all aboard the TARDIS..." I pushed the door open.

A look of horror crossed the girls' faces and utter confusion on Nerys'. I turned to see what had happened and the sight almost struck me dumb.

The control center was now a mess. Fragments and scraps of fabric were strewn everywhere, creating a colorful mess.

"What in the Frozen Hell of Corellia?!", Janias cursed.

I put a hand to my head and visually scanned the control center. A figure emerged from the other side of the central control column. "You," I said accusingly.

The offender replied with a grin.




When the TARDIS rematerialized, I threw the door open and shouted, "OUT! Out with you!"

I wasn't looking up, but I already knew who was watching. It had been, for them, only ten or so seconds since the TARDIS had de-materialized from when I'd left them the last time, but now Harry Dresden and Molly Carpenter were staring at me in confusion.

The wrecker of my wardrobe slowly left the TARDIS. "Mouse?!", Harry said, incredulous.

"Bad dog!", I shouted. "Bad bad dog!"

Mouse barked a retort.

"A favor!? You ruined my wardrobe! Do you realize how much cleanup work I have to do?!" I put my hand on my head. "Did you at least get the patchwork suit and yellow stripe pants? I've been forgetting to find a star to throw them into."

Mouse nodded and made a huffing sound.

"Okay, okay, thank you for that. But seriously, Mouse! You could have asked for a TARDIS ride instead of stowing away!" I looked up to Harry and Molly, who were staring beyond me to where Nerys was watching with bemusement. "Oh, yes. Nerys, may I introduce Harry Dresden, Wizard of the White Council, and his apprentice Molly Carpenter. Harry, Molly, this is Major Kira Nerys, first officer of Deep Space Nine."

Mouse let out another bark.

"Oi, you're lucky you don't have opposable digits or I'd have you in there cleaning up your mess!"

There was a grin on Molly's face, but Harry went beyond that and broke out laughing. "Nice one, buddy," he said to his dog.

"Don't encourage him, Harry!"

Mouse bounded over to Harry and Molly and stood between them. "So, uh, did Korra get home?", Harry asked.

"Yes. I'll have to take you to Air Acolyte Island sometime. Pema is a wonderful cook. No meat, of course, but still fairly good. Much better than that Burger King fare you tried to inflict on us."

"Don't diss the King," Harry retorted. Molly let out a giggle.

"Make sure to punish him thoroughly," I insisted.

Harry knelt beside Mouse and put a hand between his ears. "You'll get an extra biscuit tonight, Mouse."

I let out an exasperated sigh and closed the TARDIS.




An hour of cleaning had cleared most of the debris from the TARDIS; Nerys had pitched in out of amusement more than anything. "I think the dog did you a favor," she remarked. "Some of these suits were just horrible."

"I'll grant you that," I replied. At least Mouse had destroyed the Sixth Doctor's suit thoroughly. "We're in your quarters now, Nerys. I can't keep you any longer."

We walked to the TARDIS door. As I opened it I reached over into bags I'd prepared. "A little something for Lieutenant Dax," I said. "First edition volumes from several prominent Trill science journals during the development of Trill interstellar space travel. Tell her it's an apology gift. And the offer of a TARDIS ride is still open."

Nerys moved the bag into her quarters and looked back. "And that's... a baseball bat?"

"Not just any old baseball bat," I said. I handed it to her, pointing out the crown insignia on the bat. "It's an authentic London Kings 2026 team slugger, signed by the entire squad. Buck Bokai even left a message at my request."

Nerys flipped the bat and read the autograph. "'From Buck to Ben Sisko, my number one fan.'" Nerys let out a chuckle. "I... do you think the Federation will let him keep it?"

"Oi, I hope so. I don't want to tell you what I went through to get that autograph," I answered. I let Nerys set it down on her table and come back. We exchanged a final hug. "Thank you for the dinner, it was lovely. Take care of yourself, Nerys. Remember, if you need anything, just use that temporal beacon and I'll come right away..."

"...but only if it won't wreck the timeline," she added.

"I see I've given you the line before," I remarked. "Tricky thing, time travel. All sorts of fixed points and currents to deal with. But it can be worth it." I stepped back into the TARDIS, feeling like the crazy uncle saying goodbye to his favorite niece. "I'll see you around, Nerys."

"I'm looking forward to it," she answered.

"My regards to the others." I let out a sigh as I closed the TARDIS door. One of these days I was going to have to straighten things out with Starfleet and DTI.

And so the night ended. After the bad day... it was a comforting change of pace.

I suppose I should finish with a comment on Mouse, now that everything has come and gone. Mouse's rampage was not random. After the hard work of restoring my dressing room to normal working order, I would find that my normal suits were untouched. Mouse apparently had a very specific target in mind when he ransacked the TARDIS.

The replica Doctor costumes.

And he was thorough. Every iconic garment from that collection was ruined beyond repair. Eleven's bowtie, Nine's leather jacket, Eight's green suit, Four's scarf... I would never be able to wear them. Which was, I suppose, the motive for Mouse's attack. It was a blow for my individuality against the force compelling me to become the Doctor.

In other words, Mouse did do me a favor.

I'll need to remember to give him a nice doggy biscuit for that one.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-20 08:50am

Episode 4 - My Favorite Color

I love the color purple.

Don't ask me why, I just do.

And I'd just found the best expression of that color I'd ever seen.

The Amethyst Cliffs of Jeli stretched out before us. Their bright purple shimmering was a lovely sight, the kind you make a pilgrimage to see. The coloring of Jeli was very similar as well; the leaves of the plants were purple, purple stone lined the soil... the vista was very purple, with some blues and teals for lovely contrasts.

"It is lovely," Camilla said from where she was standing behind me, her arm wrapped around Janias' waist.

"Yes." I breathed in a sigh. The loveliness of the view was something you couldn't take in all at once while it reminded me of all the other wonders I could find.

"At least it's not too colorful," Janias remarked. "Not like that last world."

I looked at her. "What was wrong with the last world? I thought the colors made it look vibrant."

Camilla shook her head. "They were too colorful, I thought."

"It wasn't that bad. Wasn't a world I was looking to visit but hey, we ended up there, we saw the sights, the locals were very friendly and easy to get along with, what was there to complain about? I like not having to run a lot."

"They were those... four-legged things... what did you call them?"

"Equus ferus," I declared. "Horses. Well, ponies to be precise. Still, very friendly, didn't you think Janias?"

Janias glared. "The blue one flew right into me."

The mental image crossed my mind and made me laugh. "Well, you know how it is. They're a quadripedal species, we're bipedal, we probably surprised them as much as they surprised us. Although I suppose that one was being pretty reckless, speeding around like that." A thought went through my head. "Wasn't she more of a teal?"

Janias rolled her eyes.

As the sun went down the color effect faded. I put my hands together. "Alright, that show is over. Time to go." We returned to the TARDIS and entered. At the door I turned and faced Janias. "Before I forget, I have a gift for you, my dear."

"Oh?"

I reached into my jacket and pulled out an object that I knew would be very familiar to her.

Janias' eyes widened as she accepted it. "A lightsaber? Where did you get this?"

"I don't sleep as much as you two," I reminded her. "I do all sorts of little errands when you're sleeping. How else do you think the pantry stays stocked?"

"No wonder we have so many of those little colored candies," Camilla laughed.

"Oi, don't diss the M&Ms," I retorted. "It's better than picking up jellybabies."

Janias looked up at me. "Who built this?"

"Oh, I did."

"But... you don't have the Force."

I smiled and shook my head. "I'm a Time Lord, Jan. I don't need the Force to build something like that. I thought about just giving you the parts but... I thought the surprise would be better."

Okay, that was a half lie. The truth was that I wanted to see if I could do it without the Force. It was a bit tricky but, hey, I'm the Doctor. It wasn't that tricky.

Janias accepted it and pointed it out of the TARDIS. When she turned it on an energy blade hissed to life. It was purple, of course. She looked at me and rolled her eyes again. "I told you this is a Sith color."

"Not in the post-Ruusan era," I responded. "And not in the past either. The joy of time travel, my dear."

She turned the blade off and put it on her belt. Her green eyes looked up at me. "Thank you, Doctor."

"Yes, well, I imagine if we find any more zombies it'll be useful, yes?" I winked at her and went up to the controls. I manipulated a few buttons and checked the displays. "Oh, it looks like our girl needs a fill up."

"A what?"

"A refueling, my dear Cami," I answered. "Your starships use hypermatter. The TARDIS uses energies absorbed from proximity to disturbances in space-time. Rifts and such. Dormant ones are preferable, of course." I ran a few calculations. "Ah, here we are. I think we have a good one here. Tally ho!"

I moved the TARDIS across six dimensions and settled into a rich field of energy, associated with a long-passed temporal event. It was a pretty big one from what I saw. I went up to the TARDIS door and opened it.

A checkerboard floor was at my feet. The facility around me was empty but cleared rather past 20th Century level with active computer displays. I stepped out with the girls behind me. Ahead of us was a single statue, a feminine humanoid form with arms raised up high as if in triumph. I walked up to it and read the plaque.

"Chronopolis Military Research Station." I looked up and sighed. "Oh bugger."

The Chronoverse. I'd be overjoyed, except this was from the crappy sequel and this facility part of a very convoluted plot that, nevertheless, would save space-time in this cosmos and maybe others. "I wonder," I murmured. Knowing how much time travel happened on this world, not to mention an alternate timeline bridging to another, I wondered if I might find something here concerning the Cracks. For all I knew the time travel that a certain adventuring teenager and his friends used to stop a space parasite from destroying their world was the result of a Crack, or even more than one.

I decided it was worth checking out.

"Doctor?"

"What?", I asked, looking back to Janias and Camilla. They pointed above me, toward the tube elevator.

A massive blue robot was hovering into sight, clear weapon mounts shifting into readiness.

"Oh bugger," I said yet again.





Having a big robot trying to kill me was a change from zombies, at least.

Of course, zombies didn't have that much firepower.

We dove for cover as a rocket slammed into the floor. I pulled out my sonic screwdriver while Janias ignited her new lightsaber. "I'll draw its attention!", she called out. "You get close and do... whatever it is you're ging to do!"

"Good plan," i replied.

Janias may have only been a Padawan in training, but her hard experiences made her a very effective ally in a fight like this. She jumped and rolled and dodged the firecoming her way, knocking some shots back into the thing with her lightsaber. I drew closer to it all the while.

The rocket launcher came up again and fired. This time Janias extended her arm. Subtle energy thrummed in the air and the projectile was thrown back into the robot, exploding in the process. I looked to see she was staggering a little; she wasn't so well-trained in the Force to be able to do this kind of thing effortlessly.

But she did give me an opening.

I made one final sprint. As the damaged robot pushed itself back up to height I got close enough to bring the sonic screwdriver up and activate one of its more enjoyable functions; a software scrambler. The robot froze in place, unable to process attack commands. That let me get close enough to pull open an access port on the chest and run the screwdriver over it again. "Ah, command functions... and friend-or-foe identifiers. Well, we'll have to change that. Oooooh..." I smiled while purple light from my sonic played over the port. "A network connection to all the other bots in the station, hrm? That is very useful, thank you very much. Just let me export these friend-or-foe settings and a nice remote command and.... done."

When the robot began moving again, it simply stepped back and lifted into the air to hover again. Janias looked up from where she was recovering. "Nothing's ever easy with you, is it Doctor?"

"Well, it's not as bad as getting run into by a pony-pegasus flying about fifty kilometers an hour, is it?" I palmed my screwdriver. "I'm going to check a couple of things, you girls stay in the TARDIS."

"Just be careful," Camilla urged.

I nodded and continued on to the elevator. It didn't want to let me go down to the basement without a security key but, well, I had a sonic screwdriver, which is even better. Well, unless someone has a deadlock on something. But that wasn't apparently a part of the technological scale here. After the elevator came and brought me down to the basement I was treated to the sight of a large chamber with a single golden nameplate above it. Project KID was engraved into the nameplate. "Well, let's see what timeframe we're at," I muttered, stepping up to it. When I tried to gain access it refused, demanding an "Arbiter".

Well, that settled that. "Sometime between 1006 and 1020 Guardia Calendar," I mumbled to myself. Undaunted I used the screwdriver to continue playing around. The system was very well networked and I was able to go through all sorts of data. I even was able to download into my screwdriver's reserve memory a very important piece of software I wanted to preserve.

Now you're asking, by this point, just what this place is. The truth is... extremely convoluted. The short version is; a wise man from an ancient, magi-tech using civilization was thrown into the future by about fourteen hundred years and discovered that the princess he once served loyally was being forcibly merged with a nasty planet-wrecking space parasite that had fallen into a dimensional pocket with her (after being defeated by a bunch of meddling kids and their frog). This resulting merged entity would devour space-time when it finished maturing. To stop it, he arranged the creation of Chronopolis and intentionally guided it along a path that would ensure it attracted the attention of the aforementioned parasite before its defeat so that said parasite would drag it back in time to interfere with history and prevent said defeat. That gambit failed, the spirit of the planet summoned an alternate world's reptilian civilization.... oh, forget it. See what I mean? Convoluted.

Pretty MacGuffin inside Chronopolis merges with dying little boy, activating a control system to lock down the MacGuffin, Chronopolis computer gets upset at having its MacGuffin toy locked out, turns boy's father into a meat puppet over time, tries to kill boy to undo damage. Quantum decision point results, computer gets locked into timeline where boy dies and system is still locked while boy lives in newly-formed fifth dimensional.... this isn't working, is it?

No, no it isn't. I bloody well give up.

A Wizard Did It. And all space-time was saved.

There. I'm through trying to explain this situation.

Amateur "Prophets" of Time and their convoluted schemes. They should leave saving space-time to the professionals. Ignore the fact that I'm still a rookie Time Lord and will be for a while.

I was about to cut the connection when I noticed internal sensors detecting an energy spike in the holding areas. The field wasn't entirely technological, but was clearly a spatial bridge of some sort. In other words, a transporter.

Three signals appeared. Only one was Human.

And the biggest smile crossed my face. I knew when I was. I knew who the Human was. "Oh, my dear, dear TARDIS, thank you," I whispered. "The perfect time!"

I felt giddy as I returned to the elevator.



The holding area was a converted brig, given this was a military research facility in its timeframe. No, it's not one you can find in the game. Did you really think those representations do justice to the truth of these facilities? Nope.

I had been hoping to find the Human all alone, but the others were still there with their captive on the other end of a forcefield. "...how to release the circuit if you wish to live," a voice hissed. I mean literally hissed since it was being spoken by, well, a cat-man.

Yes, a cat man.

Well, to be precise, a Human long transformed with feline biological material by a power-mad supercomputer, but that's getting into a bit too much detail honestly.

"Oi, no need for that now," I called out.

Three faces turned to me. I kept a smile on my face as my hand reached for the sonic screwdriver in my pocket. "Hello there. Monsieur Lynx and Mademoiselle Harle, I presume? I'm the Doctor. J'e m'appelle Docteur, if you prefer."

"How did you get in here?" Lynx crossed his arms and tried to look intimidating. I did have to be careful with that one; being the embodiment of a living supercomputer in a world with active metaphysical energy meant he had some nasty means of aggression if I pushed him. I decided to keep him off balance by, well, being the giddy fanboy I felt welling inside me over the third figure.

"Oh, just stopping by," I answered. I walked up toward him. "Before you start to get violent, I think you should be aware of something."

Lynx was capable of a feline smirk. Undoubtedly he thought me more of a madman than anything else. It was probably the reason he hadn't unslung the wicked-looking scythe strapped to his back. "Go ahead. Amuse me."

I brought my sonic up and aimed it at one of the big combat robots in the room. I didn't mention them before because I was only mentioning threats, you see. They didn't count as one. At the push of my sonic they came active and activated their weapons. Said weapons were quickly pointed at Lynx and Harle.

Oh, and, did I mention the combat droids that had followed me and were now covering them from the exit as well? Consider that done.

"As you can see, Monsieur Lynx, I'm quite handy with identification protocols in security systems. Comes with being a Time Lord." I winked. "Now, what have we here?" I pointed the sonic to the controls for the cell forcebeams. The red beams vanished a moment later. I looked into the cell as a pair of light green eyes looked back up at me. "Oh-hohoho..." I knew my smile was almost maniac from giddyness. "I've been looking forward to this!"

I should probably describe the captive I'd just rescued. She wasn't in the best of shapes at the moment. Her exposed skin was red from exposure to heat (or rather flames in this case) and her clothes had some burn marks on them. She was holding one arm awkwardly from a clear injury to the limb. Her clothing was casual but matched the colors I knew to be her preference; orange and green.

And, of course, her hair was my favorite color.

"We should do this properly, one time traveler to another," I said as she blinked at me through her spectacles. "Hello, Lucca. I'm the Doctor. And I'm a big fan of your work."




In retrospect, I probably should have simply taken Lucca straight to the TARDIS and then had my geek-out. Instead I prompted to have it right there, right in front of the snarling, hissing cat-man who was probably envisioning slicing me to ribbons with a scythe.

Lucca was admittedly confused. Of course, she'd just been dragged from her burning home to a future facility by a cat-man and his harlequin assistant and now had a tall guy in a blue-themed suit smiling like a maniac at her. I can't really blame her, can I?

"Has anyone ever told you how great your hair looks? That color... purple's my favorite, you know. See?" I showed her the tip of the sonic screwdriver. "Purple! And the brainy specs!", I shouted with glee. "I love those brainy specs! I just got my own, see?" I pulled a pair of specially-made glasses out of my shirt pocket and slipped them on. They were square-shaped instead of the round-shaped glasses Lucca was wearing. "What do you think, Lucca? Be honest, I can take the criticism."

She shook her head, still very befuddled. "Just who are you?"

"I'm a Time Lord. Well, Human-turned-Time Lord, I suppose..."

"...and soon to be very dead," Lynx added.

"Oi, who's talking to you?" I stood up and looked at Lynx, putting my brainy specs away as I did. "I'll get to you in a moment, Mister Whiskers."

"You shouldn't be here," Lucca said. "He's too powerful."

"Yeah, he is rather loaded for bear, isn't he?" I knelt on my haunches again in front of her. "Oh, you have no idea how excited I am at this meeting, Lucca. Or would you prefer Doctor Ashtear? I'm fine with formality, if you'd prefer."

"Uh... no, that won't be necessary."

"Oh, my apologies. You've been through a lot due to this hairball-hacking bloke, I really should be more thoughtful. It's just... I'm just so excited to meet you." Hearing Lynx hiss again I winked at her and moved my head up by her's. "Can you run?", I whispered into her ear.

Lucca nodded slightly. That was good, her injuries weren't in her legs, at least.

"Be ready." After whispering that back to her I stood back to my height and faced down Lynx. "And as for you." I pointed a finger at him. "Seriously, just what are you trying to accomplish here? You really think she can unlock the Frozen Flame for you? I mean, I suppose you have little choice given you made the boneheaded decision to kill the boy it bonded to. But this is just a stretch."

I saw more than just irritation flash in Lynx's yellow eyes. "How do you know somuch?", he hissed.

"I'm a Time Lord, it comes with the territory," I answered. "If I thought for a moment I was talking to the original owner of this body I would tell him how sorry I was for him. He did everything he could to save the son he loved. But he's not here, is he? You destroyed him. All that's left is a monstrosity, an extension of a power-mad supercomputer unwilling to accept the loss of its precious toy. And now you've ruined the lives of quite a few nice little children and for what? A shot in the dark?"

My voice had been raising. I could feel intense outrage welling up inside me as I faced down Lynx, a monster who was still to go on to engineer yet more pain and suffering. I thought of the cries of children as their home burned down around them.

"You mess with power you cannot imagine, simpleton," Lynx threatened.

"Oh, how I love the hubris of rogue AIs," I responded. And as I did so, I realized Lynx was playing a deeper game.

He was, after all, the extension of the FATE supercomputer, not always in contact with it but still connected in some way. This was the same computer that ultimately ran Chronopolis even with the lockouts on it.

In other words, the computer that was even now undoing my alterations to the security bot programming.

"Fun fact," I said, bringing my sonic screwdriver back out. "Like canines, felines have a wider perception range of audio frequencies than Humans."

Lynx looked at me with some bewilderment.

I smiled and brought the sonic screwdriver up before triggering it.

A yowling screech erupted from Lynx's throat. Harle also dropped. The high-frequency sonic pulse I'd just directed at them was clearly within her listening range as well, which wasn't surprising given her origins. I reached down toward Lucca who was already standing. She took my hand. I smiled and looked back to her. "And now, in respect for our fair harlequin here... Allons-y!"

We ran out of the holding area. As we stepped out I saw the drones shut down. The security network was rebooting, meaning I was about to get set upon by the entire base worth of drones. And a very angry super-powered cat-man.

"Where are we going?!", Lucca asked.

"Our way out of here," I answered. We began racing up stairs.

As we came out the next door we had to flatten against the wall as fire came down from a hovering aerial drone. I brought up the sonic screwdriver and used a lull in the firing to send off a disruption pulse. The drone sparked a little and gave us an opening to keep running.

We came out along a side route to the central courtyard and made our way to the central platform. The TARDIS was there, the door open and waiting for us. I didn't look back to see if Lucca yet realized what she was seeing inside the TARDIS.

She didn't get much of a chance. Our robot friend from earlier slammed down in front of the TARDIS. We had to dive for cover as a rocket exploded behind us. "Bloody robots," I protested. I could hear more coming from behind us.

Lucca looked up from the cover we'd taken and stretched her palm out. A fireball raced across the distance and struck the armor just below the rocket launcher. "Still have your fire, eh?"

"It's been years, that's about all I can do now," she answered. "Do you have some kind of gun or something?"

"Not usually one for guns," I admitted. "But I don't think we'll be needing it."

The familiar "snap-hiss" of a lightsaber igniting came from behind the drone. A purple energy blade erupted from its torso, slicing upward and bisecting its head. Sparks erupted from severed circuits and the thing fell over. Janias was standing behind it. "Come on, Doctor!"

"Right, here we go!" I led Lucca up to the entrance of the TARDIS. As soon as we got in weapons fire from approaching aerial drones raked our path. Janias deflected the blasts with her lightsaber and got in. With her open palm she made a hand gesture, closing the door with the Force.

I only barely noticed this because I had already gone straight to my control console. "Looks like we fueled up a bit. And I can think of another location near here that we can use to finish." I grabbed the TARDIS controls and shifted us into the Time Vortex.

Once we were safe I looked to see where Lucca was standing, hand on the railing, gazing over the TARDIS control room. "It's a pocket dimension!", she shouted, astounded. "This is great!"

"Dimensionally transcedental technology is rather wonderful."

"What did you call this again?", Lucca asked.

"This is my TARDIS. TARDIS means..."

"..."Time And Relative Dimensions in Space'?", Lucca finished for me.

Cami and Janias exchanged surprised glances. I let out a laugh of glee. "Of course you'd figure that out, wouldn't you?"

"So this is a time machine?"

"Yes. Actually, not just time but six dimensions of space-time," I clarified. "New model. Long story for how I got it."

"So you can take me back to the oprhanage?", Lucca asked.

I stopped for a moment and lowered my head. I knew she was going to ask this but I'd been hoping to talk to her fast.

"Can't you?", she repeated.

"I'm sorry, Lucca." I turned and looked at her. "Lucca, if I take you back there now, it will alter the timeline. And not for the better. You need to be gone for the next few years. It'll not only keep Lynx from snatching you again, but make sure that Balthasar's hideously-complicated plan to save Princess Schala and your cosmos' space-time continuum actually works. That dodder's plan needs all the help it can get, frankly."

She shook her head. "But my kids! They're trapped."

"Thankfully not," I said. "A time traveler from the near future will enter the orphanage and save the children."

"But Kid..."

"Has some tough times ahead, yes. But she'll be the stronger for it," I replied. "Becomes quite the fighter. She'll play a key role in finishing Balthasar's plan. A nice, clean slate to all of the trouble in El Nido."

"You can't just ask me to not do anything!", Lucca shouted.

"I'm not," I answered. "I'm taking you to 1021AD, we need to finish fueling up the TARDIS and I think Opassa Beach should still have enough residual energy from the dimensional rift to do the job. Then you can decide what you want to do." Seeing the anger in her eyes I stepped up to her. "I don't ask this lightly of you, Lucca. I wish we could do otherwise. I know you and your friends made a lot of changes to your timeline and you're probably wondering if you can do it again. But the stakes are too high on this one."

"And what about Crono and Nadia?"

I lowered my eyes. "I don't know. I don't know everything about your timeline. When I find out, well, we can see what can be..."

There was a knock at the TARDIS door.

We both turned to face the door. "Some fisher from Arni," I guessed. I brought my hand up and snapped my fingers to open the door. When it swung open and I saw who was standing there I felt my jaw drop. "Okaaaay."

"Crono! Nadia!" Lucca went up to her friends and embraced them.

"Hello again, Doctor," Nadia - otherwise known as Marle - said to me after Lucca let go.

I stared at her. "I don't believe... oh." I had to smile. "Different timestreams."

Looking at them, Crono and Marle - I shall call her Marle from this point because dammit that's her name to me - were about a decade younger-looking than Lucca. "Well, that narrows down what happened," I murmured. "Something with Porre. I'm imagining that it was, say, the fall of Guardia Castle, not every set of remains able to be identified, et cetera."

"Something like that," Lucca said. I thought I saw tears in her eyes as she embraced her friends again.

"Well." I smiled. "This is a pleasant outcome to a fuel stop."




We remained at Opassa for a while. My offer of a place in the TARDIS or a trip elsewhere was turned down. It was clear why; El Nido was a safe place from Porre for the moment and General Viper was no friend of that regime. This was the perfect place for a restoration of Guardia to be founded. Even if people wondered why they hadn't aged, well... they were known time travelers, weren't they?

We didn't overhear everything this world-saving trio said. As for other conversation material, I won't bore you with the small talk. I did have a sufficient geekout at meeting them all. unsurprisingly, Crono wasn't a particularly talkative fellow. It would have been amusing if he had been like Morn on DS9; a reputation as a talker even if we... outside observers never saw it.

Night came and they were preparing to return to Arni and the lodgings they had there. Lucca walked back to the TARDIS as I stood, leaning in the doorway. "You know, the advantage of time travel in my TARDIS is that I can be fairly precise when she cooperates," I remarked. "I can imagine a bright woman like you would enjoy some of the sights. I was just at the Amethyst Cliffs of Jeli, very lovely."

Lucca smiled at that. "Thank you for the offer, Doctor. But we've got things to do here."

"The offer is always open."

"What happened to the people who took me?", she asked.

"Oh, defeated. Chronopolis probably still stands but FATE is gone so it's just a ruin now, all of the drones failing and the power going down..."

"This has something to do with Schala, you said?"

"Yes. Very convoluted, mind you, but the entire thing was about getting her out of Lavos' grip." I gave a half-smile. "I suspect you already knew something of it."

"I knew Kid was connected to her," Lucca admitted. "I want to find her. She's still my little Sis."

"Just tell her to watch the accent, it can grate after a while," I answered. Granted, that assumed Schala and Kid hadn't somehow merged into one being. I rather hoped not; Kid was clearly her own being. "Funny how much work FATE put into controlling things here. They based her off the Mother Brain system, you know."

Lucca shook her head. "That wasn't smart."

"Or it was just Balthasar playing his long game. Remind me to find him and give him a stern talking to." I chuckled softly. "Funny thing about those AIs. They decide they know better than Humans and whenever they make that decision, well, they end up with big egos about it even as they emulate the very worse aspects of Human nature."

"I remember the Geno Dome in the Lavos timeline," Lucca said. "It was terrible to see the Mother Brain AI fall so far."

"Of course, that lack of other virtues always seems to doom them."

"Egotism isn't a survival trait," Lucca agreed. "They stop being logical and lose all of the advantages a machine mind normally has."

"Very true. Oh." I reached into my pocket and pulled out a circuit board to hand to her. "Copied that over from the systems in Chronopolis. It's the Prometheus Circuit that drove Lynx to abduct you. I think that if you were to install it as the guiding intelligence of a robot then, well, you'll be able to say hello to another old friend of your's."

Lucca looked over the board. "You don't mean... it's Robo?"

"He was meant to be the last check on FATE. Unfortunately the Prometheus Circuit was destroyed by Lynx and FATE during the entire Chrono Cross affair. But I couldn't leave Robo to face deletion like that, could I?" I smiled. "Be sure to extend to him my greetings."

I was treated to a hug in thanks.

The story ends here for now. I'd be back of course. That was rather clear. But it's a story for another day, when I had already become a different man.

However, after we had left and were taking a rest in the TARDIS, there is one conversation to repeat. I had taken to the pantry to find a meal and found Camilla sitting. "You really enjoyed seeing them," Camilla observed.

"Oh yes. I admit it was an ambition of mine once we got out here," I said.

"Something from your old life?"

"Yes." I smiled and looked down at the cup of tea before sipping from it. "I had a friend who would have loved to have been here, she admired Lucca more than I did."

"Really?" Camilla smiled at me. "What was she like? This friend?"

"Oh. She was funny, a good storyteller, loved birds, she..."

I stopped talking. Camilla looked at me with interest turning to concern as my hand went up to my temple. In my mind I was trying to grasp the memory of the friend I was talking about. Her name, her face...

But I couldn't. It slipped from my grasp. As I tried to grasp harder sharp pain filled my head.

"No," I whimpered. "No no no, don't do this to me. I want to remember you. I want to remember you."

"Doctor?!" Camilla stood up and came over to me as quickly as she could. "Doctor, are you okay?"

"I can't remember," I said, my voice hoarse. "I can't remember her. Why can't I remember...?!"

I spent the night frustrated at my failing memory. And I was horrified as well. The lock in my mind, the "box" that my old memories and self were being pulled into, was growing stronger.

And when it was all gone... what would I be then? What would I become?

I had no answers. The lack of those answers kept me up many a night in those early days. And when they stopped doing so... things only got worse.

It was a terrible irony. I had brought back together a trio of close friends who had saved their world just as I was losing what little I had left of my own old friends.

Maybe if I'd stopped calling myself the Doctor the process would have slowed down. But I couldn't bring myself to. Foolishly I continued to want to be like the Doctor. I wanted to do the good that came with that name without realizing the risk that came with it.

I still had hope of something of myself remaining though. Yes, there was still hope. Because even as memories faded, some things remained.

Purple was still my favorite color, for one.

”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-20 08:51am

Short 3 - Only Good Girls Get TARDIS Rides


I suppose it is about time I share with you one of my earliest attempts at nudging a cosmos' timeline away from what I knew would develop. It was not a very serious nudge but I'd done it out of some hope that it'd work.

I had decided to give my dear Companions a winter wonderland celebration. After some examination I decided to take them to a planet I knew would be covered in delightful snow. It would be rather new to me as well; on Earth my region never sees the stuff.

So we set course for the planet Tharkad.

As luck would have it there was an official state parade running through the small city on Tharkad's southern temperate region where we arrived. With everyone bundled up and Janias' hologram projector active we set off for the VIP seats. The nice gentlemen in infantry armor allowed us to pass with but a glance at my psychic paper.

And so we settled in and watched the floats and vehicles go past. "Lovely, isn't it girls?", I said. Mist came from my breath.

"It's cold," Janias complained.

"A little bit of cold never hurts." I winked. "I'm sure there will be some hot cocoa in our future, though. The Tharkadische have been dealing with this weather for centuries. It's an interstellar capital world, you know. Capital of the Lyran Commonwealth for ages, throne world of House Steiner. Not as impressive as Coruscant, I grant."

"I'm just glad it's not Dromund Kaas."

"I'd be hard-pressed to think of a world nastier than that place, my dear." My eyes scanned out at the passing vehicles. One vehicle in particular was approaching with markings on it. Two children wearing traditional Lyran suits were waving to the adoring crowds. One was maybe six and the other no older than four; a boy and a girl with matching hair and eye colors.

"Ah, the young heirs now," I remarked. "Prince Victor and Princess Katherine."

"You'd think they were twins."

"Victor was always a little on the short side," I answered, practicing British understatement to go with my English accent and throwing in a bad pun for the hat trick. "A shame, they end up hating each other you know. Nasty civil war and all. That's what happens when royals have family squabbles."

"Doctor..." I could hear concern in Janias' voice and followed where she was looking. One man was edging rather close to the barrier, equidistant between two police.

I let out a sigh. "Of course, can't have a day of peace."

The man pulled out a pistol and leveled it toward the children. "Free Skye!"

I already had the sonic out by that point. I turned it on and watched the pistol explode in sparks from its power packs. "There'll be none of that!", I shouted.

Of course, that was all I could do before pandemonium broke out. The Inner Sphere was no stranger to the concept of political assassination after all. Guards came from all sides. I raised my psychic paper as troops rushed in. "Alright lads, LIC. Had warning of an attack, barely made it in time. You really should have done better with the crowds..."

My bluff worked long enough, until the military officer in charge of the bodyguards made his way to me. "You don't look like Lohengrin to me."

"Really? Is it my sunny disposition?", I asked. "I'm sure the witnesses have confirmed I acted to protect Their Highnesses."

"We'll sort it out when we have you all in custody."

"I'll do you one better," I answered. "You'll take me to the Archon and we'll sort this all out that way." When he glowered at me I glowered right back. "Don't push it too far there, Kommandant."

The glower became a snarl. "Very well. This way."




It was a short and highly boring ride by DropShip and VTOL to Tharkad City and the main palace there. We were escorted into the presence of Archon Katrina and her daughter Melissa with a hefty escort. Victor and Katherine were sitting by their mother Melissa. A child was in her arms, Peter I remembered. Two Griffin BattleMechs stood on either side of the throne. They were a sufficiently intimidating presence. Somehow I doubted that the sonic screwdriver would avail me against them.

My companions and I bowed respectfully. "Your Highness."

"This is the man who stopped the assassin, Kommandant?"

"Yes."

Katrina looked straight toward me. "Who are you?"

"I'm the Doctor, Archon, and these are my Companions Janias and Camilla. I am, despite my appearance, not Human, but rather Time Lord."

"You caused a laser pistol to explode from a distance?", Katrina asked.

"Clearly a trick, Highness."

"Sonic screwdriver." I held it up and directed it toward the holotank beside the throne. At a push of a button the holotank activated, showing a ComStar news feed. "Does everything. Overloads laser pistol power packs, makes medical scans, changes the channel." I clicked it again and switched it to a local Tharkad station playing a drama of some sort. "Never did care much for that lot. Too many robes, horrible fashion sense."

"I think that will be enough." Katrina stood and walked up to me. "You saved my grandchildren, Doctor. I will give you my patience. But I must know just what it is you are."

"As I said, Archon, I am a Time Lord. I travel the six dimensions experiencing the wonders of the many cosmoses of the Multiverse and occasionally getting involved in nasty business such as today's attack. And if I may end the skepticism in the room...." I reached into my pocket, gripped my TARDIS key, and activated the remote.

The VWORP of my TARDIS engine filled that hall as it materialized into view behind us. At a snap of my fingers the doors opened. Katrina walked up and entered it. After looking around on the inside she stepped back out and looked upon it again. "It's bigger on the inside."

I never get tired of that.

Well, that opened the flood gates. There was a wondrous examination of the TARDIS by Melissa and the children next. Janias and Camilla were rather flustered given the bewildered and thus hostile-by-default attitude of the guards. A rigorous questioning was to be had and I pulled out every story I had yet. The zombies, the world of the sentient ponies, the restaurant at the end of the universes where one must never order the meat...

"Seriously," Camilla said for emphasis to them. "We should have never asked about the meat."

"I warned them not to," I remarked. "I said try the salad, try the fish, for Heaven's sake do not ask to Meet the Meat." The girls shuddered. "But oh no, what does the Doctor know after all?" I leaned toward the children and, with the back of my right hand next to my mouth and facing them, gave a conspiratorial whisper of "Everything".

They giggled.

And that was when I got my chance.

"Can I ride in your magic box?", little Katherine Steiner-Davion asked.

I looked down at that innocent toddler face, totally ignorant of the shaking of her mother's head. I thought of what this sweet child would become. She would gain a hunger for power that could not be satiated and would rip her parents' dream asunder. She would spread lie after lie about her brother, trying to tear down a man out to protect everyone from the threat that even now gathered its strength in the worlds of the Pentagon. She would order murder after murder in the name of her own power. The mother who now looked at her with loving eyes would be among her first victims.

I hated that woman with every fiber of my soul. A matricide and traitoress, damned to the ice of Lake Cocytus, that is how I saw her. But here... that woman was not present. She was just a child. A sweet little child who had just met a magical man with a magic box that could go everywhere. And she wanted a ride.

Why not? Why couldn't I use this opportunity to nudge this child in another direction? To give her an incentive to deny the craving for power that would arise within her soul?

I leaned down to face Katherine directly and smiled my sweetest smile. "Your Mama and Grandmama would be very cross with me if I took you now, little one. But I make you this promise. I will come back when you are older. And if you have been a good girl, a very good girl, generous and kind and loving to your brothers and your parents, a model princess... I will take you to see things you cannot imagine. The Amethyst Cliffs of Jeli. The Lost City of the Ancients of Pegasus. The Crystal Spires of Tuzanor. The City-World of Coruscant. You'll see them all. Just remember... only good girls get to ride the TARDIS."

And that was the highlight of my visit. We left the capital for a quiet spot in Tharkad's ski resorts so the girls could see the snow and I could ponder my thoughts on this meeting.

I gave a nudge. I exploited a child's wonder in the hope that by making her want to be a loving sister she would ignore the call of ambition. I made my bid to prevent the rise of Katherine Steiner-Davion, the Ice Queen who destroyed her parents' legacy in her lust for power.

Only time would tell if it worked.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby LadyTevar » 2016-12-20 02:50pm

For those who were wondering about my own little Nudge to Steve.... Here is where it starts. Like Steve, I also hated the Ice Queen Katherine. I thought FASA could have made Victor Steiner-Davion a better leader without dragging down Katherine to those depths.

So Steve and I discussed our thoughts on nudges, and where they might go. What happened? Well... you'll have to wait for it.
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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-21 10:31am

Time for one of my zanier mix-ups in this, although it did have a purpose in revealing how certain things would function in the setting. :)


Episode 5 - An Unexpected Visit


Our travels through the Multiverse had been going on for some time when this story commences. Janias and Camilla were cuddling each other on the stairs near the TARDIS Control, waiting for me to bring us to our next destination. I was hard at work on the TARDIS controls. "So, my dears, where to next?", I asked. "Risa, perhaps? We've yet to party crash Emperor Vir, I wouldn't mind visiting Centauri Prime for that."

"It's your TARDIS," Cami remarked. "Just don't get us chased around."

"Where's your sense of adventure, girls?"

"I left it with those maniacs who wanted our skulls for a skull throne," Janias said drolly.

"Oh yes. Chaos types, not very fun at all, was that?" I sighed and pressed a switch. "Well, I shall try to give us a random..."

Suddenly the TARDIS shifted under us, a sudden tremor that might have knocked me off my feet. It began to shake. "Oi, what's wrong now?" I ran a hand over the controls while checking a screen. "What's wrong, dear? You normally run so well. You can tell your Doctor."

"You're talking to it again," Camilla laughed.

"Well, yes. She needs someone to," I countered, checking another switch. "Oh, a right knotty distortion in the dimensions. She's giving my girl a little indigestion. We'll just set her down and get our bearings." I flipped a couple of switches and pushed the lever to shift the TARDIS out of the Time Vortex. I stepped up to the TARDIS door and opened it.

I took only one step out to get my bearings, but by then the rest of my brain was processing my environs. To my left was a desk with a computer monitor on it, early 21st Century, and a colorful but featureless painting hung above it. As I looked around and noticed equipment and table space and cabinents, it occured to me that the vista was eerily familiar. Beyond an open sliding glass door was another section, with visible shelving and equipment, and a door open to a corridor with brown - maybe brownish red or even a darker orange - siding.

"What is this, some sort of lab?", Camilla asked from beside me.

Lab. The word struck through me. The fact that I had to hear it over a constant background of heavy metal music made my mind connect the dots.

Before I could verbalize this, someone stepped around from the other side of the open sliding glass door. A woman, white lab coat, dark hair in pigtails, light green eyes, some fetching tattoos on the visible bits of her skin.... yes yes, and the spiked dog collar too.

And, of course - of course! - a big red plastic cup straight from a convenience store with "CAF-POW!" written on it.

I remember thinking that this was not exactly a destination I had ever had in mind. The mere fact it was happening was bringing me a headache. This kind of world was really not compatible with a Time Lord running about with an alien Jedi girl and her girlfriend. Materializing in such a secure location was an extra headache.

I looked at our hostess and saw her struggling to find words. I forced a smile to my face. "Clearly, my dear, you have had far too much caffeine today and are seeing things. I really think you should lay off the CAF-POW! for a while, Abby."

That got me a confused stare. "How... how did you know my name was...?"

Beside me Camilla spoke up immediately. "Well, we're in your head, right? Why wouldn't we?"

Clever girl.

"Just go have a lie down for a while, get your blood sugar evened out. I'm sure you'll be fine." I backpedaled into the TARDIS and dashed up to the controls. I hit a couple of controls to make damn sure we materialized somewhere quiet and secluded and in another time period. And then I pulled the lever to get us out of there before the girl could do something like grab us before we dematerialized. "That was a close one," I breathed.

"Who was that, Doctor?", Camilla asked.

"Oh, someone I've heard of. Honestly, this world isn't quite the right place for us to be openly moving the TARDIS about..." I pushed open the TARDIS door and....

It was a primarily white room. There were three metal exam tables and a tray with various instruments that were used for the business of, well, cutting a dead body open. At a desk in the far corner, two men - one fairly young, the other late in his middle aged years - peered at us through their glasses. Looks of extreme befuddlement were on their faces.

I let out a deep sigh. "Well, clearly this isn't from too much caffeine," I said. "Perhaps you gentlemen have a gas leak or some such thing. Really should look into that, Doctor Mallard. Please, take care. And please, do keep the bowties. Bowties are cool."

And so I backpedaled into the TARDIS yet again and triple checked my coordinate settings and hit the lever once more.

When we stepped out, we were in an office, a big one, with a plasma screen and a picture of an African-descended woman and children... "Oh bugger," I grumbled, recognizing the office and just who inhabited it. The girls didn't get a chance to see outside of the TARDIS before I slammed the door in frustration and went back to the controls. "Why won't you leave?! This isn't the place for us, we shouldn't be here!" In frustration I shifted even more controls, targeting us back to Air Acolyte Island of all things. And then I pulled the lever.

I opened the door and for the briefest moment the appearance of sunlight gave me hope it'd worked. But that hope was dashed when I saw a clear view of a river and structures beyond... through the panes of windows set into a brick wall. Desks were arrayed in front of the TARDIS on either side, all four occupied, with at least one big plasma monitor to the left and other examples of decent technology for the early 21st Century.

Four sets of eyes focused on me. I looked into the faces of each and recognized every one of them. The one nearest to my left was holding his phone to his head. "Abby, I think I believe you now..."

And the man nearest to me on the other side stood and faced me directly. He said nothing. He didn't need to. His attention was enough to speak volumes.

I looked back up at my TARDIS and noticed other faces looking up and over cubicle walls or from other spots on the floor and the one above. I let out a breath and conceded defeat. For the TARDIS to be this bloody stubborn, something was going terribly wrong and it wanted me here to fix it.

So I looked back to the man. "Hello. NCIS Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, I presume?"

I got a laconic "Yeah".

"I'm the Doctor. And I'm afraid that something very, very wrong is happening to your world."





Everytime I've had to bring up the issue of six dimensions and everything existing and other such, I've found myself wishing I had Bob - as in the one living in a skull on Harry Dresden's lab shelf - with me to explain it. It gives me headaches.

So we're all there, in the main squadroom of NCIS Headquarters. I have the entirety of Team Gibbs focusing on me. Behind me the girls are still standing in the threshold of the TARDIS, trying to find out what's going on.

At that point, so was I. This... this did not work. I'm not sure why some cosmoses fail to explore ways to bend reality, technologically or magically, but some do. Perhaps they are more metaphysically "solid". But what I did know was that this cosmos was one of them.

I was literally not supposed to be here. It threatened existential issues of all sorts to crop up.

"I'm listening." The look on Gibbs' face didn't change.

"Right," I muttered. "Something's hinky in your world. Don't ask me what, I haven't figured that out yet." I stepped forward and looked over to Timothy McGee, still on the phone with Abby. "You. You're the one most likely to be open to these things."

"Open to what?", he asked.

"The Nerd Side of the Force, obviously." Down from him, Tony DiNozzo was smirking a little.

Behind me, Janias asked "Doctor, what's going on?". She stepped out with Cami behind her.

I heard Ziva David ask, "Why is she... green?"

Yes, Janias stepped out without her holographic belt.

I turned to glare at her over that, but she preempted me. "We appeared out of thin air, Doctor. I think it's too late. So yes, everyone, I'm a Mirialan, not a Human."

Naturally, Tony had to chime in with a remark. "You look Human enough to me."

Janias looked to him and narrowed her eyes. "I'm not going to like you, am I?"

"Probably not," I said. "Now...."

Gibbs' phone took the moment to ring. He answered it with his name and listened to the other speaker. "Yeah, Duck, I know."

I looked to him. "If that's Doctor Mallard, can you ask him up here with his stethoscope?"

"Hey Duck, bring your stethoscope up to my desk. Got something for you." He hung up and looked back to me. "I'm still waiting, Doctor."

"Yes. Well, the short of it is that I was going through the Time Vortex with my TARDIS, we hit a dimensional distortion and I took her out of the Vortex to get our bearings and here we are. My TARDIS now refuses to leave your offices. And the only reason she would do that is if..."

"Wait, you mean your wooden box is alive?", Tony asked.

"Yes, actually," I replied. "As I was saying, a pan-dimensional disruption of unknown origin led me to stop here. I'm now imagining the two are related, so..."

"Oh my God!"

I breathed in a tolerant sigh at the new interruption. Abby, it seemed, had made her way up and was in sight of the TARDIS now. "Is that it? is that really...?"

Gibbs stepped back from the entrance where he had been looking inside. "It's smaller on the outside," he remarked, looking up at the top of the TARDIS.

I smirked. "Yes, you would be the one to put it that way, wouldn't you?" In the distance I heard the elevator open. "Before we start getting too chaotic... yes, Abby, it is the TARDIS. Yes, you can look, Janias will make sure you don't get lost." I looked over at Gibbs. "Presuming you are given permission."

"Not at the moment, not until you give me some answers."

Now you can imagine that the scene was getting more and more chaotic. I had eyes looking at us everywhere and voices rising up shock. I was already trying to figure out what had happened; now I was letting the sheer insanity of the situation become distracting to the pressing issue.

A loud whistle broke through the clamor. "Hey!" All eyes turned to Gibbs. "We'll handle this. Get back to work."

He was obeyed. Of course he was. The man's reputation was enough to cause that.

"Thank you," I breathed.

"Don't, I'm not through with you yet," Gibbs replied.

Before I could ask more, Doctor Mallard - who for simplicity's sake I shall call Ducky for now on - rounded the corner. He looked at me and to the TARDIS. Our eyes met. "Well," he said, "I should be thankful that you are actually there."

It occurred to me that for a man who's mother was suffering from, among other things, severe dementia, seeing the TARDIS would have prompted all sorts of unhappy possibilities for the actual cause.

"Yes. I'm afraid I'm having difficulty with my TARDIS today."

"I liked you better when you had the scarf."

"I sort of liked the leather jacket that the Ninth wore," Tim added.

"Just what are you talking about?", Ziva asked them.

"Our good Doctor is supposed to be a television series character," Ducky explained. "One that I grew up with. So it makes me wonder just what his explanation for this is."

I smiled thinly. "Understandably. I shall enjoy explaining, but I think it best if we confirm my nature." Because of my height I leaned against Tim McGee's desk and partially unbuttoned my shirt. "If you would please listen to my hearts beat?"

Ducky put the instrument over his ears and applied the sensor end to my chest. At my indication he put it on the other side as well. I saw his face go blank. "Oh dear."

"What?" The question was from Ziva, who looked the most lost. I recalled her upbringing in Israel probably left her the least likely to know who I was supposed to be.

"He has two hearts," Ducky said. "How is that possible?"

"I'm a Time Lord. Well, a TIme Lord now..." I sighed. "Honestly, it's a very long story and Agent Gibbs is more interested in why I'm here, a question that I'm admittedly fairly vexed in as well."

"Maybe it was Professor Ratigan," Tony proposed humorously, his emphasis including a very bad impersonation of my voice. When we all looked at him he sat up in his chair. "Come on. Barrie Ingham, 'The Great Mouse Detective'. Vincent Price himself as the nefarious Professor... " Gibbs leveled a Look toward Tony. "Shutting up now, boss."

"If only sewer rats were the extent of the problem," I muttered. I had to admit... thinking of my voice at the time, I did sound fairly close to how Ingham voiced Basil of Baker Street. I found that profoundly odd. "Has anything bizarre happened lately?", I asked. Seeing their looks, I quickly amended, "Besides me."

"Define bizarre, sir," Ducky said.

"People who look like they're in the wrong time period," I replied. "Mysterious security breaches or computer behavior, some indication that someone has time traveled or that there is a temporal rift of some sort."

"That's not really something in our jurisdiction," Tim pointed out. "Unless you're suggesting that an aircraft carrier is about to go through a time warp or something, I'm not sure we'd have anything to do with it."

"'Final Countdown', Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen. Good reference, probie."

"Is he always like this?", Cami asked Ziva. She was answered with a nod.

"Have there been any recent incidents with particle colliders?", I asked. "It's a long shot, but there's always a possibility that they could have caused a space-time tear."

Tim shook his head. "Uh, none that I've heard of."

"Maybe you're not just thinking fourth-dimensionally," Tony suggested in his best Christopher Lloyd voice.

I turned my head toward him. "I give you credit for the Doc Brown impersonation, but I'm a Time Lord. Our brains are made for thinking fourth dimensionally. Besides, I don't think you're one to talk. The only dimensions you're interested in are Jan's and Cami's. You shouldn't bother, Agent DiNozzo, they're not your type."

"And how would you know, Doctor?", he asked.

Ziva beat us to the answer. "Because they're already together, Tony."

"Very observant, Agent David," I concurred.

My Companions let out a giggle and held hands.

"Both. Hrm." Tony seemed to give it a thought. "That would be tricky."

"Drop it, DiNozzo," Gibbs said. "So, Doctor, care to explain just what you are?"

"I'm a Human from an Earth much like your's," I answered. "I was abducted by an unknown force, planted in a situation where I was sure to get killed, and then getting killed caused me to regenerate and become a Time Lord. I've been mentally violated so that I slowly lose my personal memories of my old life and provided the means and tools to cause me to intentionally and unintentionally transform into a psychological doppelganger of the Doctor. So yes, Doctor Mallard, I am probably quantifiably mad at this point."

It's surprising how hard it hurt to say that, to remember the memories slipping into that black hole in my head. I made myself focus on the issue at hand.

"Maybe you should find another name then," Ziva said.

I didn't answer. I didn't want to answer. I focused on the problem, staring at their blank plasma screen. "The TARDIS wants to be here. Something about the problem, or the solution to it, is here. Are you sure there is nothing bizarre going on?"

"The only thing bizarre around here is the weather," Tony scoffed.

I hmphed... and then I stopped. "The weather," I said. I whirled around and faced Tony. "What's wrong with the weather?"

"Record lows across the Mid-Atlantic," he replied. "We're in May and we hit freezing last night."

Tim nodded. "Yeah, it's been real weird. It's warmer in Maine right now."

"So you're having colder temperatures than normal." I started moving my right hand index finger. "For how long?"

"About two weeks," Gibbs answered.

"Then... that might be something. I need to see weather data." I turned to where Abby was standing outside the TARDIS doors, a pleading look on her face. "Abby! I need your lab!"

"Do I get a ride?", she asked.

"That depends." I looked to the man who was her boss in spirit if not in truth. "Does she get a ride, Agent Gibbs?"

"So long as you get that thing out of our squadroom," Gibbs replied.

"Alright! A ride it is." I went to the TARDIS door. Abby hopped through - yes hopped - with Gibbs behind her and my Companions following, Ducky taking up the rear. "Welcome aboard the TARDIS," I said. I looked back to Ducky. "I'm no Tom Baker, but I hope you'll forgive me."

"I was a Pertwee lad myself," Ducky answered.

"Ah. And a Sarah Jane lad too, I imagine." I went to the controls. "Everyone loved Sarah Jane."

Tim stood at the door and began peeking in. Moments later Tony and Ziva were right behind him.

Before I could invite them, Gibbs looked back. He breathed what seemed to be a sigh of resignation. "Come on."

And so I had everyone piled aboard the TARDIS at that point. They spread out around the Control Center while I began tweaking very carefully with the coordinates. Janias was kind enough to close the door. With the Force, admittedly.

"Wait, how did she do that?", Ziva asked.

"I was a Jedi Padawan once," Janias answered.

That earned her the attention of both Tim and Tony. I raised a finger. "No, DiNozzo. No Sir Alec impersonations, no Yoda. Harry Dresden was bad enough." I was privately thankful that after the whole business with Harry Dresden and some of his Jedi remarks I'd finally sat down with Janias and Camilla to explain things involving six dimensions of space-time and the power of thought.

"Whatever you say, Doc." Tony went up toward the controls.

I only noticed this afterward; one moment I was busy locking in the coordinate change to take us to Abby's lab, the next a wailing came from the TARDIS systems. I looked over to see Tony's hand still toggling a knob, now moving it the other way. I went over, hit a switch, and took the knob myself to move it back into place. The wailing stopped before I let myself take a breath. I brought my finger up toward Tony's face. "This is not a toy," I said through clenched teeth. "You almost disengaged the locks on the Time Vortex. That would be a very bad thing."

"How bad?", he asked.

"The Eastern Seaboard would stop worrying about the weather because there'd be a black hole big enough to destroy Belgium in here," I answered. "General announcement for everyone: If I have not personally shown you how to operate the TARDIS, do not touch anything."

With the exception of Gibbs, everyone found themselves pulling their hands back to their sides. Even Ducky.

"Now. On to Abby's lab." I pulled back on the lever and allowed the VWORPing of the TARDIS engine to speak for itself. When we were done I opened the TARDIS door. We were right where I'd first arrived in this cosmos. I didn't bother looking back to see everyone off. I went right into the main part of the lab and the computers. Abby was right on my tail. "I need weather data for the past two weeks."

"What kind?", she asked.

"Everything. Temperature, air currents, storm activity."

"Just give me a moment."

While she did that I took out my sonic screwdriver and went to her other computer. I brought the screwdriver up to the monitor and turned it on. A small purple light played over it and the monitor flickered. "Wait, what are you doing to my computers?", Abby asked, sounding rather territorial.

"Nothing permanent, my dear," I answered. "I'm establishing a link to the TARDIS and her systems. We're going to need it."

"Okay. Well, I'm getting your weather data."

I looked over at her computer while, on the other side of the table, the rest of the team and my Companions were seeing the result up on the big monitor. "Look at that." I pointed my finger to the map. A ridge of cold air was stuck in the Eastern Seaboard region, roughly from Massachusetts to the Carolinas, but only a few hundred miles wide.

"It's got meteorologists across the world stumped," Abby told me. "They can't think of what's wrong."

"I can," I said. "Something's drawing thermal energy from the atmosphere. Abby, can you run a time lapse from the start of the weather pattern? I want it in a continual loop."

"Already on it, Doctor," she answered. She let out a giggle. "This is so cool."

"Oh, it's always cool," I agreed. I used the sonic to finish the hookup and tie the weather data into the TARDIS' own sensors. "Look at that..."

"It's actually growing," Ziva said, watching the big screen with the others.

"Yes," I said. "And now...." I ran the sonic over it one more time, merging the time loop data with the data from my TARDIS.

"What are you doing?"

"Thinking fourth-dimensionally, Agent DiNozzo," I answered. "I'm using the TARDIS to determine the flow of temporal energy, quantum fields... various timey-wimey stuff that happens when you move in six dimensions."

Before our eyes the patterns merged. The change in winds, the change in temperatures, the storm activity from warm air hitting cold... it all flowed in with the data from the TARDIS, with a growing patch of reds and yellows right over the Eastern Seaboard.

"I was afraid of this," I murmured. "It's a temporal rift of some form. It's literally sucking the heat right out of the atmosphere."

"Then why aren't we popsicles yet?", Tony asked.

"Because the energy flow isn't high enough yet," Tim answered before I could.

"That's the key word, Timothy. Yet. It's getting bigger, and it's going to keep getting bigger and drawing out more thermal energy. Ladies and gentlemen..." I drew in a breath. "What you're looking at is nothing less than the end of life on Earth. When it grows big enough it'll draw up every bit of thermal energy on the planet. The Earth will become a frozen, lifeless ball. And then your solar system will be next. Granted, you won't be around to worry about it..." I looked over at the assembled quartet of Team Gibbs, all of whom were quite speechless at the moment. "Not exactly tracking a drug smuggling ring on a naval base, is it?"

"Yeah," was the laconic reply I got from Gibbs. "Although that doesn't explain why your... doodad wanted to come to us."

"I know. The weather data is something I could have gotten elsewhere." I was examining the map closely, thinking of it. "Unless.... the epicenter is here, see?" I pointed to what looked to be a suburban area under a splotch of dark red. Abby, from her controls, zoomed in on it, showing us streets. "If I can find the origin point of the tear I can think of how to deal with it."

And then I thought of it. I realized what I'd been missing.

"Your databases," I murmured. "You keep an updated database of current and former military personnel, correct? For people who were involved in cases that may yet require contact with them?"

"Yes," Tim answered. He looked over at me. "You think the answer is in there?"

"Abby, run a search on that area." Gibbs pointed to the map. "Inactive, active, retired, I don't care. We need the name now."

"Running it now... woh, I already have a match."

"I had the TARDIS give you a little extra processing power through the link," I confessed.

"Alright, we've got a couple hits in the area." I heard Abby's keyboard clacking. Dots appeared on the map. Most were centered around the epicenter.

Only one was dead on the center.

"I need that one, Abby," I said, pointing to it.

"Okay, bringing it up now. Wow, I've got two hits on that address."

"Let's see 'em," Gibbs said.

We stood side by side as the images appeared on the screen. Recognition flickered in Gibbs' eyes and I know they did in mine as well. Tony looked over at us. "Hey boss, haven't we met that guy before?"

"Yes we have, DiNozzo," Gibbs answered.

I nodded. As I did so pieces fell into place and I realized I'd forgotten something.

Despite my earlier remarks about the NCIS team living in a cosmos that was more "metaphysically solid"... in truth there had been instances of metaphysical power used in this cosmos before. They just hadn't been linked to Gibbs and NCIS.

"According to our records, that address is the home of two retired officers," Abby announced. "Captain Harmon Rabb and Lieutenant Colonel Sarah MacKenzie Rabb, formerly of the Judge Advocate General's Office."

"Well well well," I murmured. "Now things are getting interesting."



I credit Gibbs for his decisiveness. In seconds he was looking to his people. "Grab your gear," he ordered.

They all went straight for the elevator without a moment's hesitation.

I turned toward him as he went to follow. "Quite a drive," I remarked.

"I imagined you'd be driving, Doctor."

"Ah." I nodded. "Very well. I have to wonder just what you're intending to do, however? Arrest it?" At that moment I supposed that if anyone other than Sir Samuel Vimes would try to arrest a temporal tear, it'd be Agent Gibbs. "Temporal rifts are not known for their chattiness no matter how hard one glares at them."

"Yeah." He looked at me and smirked. "What I'm wondering is how else you're going to get two ace lawyers to open their doors to a crazy English guy with a police box."

He had a good point, I had to admit. "Touchè."

Gibbs went on to get his own gear. Abby looked at me with hopeful eyes. I had to shake my head. "I need someone here, Abby, monitoring the rift while I look for the source."

"Awww."

"If we stop the planet from freezing I'll take you for a ride. Promise." I winked at her and brought my sonic out. "Your phone?" When she handed it to me I ran the sonic over it for a moment. "I added the TARDIS to your contacts. It'll work so long as I'm in range of the cell network. Keep me appraised of any change to the rift." I put my hands on her shoulders. "I can't stress this enough, Abby. I need you here, hyped up on Caf-POW!, keeping an eye on this thing. The fate of the world may depend on it."

"Uh, yeah." She nodded. "Fate of the world, wow."

"I know. Exciting, isn't it?" I winked and nodded to Ducky. "Doctor Mallard, I believe in being prepared. Would you mind joining us? Camilla will show you our medical kit."

"With stakes like this, how could I refuse to help the Doctor?", Ducky answered with a knowing smile.

"That's a good chap."

He walked past me. I was looking toward the elevator when I heard him ask, "Say, before you were a Time Lord, where did you come from?"

I smirked. "Florida." I turned to see his face. "Yes, Doctor Mallard. I was a Yank. Still am a bit of one, I imagine. I have to admit, I prefer my voice and accent now to what I had then."

"Who wouldn't?" He let out a laugh and let Camilla show him into the TARDIS. I followed with Janias.

When Gibbs and his people returned, carrying their packs for field investigations, I was already finishing the coordinates. "Alright everyone, hold on. This isn't a short hop and we may have some turbulence flying so close to the tear's center."

"Ha!" Tony smirked. "We ride military transport aircraft, it can't get worse than that."

I rested my face in my palm for a moment. "Don't say that, please, it's like you're asking for it to go bad." I took the lever on the controls and pulled.

Immediately the TARDIS bucked under my feet. Everyone grabbed for rails; Tony missed it and fell flat on his face. "Hold on everyone!", I shouted, pulling myself back to the control. The TARDIS shook like it was in the fist of an angry God.

"I think this is worse than military transports!", I heard Tim shout.

"Doctor, is everything okay?", Camilla asked. "I've never seen it this bad!"

"The tear is rippling into the Vortex, I'm trying to stabilize it!" I wrestled with a control and twisted a knob into place, struggling to stay on my feet. My screens flashed yellow and then to green. "There we go!" I pushed the lever and shifted the TARDIS back into normal space-time. The shaking stopped. "And here were are. Everyone okay?"

I heard a chorus of affirmative replies. Tony got back to his feet and looked toward me. "You're right Doc. Shouldn't have spoken too soon."

"I get the feeling, Agent DiNozzo, that not speaking is something you do only at great difficulty." That got me a "Ha!" from Ziva.

We stepped out of the TARDIS and into chilly weather, far too chilly for the season. I found myself looking at the front of a fairly nice house. It was an older one but with attention paid to it that made it clear that it was a cherished home. "Boss, I'm having trouble with the GPS," Tim said.

"The tear is starting to affect other wavelengths," I said. "That's not a good sign."

"You just told us the world was going to freeze," Ziva pointed out. "There can't be any worse signs than that, Doctor."

"Good point, Agent David. Good point. Well, Agent Gibbs, you indicated you know Rabb, perhaps you should knock on the door."

"Sure. And how do you think I should explain a full NCIS team at his door?"

"I suppose Doctor Mallard can always lend them the stethoscope to listen to my two hearts," I replied. "That always seems to do the trick. No, not this time... I just need a moment to scan with the sonic. At the door will be fine."

"And if you need to go inside?", Gibbs asked.

"I'll just have to be charming," I answered. "With you along to foster some trust, perhaps."

"Rabb and I didn't exactly see eye to eye."

"Yes, but isn't Mrs. Rabb one of your fellow teufelshunde? Sure some camaraderie there..." We got up to the door. I had the sonic out and was already running it around the frame of the door. There were telltale traces of temporal energy, a bit higher than I would have imagined.

The door opened. Harmon Rabb looked like the years were being kind to him, with just some sign of wrinkling around his eyes to mark his age as over forty. He was, unsurprisingly, in a gray T-shirt and brown sweatpants - casual wear for working around the house. I could see he was fairly tired and formed ideas as to why. "Can I help you?", he asked, looking toward me as I ran the sonic over the gap in the door.

"Captain Rabb, I'm..."

"NCIS Agent Gibbs. Yes, I remember." Harm didn't take his eyes off me. "And... okay, what are you doing?"

"Scanning," I replied. Seeing Gibbs' look I lowered the sonic. "Oh, hello Mister Rabb. I'm the Doctor. We apologize for bothering you today but we've come on a matter of great importance. May I speak to your charming wife?"

Harm stared at me for a moment. He looked at Gibbs. "Is there any reason you've brought half a dozen field agents to my house, Agent Gibbs?"

"Only four, actually," Gibbs corrected. "We're here to help him." He nodded his head toward me as I examined the sonic's readings. "I need you to trust me, Captain."

"Right now, Agent Gibbs, I'm not in the mood," was the reply. Harm crossed his arms.

"Mister Rabb, I understand your profound confusion and irritation, but if I may just speak to...."

A second figure came up to the door, standing only as high as Harm's knee. A boy stared at out us, sharing eyes but not hair or coloration with Harm. His child with Mac, I presumed. "Who are you?", the child asked.

"A visitor," I answered.

"Go back inside, AJ." Harm put a hand on his son's head. "I'm afraid, sir, that my wife isn't feeling very well at the moment. Gibbs, do you have a warrant? If not, I want you to..."

"She's been having headaches for the past two weeks," I said, interrupting him. "And bad dreams when she sleeps. Very bad dreams. Some might even say they are apocalyptic in their content."

That got Harm's attention.

"And furthermore... this was her childhood home, was it not?" I put the sonic away, satisfied as to my readings.

For a moment we stared at each other. "Alright," Harm said. "You can see her."

There was tension in the air as we made our way up the stairs. Harm held an arm out, only permitting Gibbs and I to proceed to the door of the bedroom. "Mac," Harm said softly from the door. "Someone says he needs to see you."

"Yeah?", I heard a tired voice within say. "Tell him to go away."

"He knows about your nightmares, Mac."

There was silence. "Come in," I finally heard her say.

Gibbs and I entered with Ducky at the door. They had the kind of bedroom you imagined an upper middle class American couple would have, maintained with the fastidious neatness one would expect of former military officers. Pictures of their comrades and friends from their days at JAG were on shelves; family pictures were preserved for the main mantle. I recognized their son; there was also a slightly older girl of about four years of age.

Sarah MacKenzie Rabb - still "Mac" to even her husband - was sitting up in bed in a nightrobe and nightgown of lime green. As I remembered, her features spoke of a rich blend of ancestries: Native American, Caucasian, and Iranian, and all contributed to make her a beauty. Wrinkles around her brown eyes and at the sides of her mouth told of the march of time... and perhaps other things more in line with stress. I walked up to her, keeping my sonic in my pocket for the moment. "Hello, Mrs. Rabb. I'm the Doctor. May I call you Mac or would you prefer Sarah?"

"I would prefer "Mrs. Rabb'," she answered testily.

I did not find her hostility unexpected. She was clearly in a bad sorts. "It's been two weeks since the nightmares began. You dream of your family frozen in death and the world covered in frost and snow until there's nothing left alive. Everything is freezing around you. Sometimes you can see it in your waking hours. It's giving you headaches."

The look in her eyes told me I was on the right track.

"You've always had a gift for visions, you couldn't explain it. Past lives, the future, simply things you could not have reasonably known," I continued. "Sometimes you wonder if it's just in your head, but the proof is right there and that sharp legal mind will not let you file it away as delusion."

That earned me a nod.

I had a hunch. "Mrs. Rabb... was this your room when you were a child?"

"Yes." She shook her head. "How do you know all of this?"

"Because I'm familiar with these kinds of things," I answered. "Now, please excuse me." I pulled out my sonic and moved it around the room. The pulsing of the purple light grew as it came upon a wall, now covered by their dresser. "Was there something behind this?", I asked. When they both nodded I added, "May I move it?"

"Here." Harm went to one end. Gibbs looked to the door and barked "DiNozzo, McGee!". They entered and, at a hand motion from Gibbs, went to the other end while he took up the same side as Harm. There were light grunts of effort as they moved the dresser out of the way, blocking the window as they did so.

I looked at the wall and drew in a breath. "And that's always been there?", I asked her.

"Since I was a kid," Mac answered. "My Dad could never fix it. And when we couldn't, we just covered it up."

"Just what is that?", Timothy asked. Everyone was looking at the wall now.

"It's a Crack, Timothy," I replied. "A Crack in the Universe, six dimensions deep." I swallowed. "And it's responsible for this." I looked at it further. It was smaller than the one I'd found in Undertown back on Harry Dresden's Earth. But it was connected to a far larger, far nastier one.

"Wait, what?" Tony shook his head. "You're telling me that little crack is making us freeze in the middle of May. Give me a break, a little work and..." He reached for the Crack to put a finger on it, ignoring the slight white light on the brim.

Or rather he tried, but I grabbed his hand and pulled it back. "Do not touch it," I warned. "If any residual time energy leaks through it could erase you from the world."

"As in kill me?", Tony asked.

"As in make it to where nobody knows you ever existed," I clarified. I turned to face Mac and pointed to the Crack. "That explains you, Mrs. Rabb. It explains the visions. You grew up with this. Every night as you slept, the Crack seeped gentle amounts of temporal energy into your room and straight into your body and your brain. It's given your brain a sort of temporal flux, allowing you to see things that could be, things that are but which you are not in the presence of. This is why you have been having nightmares for the past two weeks. You are linked to it, Mrs. Rabb, and you know what it is going to lead to."

"Just how is this thing responsible for that huge rift you showed us on the map?", Tim asked.

"It's an extension, Timothy," I explained. "Imagine a window crack that has a smaller crack leading off to the side. This is that smaller crack. But it's connected to the larger one." I pointed above us.

"But... why is it starting to freeze us now? If that large Crack has always been there, why did it start drawing in the atmosphere's thermal energy two weeks ago instead of two years ago?"

"I haven't figured that out yet," I admitted.

"I don't believe this," Harm said.

"He's right, Harm," Mac said, rubbing her forehead. "I don't know how, but he's right."

"I hate being right over things like this," I said. "So now we have the problem."

"Yeah, a big one," Gibbs agreed. "How do we fix this thing before it freezes us all to death?"

"Exactly that, Agent Gibbs." I crossed my arms. "And right now I'm not sure how I'm going to do that."
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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-22 12:02pm

So, we have a Crack big enough that it made a smaller side Crack that causes a perfectly ordinary woman in a metaphysically "solid" world to experience mental temporal dislocation - psychic visions, if you prefer. The Crack itself has finally manifested in the common spatial dimensions and is busy sucking the heat out of the atmosphere at an increasing pace.

We had stepped out of the bedroom to give the Rabbs some privacy. I was running the numbers in my head, thinking of the data I'd seen so far and what I knew of the cracks and sixth dimensional physics. Remember that just because I make this look effortless sometimes doesn't mean it's not rather difficult. "The TARDIS does not have the power to close the Crack," I outright stated, preempting the question I knew was coming.

"I don't suppose you can nuke it?", Tony asked.

I leveled a look at him. Even as I went to answer, Gibbs' hand came up and whack, it smacked the back of Tony's head. He winced and said, "Sorry, boss, just a thought."

I shook my head. "No, DiNozzo, we cannot nuke it. it would simply feed the Crack more energy."

"Well, just because you can't close a crack doesn't mean you can't seal one," Ziva pointed out. "Could you do that?"

I tapped my finger against my lips, as if telling someone to hush up. "I'm not sure. The key is...."

We were interrupted by Gibbs' phone ringing. He picked it up and answered. After a moment he held it toward me. "For you."

I took it, already expecting who it was. "Abby, what are you seeing?"

"Dark red. Really, really dark red," she answered. "And we're getting reports of cell phones and radios not working anymore. "

"So it's taking in energy on more bandwidths now." I put my free hand on my face, leaning against the wall as I did so. "If it continues to expand into the lower spatial dimensions it may even start drawing in matter."

"It'll be like something out of..."

"If he makes another reference to a movie I'm going to fall to the Dark Side," Janias muttered.

"It's getting worse now. Why..." I looked up. "Of course. Of course. It's the TARDIS! The proximity to the Time Vortex must be accelerating the Crack's development."

"So you showing up is making it worse?"

I had to wince a little at Gibbs' blunt appraisal of the situation. "Yes, I'm afraid," I answered. "And I honestly would not be surprised if the disruption that made me stop here was the interaction that made it open in the first place."

"But I thought that was two weeks ago? You just showed up!"

"Think fourth dimensionally, Ziva." I wondered if Tony would ever stop doing the "Back To The Future" references. "He's got a time machine, not hard to guess that he could have caused this thing to get bad two weeks before he actually ran into it."

I smirked. "You're rather quick when you make the effort, DiNozzo." With this new data in mind I felt a thought come into my head. I grinned widely. "Aha! Yes! This is perfect!"

"You're causing the whole planet to freeze and you think that's perfect?", Gibbs asked rather testily.

"Well, not that part," I admitted. "But this means that we have a chance with the TARDIS." I looked up the stairs. "But it's going to be tricky. And I'll need help. Lots of it." I drew in a breath to give a shout upstairs. "I need to ask you both something!"

Moments later the door opened. Mac was in an old Marine shirt and sweatpants now. "we're listening," she said.

"We're going to save the world," I announced to all present. "But I need you, Mac, to make it work. In fact, I need all of you."

That got their attention.

"We're all going to the TARDIS," I continued. "It's best if the little ones join us, we'll find them a room." Seeing the Rabbs preparing to raise a protest I looked them in the eye. "It's no safer here or anywhere on this planet. They'll be better off on the TARDIS."

There was a momentary pause by the parents before they relented. I felt like I was on a roll as I let my thoughts race, figuring out how, just how, I was going to pull this off.

And so we set off back to the TARDIS.

It wasn't just cold outside now; winds were picking up and pulling against us. I was into the TARDIS first and went straight to the phone on the console. I turned on the speaker phone feature and shouted, "Abby, call the TARDIS now!" into the cell phone before hanging up. As you can imagine, I made sure to give Gibbs his phone back as soon as he stepped in. The Rabb family looked around at the inside of the TARDIS. I heard Harm say, well, the expected line and cracked a smile. "Everyone says that. Well, almost everyone." I looked at Gibbs, smirking. The phone rang and I hit the receive button on it. "Abby, can you hear me?"

"Yeah! Listen, the colors are changing again, they're going..."

"Purple," I answered. "Normally I like purple."

"And purple means what?", Mac asked.

"It means the Crack's manifesting enough to draw in matter. We're almost out of time." I looked at the control console. Why was this one acting differently from the one I'd found in Undertown? That one had been emitting energy, not sucking it in.

A question for another day, I suppose.

I turned to my Companions. Janias' Force power meant she already knew what was in my head and had relayed it to Cami; they went straight to work with the equipment I needed and attaching it to the TARDIS control console's underside. That left me with the others.

"Okay. Fun fact about a TARDIS. It can be flown by one person, but if you need precision, you need more pilots." I stood at one side of it and motioned to Ziva. "So... I'm going to bring you all in as my pilots. Agent David, I need you to watch this knob. Rotate it clockwise every time this color..." I pointed to a display. "...turns blue. Make it go green again. If it turns yellow push down on this button. And Doctor Mallard! I need a surgeon's steady hand..."

One by one I assigned four of them, leaving Tony, the Rabbs, and my companions. I looked to the couple. "It's not exactly a jet fighter, Mister Rabb, but it is rather simpler." I gave him directions.

"I wanna help Dad," their little girl, Patricia, declared.

"I have a very special job for you and your little brother," I said. "Go below and watch the bottom of the controls. It's very important that I know if anything starts smoking. Just make sure that you don't mess with what the green girl and her friend are doing, okay?"

"Okay!" With the boundless enthusiasm of a four year old she skipped off with her toddler brother in tow.

Mac leveled a look at me that told me I was about to experience pain if I had actually put her kids into danger. "They'll be fine," I assured her in a low voice. "Just giving them something to do so they don't try to 'help' in another way. And this brings me to you." I showed her a very important control. "This is the Time Vortex regulator. I need you to control it. You're the only one who can."

"I'm not sure what a Time Vortex is," she pointed out.

"Something... very complicated. But even if you don't know what it is... the fact is that you have a connection to this thing, Mac. It's been seeping into you for years. You're going to feel what's being done. I need you to make sure we're not putting too much energy into it. Turn clockwise to open up the regulator, counter-clockwise to tighten the valve..." Okay, the truth is it wasn't a valve, but even now I'm not even going to bother trying to explain how this thing worked.

With everyone in position that left Tony as the odd man out. "So what do I do?", he asked.

"Oh, you get to help me," I answered. "You're spry and you've got a good eye. This is the best place for you, really."

Janias came back up from the bottom with two devices. "Cami stayed to keep an eye on the connections," she informed me.

"Good." I took one and had her hand the other to Tony. "Try to keep everyone focused," I murmured to Janias, who nodded and stepped back up to the controls.

"What is this thing?", Tony asked. It was, well, a device, something like a tube with a black plastic casing and blinking displays on it. I had a silvery emitter in my arms.

"Quantum field manipulation emitter. And I have a retrofitted temporal energy...." I stopped. "They're.... how should I put this in a way you'd understand?" I smiled. "You want to talk Doc Brown? Where would he have been without Marty McFly? Or, more accurately..." I hefted the emitter. "I'm Egon and you're Peter."

Understanding dawned in Tony's face. "Oh, nice one Doc. But don't you think I'm more of a Winston?"

"Well, yes, being the layman and all, but I thought you'd appreciate the comparison to Bill Murray more," I replied. "Anyway, it's fairly simple. You point and pull the trigger until I tell you to stop. Ready?"

"This Crack is toast," he answered in his best Bill Murray voice, or so I thought anyway.

"That's the spirit!" I pushed out the TARDIS doors, giving us enough space to work. We were hovering high in mid-air. The dark and swirling clouds around us had a streak of white through them now; the Crack had begun to spread into the visible dimensions.

"And we don't cross the streams, right?"

"Oh, it probably won't do anything," I replied. After considering the issue for a moment I added, "Or the quantum and temporal stuff forms a wibbly-wobbly ball and the resulting energy release.... you know what? Don't cross the streams."

"Right."

Well, that is the setup. It's rather hard for me to describe what happened next in any really exciting terms. It's not really as impressive as the Tenth Doctor towing Earth back to its proper place but, of course, he wasn't standing at the open door facing a Crack in the fabric of Reality that was starting to draw in matter too. It wasn't so much that it was sucking us in personally but rather it was drawing air in, enough air to create a vacuum. I felt the pull as I swept my emitter over the glowing white crack.

The gold and blue beams of our respective devices pierced the white light. We ran them around the rim and the middle, taking care not to tangle our beams up. Janias was linking to my mind and letting me sense the others. As incredible, as mind-shattering, as this situation was for the members of "Team Gibbs", they never faltered. When their day had begun the world had been normal; now they had met me and seen my TARDIS and were averting the destruction of their planet. And they did it with the quiet calm I would expect of the experienced. Harm and Mac reacted in much the same; the years of quiet civilian living had not dulled their edge, it seemed.

"Abby!", I shouted. "Colors?!"

"Still purple, Doctor!"

"That's bad, isn't it?", Tony asked.

"It may not happen immediately, the field has to take form," I answered, holding my remitter steady. Through Janias' eyes I saw Mac leaning against the controls, her eyes opening and closing as she focused upon the task at hand. She twisted the knob this way and that way, regulating the temporal energy coming from the Time Vortex in line with how her expanded senses felt the Crack's power ebb and flow.

"Red!," I heard Abby shout over the phone. "It's turning red!"

"It's working," I answered. I could see the white light begin to dim as the seal took form, shifting the Crack back into the higher dimensions where it wouldn't effect the Earth.

"It's turning orange now! Okay, sorta yellow..."

"It's going fast." I thought on that for a moment. "It's going really fast. Tony, get ready to grab onto something!" I shifted the weight of my emitter and used my free hand to open the phone box on the door beside me.

"What?"

"I said bloody well to..."

I didn't get the chance to finish my warning. With a distant thundercrack sound the Crack faded completely from view, sealed away from contact with the main three dimensions.

Of course, that meant that the space it had been taking up in three-dimensional space was suddenly unoccupied. It was, in other terms, a vacuum... and we all know what nature thinks of vacuums, right?

So of course the rest of the air around us rushed in to fill the gap. The Crack had been taken up quite a bit of space and had depleted the local atmosphere before we sealed it so, given our proximity, it is no surprise it drew in air from all around it. Including air in the TARDIS.

Air that hit us with all the force of a hurricane gust.

I lost my footing, but I had at least been ready. My hand flailed out and caught the phone. It came loose from the cradle but the wire was more than strong enough for me to hold onto as I fell outside the TARDIS door.

Being rather less prepared, the only thing Tony had to grab was my ankle.

I felt his fingers wrap around my foot. "Doc, I can't...!"

And then I felt them slide off.

"Tony!" Ziva's head appeared over the edge of the TARDIS opening as I tried to scramble up. Gibbs and Tim were right behind her.

"Don't look! Get me inside!", I shouted. We were fairly high in the atmosphere but I couldn't afford them creating a fixed point by observing Tony's fall for too long. "Don't look at him! It's the only way to save him without creating a paradox!" I reached out for the bottom of the TARDIS and missed. On the second try I found Gibbs' hand and wrist instead. He barely made a grunt as he pulled me up and into the door. "Get away from the door!", I shouted, rushing right to the TARDIS controls. "I have to shift where it goes!" I barely glanced to make sure they'd stepped away enough before I hit the control for it. The door literally disappeared.

Tim was the first one to get it. "You shifted the exit somewhere else inside the TARDIS?"

"Into the library's swimming pool. And now for the tricky part." I went from one control to the other, making the TARDIS buckle. "Gibbs, Ziva, back to your controls! Same principle as last time! Mac, close the valve completely!" They moved back into position while I brought up the TARDIS' monitor and worked my own controls. I pulled on a knob and twisted carefully and hit the nearest lever afterward. A steady VWORP VWORP VWORP came from the TARDIS engine.

You can imagine my plan. The tricky thing was that I knew, I just knew, they'd peeked at Tony enough for him to gain velocity, a dangerous amount of it. So not only did I have to catch him with the TARDIS while he was flailing around in mid-air, I had to be moving it in the process so that it matched velocity enough that the swimming pool broke his fall. Not as precise as keeping the TARDIS steady in range of the Crack, but enough that the extra pairs of hands were desired.

In the distance I heard a splash. "Alright! Bringing us in for a landing. And putting the door back."

The door re-appeared but no one used it for the moment. They all followed me down the corridor of the TARDIS to the library and the swimming pool within. The water was churning near the side of it where Tony was busy paddling his way to the edge. "Ha ha!", I shouted in exultation. "Got him!" I went over to the edge he was approaching.

"A swimming pool inside the library," I heard Gibbs remark. I could imagine his eyes rolling.

"I rather like it, actually," Ziva said.

"It's nice, being able to get in a soak and a good read," I heard Camilla say.

I stepped up to where Tony was finally reaching the edge. "Gave us a bit of a scare there, DiNozzo."

He shot a glare at me that spoke volumes. I squatted down and extended an arm toward him to help him out of the pool.

I didn't see the twinkle of intent in his eye until it was too late. He grabbed my arm and pulled hard, so hard that I easily lost my balance and fell forward, straight into the pool. Water almost went down my throat from the cry of surprise I was making. I pushed myself back up to the surface and fixed a glare at him as he laughed. I looked up to see almost everyone was laughing or smiling, even Gibbs.

So, yes, I joined in. It was rather funny, truth be told, even if I was soaking wet in my favorite suit.




A short time and a change of clothes later we exited the TARDIS again in front of the Rabb house. It was still cold and the sky above retained its clouds from earlier. Unfortunately we did not get the picturesque sun shining through the clouds that drama would have otherwise demanded.

Although she still looked tired, Mac was certainly doing better, holding her son while their daughter held onto her father's hand. "The sealing would have extended to the Crack in your bedroom wall," i said. "Your home should be safe."

"It's not something I expected when I suggested we buy it," Harm said.

"So that's it?", Mac asked. "No more dreams or anything?"

I looked at her and shook my head. "I'm sorry, Mac. But I can't undo what the Crack did to you. Your mind will always get these glimpses. They just won't get worse."

"So Mommy can see the future?", Patricia Rabb asked.

"Only occasionally." I looked to Harm. "It should at least keep the marriage honest if you don't want to be sleeping on the couch."

He laughed in reply. He extended his hand and I took it. "Thanks... what was your name? Doctor who?"

I let out a laugh. "Just the Doctor, Harm. Now you take care. Both of you." I reached out and took Mac's hand as well. "An honor and a pleasure to meet you, Mac. I'm sure you'll be keeping the flyboy in line."

"A tough job, but someone's got to do it," she laughed.

"Thank you, Doctor."

"Agent Gibbs." Harm turned and offered a hand.

"Captain Rabb." Gibbs accepted it.

"Hell of a way to see each other again," Harm remarked.

"Yeah."

Ah, Gibbs. Always the laconic one.

I stepped into the TARDIS and allowed Gibbs and his people to give goodbyes. Ziva and Tim had only just met the Rabbs, of course, but this was the kind of thing that built camaraderie. And they would be people to talk to now that Team Gibbs had done the impossible, so to speak.

It was the kind of meeting that felt right, honestly. Granted, the Roberts family wasn't here, nor was Chegwidden or that Marine fellow who briefly replaced him... but it was still a pleasure to see these groups interacting and meeting. Despite this, the adventures of the Rabbs had long ended; Team Gibbs had the torch now, and they were running with it.

When they filed back into the TARDIS I smiled and finished setting the controls. "Well, I think it's time to be getting back to Abby's lab, yes?"

"Just don't make us pop into the squadroom again," Gibbs requested.

"Right."




I opened the TARDIS door and Abby rushed right in, bee-lining for Tony. "Tony! You're okay!" She threw her arms around him.

Ah yes. The speaker phone had been on. She'd overheard everything.

"Yeah, did a little skydiving. Without a parachute."

"So that's why are you all wet?"

"I landed in the swimming pool. He's got a swimming pool in his library." Tony shook his head. He was actually in a suit of clothes I'd found were too small due to my height; a brown button down shirt and trousers of dark blue. "And not one movie in sight."

"Little need for them," I remarked. "Ziva seems to appreciate it."

"She would."

After everyone filed out I stood in the doorway of the TARDIS. "Just what are you planning on telling Director Vance?"

"As much as the truth as he'll believe," Gibbs answered. "We've got the footage to confirm that thing appeared."

"Good luck with that. I think I'm going to make myself scarce first," I answered. "The TARDIS isn't meant for this world, Agent GIbbs. I can't stick around."

"Yeah, I know."

I looked to the others. "Ziva." I smiled at her and extended a hand. "A pleasure."

"Doctor," she replied, accepting my handshake.

"Tony..." I narrowed my eyes at him. "I'll get you back for that, you know."

"Would love to see you try, Doc." We shared a laugh and a handshake.

I exchanged handshakes with Tim next. "It was good to work with you, Doctor," he said.

"Even if I'm not the real thing?", I asked.

"You're close enough for me," was the answer I got.

"And for me." Ducky stepped up next with his hand extended. "I think Pertwee's Doctor would have approved."

I remember thinking that I certainly hoped so. At that time I had yet to run into the Doctor in any of his lives. "I'm happy you think that way, Doctor..."

"Ducky," he interrupted. "You may call me Ducky."

"Ah... Ducky, then." I smiled. "Thank you, Ducky. A pleasure and an honor."

"Oh, the same here. As a boy I dreamed of getting to help the Doctor. And now I have." He leaned closer and brought his voice to a whisper. "If you need to talk about what's going on in your mind... my door is always open."

"I'll remember that, Ducky. Again, thank you."

That left Abby and Gibbs, even as the others went on to giving goodbyes to Janias and Camilla. She gave me a tight hug. "Thank you so much, Doctor. I really enjoyed meeting you."

"Ah, is this the infamous Abby hug I've heard so much about?"

"Yep." She leaned her mouth toward my ear. "Are you going to give me that ride you promised?"

"Expect me when you see me, my dear," I answered, invoking Gandalf intentionally.

"You'd better." She let go and went on to give my Companions hugs.

That left me to face Gibbs. We eyed each other for several seconds. Then the hint of a smile kept across his face and he offered his hand. "Nice working with you, Doctor," he said as I took his hand. "I hope it doesn't become a habit though."

"Yes. It's for the best." Granted, it wasn't very fun to say that. And my Time Lord intellect would have enjoyed some of the cases they were due to get while what was left of my older personality, well, that would have simply enjoyed working with Team Gibbs, headslaps and all. "Still... that Crack is just sealed now, it's not gone. Things might still happen relating to it." I reached into my pocket and brought out a cell phone, one I'd picked up during a particularly one-sided scuffle with the Red Court of Vampires on Harry Dresden's Earth. I ran my sonic screwdriver over it for a moment before holding it out to Gibbs. "Here."

"Already have a phone," he replied.

"This one I've configured to be able to call the TARDIS directly. And unlike the modification I made to Abby's phone, this will work no matter where I am in space-time. If anything bizarre happens, anything beyond the ken of normal for you, if there's anything that you can't deal with on your own... don't hesitate to call."

Gibbs nodded in reply and accepted the phone.

"Right then. Off we go." At my nod the girls piled back into the TARDIS and I followed.

As I stepped in I had a thought and looked back. "I hope you all understand how much I appreciated to work with you. It's not very often that one finds a team like your's and even more rarely does one get to work with them. That has been my pleasure today. I hope you don't let today's excitement and stakes get to you, though, when you go back to your normal jobs. As the saying goes... 'one who saves a life saves the world'."

"It's a Hebrew saying," Ziva pointed out.

"That it is," I agreed. "Take care, everyone."

"See you around, Doctor," I heard Gibbs reply as I closed the TARDIS door.

I went to the controls, found a lovely quiet spot for us in another cosmos, and pulled the level, departing their world for the time being.




I was in the library checking my clothes to see how well they'd dried when I heard footsteps behind me. I turned to face Camilla who was... rather immodestly dressed in what looked to be a bikini. "Ah. All ready for the Hot Springs planet?"

"We're looking forward to it," Camilla said. "You're not coming?"

"Oh, heavens no. If I came, why, odds are we'd end up mixed up with space pirates and a rather lecherous young outlaw and his misfit crew. And that wouldn't be relaxing at all," I answered. "You two enjoy a fun, romantic week, live a little, that sort of thing."

Camilla smiled and nodded. "Doctor, why would that Crack be so much bigger? And why would it suck in energy instead of emitting it?"

I stopped what I was doing and looked off at the wall. "I'm not sure," I finally answered. "It puzzles me. It bothers me."

"I'm bothered by thinking of all of the other worlds that may have already been destroyed by similar Cracks," she said. "What is going on? Do you think it's linked to, well..."

"Is it linked to me? Possibly. But I don't know enough yet. I need to learn more." I sighed. "I need to learn a lot more." I turned in place and smiled. As I did so, Janias bounded into the room wearing a bikini that was... even more immodest than Camilla's. Honestly at first glance I thought she was undressed. So unfair.

Janias went right to Camilla and planted a kiss on her. "Come on, those springs are calling to us," she said.

Cami smiled and returned the kiss. "I'm coming, lover." She gave me a final look before running out of the room. After a couple of minutes I heard the TARDIS door close in the distance.

Seeing my suit was almost dry, I took a seat and sighed. What were these Cracks? Where were they coming from? I had a feeling I wouldn't enjoy it when I found out.

And no, I didn't. The cause of the Cracks was... horrifying. But I have much to tell before we get that far into the story. Oh so very much to tell.

After napping a bit and finding my clothes finally dry I gave them a good ironing and switched into my nicest suit, a black jacket with a blue silk shirt underneath and black pants. I even put on a black bowtie because, as Eleven put it, bowties are cool. And with that done I left my dear Companions to their vacation and headed elsewhere.




I was leaning against the TARDIS when the object of my intentions walked up to the apartment building. I smiled as I saw Abby's jaw almost drop. "Hello Abby," I said. "Still a bit nippy, I'm sorry to say it'll take a little time for your atmosphere to go back to normal. But the TARDIS is nice and warm."

"You came." She finished walking up. "You actually came! And so quickly, I mean, I imagined..."

"Time traveler, my dear. Remember?" I winked. "Now, I believe I promised a TARDIS ride if the planet didn't freeze. And as I don't see icicles hanging everywhere it appears to remain unfrozen, if still rather chilly. So it's time for a TARDIS ride."

I thought Abby would explode with excitement. She threw her arms around me and gave me the tightest of Abby hugs. "And you can go anywhere in it, right? And be at any time? So, like, even if I have to be at work in the morning we can be out all night and I can still get a full sleep?"

"I can take you for days and bring you back to the moment we leave," I confirmed.

And that settled it. "Okay, I'll be right back!" She rounded a corner and went straight to what I presumed to be her apartment.

When she returned with a couple of bags ten minutes had passed in which I waited patiently. She looked ready to explode with excitement. "Okay, I'm ready! I'm just thinking of where I want to go first!"

"Well, while you plan, I have a couple of suggestions," I said.

"Oh?" She followed me into the TARDIS.

I went up to the controls as she closed the door and looked back to her. "Oh, yes. First suggestion is somewhere I know you'll love! The planetoid Nocturnia." When she smiled at the name I continued. "It's in far orbit of a dark star."

Abby was startled. "They exist?!"

"Oh yes. And on Nocturnia they have the Obsidian Prisms. Every shade of black the mind can imagine!"

Abby did a little excited hop. I reached over to the TARDIS controls. "And then?!"

I laid out a few more ideas and put my hand on the trusty lever control for shifting the TARDIS. "Are you ready, Abby?"

She nodded in excitement.

"Well then... Tally ho!" I pulled the lever.

So we went off and we saw the Obsidian Prisms. And we went to see a concert by a Graxian rock group led by a girl named Arisia Rrab (before she joined a rather different organization), and then a metal concert by a race called the Oodrax who had four arms and who, upon learning of the music style from Humans, proceeded to adopt it wholesale and outshine any and all Human efforts in that style (at least to most objective observers, art being in the eye - or ear in this case - of the beholder).

And then there was that whole business on Layom Station, but that was entirely not my fault. I just hope Abby never lets it slip to Gibbs or I'm going to have to avoid that cosmos for the next, oh, half century.

It was, all things told, a fun week. And it helped me get my mind off of the Cracks.

This entire encounter was one of my most surreal, but it would be surprisingly important. The question of why the Crack in their cosmos was larger and behaved differently would lead to an answer, an answer that would bring me to the final cause of the entire mess... and of what had been done to me.

”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-22 12:04pm

Short 4 - The TARDIS and the Doctor

I watched Abby enter her apartment, contented from a week's impromptu vacation seeing sights across the Multiverse (and our unplanned adventure on Layom Station). I returned to the TARDIS and shifted it back into the Time Vortex to pick up Janias and Camilla after what I hoped to be a refreshing week off for them.

As I fiddled with the TARDIS controls I noticed a light come on beside me. I looked at it and tried to think of what it was connected to.

"Hello."

The voice made me turn in surprise. I faced a young woman, almost a teenager from how young she looked, wearing a pink shirt with the words "GEEK PRINCESS" written in purple on the front. Her purple skirt went down to her knees and pink slippers rounded out her attire. Bright hazel eyes looked at me and dimples formed on her mouth as she smiled. "Hello Doctor."

I stared. "Caterina?", I asked.

You see, I had seen this girl before, but I had not. I say both because she had, up until that point, only existed in my head, a character made for stories. Ironically, stories that just happened to be about 21st Century people traveling the Multiverse, albeit in "normal" starships and not a TARDIS.

The connection was, I suppose, fairly obvious.

"That is the name you gave this form," the girl answered. She looked down at her hands. "I liked her, so I picked her appearance. I wanted to talk to you."

And then it hit me. It had never occurred to me, honestly, that this TARDIS may have differences to the Doctor's TARDIS. I had apparently found one. "You're the TARDIS?", I asked, incredulous.

"Yes," she answered, her smile growing wider. She came up to me and embraced me. "And you are my Doctor."

"But... I'm not a real... I mean, I was Human, I was turned into a Time Lord, and I took the name from another..."

She nodded and brought her arms back from the hug. "Yes, all of that is true. But you're still my Doctor. A Doctor of my very own!" She made an enthusiastic little hop.

It was a holographic construct, but a very good one. I could feel warmth when I settled a hand on her shoulder. "I knew you were alive, but I never imagined you could do this."

"I'm different from the old TARDIS you think of. I'm made to be this way." She considered me closely. "I've been having so much fun with you, my Doctor. You take me to so many places!"

A thought entered my head. I asked, "Why did you pick Caterina as your appearance? You said you liked her."

"Yes. In your mind, she is... me. She wants to see everything and is excited by even the smallest of new discoveries." "Cat" smiled at that. "You make her so joyful at finding new things, so curious! Just like me!"

So that was that. My TARDIS was apparently a wanderlusting and relatively young unit.

I still had questions. "When you say I'm 'your' Doctor, do you mean you know of the original one?"

"Oh yes, of course. And now I get to have a Doctor too!" She grinned widely. "So, where are we going next?"

"Well, I do have to pick up the girls. And after that... who knows?" Having answered her question I felt another finally burst through the sheer volume of the ones I wanted to ask. "Do you know who did this to me, Cat?"

The smile faded. She had to shake her head. "I am unable to tell you."

"As in you don't know or you won't tell?", I asked, my voice laced with suspicion.

"I am incapable of providing the answer," she said, her eyes lowered. "I do not know if the information is simply locked down or if it does not exist. I am sorry."

I let out a sigh of frustration and anger. I needed to learn more and yet another avenue was closed to me.

The TARDIS' eyes glanced upward. "You... you're still going to take me places, right? I was kept alone for so long, I just want to travel with you. Will you still be my Doctor?"

For a holographic avatar of a self-aware ship that could go through time and space, she was surprisingly, well, human as I looked at her and saw her vulnerability, her bewilderment, her terror that I would turn her down. I got the feeling this was a very young TARDIS, one that had been confined for her entire existence.

I smiled softly at her. "Of course I will. There are so many places we have yet to visit."

I got a smile in reply to that. "Thank you."

"Of course, I have to ask... Are you going to take me where I want to go or where I need to go?"

The TARDIS winked at me with Caterina's adorable face. She faded from view at that point.

I let out a laugh. "Good answer. Okay, time to pick up the lovebirds."

I materialized the TARDIS on the Hot Springs planet and within moments the doors flew open. Janias and Camilla ran in carrying their bags and huffing like mad, their one-piece swimsuits showing signs of being involved in a lot more than swimming given the small tears and frayed edges. "Quick, Doctor!" Janias looked back out the door. In the distance I could see people with big guns of some kind rushing our way.

"Oi, what did you now?!" I reached to my controls and shifted the TARDIS away.

Janias plopped the bags on the floor. "Well, there was this pirate guy running around..."

"....and something about..."

"....this red-haired guy had a gun that fired projectiles that used the Force..."

"....and the cat lady almost..."

By the time they regained their breath and got through their story... the gist of it was something to do with space pirates and hijinks involving the crew of the vessel Outlaw Star. I tried not to laugh. "And here I was hoping that my staying far away would prevent you girls from facing such craziness."

"I need a vacation from that vacation," Janias groaned, collapsing to a seat on one of the stairs leading up to the corridors leading into the TARDIS.

"Yes, well, I'll think of something," I promised. "A nice visit to Disney Planet, perhaps."

For a brief moment, I heard a giggle that seemed to come from nowhere. And I smiled, resting my hand on the control. That I knew no more about what had happened to me didn't matter to me, not compared to just what she was.

She was my TARDIS. I was her Doctor.

And we had a Multiverse to explore.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-22 12:05pm

Short 5 - Nemesis of the Timeline


A return visit to Bajor had not gone according to plan.

Apparently, some friends of ours were waiting, and waiting with heavy firepower. Phaser fire erupted over our heads as the girls and I ducked into an empty building space in one of the smaller Bajoran cities. "Oi, come on, we're just visiting!", I called out over our cover. I looked over to see Janias gripping her lightsaber. But I knew her martial training as a Jedi had been very short; she wasn't up to facing the force aligned against us.

"Attention, I'm speaking to the being known as the Doctor!," I heard a voice call out over a megaphone of some sort. "We have you surrounded! Surrender immediately!"

Camilla peeked over the barrier. "Doctor, can't you remote control the TARDIS?"

"I've tried," I said, my hand still in my pocket around the remote. "Oh, clever. Quantum isolation field. Probably a field application of the technology they use to protect their records from timeline alteration."

"Just who are these people anyway?", Janias asked.

"Federation Department of Temporal Investigations," I answered. "Timecops. Really stodgy about playing with time travel. They don't much like me."

"Last warning, Doctor," a second voice warned.

"Seriously, Lucsly, I'm going to the magistrate for a restraining order!", I retorted. "We're not even on bloody Federation territory!"

In the distance I heard Agent Dulmur say, "He's got us there."

"He's too dangerous to let him get away," Lucsly insisted. "We have to bring him in. I'll let the Director handle the politics."

I drew in a sigh. Lucsly was a very by-the-books orderly time agent, arguably the best of the age... but he seemed to turn red with anger whenever I entered the mix.

"Doctor, how are we going to get out of this?", Janias asked.

"Let me think, let me..."

I heard the familiar chime of Federation transporters. We peeked up over the wall again and I noticed armed Starfleet and Bajoran officers had joined the DTI agents. Bloody great, this is really turning out...

And then I noticed just who was leading them.

So had Lucsly and Dulmur. "Captain Sisko."

"Gentlemen. This is my first officer, Major Kira Nerys."

"We didn't need the backup, but it's good to know Starfleet's backing us on bringing the Doctor in," Dulmur said, motioning our way.

At that point I was just about ready to seriously consider my long future in a New Zealand penal colony, or wherever they stuck me as a dangerous "time criminal".

"You're not taking him anywhere," I heard Nerys say. "Captain Sisko is here by request of the Bajoran Militia. We demand that you shut down this illegal operation immediately."

There was a tense silence. "What?" I could hear anger bubbling in Lucsly's voice.

"The Bajoran Government considers the Doctor a valuable expert on temporal issues," Nerys continued. "You are violating Bajoran territory and attacking an ally..."

"He's no one's ally," Dulmur retorted.

"He's bamboozled you, Major, you and your entire government. He's a madman, a menace to the stability of TIme itself...!"

"Oi, I can hear you!" I stood over the cover we'd found at the building front. Dulmur was clearly incensed, but I thought Lucsly looked to be on the verge of a stroke. "I'd ask you what I'd done that you're getting ready to throw a punch at the Major, Lucsly, but that might muck up my timestream."

"I don't need to tell you specifics to know what you are," Lucsly retorted. "You're a rogue time traveler who treats the timeline like his own personal plaything."

At that point I figured that at some time in the past I had been motivated to meddle a bit with local affairs and a younger Lucsly had gotten involved. The anger and bile I saw in him was real and it was cracking his usual demeanor of strict reason and unemotional presentation. "Well, I don't deny I have to tidy it up a bit here and there, but I prefer to keep the timeline intact."

"Gentlemen." Sisko's voice cut through the argument. "Agent, your Director can file a complaint, but as the senior Starfleet officer on station I'm under orders to protect Bajoran territory from foreign incursion. The DTI acted without government support when you launched this operation. I'm afraid I must require you to return to your ship."

"At least let us take his time machine so he's not a threat anymore," Dulmur asked.

"Request denied," Nerys answered. "You've got ten seconds to get off Bajor or I have the authority to throw you all into the stockade."

And then, of course, she started counting. Rather dramatic. I like to think I taught her that.

The DTI agents all looked to Dulmur and Lucsly. The latter was struck dumb with pure rage, his face beginning to turn purple. It fell upon his partner to, after Nerys reached six, press his communicator and order them all beamed up.

As he did so, my eyes met Lucsly's. And I could see his fingers twitching. He was getting ready to draw his weapon and fire anyway. "Whatever happened, Agent, I acted in the best of intentions," I said.

"You think you have the right to decide what should happen in the timeline," Lucsly countered. "I'll never accept that. One of these days I will take you down."

Before I could answer, he disappeared in a transporter field.

I held the TARDIS control and was reassured to hear a repeated VWORP behind me. With my TARDIS back in hand I walked up to Sisko and Nerys while the girls, with another rest ruined, headed back into the TARDIS. "Thank you. I just came to enjoy the local festival and I had those blokes shooting at me out of the blue."

"Don't mention it, Doctor," Nerys said. "I'll give my report to First Minister Shakaar, sir."

"Go ahead, Major," Sisko answered.

She nodded, flashed me a smile, and walked off. That left me with Sisko. The Sisko and the Doctor... but of course, I was the one facing the real intimidation. "I liked the baseball bat," Sisko finally said.

"Thank you, Captain. I hope Lieutenant Dax enjoyed her books."

"Lieutenant Commander Dax did." Sisko kept his gaze on me. It was, suffice to say, most disconcerting. "So what next?"

"Oh, might as well stay for the festival." I extended a hand. "Nice meeting you, Captain Sisko."

"Try to stay out of trouble, Doctor." There was a bit of warning in that smile.

I gave a nod and returned to the TARDIS, to move it and join the celebrations being held elsewhere.

"Why does this Lucsly guy keep coming after you?", Janias asked, incredulous. "Risa, Trill, now here! We can't even enjoy ourselves without getting that guy on our tail."

"Agent Lucsly is a very devoted man who believes the timeline must never be altered or changed. You might say it's a religious issue for him." I went to the controls. "Okay everyone, moving us to a new parking spot. They're going to have dancing very soon and I feel the need to cut loose."

"Oh no," Camilla gasped in horror. "Doctor, you can't dance!"

"Practice makes perfect!", I responded.

"And it makes the rest of us blind," Janias retorted.

It was good to have camaraderie like that because I was unsettled. I hadn't done much in this cosmos so it let me to wonder why the DTI was so determined to arrest me. Especially the way Lucsly was acting. The man could compete with Phineas Fogg for the orderliness of his life and adherence to time, yet he had been almost rabid when it came to me. Just what had driven him to that opinion of me?

I'd find out eventually. A story for another time.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-23 10:20am

Episode 6 - Fixed Points

This story begins with the first time I ever played with a fixed point in time.

Fixed points are tricky. They are, by nature, moments observed and known by many beings, such to the point that trying to completely change what happened is problematic and may result in little things like, oh, the collapse of space-time throughout an entire cosmos.

But there is wiggle room. Whether it's a man riding a disguised futuristic bipedal ship during the moment of his appointed death or something simple like, say, retrieving someone fated to die in an explosion, there are ways to change the actual outcome of a fixed point without necessarily altering that fixed point's facts.

Tricky, but doable.

The girls and I stepped out of the TARDIS into what appeared to be a city in California. It was night time and people were out and about. "Well well, let's see what's special about this place," I said to them.

"Doesn't look very different from other Earths of this time period," Camilla remarked. "I thought you said the TARDIS was picking up unique energy sources?"

"It is." I looked around a bit more and saw nothing unusual as we came up to an intersection.

"Okay, that looks different," I heard Janias say. I turned to face the same direction.

Down the way, towering over the city skyline and a park area, was a structure not built to 21st Century standard design. It resembled a plunger switch or perhaps a twist top nut bolted to a half-circle rising from the ground. It was certainly not something I'd expected to see.

Written along the top of the structure was the following: suprahuman treatment wing. Yes, in lower caps, don't complain to me as I'm just the bloody witness.

"Oi, not where I was looking to go," I muttered.

"You've heard of this cosmos?", Janias asked.

"Yes, of course. Remember that nice bloke we ran into a few weeks ago on a world like this? Wore his red undies on the outside, big 'S' on the chest?"

"Yeah."

"Imagine a world like his, but almost all of the superpowered beings act more like teenagers on a power trip," I replied. "Bloody bastards even created a supervolcano in the middle of a major North American city."

"It sounds like we should leave," Camilla remarked.

"Agreed, we probably should," I said. "Just don't run. I don't want one of those bloody power-mad capes bothering us. Come..."

I noticed a red streak overhead. It didn't look like a controlled aircraft so I pulled my viewing glass out of my pocket. It looked like a one-eyed viewing glass from some sailing ship but, well, that was trickery. It rapidly tracked the direction my eyes were focused on and spotted the source of the red light. Namely, a giant space station shaped like, of all things, a ten-sided die.

"Oh my... I know when we are too."

Something in my head clicked. I knew there was a young woman up on that station who was about to die, who would leave behind a very distraught loved one and, well, the rest is spoilers.

In case you haven't noticed or didn't know to notice, this cosmos is a rather more obscure one, being the home cosmos of a young struggling superheroine known as "Empowered". I was rather familiar with it. And, I think, that familiarity sparked an intent to act on my part.

The issue was that this was a fixed point with very little wiggle room and that changing things too greatly could have a detrimental impact on events to come over the following weeks. This gave me a very narrow margin of error in an actual rescue and meant I'd have to bring the girl ahead to a later point.

In retrospect, the risk I took was probably foolhardy. But I was easily swayed by such impulses when I was younger.

I reached into my pocket and gripped the TARDIS control. "Stand beside me," I said to my Companions. They stayed close as I materialized the TARDIS around us. Once the materialization was done we were in the TARDIS control room. I went right for the controls. "Camilla, get on the stabilizers, this must be precise!", I shouted. "Janias, as soon as we materialize, open the door and pull the person on the other side in with the Force. Under no circumstances can you leave the TARDIS, you will get killed."

Janias nodded. "I understand."

"Okay ladies, tally ho!" I pulled back the control lever and shifted the TARDIS.

The VWORP VWORP VWORP was soon disrupted by a steady shaking. Janias pushed the doors to the TARDIS open, revealing a small chamber marked as containing a now-inactive emergency teleporter. A young blonde woman was in a black and light purple suit with some red trim visible. She wasn't paying attention to us. Granted, only I knew this as none could see her eyes - or lack thereof - behind the black and red sight visor.

Janias reached her arm out and yanked the woman in. I snapped my fingers as the girl cleared the entrance and hit the dematerialization lever at the same time.

The TARDIS was suddenly thrown out from under us. Flames licked through the closing door; Janias barely got the woman she'd rescued out of the way of the inferno as it lashed into the TARDIS control console, sending sparks flying as the concussive force behind the flames slammed into them. Sparks erupted from other parts of the console as the damage knocked out every control on the side facing the door... and then some. "Doctor, I can't change anything!", Camilla shouted, holding on to the control center because the alternative was going face-first into the ground.

"We've lost several control systems, I'm trying to take us out of the Time Vortex!"

Now, I'm sure everyone remembers the last time I had to pull the TARDIS out of the Vortex in a pinch? Sure you do. We crashed into a building filled with zombies.

This time it was even worse.

Well, okay, the landing wasn't. I'd gotten more skilled in piloting the TARDIS in three-dimensional space and the damage to the controls wasn't so severe I couldn't bring us in for a very rough, very nasty landing. I'll explain how things were worse in a bit.

We all picked ourselves up from the ground upon the landing. All, well, save the young lady we'd rescued. I went over with my sonic as soon as I saw Janias could not rouse her. I ran the sonic over her still form. "Bump on the head and a very mild concussion. I'll want to get her to a good doctor as soon as we can, but until then I think she'll be okay."

"Do you know her name?", Janias asked.

"Hannah," I answered. "Well, her nom de cape - or "supranym" - is something... rather vulgar, through no fault of her own."

"Oh?"

I let out a sigh and rubbed the bridge of my nose. "Mindf**k."

That got me a surprised stare. "So...it's like... the Earth version of 'Mindkriff'?"

"Yes," I sighed. "And no, I'm not going to repeat it. I swear, that world is just wrong..."

"Uh, Doctor?"

I looked over to where Camilla was standing at the doorway and looking out. I walked up beside her and looked out myself. We were in a devastated urban area with gray, overcast clouds above us. As I emerged from the TARDIS my Time Lord senses made me feel queasy. Something was dreadfully wrong with space-time at this point, like it had been warped by a massive power source. "This is definitely not good," I muttered, wondering what had caused this devastation and how long it'd be before the TARDIS was repaired enough to leave.

There was a burst of sheer power above us and I looked to see the upper half of a torn-off office building vaporized in a burst of flames. Laughter filled the air and I felt my stomach twist as I recognized it and the figure moving into view behind the TARDIS. I looked on the red lips and white face and knew what it was even before I took in the rest of the view.

"Oh bugger," I remember saying.

Suddenly the zombies were vastly preferable.

"Doctor, what is it?", Camilla asked.

"Walpurgisnacht," I answered in a hiss. "It's bloody Walpurgisnacht!"




Allow me to explain the situation for those unfamiliar with these things.

First off, Walpurgisnacht is, yes, German, and it generally means Witches' Night, or rather a major Witches' gathering.

Well, actually, it's in reference to the Eighth Century Christian Saint Walpurga, associated with May Day as the day of her canonization, and the further fact that the prior day is April 30th; half a year before All Hallow's Eve (aka Halloween) and thus a day replete with potential symbolism. Like, say, a night devoted to a gathering of witches.

There. Now I've made you smarter. Or saved you a wikipedia trip. Bit of a tossup.

Anyway, in this case, it is the name given to a massive city-wrecking entity that might very well be composed of multiple "witches". My emphasis on that "city-wrecking" part.

Now, I wouldn't have been surprised if this thing had leveled cities other than Mitakihara. But given my luck? No, this was going to turn out to be Mitakihara.

Janias stepped out and followed our gazes. "Just what is that thing?!"

"It's a composite entity made up of the despair-crushed souls of an untold number of adolescent girls," I answered matter-of-factly. "They call them witches in this cosmos. Oh, and, it levels cities."

"I miss the zombies," Janias sighed.

"As do I. And that's not the worst of it." I moved past them and back into the TARDIS. The controls facing the door were still out of commission so I had to move around the control column. "Please, please, I just need three...." I let out a sigh, seeing the display showed that the TARDIS engine was completely out of commission. We wouldn't be going anywhere. "Of course, that's down too. We can't move."

"Wait, can you go back?", Camilla asked. "Back to 'not the worst of it'?"

I put a hand in my hair. "Yes. Unfortunately, we have two possibilities, neither of them good. Either a young lady will be initiating a time loop very soon, leaving us dealing with a potential forced quantum convergence, or another young lady will be using a massive, simply stupendous amount of temporal energy to literally rewrite history and completely alter this timeline, effectively giving birth to a new universe. The problem is... the TARDIS has timestream-stabilizing capabilities that may interfere with either of these eventualities, and even if it doesn't interfere, we might end up on the wrong end of a convergence or universe re-write unless we get out of here."

"And being at the wrong end of those means... what?"

"Poof, my dear Janias." I made my hands explode outward to emulate a puff of dust expanding. "We go poof." I double-checked my settings on the TARDIS. "It's going to take half an hour, minimum, just to get basic flight back up. Okay, no time for panicking..."

"'Poofing' out of existence sounds like a good time to panic!", Janias shouted.

"Yes, so... we hold off whatever happens until we can leave." I snapped my fingers. "That's the only way. Only... that means interfering in what feels to be a major fixed point in time."

"Yet you said a girl is going to do that?"

"Yes, but she's going to be inserting herself into other moments on a simply massive scale that changes everything in this timeline. A bit higher on the order there." I sighed. "Okay, let's do some..."

"Uh, Doctor... someone's attacking that thing."

I swallowed. "Do you see any pink energy arrows?"

That got me a bewildered look from Janias. "Uh no. It looks like... bombs."

"Ah." I pulled out my looking glass and brought it up to face Walpurgisnacht. Sure enough there was a purple dot swirling about it, one that took the form of an adolescent girl with sweeping raven hair as I zoomed in, darting around the maniacal upside down wind-up dancing doll and throwing explosives at it. She disappeared from the viewing glass and prompted my view to zoom out... and promptly re-appeared on the other side of the thing, chucking another bomb. "Ah, there you are. Still rolling that boulder uphill, aren't you Homura? Amazing the things that people endure for love." I put the looking glass up. "Okay, so... I still have no idea which bad outcome this is so I'm going to need to find her and find the other one. Above all else, we must make sure they try nothing until the TARDIS can leave."

"And how are we going to do that?"

"I'm not sure, I'm working..."

Before I could finish my sentence, a bolt of energy lashed out from Walpurgisnacht and slammed into the ground below us... or rather the badly damaged remnant high rise below us. The ground began to give out under my feet. I cried out from surprise and tried to balance myself but it was to no avail; the ground literally dropped out from under me. I was suddenly falling to my death.

"Doctor!" Janias was at the edge and extending her arm downward. I felt my fall slow greatly as she gripped me with the Force.

I was about to call out in gratitude but when I looked up I could see that the floor beneath Janias was giving away entirely from the damage. "Get back in the TARDIS!", I shouted.

"I won't let you go!"

"The entire floor is going to give away! Get back in the TARDIS now, it's the only way for you to survive!"

I could see the aggravation in Janias' face. "But..."

"Even if it kills me, I'll just regenerate into a new body. You can't! Now LET! ME! GO!"

I could see, just barely, Camilla's hand appear on Janias' shoulder. Janias' arm pulled up.

And I was in freefall again. Thankfully I had looked downward just before it happened and saw safety; an outcropping remnant of what looked to be the tenth floor. I flattened my arms against my sides and curled my legs to try and steer toward it. At the last moment I reached out with my left arm to grab the outcropping, which I managed to do successfully. A cry erupted from my throat at the sudden pain in my shoulder; I really should have tried to grab with both arms. But, well, I frankly did not want to be regenerating today. Not in these circumstances, certainly; regeneration sickness would be pretty fatal to our hopes of avoiding "poof". And honestly, if my body went splat too strongly... then I would probably be too damaged to regenerate, which was always a possibility.

Unfortunately, the outcropping taking the sudden burden of my weight had aggravated a break in the structure from, well, getting gutted by a living avatar of collective despair. I could see it was going to give away any second and looked downward to see if I had another option.

As it turned out, I did, as an adjacent building had been toppled and pressed against what was left of this one, forming a slide that began just three stories down. Three. Agonizing. Stories.

So the outcropping failed and I let out a habitual cry of, well, i suppose the sentiment was "Dammit I'm in freefall again!" if it was more of a "AAAAAHHHHH!". I tried to make sure I landed in a roll and I think I succeeded... partially. I didn't have any sprained ankles or broken kneecaps at least, so I had successfully distributed the impact widely enough to avoid a crippling injury. No, instead I had evenly distributed the pain to my entire body.

Hallelujah.

And I still had to roll seven stories down. My ribs, my arms, my face, and about every other part were lining up in my head, demanding attention to their bumps and bruises, but I ignored it for the moment because I was too busy trying to make sure I wouldn't impale myself against debris or slam my head into the ground when my impromptu playground fun ended. At the end of the slide was a six foot drop straight down that I couldn't avoid; I ended up on wrecked asphalt, my suit a mess and my body aching like... okay, like it had just fallen at least fifteen stories and barely survived.

When several moments passed and I found I could breathe, that my hearts were intact, and that I didn't feel that pin-and-needle sensation of regeneration... I felt like passing out anyway because at least regeneration doesn't bloody hurt like that. As much as time was a luxury I didn't have, my body was prepared to go into open revolt if I continued to move.

I don't remember if I blacked out or not or just hovered at the fringe of unconsciousness. I just remember laying there for a time and a shadow suddenly moving over my sight. A high pitched voice asked, "Do you need any help, sir?"

The voice sounded very familiar.

A head moved into my vision. Pink eyes, pink hair with unbraided pigtails held in place by pink ribbons, and a schoolgirl outfit. But mostly pink. Of course.

"I fell off a building, young lady," I groaned. Several body parts protested as I sat up. My left shoulder hurt so badly that I realized it was dislocated. I wedged it up against the debris and forced it back into place with a cry of pain; for a brief moment I forgot the rest of the pain in my body due to that bright flaring pain in my shoulder, but as it faded the other body parts could be heard once more.

"Are you okay?"

"Oh, bright as rain, bright as rain. You should try falling off a building sometime, it's rather fun..." I blinked and drew in a breath that had, yes, pain. Have I mentioned the pain yet? Of course I have. Just checking.

My face twisted into a wince and a scowl. "...actually, no, I'm lying. It's not very fun, it's rather a bother and I'm in quite a bit of pain right now." I looked back to the building. There was no sign of the TARDIS. I held onto my TARDIS key and tried to summon her but nothing came of it; it was either the damage or the sheer level of interference that Walpurgisnacht was putting out.

"The shelter is this way, I can lead you back to it," the girl offered.

I'm quite sure any of you familiar with the setting know who this girl was, so you're probably asking why I haven't identified her by name yet. The answer is... dramatic license, alright? I am an amateur writer you know.

"That begs the question of why you're not in it, Miss...?"

"Oh, I'm sorry. I'm Madoka Kaname."

I blinked. Shouldn't that have been Kaname Madoka? Then again, Gift of the TARDIS and all that, maybe the TARDIS was simply following the fact that I thought of the character as named "Madoka Kaname" while in another example... I had always thought of Nerys as "Kira Nerys".

"Charmed to meet you, Madoka. I'm the Doctor."

She tilted her head slightly in confusion. "Shouldn't you have a real name?"

Well, yes, I should, but an unknown force (well, unknown at the time; can't tell you what it was at this point in my narrative, that'd be spoilers) locked it down in my head so that trying to think of my name gives me a spltting headache. I didn't say that aloud, of course. I didn't want to confuse the poor girl any further.

"Don't have another one now," I answered truthfully... from a certain point of view.

"So why are you called the Doctor?"

In a moment of surprising, agony-induced clarity, I answered, "Because I'm an arrogant idiot who's in way over my head."

By this point the pain had receded slightly. I felt up for trying to navigate this pulverized urban wasteland. "Madoka, show me that shelter. You need to get to safety."

"Well, okay..." I could see she was out here for a reason. But this was clearly not the final loop if she was so willing to turn around; the Madoka of that loop would have been far more likely to have gone on.

Of course, that meant that we still had the risk of "poof" if Homura came to the point of hitting the reset button. But I was hoping that by delaying Madoka's inevitable meeting with a certain cuddly and very soulless being, it would also delay Homura's decision to try again and give the TARDIS time to repair.

I could only hope my Companions had gotten to the TARDIS. They might be roughed up inside but they would at least survive.

This was one of those situations where I couldn't afford to broaden my concerns. I had to deal with problems as they came. Keep Madoka away from Kyubey, hope Homura didn't decide to reset the loop, and hope the TARDIS repaired enough that I could summon it even inside Walpurgisnacht's barrier field. Two too many "hope" items on that list for me, but I could only do so much at this point.

I took Madoka's hand and gave her a pained smile before letting her lead me down the ruined street.




For the purposes of a proper narrative that explains how everything came together, I must now change to a third person perspective so as to follow what my dear Companions were up to when I decided to try my hand at Extreme Falling and Tumbling. If you are curious as to how I can do this with any accuracy... well, we did talk about it after the fact and I have some security measures in the TARDIS for intruders. I was able to piece together a fairly accurate picture.

Camilla had convinced Janias to let me drop. They ran into the TARDIS just as the platform they were on started to shudder. Janias secured Hannah while Camilla found a strap to hold onto.

And then the TARDIS began to fall and tumble. It was still active enough to not be too damaged by the fall but it was, I imagine, still a terrifying and punishing experience as it plummeted several stories. From what they told me it almost landed on its side before making a final spin and smacking against a fallen piece of building to become upright again.

When the shaking was over they picked themselves up off the floor. "Are you okay?", Janias cried out.

"I'm alive, that's good enough," Camilla answered.

They got to their feet and embraced each other. Janias asked the obvious question. "What do you think happened to the Doctor?"

So nice of her to think of me.

"He's fine, I'm sure of it." Camilla's reassurance of my health was perhaps overly optimistic even if it proved accurate. But undoubtedly she was already focusing on the needs of the situation and wanted to reassure Janias on the issue. "We have to get the TARDIS fixed."

"Uh... how? Even the Doctor usually just lets it repair itself," Janias pointed out. "What we need to do is find these girls that the Doctor says are going to make us go 'poof'."

"We can't just leave the TARDIS, though," Camilla pointed out. "We don't have one of the keys to summon it."

"We can find it after we..."

At that point my Companions were interrupted by the sound and rattle of something thudding against the TARDIS, something with enough speed and mass to make it shake. They stepped out of it and found an adolescent girl nearly unconscious beside it. Long dark hair, dark blue eyes, and a disc on her left arm.

Had I been there I would have immediately told them it was Homura. But they had no clue who she was. So they took her inside the TARDIS. She didn't resist, being rather battered, and barely showed consciousness while Camilla ran a medical scanner over her. "She's got a broken leg," she said to Janias, looking at her. "Can you...?"

"I've been practicing, yeah." Janias smirked. "Thanks to the Doctor I've had plenty of opportunities." She bent over and put her hands over the break. Janias focused on it with the Force, moving the break to set it.

Ordinarily this would have been excruciating, but one of the advantages of being a mahou shoujo - that's "magical girl" for those of you who don't know Japanese or are too lazy to check TVTropes or Wikipedia - is that they are detached from their bodies and no longer actually feel pain. In a way, they become, oh, what was the term? Oh yes, liches. Just more adorable.

Yes, I said adorable, I know better than to use other terms you perverted loli fetishists. Oi, and you lot wonder why Otaku get such a bad wrap sometimes.

"She's not making a sound," Camilla said in surprise. "And I haven't given her any painkillers."

Janias looked up. "What's that? I feel something cold."

Camilla followed her beloved's eyes to look at the back of Homura's left hand and the soul gem she kept there in its battle form. It was a purple gem normally full of luster but, at this point, it was darkened at the bottom end. "What's that dark stuff?"

"Unh." At this point Homura started to awaken. She looked up at my Companions and to the TARDIS around her. "Where have you taken me?", she asked in an insistant voice.

"You're on the TARDIS," Janias answered. "It's... a kind of ship, and it's a pocket dimension that's bigger on the inside."

Apparently Homura's response was an almost nonplussed "Oh." "It won't matter. I'm too hurt to continue fighting, I have to go back to the beginning again."

"The beginning?"

Camilla was already looking intently at her. Undoubtedly she'd figured out what Homura meant given the context and so grabbed her hand as it reached for the disc. "Listen, it's not smart to do that here," she said. "The Doctor said the TARDIS will interfere with the time loop."

Homura's head snapped over to face Camilla. "How do you know about that?"

"The Doctor knows a lot, I'm not sure how he does it," Janias answered. It was truthful since I hadn't quite made clear just how much of the Multiverse, and the places we visited, were places I knew as fiction. "He said something about, well, the TARDIS being..." Janias looked to Camilla, clearly seeking her lover's better grasp of things.

"The TARDIS has the effect of stabilizing the timestream whenever and wherever it is present," Camilla answered. "It might ruin your loop."

A sharp outlet of breath came from Homura, irritation in its purest form. "Then we need to get your ship out of here."

"We will as soon as it's repaired," Janias remarked. "But it's still taking a while."

"Why are you looping time anyway?", Camilla asked. "The Doctor never said."

"I'm trying to defeat Walpurgisnacht."

"You're not telling us the truth," Janias remarked.

As it turns out, having a soul gem isn't enough to fool even a Jedi Padawan.

The response that prompted was a cold reply. "My reasons are my own and are none of your concern."

"They are if it means you'll start that time loop before we leave."

They glared at each other for several moments, an interesting image given Janias was a bit taller than Homura. "You're afraid that my power would work and that resetting this loop would harm you," Homura said. "You have as much to lose, then. You may even be lying to me."

"We're not," Janias insisted.

"Would you want to risk it?", Camilla asked, stepping in. "Whatever your purpose is, it's important enough that you're looping time over it. And if it's that important, do you want to risk it with the TARDIS here?"

There was silence from Homura on the matter. Janias let out a sigh and put her hands on her hips. "Okay, let's see how we can get the TARDIS fixed so we can find the Doctor. Then you can loop time to your heart's content."

It was a good idea on their part, but it would have complications on my end of things.




My body was still aching as I followed Madoka through the ruined streets of the city. The ruins around us were as depressing as the overcast skies. Ahead I could see rain and wind whipping, undoubtedly the barrier.

"Madoka, why are you out in the city like this?", I asked, curiosity compelling me.

"Oh. I was worried about my friend Sayaka. She wasn't at the shelter and I thought I might find her."

I nodded and swallowed. Undoubtedly her fate was the same it usually was; falling into Kyubey's vice and transformation into a witch. "I'm sorry you didn't find her. What you did took much bravery."

"I just don't want her to get hurt." Madoka looked back at me. "Why are you here?"

"I'm a traveler and I'm afraid I got caught by this... thing."

"Oh. You mean the storm. It's pretty bad, I've never seen one like it."

"It's more than a storm, I can say that," I remarked. But I said no more as we continued on.

I was mentally counting down the time, hoping to get the half hour through and see if I could summon the TARDIS. But we weren't quite there when that terrible laugh split the air. Madoka let out a cry of fright as the shadow came over us. Walpurgisnacht was looming behind us and moving on. Right for the shelter, I'd say.

"What... what is that?", she asked in fright.

"A very nasty being at the center of this storm," I explained. "Quick!" Despite my body's protests of pain I grabbed Madoka by the arm and pulled her into a ruined storefront. We hid in the shadows as the massive beast flew overhead.

Madoka's eyes tracked it. "It's heading to the shelter! We have to stop it!"

"Not bloody likely...", I muttered. She twisted free of my grasp and ran toward the street, forcing me to give chase. "Don't! You can't face that thing!"

"Hey! Over here!" She started jumping in place, trying to get the creature's attention. As I caught up she kept doing it.

I looked up and saw that it had stopped. The thing spun on its upper gear and came about to face us. I heard a small whimper come from my guide; she was starting to regret her heroics.

I did the only thing I could do. I brought up the sonic screwdriver. It started scanning actively, looking for some kind of frequency, some kind of vulnerability.

When I saw a blur appear from the thing I grabbed Madoka and jumped, just in time to prevent a multicolored stream from smashing into us. "I think you got its attention," I grumbled. "Time to run!"

I didn't dare return to a building as I suspected we would be easily crushed. I led her into a nearby alleyway and down toward the other end. I heard a rush of air behind us and turned in time to see the "circus doll" constructs that Walpurgisnacht loved to throw out coming for us. I brought up the sonic screwdriver and sent out a general disruption pulse. When it did nothing I forced Madoka down and tried to get low myself. One struck me along the upper back anyway, sending me sprawling. I picked myself up and saw one of them going for Madoka as she tried to stand. I triggered the sonic again. This time it popped out of existence. "There we go!", i called out. "Let's keep going!"

We went into the next street and on to the next alley. I glanced behind us to see Walpurgisnacht was ever so slowly hovering our way, like it was uncertain of which way it wanted to attack.

As we rounded a corner and hid against an another abandoned building I felt a subtle whisper in my head. I drew in a breath. "Janias."

"Who?"

"A friend of mine," I answered. I closed my eyes for a moment to concentrate and, hopefully, get an update.




To switch perspectives yet again...

On the other end, Janias was standing at the door to the TARDIS and focusing. Doctor! You're okay?!

Okay, no, but unregenerated and alive, yes. Well, for the moment. I've got a despair gestalt entity stalking me and Madoka across the city.

Who?

I let Madoka's face filter through our mental link. One of the girls I talked about... never mind. Is the TARDIS ready yet?

Janias looked back to Camilla who was busy tinkering with the TARDIS controls. She gave a confused shrug. "I think some of the systems are back, but not all.[/i]

I had already heard Camilla's words through the mental link. We'll just keep running then. Hopefully this thing will not be too concerned with... Bugger! Gotta go!

"Doctor!", Janias cried out, even as she thought the same. "He's running for his life with some pink-haired girl.."

That was apparently the thing to jolt Homura out of her cold distance. "He's with Madoka?"

"That's the name."

"Then I need to go." Homura limped up to the exit of the TARDIS, at least until Janias got in the way. "Move."

"You've got a broken leg, you're in no condition to fight," Janias said.

"I don't feel pain," Homura informed her bluntly. "I have to protect Madoka."

"Even if it doesn't hurt, your body can only take so much punishment," Camilla pointed out.

Janias looked at her for a moment, gently reaching out through the Force. "She's very important to you. Important enough to get yourself stuck in time loops?"

"I don't need to answer that." Homura slipped past Janias and lifted off into the air.

"Sometimes I wish Jedi could fly," Janias lamented. She stopped that thought and tried to focus on me again. But she found I wasn't able to receive, given I had become terribly busy.




In the meantime, I was running hard enough that my hearts were almost bursting. Having a city-crushing abomination against nature pursuing you slowly does that.

"Can't you do something about it?", Madoka asked, on the verge of running out of breath from the way it sounded.

"Not with the tools at hand," I answered. How did one defeat this thing? In all of the timelines only Madoka had. My leading theory was that the multi-layered spinning aura around Walpurgisnacht was actually a force shield of some kind, one capable of resisting a lot of force... unless applied in the kind of piercing energy that might come from, say, a young magical girl's energy arrows. So what could I do?

We rounded a corner and I turned back long enough to disintegrate another gaggle of the black-sparkling circus familiars. "Won't these things ever run out?"

"Isn't there anything we can do?"

There was a pleading look in her eyes that got me to thinking. Now if I'd had the TARDIS, the power in the Time Vortex might be used to power a weapon that could wreck this thing. Of course, in the process I'd be completely messing up the loopy timeline of this cosmos and quite possibly cause Time to go "crunch". But how could I tell Madoka that? How could I make her understand that the only thing I was doing was buying time so I could leave and let things take their course?

Hadn't I just acted to save Mindf... Hannah, in spite of the fixed point of her demise? Why couldn't I do that here? Was it worth Madoka Kaname's life to see that original ending come about? Maybe I could come up with something better?

For all my senses told me "No, do not change this"... that wasn't an option I felt I could live with. I had to pull a Sam Vimes. I had to try something, anything, to save this innocent girl and her devoted Homura from the fate the wretched Incubators had caused them.

I'd claimed the mantle of the Doctor and I had to bloody well accept what that meant, even if it meant risking everything against this titan of human woe.

I scanned the buildings around us to see if there was anything of use. "I need a satellite dish," I murmured. "Something that can focus energy."

"Um... would the TV station's dish have what you need?" Madoka pointed down the street. "It's to the right, two streets down."

"Yes, yes it would. Come along!" I took off in a run just as a dark shadow loomed overhead.

"It's after us!", Madoka cried.

"That's why we're running! Time to put that physical education course to good use!"

So said the man who used to be horrid at class PE on account of his weight. At least I didn't have to worry about that anymore, being in a lanky new Time Lord body and all.

We went around the corner just in time for a new series of familiars to come for us. I turned to raise my sonic screwdriver up to deal with them. Before I could I heard the thunder of an automatic weapon. Bullets tore through the constructs.

"Are you the Doctor?"

I wasn't surprised when Homura dropped to the street in front of me. She almost lost her footing as she did so. "Homura Akemi, I presume," I remarked. "I am the Doctor, yes." I saw the way she was favoring her left leg. "How badly is that leg broken?"

My inquiry into her broken limb was ignored. "Get Madoka to safety."

"Good idea. And I'll throw in a better idea." I brought my screwdriver up. "Get that thing in front of the dish over there." I indicated the TV station's satellite dish. "I'm going to try something."

The reply I got was almost dismissive. "Do you think you can beat it?"

"I'll damn well try," I answered.

That got me a nod before she lifted off back into the air. I took Madoka in hand again and pulled her to the TV station. "They'll have generators on the premises," I said. "I need them put on maximum, so we need to find them."

I was answered by a nod. "I had a field trip here last year, I think I know where they are."

"Good. Show me."

We entered the abandoned building. It was lit up on the inside, confirming the onsite generators. Madoka led me through a door marked for authorized personnel only and into the basement of the property, past storage rooms and studios. We arrived in the generator room and I got to work. "Flip those red switches over there, and those, and those!" I took a side and flipped them too. "Okay..." I ran the sonic screwdriver over the monitor in the middle of the room. "All generators on... not nearly the power I want though. Wait..." Using the screwdriver as a remote control I shifted the screen to show me other information. "Oh yes! Underground power lines! And the city grid is still running through them! Oh, good show, Mitakihara infrastructure planners!"

"So can we beat it?", Madoka asked hopefully.

"We'll see. I need to go modify the satellite now."

I had briefly thought of telling her to stay in the building. But a thought occurred to me; at any time Kyubey might show up and start his sales pitch. I didn't need him bringing her into a contract behind my back. Not if I was going to save the situation.

When we left the building I saw that Homura had done her part, luring Walpurgisnacht into range. She was zipping in mid-air, avoiding everything from a chunk of building to more of those familiars, and unleashing every weapon she could in her arsenal. And all with a broken leg.

Walpurgisnacht versus Homura Akemi. Unstoppable Force meets Immovable Object. It was... inspiring.

And the motivation for that sheer determination, blissfully unaware of her part in it, stood beside me wondrous. "Why do I feel like I know her, Doctor?"

"Because you do, dear. Because she resets time over and over in a desperate bid to save you."

Okay, I didn't say that. I didn't want to scare Madoka at this critical juncture. "Because she has found something worth fighting an eternity for," I answered. "This time, she's got us to help. Come along!"

I led her out to the satellite dish. There was a ground control that was just low enough for Madoka to reach. "Watch that. When I give you a thumbs up, pull this lever. And stay low."

"Yes, Doctor!"

I smiled at her and nodded before going to the nearby ladder and pulling it over so I could climb up into the dish. I made sure to grab the safety rope as I did so and loop it around my shoulder. Once I did I had a rather difficult climb up the antenna in the center, forcing me to swing along like I was on monkey bars. My left shoulder protested vigorously and my right shoulder wasn't happy either given the sheer abuse I was suffering.

But after several agonizing minutes I made it. First I secured the rope's end to the antenna and let it fall to the ground, or at least to about six feet above the ground. When my escape route was ready I brought the sonic up and ran it over the internal circuitry to alter the signal emitters' angle. The dish would bounce the signal I was going to input into it back and forth a couple of times before the antenna transmitted it.

"Doctor, look out!"

I barely heard Madoka's warning. It was just in time for me to duck a familiar trying to attack me. I quickly raised my sonic and dispersed it.

I was suddenly sized by a memory. Hadn't the Fourth Doctor been forced to regenerate due to falling from a satellite dish? Not a good place to be, really.

I dismissed that thought from my mind, focusing on the bit of purple light playing over the cover of the antenna tip as I finished my alterations.

I held my arm up with a thumbs up. I looked down to see Madoka pull the lever. The dish began to tingle with energy and I knew I couldn't remain on the antenna. I grabbed the rope and went down it a short distance, just far enough for me to be clear. I pulled up my sonic and triggered a pulse.

Barely visible energy accumulated on the dish, bouncing back and forth from the antenna to the dish a few times in the course of microseconds. I shimmied down the rope as quickly as I could, a little too quickly as it turned out given I hit the ground hard enough that my knee exploded in pain despite my attempt to roll. Madoka came up to me out of concern but our attention was quickly diverted to the dish. A barely perceptible series of waves erupted from the tip of the antenna. Homura maneuvered away from it at the last moment, allowing the blast to strike Walpurgisnacht head on. The energy field around it shimmered and seemed to falter a little.

I heard a loud buzz start coming from the dish and grabbed Madoka's hand. "We need to run again. This way!" I led her away from the dish because I knew what the buzz meant. My knee protested enough that I figured I'd broken the kneecap but with the help of adrenaline I was able to ignore the pain. I was getting rather used to it, really.

As we fled, the buzz became a roar and then, well, BOOM. The dish overloaded from the sheer quantities of electricity I'd dumped into it. It didn't make a catastrophic explosion but the tip of the antenna did come apart in a blast of sparks, as did the control Madoka had used.

A moment later, the top of an office building crashed into the dish, going through it and into the TV station to wreck both. I grabbed Madoka and pulled her to the ground as the dust cloud and further debris rippled over us. As I went down I felt my back pelted by the debris. We both began to cough. As the dust cleared I looked up.

I saw the back of Walpurgisnacht as it continued on to the evacuation center. I pointed the sonic to it and ran as great a scan as I could from the distance, all the while wondering why I hadn't done more damage. The effect field of the blast had been as tight as I could make it, measured in just a foot or so. How did it resist that much energy when I know this thing can be defeated by Madoka on her own.

"Why didn't it work?", I grumbled. "Why didn't it work?!" Indeed, it hadn't even slowed the monstrosity down...

Madoka was looking around. "Where did Homura go?"

I turned my sonic and found an energy trace. Suspecting what it came from, I followed it back to the wreck of the destroyed dish and the carcass of the TV building. The ceiling was gone, ripped away, and we could see clearly to where the projectile had finally stopped inside the structure.

Homura's unconscious form was laid out beside it, half-buried under debris.

Madoka called her name again and we dashed to where she lay. The debris was a mix of weights; I let Madoka get the light stuff while I strained every bit of my battered muscles to get the heavy stuff. When we'd dug her out I found she was bloodied and battered. A quick check of her left hand showed her soul gem was intact, meaning she was still alive. I wasn't happy with the fact that about a third of it was pitch black now. She'd expended quite a bit of energy in this fight.

I ran the sonic over her body. "Broken ribs, broken left arm, left leg still broken, hairline fracture in the right leg, sounds light for having a building dropped on you." Or from falling for a building as I was rather convinced I had at least a fracture in one of my ribs at this point.

"Doctor, how can we stop it?", Madoka asked. "My family is at the center."

"I don't know, my dear. I honestly don't know." I brought the sonic up and checked the scan I'd run on Walpurgisnacht.

I saw the results and let out a breath. "Oh no, no no... of course." I put a hand to my forehead. "Of course. Bloody fool I am, I should have known."

"Known what, Doctor?", Madoka asked.

I swallowed and lowered my hand, feeling frustration and disappointment swell within me. "Quantum lock", I murmured. "A quantum lock. Bloody thing has a quantum lock on it. How did it get a quantum lock...?"

"What's a quantum lock?"

"It's... well, it can be anything, but it sort of.. it creates a state upon a thing. It's like how when a Weeping Angel sees someone looking at it then it turns to stone like a statue..."

Madoka's face betrayed her confusion. "And what's a Weeping Angel?"

I stopped at the interruption to consider the question. "Something that you'll never have to face, or rather I hope to God you never have to face." I felt a headache coming on. "Quantum locks can be used as defensive mechanisms. In this case, Walpurgisnacht has a quantum lock on it that protects it from damage. It literally cannot be harmed by anything short of a temporal..."

At that point, everything clicked into place. There was only one being in this entire cosmos who was infused with temporal energy. Only one. And I was looking right at her.

One might wonder how she beat Walpurgisnacht in Timeline 1, but for one, we never saw proof that she did even if it was inferred by the fact that Homura survived despite being a normal girl. And even if she did, temporal energy is, well, it's temporal energy, it can be conducted in four dimensions even if not equally. With just a bit of the temporal energy being produced by Homura's constant time loops and directed entirely at Madoka, that first timeline's Madoka could have had enough energy to defeat it, although she clearly didn't survive the attempt. Later incarnations did "survive" because they had more temporal energy to spare... save of course that she expended so much energy in the process that she became a witch.

An interesting mechanic, that. Every girl who ever fought this thing either died or became a witch, and the energy released with that...

A gestalt entity that drew in the witch forms of every girl it defeated, completely unique amongst the witches of this cosmos. A being that could not be defeated and could only serve to cull the magical girls of the world. A being with a quantum lock.

I could think of only one thing in this world that would have the know-how, the sheer power, to develop such a being.

Before I could mutter that answer, I heard someone speak. "Oh my, and what do we have here?"

Ah, dramatic timing. Everything a writer could wish for.

The voice was high and child-like, but it sounded so... matter-of-fact. Emotionless. Alien.

Madoka and I turned to a ruined lump of what had been a conference table. Red eyes looked back at us.

Madoka. Homura. And now, I had the final player in this great dance.

A slight smirk came to my face as the meeting I'd been wondering about had finally come.

"Hello, Kyubey. I'm the Doctor."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Postby Steve » 2016-12-27 09:23am

Now I know you're champing at the bit to see my confrontation with the evil, dickish bunnycat - thank you very much Chuck of SFDebris - but I feel it necessary to again shift to my Companions to, if you will, set things up.

They were in the control center trying to do some manual repairs. I'd shown them a few tricks and Camilla, bless her heart, was trying to expand upon those. But it was not working well. She let out a cry as a shock made her hand go numb. "This is impossible! This thing is too complicated!"

"There's got to be something we can do to make it repair more quickly."

"I've tried everything. We're just going to have to wait."

"Stuff waiting!", Janias shouted. "The Doctor's out there and he's got that thing after him!"

"I can't think of what else we can do, Jan!"

"Then I'll just go out by myself and find him!" Janias turned to leave the TARDIS.

Except the TARDIS door was no longer open. And in front of it was standing, yes, the TARDIS hologram looking like Caterina. "Hello Janias, Camilla," she said with a thin smile. "So glad to meet you finally."

"Just who are..." Camilla undoubtedly remembered my telling her about meeting the TARDIS once. "You're the TARDIS, aren't you?"

"Yes," the hologram replied. "I'm really hurt right now and I can't see where the Doctor went."

"He's out in the city getting chased by some monster," Janias said.

"Oh." "Cat" frowned. "My poor Doctor, always taking risks. I'm trying to fix myself as quickly as I can. Can you help me?"

"I've been trying," Camilla sighed, holding up her shocked hand.

"I'll tell you what to do," the TARDIS answered. "First come to this station and..."




So... where was I? Oh yes. I was in pain, a lot of pain. My dislocated shoulder, even fixed, still hurt. My right kneecap was probably broken and at the very least badly bruised. I had a whole collection of bruises and scrapes from my tumble off the building and getting whacked by Walpurgisnacht's familiars. And now, despite all of that distracting pain, I had to match wits with Kyubey himself; an old being who had been manipulating Humanity for millennia.

I wasn't even sure I was supposed to be doing this. Fixed point in time and all... I could end up making things worse for everything if I caused the events to come in future loops to be undone.

We stood facing each other. I could see Kyubey's eyes shift to look at Madoka. "Madoka Kaname. You're the only hope for your family now. Only you can end this destruction."

"Destruction you caused," I accused, cutting him off before it could make a sales pitch for Madoka's soul.

"Whatever do you mean?"

"Oh please." I rolled my eyes. "Walpurgisnacht isn't just some random outcome. You made it. You made it and put a quantum lock on it and sent it out into the world to cull magical girls by the bushel, destroying thousands of lives in the process."

"We have found that Walpurgisnacht makes for a very efficient way of collecting emotional energy, yes," it admitted. "We prefer other methods, though."

"Oh, I'm sure you do. Can't let your harvester over-reap the crop now, can you?" My voice dripped with venom. "I know what you are, Incubator."

"And just what are you, Doctor? My, such powerful emotions, and such a powerful form too. Hmm... but I sense there's more." Kyubey tilted its head slightly. "Your mind is all a jumble. It looks like somebody doesn't want you to know who you are."

I glared at the little beast. "Get out of my head."

"I don't need to be in your mind to see what's been done to you, Doctor. Would you like me to undo it? You can always make a contract with me."

A sudden mania came over me, becoming a laughing fit that hurt (given my bruised and damaged body that was no surprise). I think I may have actually scared Madoka a bit with it. However, the laughter actually felt good. There were actually tears in my eyes I was laughing so hard, blurring my vision of Kyubey. "You... offer me... a contract? What, do I suddenly look like an adolescent school girl?"

"Adolescent girls may be the best form of energy we've found, but you are a unique case. You have so much energy potential, Doctor. Just make a contract and I'll gladly restore your memories."

I laughed again. I couldn't believe this thing's sheer gall, trying to get me into a contract with it.

"I've got a better offer," I replied. "Dismantle Walpurgisnacht and leave Earth, never to return. No more witches."

"I'm afraid I don't see how that proposal provides for our needs, Doctor."

"I'll make it simple then. You do the deal..." I glowered. "...and I won't make you regret ever finding the planet Earth."

"Really, Doctor, a threat? I know you're not one to commit violence."

"For cruelty like yours, you'll find I might be willing to make an exception," I threatened.

Kyubey tilted its head again. "Cruel? We work to maintain the universe for all beings."

"Really? And how do you do that? You say the emotional energy lets you hold off entropy... but there are oh so many ways to interpret that." I snarled. "For instance, you can do things like keep other civilizations at low-energy states so they don't use more of it. That just goes so well with keeping your species on top, doesn't it? How many worlds do you harvest emotion energy from, Kyubey? Ten? A thousand? A million? Must be quite a lot if this method lets you actually forestall entropy. And all the while it keeps you at the top."

"I'm having trouble understanding your animosity, Doctor. We only do what is necessary to preserve our universe." Kyubey looked back to Madoka. "Madoka Kaname, only you can stop Walpurgisnacht. Even the Doctor agrees with that."

Madoka looked to me with uncertainty. "Is he telling the truth, Doctor?"

"Am I, Doctor?"

I swallowed, unwilling to answer. It was, indeed, the truth. My expanded senses could feel the temporal energy resonating within her. She could break the quantum lock. But I knew what the cost would be.

"He is, isn't he?" Madoka tugged at my jacket. "It's okay, I understand. It has to be me."

I dropped to my left knee - the uninjured one - and took her by the shoulders. "No. Listen to me. This is a trap, Madoka. This... this thing wants to turn you into a monster even worse. You can't..."

"But my mom and... and my dad and my little brother!", she cried. "And Hitomi! They're all going to die if I don't stop it!"

I closed my eyes and forced a breath out. How could I say otherwise? I couldn't stop Walpurgisnacht with what I had on hand. What could I say to this selfless young girl? How could I tell her that her parents were doomed anyway?

"Ah, I see," Kyubey said. "The Doctor is afraid that defeating Walpurgisnacht will turn you into a witch even more powerful. That could happen, of course. But it doesn't mean it will. You have enough power that you can easily destroy it and still have time to cleanse your soul gem."

"That won't happen and you bloody well know it!", I shouted.

"Oh? But how would you know that? It hasn't been tried before."

At that moment I realized the trap I'd been set in. The only way for me to say yes would be to admit to the loops, confirming what Homura was, and hope Madoka believed me and wasn't totally freaked out.

Before I could answer, Kyubey spoke up once more. "I thought so. You can't say for sure that it wouldn't work, can you Doctor?"

I shook my head. "Madoka, you can't trust this thing. All it cares about is accumulating energy. It will see your whole world burn to get what it wants."

Madoka looked between us, very agitated and confused. I'd built trust there, yes, but she was weighing that against the safety of her family and everything she loved. And I could see I was losing.

"Madoka, what do you want more than anything? I can give..."

"You shut up!", I howled in rage. "Shut your lying, manipulative..."

"Stop it! Just stop it!", she cried out. "I..." She stepped away. I could see it in her face; she wanted to just run away, run away and find somewhere to think.

"Madoka, don't go, please," I begged.

"You should do what you feel is right," Kyubey countered.

At that point, I lost my temper and pulled my sonic out to menace Kyubey with it. "I've heard just about enough out of you!"

Yeah, that was real smooth of me. The entire exchange had become a disaster, a battle I couldn't win.

Before I could do anything with the sonic Madoka turned and began to run away, undoubtedly frightened by the rage in my face. I turned and watched her go. "Wait, don't!" I moved to follow.

I'll give credit, the little bastard was quick. I took maybe three steps and suddenly I was tripping over Kyubey, landing hard on my knees. A flare of fresh pain erupted through my right leg. "Madoka, come back!", I cried out, but she vanished behind debris.

"I apologize, Doctor, I didn't intend to make you fall over like that."

I let out an angry groan. This thing could give lawyers lessons in twisting language. As I tried to stand I felt pain shoot through my right knee whenever too much weight went on it. There was no way I could catch up to Madoka, hobbled as I was.

"I really wish you would reconsider, Doctor. You have enough potential to get any wish...."

Before it could continue a lovely sound came to my ears. VWORP VWORP VWORP VWORP... the TARDIS materialized about ten yards away. Kyubey looked at it in interest. "A pocket dimension? You have such interesting things," it said.

The door opened and Janias stepped out. "Doctor!"

"Good to see you've got her going," I answered.

Kyubey walked up to and around Janias, studying her intently. She looked down at it with confusion. "Just what is this thing?"

"You're not even Human, how interesting," Kyubey said to her. "But you have a lot of power. If you make a contract with me..."

"Ignore the bloody thing", I shouted, favoring my knee as I tried to walk. "It's a trickster and a manipulator! Whatever you do, do not accept any contracts or agreements with it!"

A sigh came from the abomination as it bounded back to the wrecked conference table. "I really don't understand the hostility, Doctor."

"Really? After all of your time studying Humanity and other sentient life with emotions you fail to understand why someone would be appalled at what you do to the girls you manipulate?", I asked.

"We mean no harm. We are simply trying to preserve the universe." Kyubey focused its eyes on me. "Sometimes sacrifices must be made, like with Madoka. You know that she is the only one that can harm Walpurgisnacht. Homura Akemi will never be able to win that battle, no matter how often she resets time. It's futile."

I swallowed and lowered my head. I knew how this would ultimately end, of course... or at least how it should end if not for, well, meddling like mine. "How did you know about that?"

"I knew something was special about her already. It was a reasonable deduction given what you clearly know." Kyubey turned its head to look into the distance. "I really should be going, Madoka will be ready to make her wish very soon."

"If it moves, Janias, slice the damn thing in half with your lightsaber," I ordered. Looking back, it was a rather futile order, but I was truly being pushed to the limits of my patience with this thing. Which, looking back, was precisely what it had been aiming for. It might not know emotion itself, but it knew it in others... and how to use it.

And I was the idiot who decided to match wits with it when three quarters of my body was clawing at my attention from the pain it was in.

My order got me a look of utter shock on Janias' face. "Uh, Doctor...?"

Kyubey's attention was back on me. "It seems I have driven you to your limits, Doctor, if you're willing to order my destruction." Kyubey shifted its head slightly. "Shouldn't you be letting Madoka make her own choices? Who are you to her that you can make her decision for her?"

"Because you misled her. You and I both know she won't walk away from that fight without becoming a witch."

"Of course not," Kyubey admitted. "I told her so, but she didn't understand."

I felt the bile building within me. "You spout falsehoods under the guise of truth, using a turn of phrase and implication to make things sound true when they're not. You're a consummate liar!"

"I didn't lie."

"Oh, of course, not directly, you just twist everything so that the truth sounds like what you want it to instead of what it is," I charged.

"It's not my fault that mortal beings hear only what they want to hear." The response was as calm and emotionless as ever. "Or that they refuse to accept what is true. We both know Homura Akemi can never win. The quantum lock on Walpurgisnacht means only Madoka can defeat it, and it doesn't matter how often Homura loops through time. You can't defeat it either. It's Madoka's destiny to do that. She will become the greatest of all magical girls and the worst of all witches."

"You have no idea what her destiny truly is," I retorted. "Even if Homura can't break the lock, she can still stop you."

"How? Homura Akemi will never win this battle. We designed Walpurgisnacht to be immune to normal magical girls like her. Madoka is special. She has to become a magical girl if you're going to destroy it. Homura Akemi's only drawing her own suffering out if she keeps this time loop going. She should just give up."

"Now who's saying things they don't know?", I asked.

"It is basic logic. If she can't beat Walpurgisnacht, then Homura cannot prevent Madoka from becoming a magical girl, as Madoka will always make that choice. You know I'm right. There is no hope for her."

"Doctor, what is this thing talking about?", Camilla asked.

I bit my lip in frustration. I was reluctant to tell this thing what was going to eventually happen. I didn't think it could transfer information from loop to loop, but giving it a motive to destroy Homura before she could loop again was not something I wanted to try. Not when we were so badly banged up and couldn't protect Homura if this thing could bring multiple copies of itself into play.

Now you might ask if this was a reasonable fear. Kyubey never showed violence before, right? I would argue that it was because it didn't need to. A being that could enter one's mind with telepathy was capable of all sorts of terrible things. I wasn't about to find out the hard way that it could do them..

Kyubey pressed on through my silence. "Doctor, don't lie to yourself. I can see it in your posture. You know I'm right." Kyubey shifted position, getting up on all fours. "There is no way for Homura Akemi to save Madoka. It is impossible. You shouldn't deceive yourself or her."

Before I could answer, I heard a whimper from behind me. I turned, as did my Companions.

Homura was sitting up, propped up against the debris... and she was sobbing.

My mouth opened in shock as I realized what had just happened and how much of a Goddamned fool I had been.

The offer of a contract to regain my memories, the banter, the arguing over Madoka... Kyubey had been stalling. It had been buying time to get to its true intentions with this conversation. I should have realized it the moment it mentioned Homura by name and the quantum lock on Walpurgisnacht. This entire thing had been a setup, a chance for it to have Homura overhear us talk about the quantum lock and for it to hammer home the physical impossibility of Homura defeating Walpurgisnacht.

Oh, she knew better than to believe Kyubey by himself. But my inability to give a direct rebuttal spoke volumes. it was convincing. If I tried to lie I'd simply be playing to Kyubey's tune, and it had far more experience at it. And it's not like I could tell her what would happen, Homura wouldn't accept Madoka's ultimate fate since her purpose was to keep everything status quo for her. It would make all of this still seem for nothing.

"I can't win?" Homura's voice was close to breaking as she spoke through her sobs. At that moment every little shadow of doubt she'd held about fulfilling her promise was expanding to suffocate her spirit. Everything she feared was true; that she could not save Madoka. "Will I ever be able to beat Walpurgisnacht by myself? Tell me the truth!"

I looked down toward her soul gem. The black now filled half of it. And I could sense it creeping upward.

Janias stepped up. "I sensed no deception from that thing..."

"Janias, shut up," I hissed. Surprise and anger crossed her face. I'd never spoken to her like that before. I'm sure Camilla wasn't delighted either, though I imagine she might have guessed what was going on.

"Yes, Doctor, tell her the truth," Kyubey urged in that child-like voice. "Get her to stop struggling, she's only hurting herself. She deserves your honest answer."

At that point, I finally snapped. "I'll give you a bloody answer!," I roared. I twisted about and stretched my sonic out toward Kyubey. The purple tip lit up as I triggered a feedback disruption straight into its body.

A high shrill noise, a scream really, came from the doll-like body before it exploded into, well, white fluff.

"Well, that was cathartic," I mumbled to myself, feeling slightly pleased. I honestly shouldn't have been but I was in a sour mood.

Janias' eyes widened like saucers. "Doctor... you... you killed it!", she gasped in horror.

I slipped my sonic back into my pocket and sighed. "No, I didn't. It isn't that easy I'm afraid. That was just a bioconstruct body for the hive mind. Think of it as a sort of bio-droid controlled by a central computer. It's already preparing another body to replace this one." I smirked. "Well, in a few minutes anyway, I put enough feedback through its open connection that the Incubator hive mind should have one great big bloody headache now."

I'd made my great blow against the aliens who had tormented so many young girls. It would amount to a painful but transitory experience at best, not at all an appropriate response to what it had been doing.

And, well, I had other concerns now. Things were, well, not looking good.

"It's all for nothing," Homura sobbed. "I'll never save her. I'll never save Madoka!"

Like I said, not looking good.

The damage had been done. She'd overheard us talk, she'd overheard the entire thing about quantum locking, and it had fueled every fear she'd held deep down. The doubts she'd kept suppressed through sheer force of will, through her determination to fulfill her promise to the girl she loved, were breaking loose.

I limped up to her and got back onto my knees, which was rather uncomfortable given the injury to my right knee. I took her left hand into my own, eyeing her gem as the black started to seep toward the top. "Homura, listen to me. Whatever you heard, it's not hopeless. I know how this is supposed to end. Madoka will be saved from Kyubey, you just have to keep going. Trust me."

She looked at me through tear-stricken eyes. When she spoke, the words were weak, coming from someone suffocating under the weight of utter despair. "I can't beat it. I never have. I never can."

"It'll all be all right in the end," I insisted. "Just... you can't give up, Homura. Madoka is counting on you."

I was trying to be as re-assuring as possible, as insistent... but it wasn't working. It was clear she'd gone through many loops already, all the while that seed of doubt growing, and the interaction with Kyubey had brought it to blossom. The dark of the gem kept growing and growing.

"It's all been for nothing," she cried softly. "All for nothing."

"No! No it hasn't been! Dammit, don't give up now! You're going to beat that little sniveling...!"

"Doctor, just what is going on?!", Janias demanded. "I can feel the darkness growing..."

"I'll explain later, Janias," I responded. I took Homura by the head and stared intently into her blue eyes. "Listen to me. You will save Madoka. God dammit, Homura, you're going to win, don't give up! I know you're stronger than this!"

It wasn't working. The dark was up to the final sliver of purple on her soul gem. She was almost out of time.

"Do you have any seeds?!", I asked. "Homura, please!"

She was too drowned in her despair to answer.

It was all my fault. I had thought I was so clever, I was going to be just like the Doctor. I was going to thumb my nose at History and try to change a fixed point. I'd barged into a situation where my resources were low and my body injured and I'd tried to match wits with a being far, far older than I was with a hell of a lot more experience in the field. For all I was using the name like an arrogant idiot, I was not the Doctor. I didn't have that experience.

In short... I had screwed up royally, and Madoka Kaname and Homura Akemi were going to pay the price for that. Their whole world would pay the price.

As I watched the black start to overtake the last mote of purple, I felt tears come to my eyes. It couldn't end like this. It couldn't! There had to be something I could do. Something to save her, something to clean the despair from her soul gem and give her a fighting chance...!

In my desperation, I made a calculation. I was a Time Lord and my mind had telepathic capability. I could reach into the minds, maybe even the very souls, of other beings and interact with them. Maybe, just maybe, I could cut through the despair by mentally connecting with Homura directly through her soul gem.

I had only seconds left when I pressed my right palm against the back of Homura's hand, feeling the fine surface of her gem against it. I could feel the cold darkness inside of it and knew she was almost lost.

I opened my mind and reached in, imagining my hand - the hand of my mind if you will - reaching into the gem and for her soul. I tried to fill it with a sense of reassurance, something to break through the despair. I even put some of my own in, my despair at losing everything I had been to my mind block and the ongoing feelings I had that I might never regain the memories of my loved ones. I hoped it would show her that she wasn't alone.

Black energy seeped around my hand and fingers. It started to move up my arm, a cold and terrible feeling, but I kept the connection, kept myself focused on it, as I could feel the light within the gem begin to shine once more.

And then the blackness reached my chest and my neck and my head... and I fell over screaming and wailing and sobbing.

I'm going to be honest. I don't think words can describe what happened to me in that state. Even in my darkest hours to come, when I was paying the price for my arrogance in trying to play the Doctor, I never reached the pits of despair that I had unknowingly flung myself into when I pulled the despair from Homura's soul gem. Homura's despair entered me in all of its terrible power and found my own despair, my doubts and worries about my life as it was, waiting for it. The combination was terrifying and I will never forget the sheer depths into which I was plunged.

I suppose I could try to get it across in mere words. One moment.

Ahem.

NO NO NO I'LL NEVER REMEMBER MY FAMILY I'LL NEVER SAVE MADOKA I'M GOING TO BE ALONE I'M A FAILURE A FAILURE A FAILURE I DON'T KNOW WHO I AM I CAN'T BEAT WALPURGISNACHT I DON'T KNOW WHO I AM I CAN'T SAVE MADOKA I CAN'T I CAN'T I'M A FAILURE I FAILED MY FAMILY MY FRIENDS MADOKA MY FAMILY I CAN'T WIN IT'S ALL FOR NOTHING I'LL NEVER GO HOME I'LL NEVER SAVE MADOKA NEVER SAVE HER CAN'T KEEP THE PROMISE CAN'T KEEP THE PROMISE TO MADOKA CAN'T KEEP THE PROMISE OF THE DOCTOR ALL FOR NOTHING NOTHING...!

That doesn't do it justice.

I wasn't sure whether my hearts would burst or if the despair would squeeze them into stillness. Both sensations existed on the periphery of the deep existential despair that had seized me. It seemed to be never-ending.

And then the warmth came.

I remember that too. I remember that terrible despair being pierced by a beam of golden warmth that reached my very soul. The black melted before that warm light. The violence of the despair calmed and a golden serenity replaced it in my hearts. A single mantra filled my head.

There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no chaos, there is harmony. There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no chaos, there is harmony.

Having experienced that sensation, I can actually see why Jedi will willingly give up romantic life and creature comforts to be closer to the Light Side of the Force. For all I scorn their disapproval of love or feelings, I could now understand why they thought it a worthwhile trade; that golden serenity in my soul was so soothing I don't think I could ever do it justice through a description.

I felt my chest heave as I caught my breath. I opened my eyes and looked into Janias' lovely green eyes. The Mirialan girl smiled down at me, her hands holding mine. "It's okay, Doctor," she said softly. "It'll all be okay." She had a reassuring smile on her face.

"What...?" I sat up slowly. "How did...?" I didn't think Janias' Jedi training was sufficient for such a thing. She was too cocksure, too passionate, to do something like that.

"I had... help," she admitted, looking past me.

I turned and looked into a black visor with a red light for the sensors, a wisp of blonde hair over part of the side. "Hannah," I said.

Hello (Salutations) Doctor (Doctor of what anyway?).

I stared at her. "You're awake?"

With a big (huge) (ginormous) headache, but yes!

"She did something to my mind," Janias explained. "She made it really easy for me to settle my thoughts and meditate with the Force."

Oh, not too (terribly) hard. Just a little (not so little) neuroresponse editing to suppress Janias' (strong) emotions.

"I see. Thank you, Hannah."

Thank you (very very very much), Doctor. You saved my (ass) life. Hannah took my hand.

"You're welcome," I said.

I turned to a sitting position and looked toward Homura. She was still propped against the debris. Her soul gem shined without a speck of black in it. She looked to it and then to me. "How did you do that?", she asked. "What are you?"

"I'm a Time Lord, we have some telepathic talents," I explained. I drew in a breath. "This was my fault. I tried to interfere in these events and I underestimated Kyubey. Or, rather, overestimated myself."

"It's very easy to underestimate that thing. It's made for that purpose." She grimaced. "You know a lot about us, Doctor. I want to ask a question."

"I'll try to answer it, then."

She stared directly at me. "Can I save Madoka?"

I nodded and, with as firm a voice as I could manage in my battered state, answered, "Yes."

"How?'

"By continuing your time loops. Every time you loop, Homura, you reset the game board. Kyubey can't relay memories through the loops so you always start with an advantage over him." I gripped her hand. "Eventually, you will come to a loop where its plans for Madoka are thwarted. I'm not sure how many. But I know it will come." I smiled gently. "You are Madoka's greatest hope, Homura. Remember that."

She bowed her head and gave me a nod. "I will. Can you help me?"

I drew in a sigh. "I think it best if I minimize my involvement. This is a fixed point, Homura. The outcome can change but the players need to stay consistent. If I meddle, well... it's an extra element of chaos that can disrupt what will come."

"I see." She looked to her buckler. "I should go back now. I don't want to see Madoka turning into a witch again. I've seen it happen too many times."

"Understandable." I nodded and looked to Camilla. "How well off is the TARDIS?"

"Almost there, Doctor."

"It's going to be rough, time loops always are tough to break out of. Why don't you check up on things, show Hannah the swimming pool or something? I'll be right there."

Camilla nodded and the three returned to the TARDIS. I looked back to Homura. "Young lady, I want you to know something. I know how this has changed you and how you feel now. You feel like you're not even Human."

"I'm not," she answered quietly.

"Oh, but you're wrong there, Homura Akemi." I let the smile return to my face. "You are so very wrong. Look at yourself, Homura. You fight this ongoing battle in the name of the one you love against odds that would make other beings quiver and flee. That's why Kyubey has trouble dealing with you. You are Human with your persistence, your courage, your defiance against the forces against you. Remember, it doesn't matter where you keep your soul but that you have it." I tapped the soul gem on the back of her hand. "You know how you have that promise to Madoka? I would like to tell you mine."

Her tone was still very subdued when she asked, "And what promise is that?"

"It's my promise to myself, the promise of the Doctor. 'Never cruel or cowardly. Never give up, never give in.' I have to keep that or I can't be the Doctor. I'd like you to remember that."

A lark seized me. It was perhaps a little unnecessary, even a bit uncomfortable, but I couldn't resist it. I put my arms around Homura's shoulders and pulled her into a hug. I suppose I felt she needed it. She'd been fighting this lonely battle for oh so very long and she needed to know she had someone who knew about it and supported her in it.

Perhaps she agreed with that, as despite my expectations she didn't resist. With my mouth by her ear I dropped my voice to a lower volume. "Never give up, Homura. You're not alone."

When the embrace ended and I stood, I looked into her face and saw, for the first time, a smile form. We nodded at each other.

From there I limped over to the TARDIS door and made my best speed to the controls. "Well, how about a quick visit to the past, say a bit over a month or so?", I said. I twisted a knob. "Then the TARDIS can have all the time it needs to repair itself."

"That's pretty specific, Doctor," Camilla remarked. "Do you have something in mind?"

"You might say that," I replied. "Although my first stop is to the hot tub to give all of these bruises a nice soak."

A hot tub (really)?!, I heard Hannah, well, think.

"Oh yes. And a swimming pool. Both are in the library. Hot tub's usually covered though, I save it for special occasion." I pulled back on the TARDIS lever. The TARDIS shuddered as it pulled out of Homura's ongoing time loop and went into the past.

As for why I went into the past? That's... for another time. I have to finish this story first, you understand. Yes, it is not quite over. No rest for the weary, sadly, but I had preparations to make.

Because one day, when I was fresh and better experienced, I was going to check up on the Incubators. I knew they would be up to mischief even after Madoka changed the entire magical girl system and the timeline with it.

And I was going to be ready for them.




I didn't linger too long, choosing to stay only long enough for Camilla to treat my knee enough to walk on. After I went on my little errand in this time frame I returned to the TARDIS and decided it was time to face Hannah about what needed to be done with her. "I can't return you to the moment I saved you," I explained. "There are events in your world's timeline that would be undone if you were there. I'm going to take you to a point a few weeks later."

I could see she wasn't too thrilled by that. You mean you want Theresa (Spookums) to think I'm dead (really?). Don't you know how hard (really hard) that's going to hurt her?

"Yes. I'd not do it if I could help it, but it's important those events go off as they're supposed to. This experience has reminded me of how important it can be to avoid messing with the timeline too much. It can cause too much damage." I went to the TARDIS control. "And I'm not so much dropping you off as picking her up. There's a medical station in the 28th Century that has given me a blank check for service, I was thinking you could both use it."

What? What's happening (going to happen) to my Spookums?!

"Some critical injuries, nothing immediately life threatening. Turns out fighting your way into Hell is just as painful as falling off a building."

She WHAT?! (ARE YOU SERIOUS?!)

"I'm sure she'll tell you about it." I flipped a few switches. "Alright, time to take you home." I pulled the lever.

After the customary VWORPing I went up to the TARDIS door with Hannah right behind me. We were in an empty room save for pre-established transporter portals called Lotus Nodes, named because, well, they looked like lotus flowers. "Hrm, we must be early," I mused. "I should go double check..."

One node opened with a "piiing". "...WAY!" The cry sounded through the room as two figures erupted from it, one holding the other in a bridal carry almost. I recognized Theresa - "Sistah Spooky" - battered and wounded in the arms of Empowered herself, long flowing blonde hair and all. The sparkling on her dark blue tattered skin suit were already fading and what looked like a skeleton of wings retracted into her suit's back. She twisted upon landing. "Close portal! Close portal!" A blast of energy came from her hand with a VORP and slammed into the control for the node, shutting it down.

They had an exchange about Empowered's wings - the ones she never noticed - before they noticed me. As they looked over in surprise and confusion I waved. "Hello there Emp, Theresa. I'm the Doctor. I've come bearing a gift for you both."

I stepped away from the opening of the TARDIS.

Their eyes widened as Hannah ran out. I could feel her in my head, not invading my mind but borrowing my sight so she could see what they looked like. Oh, Spookums! What were you thinking?! Look at you (really look!).

I wasn't sure how they'd react. They stared as if they'd seen a ghost even as Hannah ran up and embraced her mutilated beloved. And I do mean mutilated. Holes blasted through her body, her right arm ripped off... it wasn't pretty.

"How... how can you...?" I could hear Theresa's voice breaking. She'd just started to put this behind her and here I was, reopening the wound.

Granted, I was re-opening it to close it completely.

"I'm a time traveler," I said aloud. "I picked her up from the station the moment it exploded."

'You look like it," Emp said. I could see tears in her eyes, tears that were shifting toward joy. I hadn't just returned Theresa's beloved to her; I'd fixed Emp's greatest defeat. "Why?"

"Why?" I smiled. "Because I'm the Doctor. I make things better. Well..." I let out a sigh. "I try anyway."

I suppose I should mention that moments like these always tended to shift me back on the "Call myself the Doctor" track. It's like I couldn't help myself, really.

"Thank you." Emp relented in allowing Hannah to take Theresa.

"No, thank you Emp." I extended my hand. "I know your story. It seems my luck today that I get to meet so many formidable young ladies who never give up. Consider me a fan."

She took it. "I... I don't even know who you are." I could see her focus for a moment. "Uh, do you know you have two hearts?"

"Yep. Part of being a Time Lord."

"And the blue call box is part of the whole Time Lord dealie?"

"Oh yes. I'll have to give you a ride one day." I winked and pulled out my sonic screwdriver. "I'm going to take Theresa someplace she can get treated. Hannah too, er, that is, Mindf... Mindscrew." I heard her giggle. "Cursing, nasty habit, I tend to end up around children sometimes so I try not to start. Anyway, I'd hate to leave without leaving you a gift of some sort, so..." I found a computer panel and began running the screwdriver over it.

"Purple?", she asked.

"Oi, don't diss the color, it's my favorite."

"Hey, whatevs."

I had to smirk at that accent and speech pattern. And, well, on what I was doing. "And there we go. You may still have issues, but I've done some work on the records, they shouldn't hold you responsible for this little excursion to the nether dimensions. Oh, and, I'll be coming back to check in soon to make sure Major Havoc is behaving."

She scowled. "I don't see that happening."

"Oh, I gave him plenty of incentive just now." I winked as I stepped back toward the TARDIS. "Take care, Emp. Give Kozue and TB my regards. And tell the Demonwolf to behave himself."

"Wait, uh, Doctor!" She waved at me as I stepped into the TARDIS. "Uh, how do you know so much about me?"

The true answer was because I like a manga-style comic book by a writer with a serious sadistic streak toward his characters. But I didn't feel like arguing sixth dimensional wibbly-wobbly spacey-wacey stuff.

"I'm the Doctor, my dear." I raised my eyebrows up and down in a mischievous expression. "I know everything." I winked again and closed the door. Undoubtedly she watched in some surprise as the TARDIS dematerialized.

"Where are you taking us?", I heard Theresa ask from where she was still in Hannah's arms, being given first aid by Camilla. A quick glance told me that she and Hannah were in deep telepathic conversation.

"Layom Station," I replied. "They owe me a few favors. You'll be staying there a while but when it's all done, well, you'll both be good as new. New arm, new tongue, new eyes. Completely intact."

I heard an intake of breath from Theresa at the prospect of seeing Hannah whole. It made the moment all the more endearing.

"And off we go. Tally ho!" I pulled the TARDIS lever.




When we left Layom Station I put us in orbit of a convenient temporal rift for some quick refueling while I, to not put too fine a word on it, took a break. I was still battered from my fall from that building and the exertion of trying to stop Walpurgisnacht.

The girls were busy swimming and cuddling and kissing in the swimming pool while I let the warm jets of my hot tub sooth away my aches, my tender shoulder and mended knee. Treatment on Layom Station had healed broken bones but it takes time even for my Time Lord body to fully recuperate. I enjoyed the relaxation.

So, of course, that was when I got a phone call.

I'd rigged the TARDIS phone to come to a receiver beside me. I lifted it up, sloshing a bit of water as I did, and put it to my ear. "Hello."

A familiar baritone voice was on the other end. "Hey Doc."

I let out a groan. Dramatic irony. I get bruised and battered in an adventure and of course the master of walking away from such beatings has to interrupt my recovery. "Hello Harry," I sighed.

"Remember when you told me to call if anything involving the Cracks came up?"

I sat up in the hot tub with enough violence to make the water slosh over the side and make my left shoulder hurt. "Did you find another one?!"

"I wish it was just that. I've got a Red Court team in Chicago trying to dig out the one that Dustin and Lonny were powered by. I'm putting together a team to stop them. I figured we could use your help."

The Red Court of Vampires tapping that kind of energy source was not something I wanted to see done. And since I had an idea of how to seal those kinds of Cracks now, it was imperative that I come. "I'll be right there Harry."

"Meet you at my place. I ordered Burger King for everyone."

"You are a gastrointestinal menace, Harry Dresden." I hung up.

My Companions had overheard my conversation and looked up. "Doctor, since we're time-travelers, can't we just take a while, recover, and arrive when he called?"

I let out a sigh. "I wish. But the call fixes the TARDIS to those events. We'll have to respond as soon as we can. Honestly, I'm not sure why you're complaining, I'm the one who fell off a bloody building and then a satellite dish." I lifted myself from the hot tub. "Alright girls, let's get ready. There's no rest for the weary, it seems."

Granted, I wasn't one to complain. If the likes of Homura Akemi and Elissa Powers could go through all of the horrible things they do... who was I to whine about some bruises?

So off we went to another adventure.

”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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