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

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

Post by Steve » 2017-07-17 09:25am

I stared at Rassilon. And I dwelled on the situation.

Everyone knows how these things are supposed to go. The villain tempts you with something you want, just so long as you do as requested. And everyone knows that of course you don't go for it because either it's a lie and a trap or because the price is too high, no matter how much you may want something

By those criteria, the answer to Rassilon was obvious.

And, quite possibly, something with the only outcome being my destruction alongside the Doctor's.

We were outnumbered. Under guard. Esk and Clara had no element of surprise. For all I knew, Rassilon and the other Councillors could actually see them. Our chance of winning this was fairly small, as such things went. And if we failed, it would all be for nothing

It hurt to think it. That everyone I knew and respected and loved was fated to die, or worse, and that I had no hope of saving them. It looks so much easier when it's a show, or a book, and the heroes are in these situations. Where the obvious choice is to reject the villain's offer and stand for what's right.

It's so much easier than what it actually is to look into Rassilon's mad eyes, to see the utter devotion in his Council and to know there is no help there. Nothing but one scared Time Lady who would never actually stand against him. To know that you are alone and that resistance is simply going to get you killed. That if you accept the inevitable then, at least, you can get something back. A consolation prize, maybe, but that can be tempting in comparison to the yawning pit of oblivion.

Time was running out. I had to make a decision.

So I did.

I turned and looked at the Doctor. I held a hand up, as if to give him a handshake. He looked at my hand and then my face. Stony resolve had set in where boyish mischief and excitement was usually found. It took him several moments to begin reacting by bringing his hand up toward mine.. But as he did I pulled my hand back. He gave me a fierce look and grabbed my arm before I could finish pulling it back all the way. He pulled me close. "Don't you dare," he whispered. "You can't. She'd hate you."

"I know," I answered softly. "But we can't win this. She's the only one I can save."

"She will never forgive you."

I swallowed. "I don't want her to. I won't deserve it."

"Don't…"

I turned away from him and pushed his arm away. I turned back toward Rassilon. I felt the lump in my throat as I swallowed and took a step forward. The guards tensed up. I felt disgust as I forced the words from my mouth. "Very well. I will bow."

Rassilon grinned wickedly. "Of course you will," he said. "You recognize your limitations, at last." He gestured. "Let him pass."

I lowered my head and stepped closer. The guards shifted to let me through. I didn't move much further than them, just a couple of steps, after which I went to my knee.

Rassilon gave me a self-assured look. It was the look of a man who had gotten what he wanted.

And then he looked up to his guards. "This is a trick," he said. "Kill him."



Well well. After all of that, that's how Rassilon was playing it.

Not that I could protest. He was right, after all.

It's not like it would shock you. Seriously, how could I ever accept a deal like that? How? To a creature like Rassilon? Sure, this way I might die, but compared to living in a reality he was constructing? Sometimes it's not about the calculation of what can be accomplished and what appears impossible. Sometimes… it's about doing whatever you can live with.

Even if it means you don't survive it.

I brought my arms up. As I did I curled my wrists to free the objects I had quietly slipped up my sleeves.

Sonic screwdrivers. Plural. Mine and the Doctor's. He had passed it to me during our "talk".

I might yet have died. But raw energy lashed out from nothingness and sent the guards to my side flying into each other. I heard shouts; Esk and Clara had made themselves truly known.

Now to play my part. I brought the sonics up and pointed them ahead of me.

And yes, I'm sure you already figured out what I was doing with them. I wasn't exactly hiding my best shot in the room, was I?

The stasis field holding the Master would ordinarily take a few minutes for a sonic screwdriver to override them. But I had two on hand, linked and helping each other to shut the whole thing down. They whirred in happy tandem.

Rassilon had just enough time to scream "STOP THEM!" at us. And then the stasis field went down.

I'm not sure whether the Master was fully aware while he was in the field. He immediately returned to the work he'd been at before. Energy in the form of lightning crackled from his hands and enveloped Rassilon. The leader of the Time Lords screamed in rage and agony as the energy enveloped him. Lightning crackled over the Master's form as well, revealing bone and such beneath.

His right eye turned and focused on me. I knew he recognized me. I thought I saw him nod. For a brief moment I wondered if he would lash out at me next, to avenge the defeat of his plan.

But he didn't. The Master had bigger fish to fry, I suppose. Literally fry, too.

I stood up and threw a sonic back to the Doctor, who caught it in mid-air and turned to use it to disable the rifle of one of our guards. The other guards were sprawled out; courtesy of Esk's magic or my sonic disruptor in the hands of Clara, I would guess. A number of the Council were likewise disposed. "What next?!", Esk shouted over the din of chaos in the room.

"We stop the transfer," the Doctor said. "This way!"

Ordinarily remaining guards might have stopped us. But they were too busy trying to get to the Master and through the energies surging about him in order to save Rassilon. We rushed out into the hall; Clara ahead of Esk and myself and the Doctor in front. "You had me worried for a second!", Clara shouted.

"I had to get close," I answered. "But I suppose Rassilon thought it a bit obvious."

"He would have killed you anyway," Esk remarked.

"Most likely, yes," I agreed. As I ran a thought came to me. I moved past Clara and joined the Doctor as we rounded a corner and found a spiral staircase leading down a floor. "The Extraction Chamber. Where is it? Because if I can…"

"No." He stopped and put a hand on my shoulder. "I know better than anyone the temptation you're feeling right now. But the Extraction Chamber only exists to temporarily pull someone in at the end of their timestream. You wouldn't be saving Katherine's life. And you couldn't just quantum duplicate her in that state. She wouldn't even have a heartbeat."

I swallowed. "But she'd be alive."

"She'd have to go back," he continued. "Trust me. It's not going to work the way you think it is." He looked away. "Besides, we don't have time to go that way when we've only got minutes before Rassilon's machines begin shifting Gallifrey to your home cosmos. And once we shut that down, the connection will snap shut, and the Extraction Chamber wouldn't be able to lock onto Katherine's final moments."

I will admit my severe disappointment. I felt pain in my hearts. So close. So close to getting her back. The things I could show Katherine, that I never got the chance to show her…

But the Doctor was right. We were running out of time. Rassilon might survive the Master, after all, and it would be all for nothing if we didn't stop his machines. Untold, unfathomable numbers of beings could die in the next several minutes if we didn't get to that array's controls and shut it down.

"Right," I said. "No time. Let's keep going."

"This way." The Doctor checked the sonic in his hand and led us onto the next floor.

A quick dash down a hall, then another, and we were in a large control room, two-tiered, with lots of Gallifreyan control panels and wiring and such about. A couple of technicians were on duty but quickly fell away from the controls upon our arrival. "Get out of here!", I shouted at them. "Go!"

"The charging is almost complete!", the Doctor shouted, pointing to the master display. It was showing over four-fifths of the charge was already gathered. Once it hit full…

...once it hit full, Gallifrey and the surrounding pocket universe would hurtle down the interdimensional tunnel. And all of those universes would cease to be.

"Right. Let's do something about it." I started walking toward the controls to join the Doctor.

"And about the guards that are undoubtedly coming," Esk reminded us.

"Clara!" I turned to her. She was still holding my sonic disruptor. "Setting 4 is kinetic bursts. Setting 16 is thermal pulses. Setting 42 is a deflector screen to stop anyone from shooting you. Oh, and Setting 21 is neurological disruption, should give them a headache."

She eyed my disruptor and looked at me again. I was answered with a nod.

"I'll get the primary charge line!", the Doctor shouted. "You can handle re-directing the existing capacitor charge to buy time!"

"Right!" I nodded to Esk. "Just give us a few minutes!"

"I'll give you all I can," she promised. She pointed toward the only way in and out of the room. Any moment more of the guards would probably be showing up.

I had other things to worry about. I went to work with my sonic on a nearby panel. I was trying to force the array to discharge energy into the atmosphere, and in as harmless a manner as possible given the population.

But the power flow kept coming. I turned slightly. "Maybe I can isolate the power stream from here!"

"The main charge line is locked behind a quantum rotating encryption barrier, I can't access it."

"How fast is the rotation? Ten milliseconds?"

"Five!"

"Oi." I made a face. "Alright, what about the power stream? I'm trying to isolate it, if we can divert that power stream into the defense systems or something..." I focused on the display in front of me. My sonic whirred as it operated, its tip shining green light over the controls and letting me access…

....wait, green?

I chuckled at the realization. I'd handed the Doctor my sonic screwdriver, not his, and now we were using one another's. Which probably explained why I was having trouble with it, I wasn't use to this model's interface.

"Switch!", the Doctor shouted.

I turned and, with little thought, tossed his sonic toward him. My sonic came sailing toward me at the same moment. I snatched it out of mid-air and turned back to my work. Once again proper purple light was showing. My mind briefly pondered what it must have looked like; the two of us simply turning and exchanging our screwdrivers on such short notice with no effort at all.

"I've got the power stream diverted, but secondary systems are picking up additional power." I checked the charge level. Ninety percent. Oi. I shook my head. "Rassilon's designed this too well. We're not going to stop the charging sequence in time."

"I don't think we have any other options."

I frowned. My mind raced. If we couldn't stop the charge, if Rassilon's device was going to trigger, then maybe…

We looked at each other at the same moment. "We alter the channel!", we both cried out.

He started first. "Modify the array's emissions…"

My voice matched his in pitch and excitement. "...and direct them toward a different subdimensional coordinate…"

"...and instead of shifting Gallifrey down the interdimensional tunnel…"

"...we shift it laterally into a new subdimensional strata…"

"...and the pocket universe's own subspatial structure will absorb the shift…"

"...and stabilize the entire system, causing the tunnel and Cracks to dissipate harmlessly!" I laughed. "It's brilliant!"

The Doctor laughed like a schoolboy. "Oh, we've got it"

It wasn't a mental link or anything. Rather, our minds were simply operating under the same principles. We saw the same data with the same set of desired outcomes and therefore we came to the same conclusions.

There was the sound of gunfire. I briefly glanced over and saw a Galllifreyan soldier, alone among other fallen ones, spraying… whatever it is those weapons were shooting at Clara and Esk. Esk used a magic field to absorb the shots, much to the surprise and consternation of the soldier, and Clara countered with a kinetic burst that sent him flying out of the room. "Any time, Doctor!", Clara called out.

"We're on it!", we answered in tandem. I returned to work at a nearby console and the Doctor found another one. "I'm re-aligning the dimensional vector…"

"...altering targeting protocols…"

"...re-synchronizing to account for the hyperdimensional drift…" I glanced upward at the charge meter. Ninety-six percent.

We were almost out of time.

"Altering emission protocols…"

"Re-distributing power…"

Ninety seven percent..

"Calculating for new dimensional strata."

"I've adjusted the command protocols for the array," I declared. "We should be good on this end."

Ninety eight percent.

More gunfire. Esk gasped from effort as more energy from her blocked off our attackers. I heard the sonic disruptor discharge. Loudly. Clara must have found Setting 27. Literal sonic waves, that one. Useful against bats. Not so much against Time Lords or Gallifreyans though.

Something on one of the panels got my attention. "We may have a problem," I said. "The interdimensional skein is about ten percent more energetic than expected. We may cause damage to this pocket universe if we shift."

The Doctor looked at me and then the main display. I looked at the same.

Ninety-nine percent.

I swallowed. If we got this wrong, one of two things would happen. Either Rassilon's plan would prevail… or the aforementioned skein's energetic power would de-stabilize the pocket universe that Gallifrey was located in, ultimately resulting in Gallifrey's destruction.

"So it's come to this," the Doctor observed.

"Yeah," I agreed. I recognized the look in his eyes. Here we were, about to potentially doom his people to save the universe. Multiple ones. It wasn't quite the same choice he had faced with the Moment. But it was too close to comfort.

But we didn't have time to do anything else. If we didn't act, Rassilon would win in the end.

The Doctor's hand went to the controls at the same moment mine did. "Ready here," he said.

"Shift calculations complete, system ready."

Our hands hit the switches together. Power thrummed about us as the array went into operation.

One hundred percent.

For one terrible moment I could see our failure. I could see worlds wiped out in a flash. Universes collapsing. I could imagine those I cared about - Jan and Cami and the Carpenters and Korra and Asami and Tenzin and Sheppard and Liara and Garrus and Steven and Connie and Katara, their families, everyone, really quite the list when you throw in my Human counterpart and his circle of family and friends - anyway, I could imagine them all devoured by an energy utterly impossible to resist. I could imagine universes collapsing under the strain of a dimensional collapse.

The entire room shook. Everyone, even our attackers, fell to the ground from the sheer ferocity of it. As the rumbling died down I pulled myself back up to the displays. Hope and fear warred within me; had we done it?

My eyes fell on the system indicators.

The dimensional shift had worked. Exactly as planned.

We had done it. Rassilon's plans for ruling all of Reality were thwarted.

The Doctor and I had saved our cosmoses, and so many more, from utter destruction.

…of course, given the violent shaking and the nasty feeling I felt in my gut, we still had to save Gallifrey.

A look at the displays confirmed the bad news for us both. The shift had not been smooth. The energies that resulted had undermined the stability of the pocket universe the Doctor, in his various times, had hidden Gallifrey in. We needed to get it out, preferably somewhere attached to real space, and soon.

"I would suggest using the array," I said, "but it is fried out. We blew every capacitor in the system."

"We'll need to return to our TARDISes," the Doctor responded. "We find your's, we go to mine, right?"

"Sounds fair," I agreed.

At about that moment Esk and Clara came up to us. "They stopped," Esk said. "What did you do?"

"We hijacked Rassilon's array to shift Gallifrey out of the tunnel laterally," i answered. "We're in a different subdimensional strata now."

"Unfortunately, the shift has also structurally undermined the pocket universe I hid Gallifrey in," the Doctor continued. "So we need our TARDISes or we're going to lose the whole planet."

"Which means we need to find your TARDIS," Clara said to me.

"Oh, that's simple," I answered. I took out my TARDIS remote.

"Wait, what's this?", the Doctor asked, eying the remote.

"It's my remote," I said. "I put it together some time ago. It sends out a signal to the TARDIS, she homes in on my location and materializes around me." I grinned. "Cool, huh?"

"Oh, clever," the Doctor agreed. "Gave it a bit of a try myself, but my girl's temperamental, doesn't like being called about. But how did you…"

Before he could finish or I could answer, since I imagined the question, Clara cleared her throat. "Planet. Being destroyed. Soon, I take it?"

"Oh, right." I held up the remote. "Alright, here we go." I sent the command.

Nothing happened.

I frowned and rolled my eyes. "Of course. Quantum isolation field."

"Of course it is," the Doctor chuckled. "Maybe your girl doesn't like you calling her about either."

"My TARDIS is a sweet young lady and comes when I call," I replied defensively. "She likes traveling." I pocketed the remote. "We'll need to find her. Anyone have any ideas?"

"I can help."

The unexpected voice caused us to turn toward the door. The guards were all gone. Now only the Time Lady from my broken memories was standing there, in Gallifreyan finery. She looked at us. The Doctor gazed back silently. "Hello, Doctor," she said. She walked up. "Rassilon had your TARDIS taken to the lower levels and its data examined. It aided his… plans."

"Why didn't you stop him?", the Doctor asked. Not angrily. If anything, just a little sad.

"Fear is a terrible thing," was the only reply she gave. I got the feeling that she meant more than her own fear at the consequences of opposing Rassilon. The Time Lady reached into her robe and pulled out a scanner. "I have loaded the authorization code to release your TARDIS." She handed it to me. Her head turned toward the Doctor. "It is good to see you."

"Yes," was his answer.

I wasn't about to get involved in a discussion like this, stakes or not. Their gaze broke at the same moment. "Go," she said. "The other councillors have fled. I alone remain, and I have ordered the guards out of your way. Please, save us from Rassilon's madness."

We nodded at that. And we left her to fulfill that promise.






The planet still shook here and there while we raced down the stairs. I checked the scanner frequently to make sure we got off on the right floor. We met no guards.

"So how do we stop this?", asked Esk. "Restoring stability to an artificial pocket universe sounds rather difficult."

"It can be," I noted. "But thankfully we have the tool used to make it."

That prompted Esk's next question. "We do?"

"My TARDIS," the Doctor answered. "With both of our TARDISes working together we can re-stabilize the pocket universe."

"Now that sounds difficult."

"This is what being with the Doctor is like," Clara said to Esk. "Always doing the difficult things and making them work."

I can imagine Esk eyed me with a smirk given her next words. "Yes, a challenge I have been made to face before."

I felt a grin at that. But there was no time for banter. No, I just had to go around this corner, then down the hall, and here would be the room where my TARDIS was waiting.

"DOOOOOOOCCCCCTTTTTTTTTTTOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRR!"

Yes, I know that's a lot of letters, but I was trying to capture the essence, the spirit, of the enraged shout coming from further down the hall. The Doctor and I looked that way and saw a battered man in robes still flickering with flames on the edges, covered in horrific burns that had to be fatal. I'm talking about the kind of burns that expose blood vessels or such. He looked more like some sort of horror monster than a normal being.

I shouldn't need to tell you who it was, either. The crazed and overdone scream sort of gave that one away.

Rassilon raised his left hand toward the Doctor. "DIE!!", he screamed. Energy surged through his power glove.

I acted before anyone else could. I threw myself forward and got in front of the Doctor, knocking him to the side in the process.

You hear about these things. About people who jump on grenades or explosives without protection, and do it so instantly that it's hard to imagine they acted out of a rational thought. A drive to protect so strong that it overwhelms the instinct of self-preservation as an instinct of its own.

And that's what I had just done. By throwing myself in front of the Doctor, it was I who would take the hit from Rassilon's glove. A weapon that could vaporize other beings with a gesture and a surge of power. And the only protection I had against its enormous lethal power was a magically-enchanted vest.

I half expected to die right there. To simply… cease. Disintegrated in a puff of smoke and ash like others Rassilon had killed with the weapon.

Instead there was an explosion of sorts when it struck me. The energy was… I can only say agonizing, but even that doesn't do justice to the feeling that resulted. Energy erupted over my chest and wrapped around me. I flew backward, past the Doctor, and slammed into the wall.

Rassilon screamed. His glove began sparking, like some sort of feedback had overloaded it. Given his already existing injuries I can't imagine it did him any good.

Having Esk blast him with enough pure energy to send him flying into the far wall was probably more than enough to ensure that he was going to be regenerating.

But I had more important things to be concerned with. For one thing, I was still in a bit of pain. The other bit was mostly a big question.

One that the Doctor asked as soon as he looked at me.

"How are you still alive?", he asked. "That should have disintegrated you."

I grimaced and looked down. There was a massive black mark on my jacket now, with much of the middle burnt away to reveal what was underneath.

Even as I shifted, the ash did so. Because that's what was on my chest. A lot of gray and black ash. My ice blue collared shirt was fairly intact under it, much to my surprise.

As I shifted, and more ash spread out from the movement, I started chuckling. "Oh, ha ha, how so very interesting!"

"What do you mean?"

"The vest," i said. "Molly - a friend mine - is like Esk here. Somewhat. Has magic and… unh… such." I grimaced from the pain in my torso. "She laid defensive enchantments on my vest. To make it… resistant to attack. Protection."

The Doctor considered that. "Oh, yes. The latent energies of this 'magic' interacted with the energy from Rassilon's gauntlet. Mutual feedback." He glanced down to where Rassilon was sprawled out on the floor. And glowing gold. He was starting to regenerate.

"Yes." I braced myself as Esk and the Doctor pulled me to my feet. We looked closely into one another's eyes. I could see the realization in his eyes. Confirmation in my own thoughts. And he knew that too. "Well… unh… let's get going, yes?"

"Yes."

The pain in my body was slightly debilitating, yes. I was at the center of a major and volatile interaction of inherently hostile forces of energy. Because of my obvious issue in moving Esk refused to leave my side. She remained, supporting me with her shoulder as we entered the room that the Time Lady's scanner was directing us toward. The interior was a science lab of sorts. My TARDIS stood silently in the middle of the viewing area. A nearby panel was playing what looked to be records from my travels. Or rather had been playing, the image was frozen on the sight of myself and the Doctor with Esk and Clara, just after the Doctor had materialized his TARDIS inside mine. The Doctor pulled out his sonic screwdriver and used it on another panel, the one controlling the quantum isolation field or whatever other thing had blocked the TARDIS from coming to me. We would be able to leave now.

I snapped my fingers to open the door and hobbled in with Esk's continued help. Once we got to the panel I nodded. "I'll be fine right here." I winced. "I'll need you on that end."

"What?"

"I need you to co-pilot," I said. "And you'll need to be quick about it." I started working the section of the controls I was at. "I'm locking on to your TARDIS, Doctor. It's right where we left it." I reached over and yanked back on the activation lever. My TARDIS VWORPed her usual, lovely VWORP and took us away from her captors.

"Clara, stay here," the Doctor said. "Give him any help he requires." He moved toward the door.

"But… won't you need mine?", Clara asked, turning toward him.

The Doctor looked back at us after opening the door. His TARDIS was about a meter and a half away. "I'll be fine," he insisted. "Just worry about this side of things!" He closed the door as he left.

"Clara." I gestured to a station on my left, just as Esk's part was to my right. "I just need you to keep an eye on some knobs and switches, alright? I'll tell you when to hit which."

Clara looked me over. Concern was written plainly on her features. I shook my head. There was no time for worrying about my health. We had a planet to save. "Okay, so I…" She stepped up to the panel.

"First, hit this one… no, this one…" After I made that gesture I turned toward Esk. "You've got that lever on the three-quarters position, right?"

Esk double-checked. "Three-quarters," she confirmed.

"Good." I swallowed and tried not to grimace again. I'd taken quite the whopper from that blast. Damn Rassilon.

I shook my head. I needed to focus on the task at hand. With my hands on the controls I followed the Doctor and his TARDIS into orbit.

The Doctor's face appeared on the nearby monitor. "Okay everyone!" He clapped his hands together for a moment. "I'm relaying to you the incomplete calculations I had for creating this pocket universe. We'll use our TARDISes' own fields to reinforce and repair the pocket universe's structure."

"Ready here," I said. I nodded. "Assuming coordinates now. Reading calculations…"

Sometimes it's a shame that I just can't show you lot the imagery. I think the imagery of this would be more exciting. The TARDISes whooshing about Gallifrey as space warped about them. Dramatic camera cuts to the interiors of our TARDISes, one showing the Doctor rushing about his controls as dramatic music played, other cuts to how I was directing Esk and Clara on what controls to hit while I worked my own.

More music, of course. Music is always good for these bits. I mean, how can I compete with music? I suppose I could add musical sheets to the side, but I imagine not everyone could actually play along, you know?

"Doctor, are you seeing this?", I asked.

"I am," he confirmed. "The pocket universe structure is stabilizing."

"Still, over the long term, I'm not sure it'll stay that way. I don't think this strata may have been the best place for it."

"They can handle that, trust me," the Doctor assured me. "This will work for now. Are you ready?"

I put a hand on the activation lever. "As ready as I can ever be."

The Doctor nodded. And he smiled at me. "It's been a pleasure."

"Likewise."

We pulled our levers at the same moment. The Doctor's cry of "Geronimo!" was matched by my "Tally Ho!".

Our TARDISes shifted time and space and did their final work. The pocket universe stabilized around us even as we shifted back to normal space.

And I took the moment to really let that sink in. We… had won. Despite the danger, Rassilon had been defeated. We had saved, well, just about everything I imagine. Not just the universes that would have been destroyed, but those that would have ended up at the tender mercies of Rassilon and his dream of becoming "Reality Lord". Or "Lord of all Reality."

I let out a sigh. It was done. I had saved everything I cared for from annihilation.

I let the TARDIS sit itself down and snapped my fingers. Sunlight poured in from outside. A green lawn was outside, and a tree. North American species.

"It's a… lake?", Clara asked. She walked to the TARDIS exit. "Where are we?"

I smiled at her and hobbled toward the plank leading to the door. I kept one hand on the railing to steady myself. I felt a warm smile come to my face. Old memories, memories of a past life, remembered this place. It remembered fond things of my past.

"Don't worry, Clara, it's all fine. The Doctor will be here any moment," I said. "I gave him the coordinates."

"Why are we here?", Esk asked me. She stepped up to me.

I turned and faced her. I opened my mouth to begin to speak. But I didn't.

There was no point in pretending any more. No more need to be strong.

I collapsed against the railing.

The truth was, I had barely managed our heroic saving of Gallifrey. Withstanding the growing pain in my body, which had now nearly disabled my left leg and was busy moving through my chest... that had taken everything I had. But I didn't need to hold out anymore. I could let go.

Esk yelped in surprise and grabbed me as I went down, bringing herself down with me to give support. I let out a pained, shallow breath as we ended up on our knees. "Doctor!" She held me close. "Doctor, what's wrong?!"

"I wanted to see it," I told her. "I mean, this is the Earth from the Doctor's cosmos, so it's not the same I knew growing up. But it's… still the lake behind my grandparents' house. I have a lot of memories here."

Esk looked at me intently. Ah. She was starting to understand. Clever girl.

I turned enough to be able to stare outside. It was just like I remembered. No drought to suck the lake away…

When I did so, Esk grabbed my ruined shirt and pulled it open. Underneath she found the blackened mark from the impact of Rassilon's gauntlet. Her hand went to my ruined and charred skin. Horror showed on her face. "No," she muttered. "What is…"

"The vest… didn't stop it," I said. I had to gasp for air. My lungs were caught up in the wave of pain now. "Just… absorbed and re-directed some of the energy."

"What are you saying?!", Esk demanded. "Doctor!"

I looked at her. Directly in the eyes. With Clara hovering over her as well. I swallowed and sighed. "The effect of the glove wasn't entirely diminished." I sucked in a needed breath. "Just weakened," I explained.

"Doctor, what are…"

There was no getting around it. I had to be honest. Esk deserved that much.

I raised my right hand from where I had kept it hanging. She saw that and gave me her hand. "Esk." I swallowed. "Esk, I'm sorry. The vest bought me time, that's all."

Esk stared at me. And I could see, in that look in her dark eyes, that she knew.

I could tell given the tears I saw forming in those eyes.

"Yes." I swallowed to keep the nausea in check. "Some of the energy from Rassilon's glove still got into my body. Enough to… unh…" I winced. I couldn't help it. "...enough to… begin tearing apart my body, cell by cell."

"So… you're…"

I nodded. I swallowed to whet my throat so I could speak again. Because she deserved that, at least.

"Esk, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

Despite myself, I felt a tear come to my cheek.

"I'm dying, Esk."
”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

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

Post by Steve » 2017-07-18 09:19am



Dying is painful.

...well, okay, let me be more exact. Having exotic energy meant to disintegrate you ripping you apart on a cellular level, inflicting increasing amounts of organ damage? That's the actual painful part. It just happens to be how I was dying.

I tried to pull myself up. I wanted to see the lake. I wondered if it was the same as my home Earth's was. The same dock on the neighbor's property we were always allowed to go out on. I could remember throwing bread to fish, swimming in the lake... all sorts of things.

I made it only around the corner of the railing before my strength failed me. My body was too weak. I couldn't make it. I rasped out a sigh and leaned against the railing. Pain continued to surge further and further across my torso and down my legs.

Esk's eyes were flowing with tears. "No," she said. "No, this... this can't be true. We... we can save you. That medigel stuff, where did you..."

"It won't work," i said to her. "Medigel can't repair cellular disruption of this kind."

"Then maybe..."

"Nothing I have can fix it, Esk." I looked back to her. I felt horrible for her. Sad. I'd... been hoping to take her along, truth be told. After this was done. Take her and finally show her those other worlds. Get her to fill out the journal she'd given me on her deathbed for her younger self.

But now... that didn't look likely.

Death. We all live with it. It's the end result of life. Well, usually, some exceptions I've seen applied... and even those exceptions may not be truly exceptional... urgh, I'm rambling, aren't I? No time to ramble.

I was going to die. That was it. My body was being torn apart at the cellular level. I didn't have anything that could change that fact.

I admit to some hope when I heard the VWORP VWORP VWORP outside my door, though. The Doctor was here. Maybe he would know a way...

His voice was coming from outside as I stepped around my TARDIS. "...knew I carried the two right," he was saying before he looked into the TARDIS. He laid his eyes on us. His chipper expression went away immediately, replaced with a sort of embarrassed somberness. "Oh," he breathed. "I was afraid of this."

Clara stepped up to him. "His cells are being disintegrated... or something. Isn't there something you can do?"

The Doctor's face told me his likely answer. But he was dealing with intense, hopeful looks from Clara and Esk. He couldn't just say no. He had to try. I know he had to try because it was how I would have felt.

He came up and knelt beside me. He scanned me with the sonic screwdriver. "That energy... I'm... sorry, friend." He put his left hand on my left arm out of sympathy. "I'm sorry. This sort of energy, you don't just remove it from organic matter. Any cure would kill you just as much."

"I... imagined so." I grimaced. My left heart was starting to go into slight spasms that would only grow worse as it fell apart at the cellular level. "That's fine. I..." I swallowed. "I'm just glad we stopped him. We stopped Rassilon, we saved all of those worlds... we saved Gallifrey."

"We did," he answered me. He forced a smile to his face. "I wish I could do more."

"Just..." I looked up at Esk. "Make sure Esk activates Emergency Protocol 1 before that tunnel completely closes. My TARDIS will get her home."

The Doctor nodded. "Yes, of course." He drew in a sigh and put his sonic back in his pocket. "This is... well, look at me, I'm all tongue-tied now. Usually I can ramble but..."

"There really isn't anything you can do?", Clara asked him.

He shook his head. "This sort of damage, you don't just fix it with a cool toy. I don't have access to anything that could fix it."

"But... we can't just give up on him!", Esk demanded. She glared at the Doctor. "There must be something you can do! Some... some way to keep his body from falling apart!"

"I would have needed to get to him the moment Rassilon's weapon began affecting him," the Doctor answered. "And we were a little busy at that moment."

"That's not good enough!", Esk screamed. "You... you've got to save him! You're the Doctor, the original Doctor! He wouldn't give up, you shouldn't either!"

I drew in a sigh. My left arm wasn't working so well anymore, not with the pain starting to go into my shoulder, so I raised my right and touched her shoulder. "Esk." I forced myself to breathe. That was starting to get even harder. "Esk, it's alright. He's done all he can. We've all done all we can."

"No we haven't!," she shouted. "You.. you can't just give up! Not like this! Not after all of this! You've got to want to live! To travel, to see more of the wonders you always talk about! To be there for the worlds that need you!"

I nodded at that. I wasn't exactly looking forward to the cold embrace of death myself, after all. I just wanted the pain to end, and I had calculated the issue and knew there was nothing to be had for it. I was going to die and we had no means at our disposal to prevent it.

But I wasn't accounting for Esk's stubborness. She ran over to my memento wall and grabbed a few things. She brought them back. Drawings, mostly. A little TARDIS box that Maggie Dresden had made for me for Christmas. "Look at them," she said. "Think about how they'll take it when you don't come back. If... if they find out you've died."

I nodded. I knew they wouldn't take it well. Indeed, I thought back to Kari in tears, insisting I shouldn't go. I'd never get to tell her mothers how accurate her Force-granted insights had proven, I suppose.

She held up a picture of Maggie riding on my back while Mouse was protting alongside, tail mid-wag. "You promised you'd protect her, remember? You told me that. That you promised Harry you'd protect his little girl."

I frowned. "Esk. It's not about giving up. It's about accepting that there is nothing... we can reasonably do to stop this. My body's already... lethally damaged... and it's getting worse."

She shook her head furiously. "There has to be a way!" Esk stood and looked at Clara. "I'm right, aren't I? There has to be a way to save him!"

Clara swallowed. "I... suppose, yes." She looked to the Doctor. "Are you sure there's nothing else?"

"Nothing I have access to. Nothing plausible," he insisted.

"No. That's where you're wrong." Esk walked back up to him and stood beside Clara. "Doctor, there has to be something."

Oh, they were putting him on the spot. He looked rather put-upon. Cornered. Every rational point of his brain had made the same calculation mine had. And he hated it about as much as I did. "I can't save everyone," he said. Disappointment, shame, it was all there. He looked me in the eye and his voice was deeply apologetic. "I... wish I could. Rassilon designed that glove to be immediately fatal to Time Lords. He didn't want us regenerating if he chose to kill one of us."

Esk bit into her lip. "Well... maybe someone..." Her eyes lit up. She turned toward the controls and ran over to them. I turned my head and, with pain seeping into my right heart now, with my breath becoming more and more shallow from the damage to my lungs, I watched her frantically operate the communication station. I'd shown her a bit of it on an earlier meeting, so she knew, among other things, how to access the temporal beacons.

And I knew, I just knew, what she would do next.

She accessed all of them. She lifted the phone from the controls and held it up. "Whoever is out there, whoever can hear my voice, please pay attention! I need help! Please! I need your help!"

I swallowed. I already knew what she would say next.

I'd already heard her speak it.

"Please! He's dying! The Doctor is dying! I need your help!" Esk looked back to me. "I can't save him myself. I don't know how. But... but I know someone out there must know! All of the people he's helped, someone must be able to save him! Someone, please answer!"

"Esk." I shook my head. "Esk, I appreciate..."

"No." She looked back to me. Her eyes flowed with tears. "No, listen. Someone out there can help you. All of those worlds you've been to, all of the friends and allies you've helped, the lives you've saved, someone will know how to save your life. Someone will be there for you... look, see? See?!"

I couldn't quite see the controls from where I was lain out. The Doctor did, though. As did Clara. "That's... a lot of callers, isn't it?", she asked.

From what I could tell, from reflections and such, the board was lighting up. Esk was getting answers. A lot of answers.

"See?", she said, looking directly at us. "Look at them all. They're calling to offer to help. They want to save you, Doctor. Please, we can't give up."

"That's... quite a lot of people," I heard Clara say.

The Doctor... I honestly thought he was about to cry. He looked down to me, eyes bright with unshed tears. "You... well..." He stopped talking for the moment. "That's... truly remarkable, isn't it? You've done a lot while going around being my doppelganger, haven't you?"

I nodded at that. As I did, the cellular degeneration started going into my right shoulder and into my neck. My right hip was already flaring with pain.

There was pain in his eyes. The Doctor had already clearly been saddened by my imminent demise, but I think it had suddenly grown more painful for him.

Then I remembered. The War Doctor. The Meta-Crisis Doctor. He'd already had his twelve regenerations. This was his last life. When it was done, he was done. And the Doctor would no longer be.

Maybe... maybe if things were different, I might have taken that mantle for him? Carried his name, his cause, even after his life ended? Was that the thought in his head? That I was a legacy that was now being snuffed out?

I'm not sure. But it was clear he was affected by Esk's work.

"Doctor, maybe we can get you to one of your healer friends," Esk continued. "Korra for instance. Or that boy you told me about, with the healing saliva. Or maybe those doctors who rebuilt your right heart. Someone has to be able to save you. Someone..."

Esk froze. Her face paled. Her eyes widened. I turned my head to follow where she was looking.

There was a figure at the entrance to the TARDIS. A very tall figure.

A very tall figure with black robes.

Oh, and a scythe rested in the crook of his right arm. In his left was a very tall hourglass object of sorts, split into fourteen segments. Only the bottom two had any sand left in them.

Death.

The Doctor blinked. "Well." He swallowed. "Don't exactly see that every day."

"Anthropomorphic personification of death," I murmured. And sucked in a breath of air for my dying lungs. "From Esk's world. The TARDIS... he can appear in here."

"Oh."

Clara was staring. "Um... is he going to hurt us?"

"He's only here... for me," i said. "He collects the dying... he doesn't kill."

Death didn't speak. He simply nodded. He was being patient. But, of course, he could always afford to be.

There was a flash of light beside Esk at the controls. I forced myself to smile even as my throat began to burn. The cellular degeneration had gotten that far now. "Cat", I rasped.

She was in the "Geek Princess" shirt and matching pink skirt. She looked down at me with those hazel eyes brimming with sadness. "My poor Doctor," she said.

"Who is this?', the Doctor asked.

"My TARDIS," I replied. I grunted afterward. Slip from the pain, that sort of thing. I felt a macabre interest in how it would feel when the cellular degeneration finally got to my brain. I could already feel it tickling its way up my spine too.

The Doctor blinked and looked back. "Your TARDIS can do this?"

"Yes."

For a moment his sad demeanor softened. "Oh, that's... actually, that's pretty cool."

"Cat" leaned down next to me. "My Doctor. Look at me." I did. "I was asked to give you a message. You need to see this."

"It's a bit... late..."

She only smiled at that before standing up. And then the form shifted.

My benefactor stood in our midst now. Projected through my TARDIS' systems.

"Friend of yours?", I asked the Doctor.

"You... could say that," he replied in a subdued tone.

The Time Lady looked down at me. She wasn't alone. Another familiar figure stood beside her. The man from some of my dreams; the one with the pretensions to being Sigmund Freud or something like that. But his face... his face was so familiar to me now. Like it had been in my memories even further back. I simply couldn't place it.

He smirked and made a noise toward the Benefactor. When she turned her head he held out a sheaf of paper and pointed to an item on it. I couldn't see what it was. He said something to her in a hushed tone and looked to me. I thought he was smiling a bit. He nodded at me and mimed tipping a non-existent hat in greeting.



"I knew I would not get the chance to speak with you," she began. "Not... as much as I would have preferred. I wanted to express my sorrow to you. I did all I could to stop Rassilon's plan but... I am not brave nor powerful enough to do what had to be done to stop him. I could not stop him from turning you into his tool. I could not save your past life from being suppressed. All I could do was try and give you guidance. I wanted to give you inspiration. A standard to set yourself to, so that you would not simply be Rassilon's creature." A thin smile came to her face. "So I made sure to give you the tools of the Doctor. His sonic tool. His psychic paper. A wardrobe that would remind you of the Doctor in his incarnations and inspire you with his example." She shook her head. "I never meant to harm you. I never realized how reliant you might become on the Doctor's identity. I can only apologize for that, and ask your forgiveness."

I swallowed. The pain was up through my throat now. And I was chronically short on breath. My left heart was barely pumping and the right was becoming erratic. It wouldn't be long.

The Benefactor smiled at me. And I mean a warm, friendly smile, genuine in its friendliness. "What astounds me most is what you have accomplished. I had the chance to observe your deeds. You did good and you did ill, and the good was of greater weight. I could not be more proud. You were created for a terrible reason but you have risen above that. Because of you, the name of our people is honored and respected among the peoples of the other cosmoses, all on the weight of your good deeds. Your actions, your legacy, has redeemed the title of 'Time Lord'. Gallifrey is honored to have adopted such a worthy son."

I felt pain in my eyes. My vision began to blur.

But I could still hear her speak.

"For your service to the people of Gallifrey, for your redemption of the worth of the Time Lords, you are to be rewarded. For you have proven yourself worthy of the title 'Time Lord', and all of the privileges and responsibilities that title entails."

I watched as the TARDIS control panel opened up to the heart of the Time Vortex. Golden light began to erupt from it. Esk backed away in startlement. Clara stared, wondering what was happening next, and the Doctor...

...the Doctor was smiling.

A stream of golden light came from the compartment. It flowed through the air toward me even as my vision blurred. I gasped as the back of my head lit up in pain. The cellular degeneration was finally reaching my brain.

I felt the light enter me. Warmth filled me. The pain was still there, though, and it was getting worse. If I weren't so tired, I think I would have been outright moaning from it by this point.

And then, just like that, another sensation drowned out the pain.

It was one I had not felt in a long time. But I remembered it. I remembered that feeling of pins and needles filling my chest.

The feeling spread, and where it went the pain of the cellular degeneration faded. I started to lift myself off of the ground.

"Wait!" Esk ran up and grabbed me. "Doctor, no! You're too weak!"

I tried to force her off. For her own good. But I wasn't strong enough yet. "Esk, please, I need distance..."

"I'm not..."

Before she could finish protesting, the Doctor took her by the arms and pulled her away. "He's protecting you."

"I don't need his protection!", Esk shouted.

"Doctor, what's going on?", Clara asked.

"Let me go! I won't let him die alone!"

I stumbled out the entrance to the TARDIS. The sensations of pins and needles were taking away all of the pain.

"He's not dying," the Doctor told Esk. His voice was urgent and also quite happy.

I looked back in time to see Esk looking at the Doctor like he was mad. "What?!", she demanded.

"He's not dying," the Doctor repeated. "He's regenerating."

Golden light began to fill my vision. The blurriness disappeared. I could see Esk and the Doctor and Clara standing at the exit of my TARDIS. I could see his TARDIS in the grass nearby. I drew in several breaths. I needed the air.

"What..." Esk looked from me to the Doctor and back to me. "What's going on?"

"I'm regenerating," I said. "They... they gave me a new set of regenerations."

The Doctor smiled and nodded. "Yes. Now, don't try to fight it. It's tempting. But let it come. It's rather less destructive that way."

I nodded. I winced a little. The energy was greater than either of my previous regenerations. But it was necessary. I could feel it repairing my body's cells. The leftover energy of Rassilon's glove that had been killing me was dispersed as the regeneration took hold.

"But..." Esk shook her head. "What does that mean? What does regenerating do to him?"

"It saves his life. Extends it. Gives him a nice new body and everything, maybe tweaks a bit with the personality." The Doctor chuckled. "It's no big deal. I've been through twelve myself."

"So... he'll live?", Esk asked. "Just like before?"

"No, not at all," I said. I took in another breath and smiled. "It's... it's not quite that."

Esk's expression darkened. "So... what? So you still die, but some new fellow takes your place?"

"Oh, not quite that either," the Doctor answered for me. "No, he'll keep all his memories, a lot of his personality. Everything that matters. It's more of a cosmetic change."

I thought on that. It was more than that, honestly. The Doctor himself was proof of it. Eleven was not like Ten who was not like Nine who was not like Eight (or the War Doctor who came between them). There were changes. Enough that Ten hadn't wanted to regenerate, had wanted to remain "himself".

It made me wonder. What would it be like? Was Ten's depressed comment true? Was it more like dying and having some other bloke take over my life, memories included? Or was it what the term implied? A regeneration. A new beginning.

Yes. That's the way it would be. That's how I would take it. A new beginning. A change. A chance for... for something new and exciting. Seeing the familiar with a new perspective. That sort of thing.

Maybe that was just denial that it could be like those other, harsher possibilities. Fair complaint, that. But... that's how I would take it. That's how I would view what was happening.

I smiled at Esk. I kept my voice warm and I spoke to her with as much kindness and friendship that I could muster. "Esk, I'm still going to be me. It's not... it's just a change. I'll be a little different, sure. But it'll still be me." I smiled at her. I felt tears in my eyes. "And we're going to go places. All sorts of places I've always wanted to show you. The Crystal Spires of Minbar, the Spirit Lights of the South Pole at the Glacier Festival, the Rings of Carina... We'll see them all."

Esk still had tears in her eyes. "That's a promise?"

"It's a promise." I took in a breath. It was almost time. "And I promise something else. I won't forget... me. This me. I won't forget when I was here. I'll remember first meeting you, and you'll remember it to, and I'll remember all of our adventures together and all of the things I did... I will never let those memories go. I will remember everything."

She nodded at that. "I believe you."

"Good."

The Doctor nodded at me. "It's time."

"Yes. I know." I took in a breath. "Goodbye Esk. I'll be with you in just a minute."

By now golden light was gathering on my hands and circling about my neck and about my ankles. The pens and needles sensation inside of me peaked. I'd never this way before. Not even with my prior regenerations.

I thought about everything in the moments I had left. Because I meant what I said to Esk. I was not going to forget this. I wasn't going to forget my first... life, if you will, as a Time Lord. All of the friends I made, the adventures I had. I wasn't going to forget the sights we'd seen. I'd remember them all. I'd remember what it was like, as me, being with them all. Jan and Cami, Nerys, Korra and Asami, Harry and Molly and Karrin, Liara and Shepard, Katara, Steven and Connie and the Gems, Seven, the EMH, Janet Peratrovich and when I was just the Human John Smith-Stevens.... and more. Every being I had enjoyed spending time with. They all formed the tapestry of this experience. This... version of me, if you will.

And, of course, Katherine.

I would never forget them. They would remain a part of me. Even if I wasn't... "me" anymore.

I was weeping as I came to the end. Not out of sadness or fear or anything like that. Despite everything, despite learning the truth of what had been done to me, what I was, what I was intended for... it had all come out alright, hadn't it? I had done great and brilliant things. I'd learned valuable lessons. I'd saved little girls from ravenous vampires, brought powerful empires low, and I had even met the Meat. I took a little girl who was otherwise likely to become a murderer and tyrant and convinced her to instead grow up as a noble and kind young woman. I helped a young woman carrying the literal spirit of light for her world overcome her doubts and fears just as she had helped me overcome my guilt and shame. I helped the survivor of a doomed timeline learn to live with her grief and find a new start with new friends and family in her life.

All of those things. Done by me.

I started to laugh through the weeping. What would the next me do?

It was time to find out.

Time to change.

I threw my head back in triumph and let out another laugh.

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

Post by LadyTevar » 2017-07-19 12:39am

You really do have to write up how his former companions and friends like Harry dealt with the new face. I think Murphy would have a gun on him until she got confirmation it was really him LOL!
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Re: "The Power of a Name" - Dr. Who Multi-Crossover SI Series

Post by Steve » 2017-07-19 10:42am

Regeneration can be odd. It can make you feel odd. I mean, it is your body's entire cellular structure being re-assembled and rejuvenated and all of that. That has an effect.

My last regeneration didn't seem quite so odd though. Maybe because it was the regeneration that turned me into a Time Lord in the process? Either way... odd. Just odd.

Everything seemed off, I mean. Everyone looked a bit taller now. My face felt wrong, my insides... I patted at them. "Lungs. Lungs are working, good, no change there. No cushioning so I'm definitely not a girl now. Wasn't really interested in that. The weight, I mean. Lugging the..." For a moment I thought I was missing a finger on my hands, so I checked. "Good, all fingers... and legs, got to have legs, quite important yes..." My hands went up to my face. "My cheekbones. Where are my cheekbones?! Oh, come on!"

Wait. I'm being rude. Here I am, griping about the physical changes, and I'm not even reflecting upon the reactions of the others.

Ah, Esk. Dear Eskarina. So young still. I saw her when she was older and wiser and just as vibrant. Quite odd to see that and now see her here, I mean. More of a do-er, if you can believe that.

But she was all teared up. She stared at me like I was a stranger. And here I thought the Doctor and I had made it rather obvious that I was going to change appearance.

Wait. What did I look like now? Seriously, my cheekbones were totally off, and my face was too thin, and my clothes felt a bit too loose with the jacket hovering down about two-thirds of the way to the knee. Had I lost height?! No! No, that wouldn't do! I had to keep my height or I'd have to deal with Dresden and his joking over my height change! I had to be his height to make our partnership work! No, no no no, this wouldn't do!

Oh, the others, right. Clara was staring. I suppose it didn't mean that much to her, one way or the other. We'd only just met after all. And as for the Doctor...

He stared at me. Incredulity and a little something, I'm not sure what, showed in his face.

Wait, no. I did know this one.

He was jealous? I didn't think I looked that good, but...

"Oh, that's just not fair," the Doctor pouted. "That's not fair at all."

I blinked at him. "What? What is it? Do I have a second nose or something? A third eye? Wait, it can't be a third eye, I'm not seeing out of one..."

The Doctor held his hand up. "Look at that! First regeneration and he gets ginger! I've always wanted to be ginger!"

I stared. "I'm... ginger?" I started grabbing at my hair to try and confirm the color. Ginger? Why was I ginger? That makes no sense, I wasn't looking to be ginger. I mean, I suppose I wasn't opposed to it...

"Eleven regenerations and nothing. But your first try!" He shook his head and let out a chuckle. "So unfair."

"Does anyone have a mirror?", I asked. "I need a mirror!"

"Oh. Right." Clara reached into her pocket and brought out a little clamshell-whatever-you-call-them mirrors that ladies use for freshening up. She handed it to me and let me get a look. "You look a little older now," she added. "I actually sort of like it."

"That's because he got to be ginger!", the Doctor insisted.

I accepted the mirror from Clara and opened it to look at what I had become. Red hair, check, and not too vibrant a red but red enough to qualify as properly red, yes. Blue eyes, curious. Such light blue eyes, sky blue? No, maybe not sky blue... right, color sorting, not one of my strengths everyone. And the face. I found it familiar. Where had I...?

Oh.

I did recognize the face.

"Oh bugger," I mumbled. "Look at that, look at me..." I stared intently for a moment. Needed to take in all of the features I now saw.

"I'm... I look like a ginger Hugh Laurie now!" I shook my head and sighed. "I'm going to be such an arsehole. I mean, look... look at me." I gestured to Clara. "Don't I just look like I'm an arsehole now. No boyish looks, nothing dapper or dashing, I look like I should be walking around with a bloody cane. Bugger... wait." I frowned. "Why am I saying 'bugger'? 'Bugger' this and 'bugger' that. And 'bloody' too. Do I talk like that? Do I?"

"Well..." Clara shrugged sheepishly. "I think? I hadn't known you long."

I looked past her and the Doctor and to Esk. "Esk, am I that crude? Because I don't want to be crude. It doesn't feel right to say those kinds of things so often, I mean, really, I..."

I made myself stop talking at that point. Esk was staring at me and she looked like she had lost her best friend. Her eyes were intent on my face, on my eyes, as if she could see within me and know if it was the person she knew or not. Esk sniffled and wiped at the tears on her cheeks. I could see she was struggling with what to say. What to ask.

I sighed gently and I smiled at her. A small smile. Nothing overdone. I don't go for overdone theatrics, just too cheap. "Hello again, Esk," I said to her. "I'm back."

She was full of hope and fear as she asked, "The promise?"

I nodded. "I remember everything. I remember it all. Yes." I stepped up to her and took her hands. "Kraknaradaaplikuiuspinocka Nebula."

Esk sniffled again while her eyes betrayed her confusion. "Kraknarada-what?"

"Kraknaradaaplikuiuspinocka Nebula," I repeated. "Beautiful plasma stream crossfires. I'd love to show them to you. Just a quick hop to Kraknardaaplikuiuspinralakoolis."

That brought a smile to her face through the tears. She nodded. "It sounds wonderful."

"Oh, it is," I promised. "Quite wonderful." I spun around to the Doctor and Clara. "So, would you like to join us?"

The Doctor sighed and shook his head. "I'm afraid that it wouldn't be possible. Not now. You've got time to get back out of this cosmos, but once Rassilon's tunnel finishes closing, the barrier will be restored and my sixth-dimensional location will be cut off from the others. For now, at least. Certain... things must not be allowed through those barriers."

"Ah," I said. "Alright. I understand." I looked around again at the area. Old memories, yes. And I still had them. Regeneration didn't change that. "Well. I suppose Esk and I had better get going then. Got a lot to do on the other side."

The Doctor nodded. He followed us to the door for entering our TARDIS. "You did good," he said. "You saved countless worlds and species and people from destruction."

"We did," I answered. "I couldn't have done it without you, Doctor. Or Clara, and definitely not Esk." I gave her another reassuring smile and she returned it.

The Doctor nodded. "All of those worlds," he said. "All of those people. And you've been their protector. That's good. You've done good."

I nodded. "Thank you, Doctor." I offered my hand to him. "It was my pleasure to work with you."

The Doctor considered my offered hand for barely a second before accepting it. He smiled at me and nodded. "The same here... Doctor."

The look on my face must have been hilarious. I seriously think my eyes bugged out of my head. That's what it felt like.

He... he had just called me...

The Doctor chuckled at my reaction. He still had that smile although there was a new earnestness in his expression. "The name's a promise," he said.

I nodded. "Never cruel or cowardly..."

"...never give up, never give in." The Doctor nodded. "You keep the promise, you keep the name. That's how it works." He patted me on the shoulder. "Always remember that, Doctor."

"Yes." I put my hand on his shoulder in a similar gesture. "Yes, I will." I swallowed and gave him a pat on the shoulder myself. "Just for the record... Trenzalore can't be the end. Not for you. You'll win it. You'll beat them."

He nodded. "Well, I'll certainly do what I can." We clasped hands one last time. "Thank you."

Clara and Esk were hugging beside us. "Take care of him," Clara said. "If he's anything like my Doctor..."

"...he'll need it," Esk finished for her. "The same with your's."

"Oh, I intend to." Clara looked at the Doctor and smiled. He gave her a grin in reply. I had to grin at my own Companion and the sentiment she had expressed.

There was nothing more to say at this point. The Doctor and I exchanged nods as he and Clara stepped away from the TARDIS. I felt my hearts soaring as I considered what he had said.

The Doctor... had given me his blessing. As far as he was concerned, I was the Doctor too. Not the same man, obviously. But the same thing regardless. We both had the same goals. The same attitudes toward life, toward those who would end it. Sometimes our means and attitudes might vary a bit here and there, but they would never become completely divergent.

Never, so long as we both kept the Promise.

And I swore to myself that I would. I would make good on the trust he had just given me.

The Doctor returned to his TARDIS with Clara. I went up to my own controls. With a finger snap my TARDIS closed her doors. I set in new coordinates, back to the Earth that had been my home. I looked up from the controls to see Esk smiling at me. Dried tears still showed on her face. "Ready?", she asked.

"Of course. Kraknardaaplikuiuspinralakoolis, here we come." I nodded and pulled the activation lever.




Our trip to Kraknardaaplikuiuspinralakoolis gave me the chance to go through the sort of thinking you need after regenerating. Acclimating what you were into what you are now. Thankfully, this was only my first as a Time Lord, and the sort of regeneration sickness that occasionally befuddled the Doctor wasn't present. Perhaps it was from not having centuries and centuries of memories to acclimate. I'll find out one day, I imagine.

We spent some time there, watching the plasma streams meet and sent off explosions of color visible from the planet, and when the sight was over Esk decided to take some rest. It had been a busy day for her after all.

Me? I had other things to do.

Since getting my memories back, I had been too busy to really process those old thoughts and feelings. No chance to see the people I had cared for as a Human being. But now... now I had the time.

A change of clothes first. I looked over the purple jackets and... hrm. Purple. Nice color, don't get me wrong, but a bit too... I don't know. I didn't think I looked well in purple. Thankfully Miss Mode had given me a blue jacket as well, which I donned over a light light gray shirt and another pair of light gray trouser pants. And I picked up a pair of nice black shoes, padded for running but a bit nicer looking than the ones I used to wear back when I was... well, when I was the "First Doctor", if you will.

Now that I was ready and presentable, it was time to go visiting.

I didn't just walk up to them of course. I picked a span of time, various places, to stand afar and see them. Loved ones all, the family I was born into and the family I had chosen for myself. I would walk up, give a friendly wave and greetings appropriate for the time and place, and walk off, content that I had been given a chance to see them again. Given the length of times I chose to appear in, I can't imagine any of them ever even thought to discuss the ginger Englishman in the blue jacket. Why would they? I was just some bloke passing them on the street who seemed really friendly. Nothing special about that.

But I saved the most important visit for last.

I returned to Christmastime, 2013. The TARDIS was in stealth mode and out of the way. I walked into position in the parking lot I had arrived in and I waited in the brisk morning air. The sun had just come up within the last hour and a half or so, I judged. Winter solstice had just passed.

At about the right time someone came out of the doors to the building I was facing. I recognized him immediately.

It was the face I had seen in the mirror for thirty years of my prior life.

I let him get to his truck before approaching. "Hey, good morning and Merry Christmas," I said to him.

He turned to face me. A flicker of recognition came to his face. Undoubtedly from what my face looked like. "Good morning and Merry Christmas," he answered.

"Can I get some directions?", I asked. "I'm trying to get to the airport."

"Which one?", he asked. He inquired as to if I wanted the main airport of the area or a smaller airport that also serviced international flights that was much closer.

I picked the closer one. Just to do so.

"Yeah. Just go out to..." He gave directions like I imagined he would. A bit overly-detailed, perhaps, but he was clearly trying to resist the impulse to lay out every detail. I nodded in appreciation at that. It gave me a reason to smile. "...and you'll find it. I don't know what parking is like there, I haven't been to that airport."

"I'll find out well enough," I said. I stepped closer to him and offered my hand. "Thanks, mate."

I didn't expect what would happen when he took my hand. As our palmed pressed against each other in the handshake I felt a subtle thrum. I almost wanted to smile more. Despite the gulf of time and changes and two regenerations and, oh, being an entirely different species now... I was still close enough to him to cause quantum synergy. Nothing much, mind you. I could sense some of his thoughts, predominately that usual desire to just get home after another night at a security desk in an office building. And I'm not sure what he sensed from me. His brain might not be able to conceive, directly, the memories I had.

Although, ha. Given how those creative juices bubble away in his mind, maybe he would acclimate whatever he picked up from me in a creative way. He could end up writing it out as a story or some such. That would seem a reasonable thing, wouldn't it?

In those seconds, as I looked into his eyes, I found myself thinking about me. Us. I had been him once. But no longer. By quirk of fate, by something almost beyond imagination, I had been taken and made into what I was now. I was a Time Lord. I had the Multiverse at my fingertips. And now I was free of the forces that had created me. The future was open.

And that future was not here.

I can never go back home. I have faced that truth. I will be out here for many lifetimes to come.

With the box in my mind shattered by what transpired on Mogo, I would not again forget my old life and my old name. They are a part of me. They always will be. And I'll watch out for them. I can't help but do so.

But they won't be the major part in my life. Not anymore. This is his life now. Mine lies elsewhere, I can't encroach upon it. So I will set those old thoughts and memories into the past, where they belong.

Instead, I must look to the future and to the name I have taken. The life I have chosen to lead. A life of exploration and wonder. A life where there were monsters to defeat and innocent beings in need of someone to help them. To make them better.

The name I have chosen has power. It has the power to bring hope to those lost in despair. It can make brutal and terrible men fall to their knees in terror. It can rouse entire civilizations to do what is right and send armies in flight from utter dread.

It can do all of these things, and more, so long as the promise is kept.

Never cruel or cowardly. Never give up. Never give in.

And I will keep that promise until the last of my days.

Who am I?

I am, and always shall be, the Doctor.




Eskarina woke up from her rest and wandered into the TARDIS control room. It felt good to be refreshed after all of the things that had happened in the last day. All of that hope and fear and worry... it had been emotionally taxing.

The door to the TARDIS opened and the Doctor walked in. He was in a new suit. Esk felt a tinge of sadness at that. She could tell he was still, at his core, her Doctor... but at the same time, he was also clearly different from what he had been before. He was, in his own way, someone new, and he would never again be the Doctor she had known.

"Ah, Esk, good morning," said her Doctor. "You know, now that we're ready to travel, there's something I need to give you."

Esk looked at him with curiosity as he walked up the stairs toward the wall of the control chamber. He opened one of his trunks and went through various things. By the time Esk walked up to him he was standing up again and closing the trunk. He turned and presented to her a blue book. Esk took the book, still richly-colored as if brand new, and looked it over. "A journal?", she asked, noting that it was the same blue as his TARDIS.

"Exactly," the Doctor answered. "I got it from you."

Eskarina looked at him with some surprise. "From me?"

"From your older self," he continued. "She wanted me to give it to you. It seemed now was the appropriate time and all."

Esk looked back at the journal and opened the first page. She found a message there from herself.

You'll need every page, Esk. And you'll love every moment of it.

And remember, no spoilers!


Esk easily recognized her own handwriting. She stared at the book with some wonder. By the time she looked up the Doctor was pulling something down from the wall further down. "What do you think?", he asked.

"It's... a cane?", Esk replied.

He smiled at her and held it up. On the bottom was a purple light. His finger slid across the top of the cane and the light lit up, whirring as it did. "My new sonic cane," he explained. "More versatile than the disruptor." He swung the cane in his hand like it was a swagger stick before tapping it to the ground. "So, what do you think?"

"It looks..." Esk smiled and shrugged. "Dashing, I suppose?"

"Hrm. Dashing. I think I like that." With the cane in hand he skipped down the stairs. "So! We have a Multiverse out there." He went up to the controls and started hitting buttons and flipping switches. "Lots of places to go. Somewhere out there are beautiful sights waiting to dazzle us with their brilliance... and yes, some monsters that will want to eat us." He looked up as Esk descended the stairs to join him. The journal was still in her hand. His tone turned more serious as he continued. "There are children crying as their worlds are crashing down around them and people pleading for someone to show them mercy. It's a Multiverse full of wondrous beauty and terrible ugliness, brave heroes and treacherous villains..."

"Yes." Esk nodded. "And you. The Doctor."

"And me, yes." The Doctor looked over the controls and sighed before turning his sky blue eyes to look at her. "And you."

Esk answered that with a smile. "It's a big journal," she said. "I've got a lot of space to fill in."

"Yes," he agreed. "So. How about we get started?" He put his hand on the TARDIS control lever. "Off we go, then!"

Before he could pull it, Esk held a hand up. "Wait," she asked.

"Hrm?"

"One last time," Esk requested. "Just one last time. Say it... like you would have said it before."

The Doctor looked at her. "Oh. You mean the way... oh yes, I see what you mean."

For a moment, he seemed to consider Esk's request.

Her first answer was the smile he gave her.

The Doctor pulled the lever. And as the TARDIS began to VWORP away to their next destination, he gave Esk her answer.

"Tally Ho!"



The Story is over. The Adventure continues...
”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

Post by Steve » 2017-07-19 10:50am

LadyTevar wrote:
2017-07-19 12:39am
You really do have to write up how his former companions and friends like Harry dealt with the new face. I think Murphy would have a gun on him until she got confirmation it was really him LOL!

Maybe one day I'll make that part of a "Lost Tales" anthology. Along with canceled stories like "Just Another Day" or little one-shots like, say, his run-in with Tonker and Lofty from "Monstrous Regiment".

Anyway, everyone, that's it for TPOAN. After months of almost daily postings, I finally have finished the re-posting of it to SDN (with typo corrections whenever I found them while skimming). I hope you all enjoyed it. Don't be shy about replying to this post with any thoughts on the series as a whole. It is pretty much the most popular fic I've ever written, much to my shock. It's the only one to be found on TVTropes, with two FanficRec mentions (under Doctor Who Crossovers and MegaCrossovers) and, due to one Troper, a (very small) TVTropes page.

And at 920,000 words it's basically a multi-volume novel series.
”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

Post by LadyTevar » 2017-07-24 02:52am

I'm waiting for you to get around to the "Lost Stories"
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