Genre: Character Study/ Horror, Dark
Word Count: 3386
Pairings or Characters: Fifth Doctor; Tegan Jovanka; Master (Ainley), Master(OC)
Warnings: Torture, not shown, but part of the background plot
Summary: Humans will do anything for survival.
Please review if you read! This was my third idea for this. Hope it's good!
A week ago
“The prisoner had ripped apart his guards with their own bare hands”, read the Chancellor Marios.
“All the defences had been put in place. The prisoner had his feet tied up, and was hanging from the ceiling. The guards, Maxim and Revian, had been given swords and Lucem daggers, prepared to excavate the chestof the prisoner. There were reinforcements outside the door, ready to barge in. They never got the chance to, because the dead body of Maxim was blocking the door. Revian choked himself while the prisoner watched. When we finally got the door open, the dead bodies were both on the metal floor, slippery with blood. The prisoner was still hanging there from the ceiling, a sinister smile on his face. It took us three weeks to find someone else to be a guard.”
The Chancellor folded the report and placed it back into his blue robes. He then looked at the King, who was sitting on his throne. She stared back at the Chancellor with cold eyes.
“How did this happen?” said the King. She sat up, drawing more of her pock-marked face into the light. “How did the demon manage to kill her guards this time?”
The Chancellor groaned loudly. There were many things he wished to say to the King right now, most of them treasonous enough to get him executed.
“We don't know, but there is one piece of advice that another guard gave: don't look into his eyes.”
The King said “Well, we are dealing with one of the demons; they have many forms of dark magic. Perhaps, as a solution, we will gouge out her eyes. We cannot allow ourselves to be discouraged by the demon's tricks.”
The Chancellor could take no more of the King's sanctimony. He said, with as much restraint as he could, “But then why are we taking and using the magic of demons? Do you know how many people have died for this? Was it worth polluting ourselves with these stolen secrets?”
The King moved from her chair and, with inhuman speed, moved her face right in front of the Chancellor's. The dark purplish eyes of the King bore into the Chancellor's, and she snarled “Your son? He was going to die of a failed heart. It is the secrets we have pulled from the prisoner that have allowed your son to live, and for our glorious kingdom of Crisendia to prosper and become a technological marvel. So what if sacrifices have to be made? Mexik's and Reviam's families have been taken care of, and they will be honored for their family's sacrifice. Do you understand?”
The Chancellor wisely chose not to correct the King's misspellings of the guards' names. Instead, he simply said “I understand.” Changing the subject, he said “There is also the matter of the mysterious sightings among the villagers.”
“Simply peasants overreacting,' stated the King. Having calmed down, she sat back into her throne. “Is that all?”
The Chancellor said “Yes, though I still--”
“Excellent. Goodbye,” said the King. She waved him away.
As the Chancellor walked away, he cursed his luck at being the servant of an intractable king. He walked through the halls of the palace and through a platinum-plated window looking out through the courtyard, could see his children playing. In the background, he could hear the screams of the prisoner being “examined” in the bottom sub-floor of the palace.
Then he looked closer. In the distance, west of the children, he could see a redheaded woman. But she was wearing clothes he had never seen before. And in her hands was a device made up of two circular lenses placed together one in front of the other.
She looked up, and saw him. Then she did a very odd gesture of holding up her hand, and extending her center-most finger.
Two months ago, in another galaxy
The Doctor was struggling to get out of the bind he was in. Literally bind, as he was wrapped in vacuum sealed carbon rope that definitely didn't belong in the time period of 2003. He was privately annoyed at how all his attempts to get out of the ropes was wrinkling his clothes, and primarily annoyed at the gloating villain in front of him.
“Doctor, you silly idiot!” laughed the Master. “Did you really think that a mysterious source of new energy could really be true? I'm not sure why I make such complicated schemes, when you fall for such simple ones!”
“You make them because you like pissing us off” said Tegan, who launched a sneak attack at the Master and promptly fell into a snake pit. The Master didn't even give her the dignity of a laugh at her expense.
The Master continued gloating at the Doctor, and said “Humans are such fickle creatures! Give them a security, and they'll give up all their rights! Give them the assurance of survival, and they'll give up all their ethics and destroy all pre-existing organisms! I knew all I had to do was give them a chance at free energy, and they'd give all sorts of control over their lives!”
“You sound like a villain from a Special episode on environmental issues and bad interpretations of Nietzsche,” said the Doctor. “Please stop embarrassing yourself. Also, humans aren't that fickle. It was a human that tipped me and Tegan off to your plot, after all. Right, Tegan?”
In the pit, Tegan was moaning “Why is it always snakes?”
The Master laughed, and replied to the Doctor “Always trusting in your pet species. One day, you'll realize just how petty the humans--”
Then a deafening noise went out. It sounded like a grinding sound, like a jackhammer that had gotten stuck and was just growling loudly, trying to get through. Only it felt louder, and, in Tegan's bones, felt deeper. Her head began to hurt. Tegan began to dread that the Mara was returning, and climbed out the pit. She was afraid the snakes would follow, but when she looked for them, she saw they had burrowed away. Tegan had a bad feeling about that. She continued climbing, and eventually got to the top.
She was about to ask the Doctor, and was shocked by what she saw.
Both the Doctor and the Master were on the floor. Their bodies were deforming and reforming in front of her eyes. The Doctor seemed to be cycling through his regenerations. . .but with different parts of his body in different regenerations. The hair of his fifth, his face in his fourth, and other combinations she didn't recognize. His neck would occasionally elongate, and his eyes would change into strange, occasionally inhuman shapes. And he was reforming faster and faster. The Master was doing the same transformations, but looked even worse off. Then a bright light appeared right above the Master. Tegan stared, shocked, as blue energy hands began to drag the Master into the light. The Doctor, still transforming and reforming, stared with his three eyes and reached for the Master, but ironically the Master's binds stopped him. More hands shot out and began to reach for the Doctor's body. He tried to move, but was too weak, and laid on the floor.
“No!” screamed Tegan, and she grabbed the Doctor, dragging him out of the way. Dragging his body out of the room, both the Doctor and Tegan watched the Master be dragged into the light with, for the first time Tegan had ever seen, real fear in his eyes.
For several hours, the Doctor closed his eyes, recovering from the ordeal. Tegan worked on getting past
the bindings. Suddenly, the Doctor, lying on a makeshift bed, opened his eyes.
“Are you okay?” said Tegan.
“No, but I'll live,” said the Doctor in a weak whisper. He looked at the ceiling, like he was willing it to tell him something. “Something has gone terribly wrong.”
“Brave heart, Doctor?” Tegan said, trying to lighten the mood.
The Doctor didn't smile back.
Interlude: Forbidden Statutes of Cridesia:
Statute II: Demons have no souls
Chapter II: The very first Demon came from the skies in a vessel that could change shape. He was arrested, and taken to the citadel, where he told us secrets of his people. From his secrets we learned how to build technology that allowed us to conquer.
Statute IX: A Demon Net Is The Secret Of Our People
This net, which was stolen from the First Demon, allows us to bring more demons to our people. We must never tell our people of this. Some would not understand. These demons are studied, and then their secrets are used to make our society rulers.
Only the King, Chancellor, and select others know of the Forbidden Statutes. Anyone else who knows, or those who foolishly reveal these secrets, shall be killed, after being put through pain of the highest order. It must be this way for the good of the Cresidia.
“Bring him to me” said the demon. His blonde hair and blue eyes hid the fury bubbling under his young face. The Chancellor still could not believe that such a young face had toppled Cresidia, and defeated his king.
“Bring her”, ordered the Chancellor to the guards.
“He said 'him', you swine,” said the demon's servant, Tegan. The Chancellor had expected the human to sympathize more than the demon, but she didn't. If anything, she was more disgusted.
“Don't play games with me,” said the demon. “I'm far past being in the mood for it.”
“Games!” cried the King. “You invade our country with your dark magicks, and you dare accuse us?”
“Speaking of which, I'm going to take this back now,” said Tegan, snatching an odd device off the King's robes.
“What is that?” said the King.
“A mystical tracking ornament called the Tom-Tom,” said the demon. “Rejigged to be tracked with the TARDIS.” The demon knelt down to look at a daisy growing on the ground. “So, do you have anything to say for yourselves ?”
The Chancellor, seeing a chance to salvage the situation, said “We are deeply sorry. I was deeply confused--” Then he realized he said deeply twice, and started over. “We--”
“I don't care for your apology,” said the Demon.
The Chancellor promptly shut up.
“Then what do you care for?” said the King.
“An explanation would be a good start,” said Tegan.
“We needed to advance. We are in a Third World galaxy. Out here, every single scrap of progress will never be enough. We will always be seen as behind the curve—and that's if we're lucky. When we found out about demons, we saw a path to freedom. A path that was out of the muck, out of being the backwater joke of a planet! How dare you take that away from us!”
Tegan jumped in. “And so you felt you could experiment on a live person? That your crappy situation gave you the right to torture and cause harm to a defenseless individual? I would like nothing more than to see the Master put away or worse, but what you did was barbaric and inhumane! All for technological progress”
“Oh, but not just technological progress!” added the demon. “Because you've been King for what—100 years? Awfully long time to be alive. Though you do seem to have aged a bit.”
The King grimaced with her pockmarked, flaking mouth.
“Let me guess—you added Time Lord flesh implants into yourself. A DIY form of biotechnology. But it didn't go so well. Your body rejects it. So you need more. That's the real reason you keep on kidnapping Time Lords—you need the implants to stay alive.'
The King slumped and said “Is that all?” To the Chancellor, she looked defeated.
The demon said “Oh, I'm just getting started. This society is no longer going to be capturing demons. You'll have to find another way to survive, the way the rest of us do.”
At that point, the second demon had been brought to the yard. She had the brown skin of the African region spoken in the archives, and soft cheeks. Her clothes were dirty, and specks of blood littered her shirt. But the fire in her eyes reminded the Chancellor of the man she had once been, who murdered Revian. She held herself as if she knew everyone else was less than her, and stared straight ahead.
She looked at the Chancellor, and gave him a large grin that sent shivers down his spine. Then she looked at the Doctor.
“Hello, Doctor” she said, with an accent similar to the other demon.
“Hello, Koschei,” said the Doctor. “Are you okay?”
“Still with the stupid, obvious questions, Doctor,” said Koschei. She had a faint smirk on her face. “Suppose I can't complain, though. It's because of your nosy nature that I'm out of this feces-wallowing ape world, eh?”
“I suppose.” The Doctor held his hands behind his back. “You know the way to your TARDIS?”
“Of course”, said Koschei, looking indignant.
“Okay, then,” said the Doctor. “Come on, Tegan.”
The Chancellor was looking forward to seeing them leave. Tegan looked hesitant, though.
“You're just going to let the Master walk away?” said Tegan.
“Yes. . .?” said the Doctor, blinking innocently.
“Then you're either more of a naive idiot than I thought, or not the Doctor I know,” said Tegan. “The Master's clearly going to take revenge. He—She's done worse to people who've committed less crimes. You can't let that happen--”
“Why not?“ asked the Doctor.
The Chancellor was surprised. Tegan was even more stunned.
“Why not? I've saved the victim, what happens to the perpetrator isn't my responsibility. Why should I get involved?” asked the Doctor.
“Because you're the Doctor. That's what you do,” said Tegan.
“Oh, is that it?” said the Doctor. His voice was calm, but there was a menace under it. “Or is it perhaps because they're an offshoot of your species? If it were Sontarans, or Daleks, would you be so kind?”
Tegan was speechless. “How dare you. How dare you doubt me, after all we've been through! You know it's not that. I'm honestly sorry if you're feeling aggrieved because one of your kind was--”
“I don't want your apology. Or rather, I don't care for a human apology,” said the Doctor coldly.
“Do you know it was a human who tipped me off about how to infiltrate the palace basement? A human saved your beloved Koschei--!”
The Chancellor interjected “Perhaps we should change the subject to something more calmi--”
“I don't think I've made myself clear,” said the Doctor. “What I'm trying to say is, no one human has ANYTHING TO SAY TO ME TODAY!” With that outburst, the Doctor straightened out the celery on his lapel and began to walk away.
Tegan walked to him. She talked to his back, knowing he could still hear her. “I know you're angry. You want to take it out on humankind. But one of your kind killed my aunt—in fact, the very man—woman--oh rabbits, the Time Lord I have, over the past few days, risked my life to save. But I didn't take it out on you. So it's not fair to take it out on me.”
The Doctor stopped.
“I hate every single person who allowed the Master to be harmed. But there are good innocent people here, who never knew about what was going on, and don't deserve to be hurt. You can't let them be harmed. Because you're the Doctor. You don't let that kind of stuff happen.”
A long silence permeated the air. Then a clapping noise pierced the silence.
“What a wonderful speech,” said the Master, clapping. “Now, Doctor, want to help me pick out my TARDIS before you leave? Leave your pet while we're picking a ship, though.”
The Doctor turned around, a sad smile on his face. “I'll want to do some modifications on the ship you choose, anyway. But I'm bringing Tegan along.”
The Master frowned. “Erm, well if you insist. . .? Then her face turned into realization. “You're siding with. ..the apes?” Her face exploded into rage. “They tortured me! They gouged out my eyes! They experimented on me! They treated me like a test animal, like a non-sentient lifeform, like an object of their “scientific curiosity”!
“And you've done worse to their kind ,” the Doctor reminded her. He seemed more confident now.
“They gave me back the ability to regenerate, just so they could kill me and see what would happen!”
“And you killed a father and paraded that body in front of her daughter—my friend!” snarled Tegan. “I saved your life, but I don't pity or empathize for a moment, Master!”
The Master stayed silent. Looking down at the floor, her brown eyes seemed to be distant. Then she looked up and said to the Doctor “To side with these apes is a violation of what we once had. All because of your own sanctimoniousness—it's cute sometimes, but not now. I once thought you were deluded, but now I know you're just cruel. “
“Koschei--” started the Doctor.
“DON'T YOU DARE USE MY NAME!” shouted the Master, nearly deafening the Chancellor with her voice. All the rage and pain and hurt from the past few months seemed to be pouring out of her.“You disgust me! You DISGUST ME!”
The Doctor nodded, and said “I'm sorry. I really am. But I can't let you hurt these people. No matter how justified you might be.”
The Master just looked at the floor, ignoring everybody.
“Chancellor, I want you to give me your demon net,” said the Doctor.
“We're going to destroy it, right?” said Tegan.
“Of course,” said the Doctor. “We're doing a few other things as well. Once that's done, the Master can leave.” Tegan opened her mouth to speak, but the Doctor shushed her.
The Doctor destroyed the demon net. From now on, Cresidia would no longer have the demons to help them advance. But the Doctor made something good out of the accursed device; a magickal “artron” shield. It would keep the TARDISes from entering the atmosphere. It meant demons would never return, but Koschei wouldn't be able to return and take revenge. To the end of his days, the Chancellor Marios , and later the new King Marios, would live afraid to see the demon's brown eyes, but the Doctor's shield held firm. There were exceptions—an individual named the Corsair came to mind—but overall, Cresidia was saved from the Time Lords, and vice versa.
The Chancellor often wondered whether he had made the right decision, helping Tegan smuggle out the Master. He had requested to be kept secret, and Tegan apparently obeyed his wish. Though there was that odd fellow with the leather jacket who helped cure his son of his disease. But for the most part, the Chancellor's part in the Fall of Cresidia was left a secret in the winds of time.
Tegan and the Doctor walked to the TARDIS. Their shoes made a loud clomp-clomp on the grass.
“So, the Master has new regens now?” asked Tegan. The Master had walked to her TARDIS without talking to anyone. Tegan almost felt bad for her.
“For now. The Cresidians had imperfect knowledge of regeneration, so she might degrade back into Tremas's body eventually. Or not,” said the Doctor.
Tegan looked back at the city where Chancellor Marios was. “We must seem like such fickle creatures to you.”
“Who?” said the Doctor.
“Humans. First we're living up to your expectations, building hospitals and exploring the stars. Then we go and screw it all up,” said Tegan,.
The Doctor said nothing. Tegan and him walked in silence.
Then Tegan felt a warm arm on her shoulder. She turned, and saw the Doctor grin at her, and give her a wink.
That reassured her more than any number of “Brave Hearts.”