"Theta Sigma, stop that foolishness."
The words caused the young man, now at the tender age of 120, to glance up from his star charts, pushing the long blond strands out of his eyes. His professor, professor Borusa, looking down at him with a sort of irritation that usually inspired terror in his students. The young man felt none, though. Borusa was a friend, even called him by his academy nickname. The only teacher he genuinely respected, the teacher of TARDIS control operations and star navigation. Explorer, scholar, politician. There could be no real fear for him, only a quiet admiration.
"I’m just making sure I can plot a map correctly for the Council testing---" the young man said, turning back to the charts, the swirling language long since memorized. He was brighter than the rest of his classmates, even he knew that, but his passion was not for school, not for that stupid academy, but for the stars, traveling, seeing the universe.
Borusa shook his head in an almost fatherly manner and slid down next to him, "Theta, you can't go through with this test. You know as well as I do that there's no way you'll be given a Time And Relative Dimensions In Space machine, not with your grades from the Academy. You should've buckled down, given your work some actual consideration."
Theta rolled his eyes, "Honestly, Borusa, how could I take anything at that Academy seriously? They pour rubbish in from anyone who has a good speaking voice, you know that as well as I do."
"Theta, you aren't…you're not like everyone else is, and the Council knows that," Borusa said, "They've seen your ancestry charts. They're not going to let you leave Gallifrey, not for a long time yet."
"I'm old enough to handle the universe on my own," the young man snapped, "They can't keep me cooped up here, wearing headgarments and learning silly dances in this sterile place until they're satisfied that I've got it yet."
"They can and they will," Borusa sighed, patting the young man on the arm, "Just…go back to your studying, Theta. Think about your future, about schooling, teaching. We Timelords live a long time, yet." With that, the older man stood, stepping away from the table and back to his cultured life.
Theta slammed the chart down in anger, not because he was angry at Borusa, but because Borusa was right, he stood no chance of receiving a TARDIS, of ever escaping this confining place of "civility" and "perfection" that he loathed so much. He was too different, too rebellious, too "unfocused". They'd rather study him than let him run free. He was trapped.
He glanced down the hallway from where Borusa had come, then stood, picking up his star charts and sliding on his hat. A few supplies from his quarters, and he was ready to leave. One bag, that looked very like an Earth doctor's bag, in his hands---it contained everything he would need to offer one last act of rebellion against this place. There was nothing else here in this stifling world that he needed. Nothing. It was a quick jog down central street to the TARDIS incubators, and he'd been there so often the guards barely paid him any mind.
"Hey, Theta," Grandia said, glancing up from the monitors, "Here to see the birthings again? They're a few hours off if you want to wait, but I know Fredniz won't mind you sitting in again." He looked with a little confusion at the bag in Theta's hand, "What are you, a doctor or something now?"
"Actually, I wondered if I could see the recruits' TARDISes again," he replied, feigning nonchalance and grinning the way he did the many, many times he'd asked to see them before.
Grandia leaned back, looking almost embarrassed, "Can't take you there anymore, Theta, Council's orders. What with the selection process coming up, they want to make sure they're unspoiled."
"I'm not going to 'spoil' them, Grandia, you know that," Theta said, "Just want to have a peek inside."
"Can't Theta, I'm sorry." Grandia looked back at the monitors, trying to ignore the look of disappointment on Theta's face. I didn't want to have to do this… Theta's hand curled around a tranquilizer in his pocket, and he took a step towards the guard, his old friend.
Before he could strike, Grandia turned, giving the young man a small smile, "Look, I can't take you to the recruits', but there are a few Type 40's that are up for destruction. I can take you there, if you'd like."
Theta's hand relaxed around the tranquilizer, and a smile broke across his face, "That would be fantastic."
Destruction chambers were very like birthing chambers, Theta decided. Pale green organic walls pulsating with life that fed to the unused TARDISes that sat within. The walls would be eventually injected with a poison, essentially "killing" the TARDISes before they could live. The fifty or so machines were undisguised in this form, just simple white columns with a door. They developed forms, developed personalities, developed everything once they left the confines of the chambers. Very like Theta himself, he decided.
"Why are they being destroyed?" he asked, feeling his hearts ache at the thought of loosing such technology, such beautiful creatures.
"Upgrades have been birthed," Grandia replied, shrugging slightly, "Type 42s. Significantly better in form and flying capabilities, and they don't have that sticky chameleon circuit. Personality suppressors have also been added."
"Oh, fantastic, travel completely alone," Theta grumbled, "Why suppress the personality of a machine that would be connected to you completely? You're likely to suppress your own way of thinking."
Grandia gave the young man a look of confusion, "Why is that a bad thing?" Before he could respond, Grandia shook his head, "Look, I've got to head back. Just…look around for a few minutes, all right? I heard you're up for recruitment, you've got a lot of studying to do." He tossed Theta a key, and then vanished from the room.
Theta looked down at the key, an intense guilt washing over him. This was more than just rebellion, this was betrayl of trust, and this was exiling himself from his people. This was---
The key fit smoothly into the lock of the first TARDIS he approached, and he pulled it open easily, glancing inside. Cavernous, organic-looking walls with large silver roundels, and slick tile floors, a hexegonical column sitting in the center of main room. He would have to redecorate, he decided. The TARDIS hummed to life as it was expected to, unsuspecting that it was only moments from being killed by the creatures that created it. If only Theta could save them all.
"It's all right," he murmured, dropping to his knees in front of the console and pulling some supplies out of his bag, "Just going to take a quick peek inside of you."
With a hum of his sonic screwdriver---brilliant device he'd only created several months before---the bottom section of the console opened up to reveal empty wires that connected to nothing. Theta pulled a briode nebulizer from within the bag and attached it, delicately, to the machine's wires. It was fairly crudely made by himself, and he could hear the machine groan in concern, but it would do. It had to do.
"Ready?" Only partially for the machine, mostly for himelf. He placed his thumb over the DNA pad on the nebulizer, and flipped the switch.
Electrodes shot from the nebulizer and connected to his skin, sending shocks of electricity from the TARDIS into him. Pain wracked his body, and ice shot through his veins as the nebulizer activated, connecting TARDIS to Timelord, implanting a symbiotic nuclei within his brain. He could feel the machine, feel this TARDIS, feel its confusion and elation at being connected to someone, finally. Feel the core of the machine, the Eye of Harmony, the Time Vortex just below the panel, the very ground beneath his feet, it all pulsated within him. He could feel it---her, he could feel her. She was a part of him.
And she could feel him. She saw into his mind, knew his name, saw his family, his childhood, his loneliness, that he wasn't supposed to do this, but they were going to trap him in a world he didn't belong, keep him here and kill her---
He was unsure how long he lay there on the cool ground, just reveling in the feel of the new machine just below the surface of his skin. It wasn't until he felt it, not his emotion, the TARDIS's. Panic. Someone was inside the chamber. They looked important, they looked official. Theta flipped on the monitor---executioners. Destruction time was now. No!
Scrambling to his feet, Theta flipped switches, turned dials, tried to remember everything Borusa had taught him about flying a TARDIS. She felt so confused underneath and around him. Why would they want the TARDISes destroyed?
"I don’t know, old girl," he murmured. What a silly nickname to call the machine. Somehow it fit.
Hyperdrive. Corollary subtransitory stabilizer. And---
The column raised, fell, raised again, the sound of time travel, space travel, freedom. There was a look of surprise from the guards in the monitor, then they vanished, a pool of the dark time vortex took their place. They would be following, he had no doubt, but executed TARDISes had no tracking systems, they were being destroyed, there was no need for them.
"We'll hop tracks a bit, shall we? Keep them from finding us."
Us. Timelord and TARDIS. Together.
"Professor Borusa," Grandia's ankles clipped together as he stepped into the man's office, "One of your students going by the name Theta Sigma has stolen a Type 40 TARDIS."
"How terrible," Borusa's voice was calm and relaxed, "Wherever did he get access to a TARDIS, I thought your superiors had forbade him visitation rights."
"He stole a key from me," Grandia replied in that same cool tone, "I tried to stop him, but he was too quick." A smirk, "How did he find out that he wouldn't make the TARDIS cut?"
"He's a smart lad," Borusa smirked slightly as well, "We'll never quite know."
Muse: the Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 1,716