Fandom(s): Doctor Who (modern)
Characters: David Tennant, Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond, Rory Williams
Pairing(s): None (well, Amy and Rory)
Rating: PG, maybe PG-13
Warnings: Character death
Genre: Sci-fi, adventure
Summary: While filming his final specials for Doctor Who, David Tennant finds himself in the TARDIS, face-to-face with a future incarnation of the character he portrays, his childhood hero. When he discovers that he can't return to his own world, he must determine his place in this strange yet familiar universe.
Word count (chapter): 2514
Master post link: Master post
David suspected that the Doctor deliberately chose “safe” destinations for the next week or so for his benefit. He started with spending three days in Rory and Amy's contemporary Brighton, and David took this time to disappear on hours-long walks accompanied only by his own thoughts; he didn't consider himself very good company for anyone. There wasn't a moment when Donna - her suffering face, her last words, how she felt in his arms - wasn't filling his mind, darkening his mood, and making him short-tempered with anyone who spoke to him. Walking through new places, seeing new things, and simply not being near the Doctor or the TARDIS helped him forget, just a little bit.
The Doctor then took them back two hundred years for three days in Brighton during the Regency. For the first day, David hid in the TARDIS, but his natural curiosity about a new time period drove him to join Rory and Amy in dressing in period clothing and strolling the streets and meeting new people, and he found it was good for him, taking his mind off his troubles. In the evenings, the three humans attended parties with the Time Lord in his tweed jacket and bow tie; somehow, though he wore such odd, anachronistic clothing, he always seemed to charm, or at least amuse, whomever he talked to. Amy and Rory enjoyed themselves immensely, and David began to recover.
The Doctor then took the TARDIS to Los Angeles in the late twentieth century, claiming that he wanted to do some extra maintenance on the craft. They spent the next four days there, with the humans left to entertain themselves. Rory insisted on including David in all their tours of the city, to the point where David suspected that Amy was getting annoyed with both of them. But with their company and the huge new location to see, he found that the Doctor was right: it got better every moment. Donna’s death and the decision he made still grieved him, but it became easier for him to recognise the good that came of them.
Once the Doctor felt the TARDIS was ready, he sent it off flying into the time vortex, looking for a new place to explore. As they flew, a red light on the console started flashing in time with an annoying beep. Amy was the closest to that panel, and called out, “Hoy, Doctor! What’s this mean?”
“Distress call, Pond.” The Doctor whirled around the console, pressing buttons and pulling the monitor in front of him. “Transtemporal frequency. Someone with the ability to transmit across time is in quite a bit of trouble.” While he sent the TARDIS on its way following the signal, Amy jumped up and almost skipped to the doors, swinging her arms in excited agitation.
David could not fathom her excitement. She seemed to treat these encounters as games or adventures, and he couldn’t see it that way, not anymore. People didn’t send distress calls when they were living peacefully and healthy.
The Doctor's advice came back to him. Don't let it change you. David had definitely changed. While he wanted to explore this distress call and help whomever they found, he no longer felt the giddy excitement of adventure. His reaction was tempered by the realization that someone somewhere was hurting. He hoped this was a positive change.
“What kind of trouble?” Rory followed Amy, clasping his hands nervously in front of himself. “This will be dangerous, won’t it?”
“No. No danger. No danger at all.” The Doctor spun to face Rory, his hands held wide. “Of course there’ll be danger. It’s a distress call.” As the time rotor slowed, the Doctor flipped a few switches, then clapped his hands together. “Looks like 2847. Let’s see what’s out there. What we can do to help.” He almost skipped down the stairs to the doors and pulled them open. “Now, here- whoa!”
The doors opened into deep space. David could see the jagged edge of a cleft metal floor, pipes and cables sticking out beneath it, broken and frayed. The Doctor leaned out and looked around the outside of the TARDIS, then pulled back in and closed the door. “This deck’s been blown away.” He bounded back up to the console. “Just a little distress. Need to find a better parking space.” The engine wheezed as he moved the ship.
“What caused it?” Now Amy looked worried.
“No idea. Could have been an internal explosion. Could have been an attack. Won’t know until we get inside.” He patted the central column as the ship landed again. “Come on.” Once again, he darted down the stairs and opened the door, this time onto what looked like an engine room, filled with huge metal tanks and criss-crossed with pipes and conduits. On the other end of the long chamber, a lone figure lay on the ground, not moving, and behind her was the only visible door, standing open.
The four burst from the TARDIS, Rory and Amy heading straight for the downed woman. The Doctor moved slower, twirling to take stock of the room, while David shut the door, then circled the TARDIS to see what was behind it: more engine room, no apparent enemies. There were no exits he could see other than the one near the woman.
Rory checked her neck for a pulse, then looked her over. “She’s dead,” he said as the Doctor and David neared them. “I don’t know what killed her. No wounds or marks.”
The Doctor pulled out his sonic screwdriver and scanned, first the woman, then around the room. As he tucked the tool away in his breast pocket, he muttered, "This isn't right."
Amy stared up at him. "There's a dead woman here."
"No. That's normal." He took no notice of the appalled looks from his three companions. "She's human, and this ship is of human design. Think, Amy. What's wrong with this picture?" While she thought, he inspected a mechanism closely. "Definitely human design."
Amy stood up while Rory and David moved the body out of the middle of the engine room. She shrugged. "Wrong technology for 2847?"
"No, but right train of thought." He wagged a finger at her. “What else is wrong about this ship?"
When Amy didn't answer, Rory observed, "David knows."
David started, stepping back. "What?"
"I can see it on your face." Rory shrugged. "And anyway, you always know."
David sighed. "Obviously, I need to go back to drama school."
"Never mind that," Amy cut in. "What's the problem?"
David gestured at the room. "This is all human. Humans can't send messages through time. So, either they gained the ability to do so, which they shouldn't, or someone else sent the distress call."
"Correctamundo!" The Doctor pointed triumphantly at David, then hesitated. "Didn't I promise never to say that again? Forget I said that. Let's get to the bottom of this. Or the top. Engine room is usually already at the bottom."
The Doctor led the group through the door and halted as a cry rang out. To his right, a figure at the end of the corridor leaned heavily against the wall, cradling his left arm. "Hey! You! Run! It's coming!" He started stumbling towards them, using the wall to steady himself.
The Doctor and Amy immediately ran towards him. "Get him into the room. Rory, get the med bag and a splint. His arm is broken." Rory turned and sprinted back towards the TARDIS. "Oh, David!" The Doctor fished his key out of his pocket and tossed it to him.
David ran after Rory and, upon arriving at the TARDIS, unlocked the door for him. "Come on," the nurse beckoned. "Help me get the things." The two dashed off to the sickbay.
It didn't take long for Rory to find what he thought he might need, and David followed him back to the console room carrying the splint and a couple of blankets. Jogging to the doors, Rory yanked one open, then slammed it shut.
"What's wrong? What happened?" David asked as Rory turned and backed against the door, frightened.
"There's a robot out there! It shot a laser beam at the Doctor!"
"What kind of robot? What did it look like?"
"A cylinder. Dome on the top. Like a big rubbish bin, gliding around. Or a pepper pot. With bumps on the side."
The colour drained from David's face and he dropped the supplies. "With a plunger and an egg beater for arms?" With one hand with fingers spread and the other with one finger pointing, he mimed them moving up and down.
He didn’t want to believe it. "And an eyestalk sticking out on top?" He held the base of his pointing hand to his forehead and waggled his finger around.
David rubbed his hand down over his open mouth and jaw. "Daleks." His stomach knotted up.
"Daleks?" Rory squeaked. "That's those things that Amy said she met in World War II, right?"
"That's the ones."
"We've got to get her out of there!" Rory dropped the med bag and spun for the door, but David grabbed him before he could open it.
"Don't go out there! They'll kill you on the spot."
"I know, I know!" David stuffed his hands in his pockets and began pacing. "Going out there without a plan is certain death. Wait, let's see if we can see what's going on." He sprinted up to the console and, pulling the monitor in front of him, twisted a knob, then flipped two switches and pressed a button. The monitor flickered on, showing the scene outside. "And look around a bit..." With the tip of his tongue pressed to the roof of his mouth, he grabbed a directional joystick and swung the viewpoint of the monitor around the outside of the TARDIS. There was no Amy to be seen. The man with the broken arm was lying on the ground, either unconscious or dead; with a Dalek in the room, David suspected the latter. The Doctor was saying something to the Dalek. "And sound!" With a flourish, he spun a dial and the speaker crackled to life.
"...who created a false distress call, to bring me here."
"YOUR - PRESENCE - WAS - REQUIRED."
"For what? I am the Oncoming Storm! Your worst enemy! Why would you possibly want me here?"
"YOU - WILL - ASSIST - ME. YOU - WILL - GIVE - ME - WHAT - I - NEED - TO - REJOIN - THE - DALEK - FLEET."
Intrigued by the fact that the Dalek seemed to have a plan, rather than simply destroying everyone it saw, David glanced at Rory and realised the nurse was staring at him, frowning. "What?"
"You know how to work the TARDIS?"
David jerked his head back to stare at the console, then hopped back from it, his hands up as if he were afraid to touch anything. "No! I mean, I just turned on the monitor. That's all." It disturbed him. He'd never touched the console before in his life. He wasn't even sure how he'd managed to turn on the monitor. He tried to distract Rory - and himself - from thinking about it. "Listen to them!"
“...CIRCUIT - ON - THE - EMERGENCY - TEMPORAL - SHIFT - IS - DAMAGED. YOU - WILL - REPLACE - IT.”
The Doctor tilted his head. "You have an emergency temporal shift? Where did you get that... Oh! Oh! I get it now!" He started pacing around the room, keeping an eye on the Dalek as he spoke. "You're not from the Daleks I met in 1941. You came from the New Dalek Empire. Got it from Dalek Caan, did you, and used it to escape the Crucible? But the temporal stabiliser’s broken, so you can't control where it goes, and the shift gets weaker every time you use it. You've got one more jump in you, I would bet. You want to make it count. And I'm the only person you know who can fix it for you."
“YOU - WILL - GIVE - ME - THE - TEMPORAL - STABILISER.”
The Doctor stopped and smiled. "No chance of that."
“THEN - YOU - WILL - BE - EXTERMINATED.”
He held his arms out, welcoming the shot. "Go ahead. Then you'll never get that circuit."
The Dalek wobbled a bit, shaking its eyestalk back and forth, as if looking for another option.
"We are at an impasse, then." The Doctor resumed his pacing, gesturing expansively as he talked. "You need something. I won't give it to you. You have no way of forcing me. Isn't that right?"
"THAT - IS - INCORRECT." The Dalek fired a short burst from its laser, exploding a small fixture on the wall near itself, revealing a panel with a large round half-sphere control. It covered the control with its concave manipulator and a spherical force field formed around the Doctor, pinning him in a small space against the wall.
"Hey! That’s cheating!" The Doctor pulled out his screwdriver and fired it at the panel, but nothing happened. "Deadlocked."
“I - WILL - FIND - THE - HUMAN - FEMALE. YOU - WILL - GIVE - ME - THE - CIRCUIT - IN - EXCHANGE - FOR - HER - LIFE.” The Dalek began gliding around the room, searching for Amy.
Rory danced in agitation, his hands shaking. "We've got to stop it before it finds Amy! How do you kill that thing?"
David shook his head. "You don't. Few weapons can even touch it, and we don't have any, anyway. And if we step foot out there, we'll either be shot on the spot or just become its pawns."
"It's a Dalek. All it wants is to kill everything else in the entire universe. Unless it wants something specific, like right now. But it'll kill us the moment it has it.” He tugged at his ear. “The only person who fazes it is the Doctor, and that's because he's defeated them so many times."
"And the Doctor is trapped. Amy..." Rory strode around in a tight circle, wringing his hands.
David turned and stared at the monitor, at the Doctor trying to find a way out of the force field, while the Dalek glided out of the room. He ran both hands through his hair, stopping with his hands on the sides of his head, his elbows up in the air. He rejected the only idea that came to him, and cast about for any other possible course of action, without success: all they had to work with was an actor and a nurse. He made up his mind. He had to do it.
"Okay. Okay. I've got a plan. Stay here and keep an eye on things. I've gotta do something." Without waiting for Rory's acknowledgement, he ran for the hallway, into the TARDIS interior.