[Things get far more confusing for the Doctor.. and an old familiar face leaves his mark.. Doctor Who characters are (c) the BBC, the story and some added elements are (c) me. ]
“Where did you get this?!” His voice was loud and sharp as it echoed in the chamber. His finger prodded the casing of the monitor accusingly as he glared at the vivid painted hologram. “Is this some sort of trap? Is that what this is about?”
“Of course not.” The voice was even, though hinted at confusion. “I asked you here. You are my guest, Doctor – not my prisoner.”
“This is Galifreyan!” He glared around the control panel with his newly irate eyes. “It seems to be a diagnostic piece. Measuring what though? Life signs? No, more then that – Biochemistry and genetics. And what’s this?” he tapped his fingers on the control panel, carefully pressed and revealed a few more monitors. Mixed symbols on this one and far more complicated. It had multiple layers of information seemingly layered on each other. It was a complicated but familiar system. It was the way many Time Lords would jot notes in classes. Gallifreyan shorthand, at it’s most rudimentary.
“Even if you scavenged it, you wouldn’t know how to use it.. no this isn’t something scavenged.”
“It was installed a long time ago. When the new benefactor of Ghal’Ex came to us.” Her image disappeared, and in it’s place a few flat screens appeared hovering above the control panels in bright flickering light. They showed the facility in it’s previous time.
“It had been a few generations since you had left. The peace was holding, but stagnant. By then there was speak of various wars throughout the universe that were far bigger and far more terrifying then their own had been. Resources became something to protect. When he came to them, it was suspected at first that it was you – returning to check on there progress.”
The images played back a recording of a large and heavily damaged rectangular stone box materializing inside the main residential building. Chilaru and Nephel alike gasped and scattered as it seemed there was tendrils of smoke escaping the damaged stone box. With a shuddered groan the top of the strange box parted somewhat and a robed figure emerged.
The Doctor raised his hand to absently cover his mouth in shock, eyes wide and staring at the image, then in turn those piecing eyes narrowing to tight slits as he tried to wring every ounce of detail out of the image hovering there.
The stone box wasn’t just an ordinary stone box. It was a sarcophagus. And it wasn’t simply a sarcophagus, but a TARDIS. An all too familiar one. One he had not expected to see again.
“The Monk…” he whispered. “The meddler himself.”
There wasn’t enough clarity in the image to see all the details he needed. He couldn’t tell what face the Monk wore. He couldn’t tell if he’d regenerated or been the same face he’d seen so long ago. He couldn’t even be sure it was the Monk himself. The recording stopped and the screen faded out to return the image of the girl once more.
It seemed impossible. Of all the people he expected to run into – this was certainly not at the top of the list. Mind you, it was quite a long list.
“He called himself Mortimus. He was injured and they did what they could to help him. He told them many things about this new war. This Time War. He filled their heads with fears they had never considered. Dangers they had been sheltered from. He offered them advances in science and medicine they could only dream of. In exchange for help.”
“Help? Help for what?”
“To save his life. He was dying. Injuries we could not understand. Things that we were too unequipped to handle. He spoke of many things, I assume you will be able to sort out his own notes. They could not. Even I could barely deceiver some of what he’s written.”
He paced uncomfortably, his mind racing with things. This visit had turned far more uncomfortable and far more dangerous then he thought it would. Normal danger he could handle. Send a few Dalek’s his way, or let him tangle with a few Cybermats.. but this. This made his very nerves ice over with dread.
“I don’t understand what this has to do with everything.” The facts jammed into each other in his ever crowded head. So many missing pieces made the whole puzzle impossible to see. “It doesn’t make sense! Where are you? I want to speak to you in person!”
He turned and thudded his hands down on the control panel, leering in so his large nose was inches away from the glowing lighted hologram. His brow crinkled in a stern glare. “And don’t even bother telling me that you are merely a computer interface. Been there, done that. I know the difference. You don’t speak on an algorithm pattern. You obviously aren’t scripted. And you don’t hesitate like artificial intelligence…”
“You are correct.” the voice said calmly, though a bit quieter now. “But I am not sure… in your state of distress that seeing me would–”
“Don’t.” His finger raised up, pointing to the short flickering image. “One thing you will learn about me, since you obviously don’t have that bit of knowledge in your head. I don’t like people assuming what may or may not be good for me. Only a few people have ever had the privilege of making choices for me. You aren’t one of them.”
“Very well…” there was a sigh, far less artificial then the hollowness of some of their conversation had been. “But I warn you. It may be a bit… distressing.”
With that the image shifted away and the control panel came alive with hums and tones. In the closest pools there was the sound of movement and a soft ring of light started to slowly glow under the dark water. It got brighter and brighter slowly as the Doctor moved closer and peered over the control panel.
It wasn’t the fact that the oval ring of lights got brighter, but that they were moving closer to the surface. With a gentle shloosh of parting water a small strange pedestal, about five feet long at it’s ends arose from the opaque liquid. On top of the odd curved table was a tangle of cords, tubes and wires.
As he leaned closer and examined the mess in the dim light it became apparent that amid the centre of the tangled mass, still dripping black water was the horrid sight of flesh and bone in the crude and barely reminiscent shape of a woman…
And as impossible as it seemed, this horrid mass of barely recognizable flesh had movement in it’s core. The barest outline of an exposed heart was beating.