"You have been called before the court today under the charge of murder, how do you plead?"
The Doctor stood. Clad in a disgusting, dingy, oversized prison jumpsuit, his hands bound before him with thought-cuffs, and a mind control collar around his neck, he felt more than a little bit...vunerable. He tried to remember how this all started. He was walking down some street with Martha, somewhere in the Getta Quadrant, and suddenly he felt something stab into his shoulder. Martha screamed, and he dropped like a sack of bricks. He woke up, stripped of his clothes and equipment, with the prison getup and the control bracelet and collar.
"Not guilty, your honor."
His eyes went to the crowd that gathered in the large, pantheon-like courtroom. Martha stood out among the strange, stag-like faces of the people of this planet. She had a scarf wrapped around her head, and she looked terrified. Why wouldn't she be? The penalty for any crime on this planet was to have the crime committed to the perpetrator, and that meant death. How would she get home, then?
He offered her a small, reassuring smile. She smiled back, but it was weak. She was scared for him.
"The defense will call its first witness."
A tall, gray stag with bright green eyes, stood. He was defense. At the opposing table sat a stag with dark yellow eyes, he was prosecution. Neither of them had spoken a single word to the Doctor, but, from the strength of the mind collar (not that the Doctor had tried to escape earlier, or anything), it was probable that they were psychic.
"We call forth our first witness, please summon the Time Scoop."
The Doctor's eyes widened. The Time Scoop? That was Timelord technology, and long since dead, at that. He opened his mouth to say so, but small screws coated in sedatives tightened into his neck from the collar.
"The accused will not speak." The judge, who looked identical to the prosecution and defense except for startlingly red eyes, lowered his hoof, and the screws loosened. The three stags all spoke in rather disconcertingly calm voices, as if this was just an everyday situation that needed to be sorted out.
Oh, the Doctor was rather...well, screwed seemed to be too heavy a pun for this situation.
"We call Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart."
Instantly, in the witness box, appeared an aged, heavyset man with a white mustache and a rather shocked expression. In one hand, he held a spatula, and he was donned in jim jams and a pink apron that read "Kiss The Cook". It was everything in the Doctor not to snicker at his old friend.
"What the devil!" The Brigadier glanced around the room, before settling his eyes on the Doctor, "Doctor, what's going on?"
"It has come to our attention," the judge spoke, "That the accused has regenerated since you saw him last. Do you recognize him?"
"Yes," the Brigadier gave the Doctor his verymost put-upon sigh, "Who else could it be?"
The defense spoke now, "Brigadier Lethbrige-Stewart, the accused that you know as 'the Doctor' has been charged with the crime of multiple counts of murder for yesterday evening in the county of Bortrac. The penalty, should the accused be convicted, is to relive each death he caused, in this case, eighteen. Considering the few number of regenerations the accused has remaining, he will not survive this process. You have been called to speak in regard to his character."
The Brigadier shook his head and looked at the Doctor. Annoyance had been replaced with something very like fear. He took a breath, put down his spatula, and nodded at the defense.
"Very well. What must I do?"
"You will raise your right hand and submit to a lie mindscan."
Without hesitation, the Brigadier raised his right hand and took a breath. The Doctor felt something sharp hit him at the sight of his friend's loyalty. He didn't even know what a lie mindscan was, and he didn't hesitate. Not for the life of the Doctor.
"Do you swear to the truth, Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart?"
"I do." A red light slid across the older man's face, and he started, suddenly, as they sought the information they desired through his mind.
"How long have you been acquainted with the man known to this court as 'the Doctor'?"
The Brigadier took a breath, "Ooooh, round forty years now, I think. We met when I was colonel. Worked together at UNIT for a number of years, and continued to run into each other afterwards."
"How would you describe your relationship with the Doctor?"
A smirk twitched the edges of the Brigadier's lips, "He's a bloody thorn in my bloody side." His look grew more serious, "But the Doctor is a hero where I am from. I'm proud to say I have shared in many of his adventures. He is my friend."
The audience shared in a sudden storm of pounding the ground with their hoofs. The Doctor could hear Martha shriek, and his head turned to try to find her again. Where had she gone? Was she hurt?
"Be silent!" The judge raised a hoof, and the entire crowd quieted instantly. Martha's scarved head did not reappear and the Doctor felt panic strike him. He didn't want to dwell on her presence---he'd been trying to keep her from his thoughts in case they were read---so he turned back to the witness chair. The Brigadier was gone.
"Defense, call your next witness."
The grey swirling Time Scoop slid out of the room and reappeared with a rather surprised looking woman in full soldier battle gear, a large helmet with blinders on her head, and an impressive looking gun on her arm. She pointed it in the direction of the defense and pulled the trigger.
The defense's hoof raised, and the gun and the blast disappeared.
The woman pulled up the blinder on her helmet, revealing blue war paint beneath. "Gordon Bennet!"
"The defense calls Miss Dorothy McShane."
Ace. She lifted her helmet off her head, letting her waist-length light brown hair loose. She was pretty, in an awkward, tomboyish kind of way, but looking rather furious at her actual name being spoken.
"My name is Ace! Nobody calls me that!"
"Miss McShane, if you please." The defense raised his hoof again, and Ace returned the motion with a rather specific two-finger salute. The defense shook its head and explained the situation. Ace turned, her eyes falling on the Doctor. She had only heard about regeneration, she'd never really experienced it, and she most certainly had never seen his newest incarnation.
He remembered hearing about her death during the Time War. It would've been too tempting to try to tell the woman he thought of as a daughter how to save herself. Far too tempting.
"Do you swear to the truth, Miss Dorothy 'Ace' McShane?"
"You will explain your relationship with the Doctor."
Calmer now, Ace gave her neck a crack and spat before speaking. "The Professor and me did a bit of travelin' together a while ago. He's...well, he's the Professor, isn't he?"
"So he is," the defense replied, coolly, "In your time traveling together, what did you learn about the Doctor's character."
"His character, what you believed him to be like."
Ace glanced over at the Doctor, then gave a laugh. The Doctor loved Ace, but he couldn't imagine what in the bloody cosmos gave his defense the idea to call her to the stand.
"Righ', lookit. He's the Professor. Not nobody but nobody's smarter 'n the Professor. He cares, you know, 'bout everybody. Sure, he doesn't tell you everythin', but sometimes ya jus' don't need ta know. He's the sort of guy, knows all the rules and holds all the cards."
The prosecution spoke, for the first time, "So you're saying the Doctor is manipulative."
The defense: "Objection."
Ace, however, all but growled at the prosecution, "Lookit, meat-bag, the Professor never did anythin' but save me! Saved everybody, so you shut it, 'fore I pound your face in! I have faith in him!" She turned and looked at the Doctor. A small smile appeared on her face, and underneath the war paint, he saw his old friend.
"Complete faith." Her voice was small and childlike again, and he ached to be able to tell her. Stay away from Arcantos 3. Don't talk to the Timelord potentials.
There was a pounding of hooves, and the Doctor's gaze strayed back to the crowds. He saw the flash of a red scarf, and he tried to see if Martha's familiar face was underneath it. Too much movement. When he turned back to the witness stand, it was empty.
"The defense will call its next witness."
The Time Scoop appeared, depositing a very tousled-looking, very, very pregnant older woman into the chair. She glanced around with boggle-eyes at the room around her.
"The defense calls Jackie Tyler."
The Doctor moved to take a step forward, but the collar tightened, and he kept his place.
"You!" Jackie stood, thrusting her finger in the Doctor's direction, "I should've known it would be you! So there I was, sitting and watching a rerun of Dancing With The Stars, thinking just how much better my life was in this universe, and then I see this thing, this big grey thing just sort of appear out of nowhere. And I said to myself, I said, 'This must be the bloody Doctor, he won't just go away like any----'"
"The witness will be silent!" The judge's hoof dropped onto the table, and Jackie leaped about three feet into the air, her jaw snapping shut.
The situation was explained, and Jackie grew more serious, if still very put-upon.
"Do you swear to the truth, Mrs. Jackie Tyler?"
"Uh, I do."
"You will describe your relationship with the Doctor."
Jackie snorted, "He traveled with my daughter for a long time." She glanced nervously at the Doctor, "They were very good friends, and she...he saved us all. Rose always says that he helped her live a better life. She loves him very much."
It did not escape the Doctor that she said 'loves' as opposed to 'loved'. That...hurt.
"Mrs. Tyler, we are not interested in the Doctor's state on your planet, we are interested in his character."
Jackie spun around, pointing her finger in the stag's direction, "Oh, but see, that's where you're wrong. I don't just let anyone run off with my daughter, and I most certainly won't stand witness to the character of anyone that made my daughter cry as much as he did unless he was something really, really special! There's no one like the Doctor, you great big...deer-thing. And if you kill him now, you're doing the most stupid thing you could've ever done! He'd save your lives in an instant, cause that's what he does! He makes people live better lives!"
She turned her head to face the Doctor, "Doctor, Rose would want you to know----"
The storming of hooves again, but the Doctor didn't break his gaze with Rose's mother as her lips moved, her words drowned out by the noise of the crowd. She vanished, back to her own universe. He swallowed, but couldn't seem to wet his throat.
"The defense will call its next witness."
Everything was a buzz in his mind. Jackie. And Rose still loved him. This was too much to take in. They had the power to cross universes, to pull people through. Why didn't they pull Rose? He could've---just to have seen her once more, to say the things he wanted to say but never had time to. But to have her remember him like this? Dingy, dirty, and strapped down with mind-control prison bracelets and a collar? Or maybe he could've distracted the prosecution, given her time to avoid the Time Scoop to get back...
"The accused will cease his illegal thoughts, otherwise they will be marked as part of the trial." The judge half-growled, "The Time Scoop is only used for legal purposes, and the drain a universal pull puts on our resources is phenomenal. You should feel honored that we sought out even one witness who crossed dimensional barriers. Should you be found innocent, you can and will be executed if your thoughts stray in the direction of our technology again."
Sedative dripped from the collar, and the trial moved on.
"The defense calls Dalek Sec."
There was a sudden uprising in the court. This planet had been on the Timelord's side of the War, they did not want a Dalek to enter, but it was too late, and the black, shiny pepperpot of destruction was deposited in the witness chair.
"It-is-the-Doc-tor! Ex-ter-min-ate!" A blast came from the Dalek's beam, but was blocked by the defense's hoof.
"Are you barking mad?!" the Doctor shouted to the stag that was supposed to be his defense, "It's a Dalek! My mortal enemy! He'll destroy everyone in this room What's----"
He crumpled backwards in pain, the collar tightening and the stinging sedative rushing into the wounds the small screws drilled into him.
"If the accused does not silence, then he will be held in contempt of court, the penalty of which is death." The judge's voice was calm, direct, and more than a little terrifying. "It is advised that you simply trust your council to do what is best for you, Doctor."
The Doctor's eyes widened, and he turned his aching head over to the witness stand.
"Dalek Sec, do you swear to the truth?"
"You have before you a list of the crimes of which the Doctor is accused of committing. Have you read them."
"Do you believe the Doctor is capable of these crimes."
The Dalek's eyestalk turned to face the Doctor. He could almost swear the tiny, swiggling creature within was smirking. He swore, under his breath.
A ripple of hoof stomping scattered through the crowds, but the Dalek continued. "How-ev-er, I-do-not-be-lie-ve-the-Doc-tor-is-cap-a-b
"Thank you, Dalek Sec."
"Long-live-the-DAL-EKS!" With that, the creature vanished, taken away by what brought it there.
The defense nodded, slowly, "The defense is ready to---"
There was a clatter, and the Doctor's companion came bolting from the side door. Her hair was askew, her scarf was missing, and she had a long, jagged-looking cut on her right cheek. But her arms were full of papers.
"Martha?" the Doctor blinked, "Where the hell have you---"
"The accused will be silent or be held in contempt of court!"
"I have new evidence! Evidence for the defense!" Martha pushed her way past the stags, dropping the piles of parchment on the defense's table.
"These are witness statements, your honor, statements contesting that the Doctor was seen arriving in a blue police box after the crime had been committed!" There was a large, proud smile on Martha's face, "So he couldn't have done it, if he wasn't there!"
The judge shook its head, "The Doctor is known to us as a Timelord, the subject of when he arrived holds no value."
"I do have proof, your honor, of who was seen arriving the day of the murder, and I have witnesses---" she gestured behind her at two, black-clad stags, "Who saw the entire incident take place! It was a man who arrived, your honor, but it wasn't the Doctor!"
"It is true," said one of the stags, "We saw the man who murdered the fawns. He was not the accused, your honor. He was Draconian, and was working for a man named Saxon."
"Will you accept a lie mindscan?" the judge asked, calmly.
The stags looked at each other nervously. Martha cleared her throat in a very annoyed, very authoritative way. The stags nodded.
The judge raised a hoof, and the mindscan fell upon the two creatures. Easier to read than alien lifeforms, the Doctor figured, as they were not asked questions. The judge nodded to the prosecution.
The gold-eyed stag stood, "The prosecution would like to drop any and all charges put upon the Doctor until such time---"
The rest of his statement was drowned out, as the clattering of hooves and whinnying from the creatures around them overtook the entire courtroom. The guard who stood next to the Doctor removed his collar and bracelets.
Weakened by the sedatives and the injuries, the Doctor felt himself slump over, into the arms of Martha, who hadn't hesitated to run up to help.
"Are you all right?" she asked, looking more than a little terrified. The cut on her cheek was deep, and he made a reminder to himself to ask her what had happened, later.
"A little weak. I need my suit, my sonic screwdriver..."
"We'll pick them up at the front desk," Martha replied, half-carrying him towards the door, "Come on, we need to get out of here."
"You didn't have to do that," he mumbled, his lips heavy with the drugs, "My character witnesses would've kept me from prison."
"I don't think so," Martha replied, her lips twitching into a smirk, "You should've seen the witnesses the prosecution was going to call."
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 2,883