Characters: Three, Liz Shaw, The Brigadier, Eleven, Canton
Word Count: 1,666
Storyline: Who worked out that it would take Dwarf Star Alloy to lock the Doctor away in Area 51?
Notes: I’m out of practice. Concrit is most welcome.
"What would hold a creature like you?"
When this question is first posed to me, I can only consider the source of the question: An American, and judging by his clothes, a well-paid government official. He stands there, arms crossed, and watches me like a hawk behind his sunglasses. If the look is supposed to strike some sort of fear into my hearts, I’m afraid he’s gone far off his mark.
"Are you trying to say that you’ve caught another Time Lord?" my companion to my right says.
"What we have is outside of your jurisdiction," the man with the sunglasses says. With a small twitch of his lips, he adds: "Brigadier."
"I think the situation is obvious, though," I say. "Whatever he has, or whoever he has, is related to me somehow. After all, he didn’t come to UNIT looking for help with an alien menace, he came to me looking for advice."
"Quite so," Liz agrees. "And it’s not as if we couldn’t acquire the information in Area 51 if we so desired it."
The small twitch on the man’s face turns into a wide, smug grin. "So tell me, Doctor. What would hold a creature like you?"
"A Time Lord?" I say, spinning around the room. "Oh, any number of things, for a time. Exile is always the best bet if you really want it off of your planet, of course, but I’m afraid I’m of no use to you there."
My thoughts go back to my TARDIS, quiet and cold in the lot opposite where we stand now. She’s so quiet in my mind, so cold under my fingers as I try to rebuild her. It’s heartbreaking in so many ways that my human companions can not possibly understand. Exile from one’s homeworld is heartbreaking in ways they don’t understand, too, but I figure that’ll just be something to add to the list of the things they don’t understand about me.
"We don’t want to remove it, we want to contain it," the man says.
"For how long?" Liz, my ever faithful conscience, asks.
"For as long as we need." The American’s deep, raspy voice does little to alleviate any worries I know my companion has, but she doesn’t know how many evil Time Lords there are in the universe. She has, after all, only met me, and I’m a poor example of the remainder of my race.
"So you want a cage," I say. "Funny. My people consider your whole planet to be my cage."
"I’m not your people, and with all do respect, I kinda like thinking of my planet as more than just a box to keep you in."
My face twists a little. "You know, I would rather like to remove that supremely smug look on your face with a good Venusian akido slap across your right jaw."
"Doctor---" Liz warns.
"But you won’t," the American says.
"But no, I won’t," I agree. "Because until you try to discharge that firearm in this place, you are far from a threat to me."
The Brigadier speaks up. "Which he won’t." He pulls himself up out of his chair and steps around the desk to speak directly to our visitor. It is not often that I see my dear friend approach anyone in so threatening a fashion, certainly not someone of his own species. But as he stands there across from our American interrogator, I get the distinct feeling that there are lines about to be drawn. And, oddly enough, as the Brigadier stands there, looming about a foot taller than the American, it seems that the two might very well be equally matched in tenacity.
"So, Mr. Delaware, tell us what exactly you need from our Chief Scientific Advisor?" the Brigadier demands.
Mr. Delaware smirks again. "I need him to take a little plane ride with me."
"And why would I want to do that?" My words come out as less of a demand, and more of a petulant assertion that I won’t be following his orders any time soon.
"Because I know you, Doctor," Mr. Delaware says. "And you’re going to want to see what I have for you to cage."
The trip to America is long and dull. I have always detested airplanes, I’ve told the Brigadier as much in the past, and I made quite sure to inform him at least half a dozen times on the long flight over. We stay briefly in Washington, then fly the remainder of the way into the desert.
It is hot and sticky, but I channel my body’s temperature downward, so as to appear as calm as I possibly can within the velvet suit I have procured for this journey.
"I need everyone to clear out of this room," Mr. Delaware announces as we step into one of their underground halls. It is big and muggy, with the scent of sweat and gunpowder hanging over the air. In the center of the room is a sign that reads "DO NOT APPROACH THE PRISONER". And behind the sign is a man in a straightjacket. A young man, unshaven and malnourished is looking up at me with calm resignation.
The soldiers around me scatter at Mr. Delaware’s command, and I am left with the Brigadier, Mr. Delaware, and the prisoner.
It takes me a moment to register the man before me. When I was exiled from Gallifrey, a good deal of my neural networks to the matricies of the Time Lords were cut off, but if I concentrate, I can find the people I am looking for with some effort. I can know them, I can hear them. I just have to want to. And if this man is a Time Lord, then he is one I should know, should I not?
His brain waves sit there before me, and I read them instantly. The familiar swirls and switches of his thought processes pick up instantly. The prisoner closes his eyes, reveling in the feeling of being scanned.
"I see, Mr. Delaware, why you thought I’d be interested in your prisoner."
The prisoner is me. I can feel it.
"It’s been so long," the prisoner whispers, his voice hoarse. "Since another Time Lord---but it’s not really the same, is it? It’s a bit like finally receiving a love letter and realizing you’re the one who wrote it years ago."
I haven’t the faintest idea what he’s talking about. I try to seek through his mind---my mind---and figure out what brought him here, what took him from where I am to the crumpled mess in a straightjacket I see now. And how to free him? My mind prods at his for access, but he doesn’t grant it. The years have made his mental blocks stronger.
Why aren’t you letting me in?
"Doctor!" I realize that the Brigadier has been calling my name for a few moments now.
"Yes, what?" I ask, spinning around to face him.
"Do you know him?" he asks.
"Know him?" My voice is flustered with insult. How could the Brigadier not recognize me, even this far in the future? "Of course I know him, we---"
"Went to school together," the hoarse voice of the prisoner says. "Back on Gallifrey, many years ago."
A voice in my head suddenly appears. It is calm, collected, clearly without the distress I see in the man before me.
He can’t know.
I turn back to face him. Well, why not?
The prisoner’s eyes lock with mine, and he gives me a small nod. Because I can’t escape here. Not yet.
And what makes you think I’d just leave you here? Leave me here?
He shakes his head. I want you to do more than that. I want you to do what he’s asking. Build me a cage.
Why in the name of---
"Hey, enough of that," Mr. Delaware snaps. "If I have to lug out the psychic blocker again, I’ll do it. But no communicating where we can’t hear you."
I get the image of smacking Mr. Delaware in the face again, and this seems like a really good idea.
I can all but hear the prisoner’s laughter in my head. He’s on our side.
I’d quite like to shove him back to the other side, I reply.
"I mean it," Mr. Delaware says.
"Doctor," the Brigadier admonishes. "Perhaps we should leave."
"Just a moment." I take a step towards the prisoner and crouch down next to him. He smells unwashed, his skin is mottled with bruises. He’s been here a while, I’d say. A month, maybe two? Why would he let them do this to him? Why would I submit myself to this?
I don’t have to ask my question. Before the words leave my mouth, he’s responding. His voice is just about a whisper. "They’re counting on me."
He doesn’t need to elaborate. I know what he means. I know what it’s like to wait for companions, to give up what you can for them. I would gladly give years of my life up for Liz, for the Brigadier, for Benton or anyone within UNIT. Whatever plan is keeping him here, he knows it’s worth waiting for.
He gives me a small nod, his lips curling into the faintest of smiles. "Make sure nothing can break it. And walk him through how to fly the TARDIS in silently."
I nod, then get back to my feet.
"Very well, Mr. Delaware," I say, my voice back to normal. "I can construct something here. We’ll need to meet privately, I can make sure you get the equipment you need."
With a flourish, I turn to leave, the Brigadier quick on my heels. Mr. Delaware waits behind with the prisoner, making sure the guards get back in their positions before he follows.
"What the blazes was that?" the Brigadier snaps to me. "Why are you helping him?"
"Time, Brigadier," I say. "It will all make sense in time."