Doctor Who: The Mad God – Chapter Eleven

[ The story continues.. ]

CHAPTER ELEVEN

“No.” The answer was so blunt and so forceful that even the white space around them shuddered to silence. The woman shook her head as if mishearing. This was unexpected and confusing. The moment hung in the air like an anvil.

The Doctor stayed firm. His brows furrowed and he said it again, even more resilient. “No. I will not.”

“I don’t understand. You are the maker of the original laws here… you were the one who originally intervened. The history records state clearly that it was by your intervention the Mind War finally ended. From everything I’ve learned you are the one who keeps peace and who acts for the best interests. Even when it’s hard. Even when others refuse…”

“Guess what? I refuse.” He adjusted the hem of his sleeve in passive agitation. “Oh sure… Genocide does make my blood boil as it were. It ruffles my collar, you could say. I’ve met my fair share of genocidal monsters I’ve had to deal with. Sometimes I’ve been the death of them. Sometimes not. It’s a game of percentages I suppose… but that’s not the point!”

The world started changing around them, fracturing the white space like huge pieces of a mirrors surface. All around them cracks were forming with the rolling crumbling noise of thunder. Her eyes scanned the sky and then looked back to him as she shrunk back slightly.

“But you don’t get to force my hand! You don’t get to assign blame and deal out your punishment. You don’t get off that easy!” His words were edged with ice, but softened as a slow but certain whirring echoed in the distance. “Because you are not a genocidal monster like others I have dealt with. Your actions were horrible, but they weren’t entirely under your control…”

Was this his doing? Was he starting his assault? She had thought so at first and prepared herself for death – but now it seemed a bit fuzzy and unsure. Calculations in her mind were telling her that something definitely wasn’t adding up.

The white space had been under her control. She had welcomed him into her mind but it had always been her area to control. She tried to reach out and erase the damage forming in her little world – but no matter how she tried the cracks remained.

“I have killed many, perhaps a thousand by my estimation.” She whispered, her eyes watching as pieces of her world seemed to be falling from the proverbial sky. Behind the glass like shards of falling white – there were lights and machinery. There was something familiar about it.

“I can’t control this… I should be able to but I can’t. Doctor, what is happening?”

He had moved to her then. She wasn’t entirely sure how he had moved so quickly, but the suddenness alarmed her. He had his arm around her. She wanted to pull away but strangely weakness was overcoming her. It took her a few moments to realize that she wasn’t even standing anymore, but had fallen into his arms onto a floor that wasn’t even her own.

She was no longer in her safe white space, but a fragmented version of his TARDIS. A mash-up of her mind losing to his. It felt like there was a tearing of distant connections which she had held herself in place.

“–easier to work here,” he winced but reached a hand up and frantically pulled a few levers while holding her with his other arm. “Bit quicker and familiar.”

“You are hurt. I don’t understand.”

“Yeah, get that alot.” He managed a small chuckle, breathed deep and hit another few switches.

“Haven’t you been feeling it? You are slipping… you’ve been slipping for a while. I wasn’t entirely sure until I got a good look at your inner mind, your deeper subconscious while we were talking here. You are damaged Ravenya, far more then I think you realize.”

She shook her head confused. “I told you about the experiments. I told you I was Void–”

“Not that. That is just a part of your original nature, but that’s not what’s hurting you now. You’ve been dying the moment he made you. Slowly perhaps, only because you’ve tricked yourself to thinking you weren’t. Your systems are running on fumes and eventually they’ll just run out. The Fountain is poisoned… I get that now.

I understand what he was trying to do. He saw similar properties in the Fountain as a place on Karn. It was a foolish way to cheat death which was exactly what dear ol’ Mortimus was attempting to do. Thing is, he didn’t have a clue how to recreate it and he certainly didn’t have access to the original. So he did the best he could to set up another version.

He had the properties of the Fountain. He just needed power. A lot of it.

The Sisterhood had the Sacred Flame, and a bunch of other tricks up their ornate sleeves. Mortimus used what he had available.. part of his TARDIS matrix and likely parts of it’s own engine. These are powerful things… enough power to accomplish massive things. However those parts were far too unstable.

A Matrix will die when out of it’s TARDIS too long. Even pieces of it. He must have watched as his experiment was crumbling before his eyes. He needed something to bind it together into something more stable. He needed a sentience to bring order to the creation.

He must have learned about you. Such a powerful mind. I guess he hoped your mind would be strong enough to force all that chaotic energy to be still. Indeed… seems to have worked mostly but… hold in there with me!”

She had started to fade, his sudden jolting of her body roused her back into the moment. He looked a bit frantic and pale. She imagined she didn’t look much better.

“..I don’t know what happened to him after. He would have been flying a damaged ship to who knows where – but he obviously left before things blew up here. He was always good at that. The point is; you are dying. Unless I do something about it – you will.”

“Is that not best?” he looked down at her eyes which had paled from lavender to a sullen off white. Her whole image had faded considerably to a ghostly apparition while his mind tried to keep hers in one piece. “At least it’s beautiful here. Your ship… it is pretty.”

“Listen. Listen carefully.” He pulled her up and propped her against the middle counsel. “You’ve spent your life sheltered by your illness in a way. Some have given up everything to lose the ability to feel emotions. Maybe it helped keep you going through everything they did to you. But you are starting to feel them now, aren’t you? You are starting to feel so much more then you’ve ever been meant to feel. I think that is why you summoned me here… that is why you made the others and caused the Great Resurrection… Guilt. You feel new and scary things. You could have went on pretending to be a God here and living out as long as you had in your own created paradise… but you didn’t.”

She nodded slowly, glancing away to the rhythmic whirring of his mind’s sanctuary. He pulled her back with his hand on her cheek. There were tears flowing down her face, traces of ghostly blue which lifted from her skin as her silvery image flickered.

“Time is running out. I can’t undo the things you’ve suffered. I can’t make you normal – I’m not even sure what your normal originally was. I can however try to make you whole. I don’t know how it’ll go… I don’t even know if you will survive it. You’ll be able to feel things that will break your heart – but also you’ll be able to feel things that might mend it… This is your choice now, Ravenya. Choose to try, to live, and I will do the best I can to fix you. Choose not to.. and I’ll simply walk away. I can’t hold on forever… neither can you.”

The jolt shook them both. He couldn’t hold her unstable mind much longer – the pieces were starting to unravel once more. He swore he saw cracks in his own minds vision.

Too much damage had been done. Calling him here and allowing him so much access to the deepest recesses of her mind had been the straw that broke the camels back. Time was running out for her and he wasn’t even sure he could fix this tangled mess. Secretly though he knew protections were in place, merely waiting for his signal…

“Life.” She said weakly, “I believe I am afraid. I think I am afraid to die. I do not like this feeling.”

“Here’s a secret; neither do I.” He managed a smirk as he lifted his hand, both in his mind and physically – he slammed his fist down at the controls and shouted for nostalgia’s sake “GERONI–”

“–MO!” His voice was harsh and his head foggy.

He awakened to find himself propped half up on the control panel and waited for the crushing headache to slowly ease. It took a few moments for his vision to stop swimming and dancing before becoming clear.

He had not been as elegant as he assumed he was; instead it looked like he had stumbled and knocked over a few things drunkenly on his way in. Even so, he was still impressed that he had managed to get here at all.

The Doctor had managed to call the TARDIS to the Asheran building and fumble inside of it while deep in the mind of Ravenya. Very few times had he ever been able to multitask like that. He hoped he wouldn’t have to try it again anytime soon because the splitting headache he suffered now made his stomach queasy and his nose drip blood. He was also pretty sure he scraped up his left shin and possibly his elbow.

“Almost there.” He awkwardly got his footing and scanned over the monitors and buttons.

The powerhouse of the Monk’s creation involved pieces of a TARDIS Matrix. What was better at straightening out pieces of a TARDIS then a TARDIS itself? With his ship he carefully managed to do all the scans necessary from both inside and outside of her mind. Now it was simply a matter of trying to piece it all together in a proper whole.

It felt strange. The Monk had attempted to build a fountain of youth, and created a God. He was trying to take a God and create a person. He wondered what result he may end up with. He hoped for something less dangerous.

Doctor Who: The Mad God – Chapter Ten

[ Answers are sometimes a double-edged sword. On one hand they clarify the facts, but on the other they can be a horrible pill to swallow. The Doctor take a journey down the rabbit hole… Doctor Who (c) the BBC, the story (c) me 🙂 ]

CHAPTER TEN

The Doctor always seemed to have a strained relationship with Memories. Normally it was only his own long and extensive ones he had to deal with. Sometimes painful, sometimes beautiful – but normally it was solely his own burden. He could pick and choose which he wished to remember, and what he forced himself to suppress.

But when one mind delves into another person’s memories – things are harder to control. It’s like piloting a ship whose controls were all flipped around. And it hurt. It always had a way of hurting.

This had been more complicated then he planned, for it wasn’t the memories of one consciousness to contend with – but the strange twisting consciousness of three.

One was the strange and simplistic memories of the Fountain, or rather the strange living molecules ingrained in the rock and filtered into the water itself. It seemed to have gained sentience through the constant introduction of patients into the fountain. All that chaotic psychic energies of the victims of the mind war among the Nephel and Chilaru being absorbed while the molecules helped heal what it could. It was in it’s nature to heal, purify and refresh.

Or so it had been until the torturous experiments that started to occur. The growing hive mind of the Fountain grew in complexity but confusion… so many memories of pain and fear. Memories of discovering what life was, and what the mind truely was.

And then the memories of the Monk’s TARDIS Matrix.. this wasn’t a fully established mind – for that was too simple of an explaination. It was as if the Monk had pulled just enough of a construct from the heart of his TARDIS to create a mini version of it’s working platform inside his strange Frankenstein construct. But the heart of a TARDIS is not so easy to control, and even a mirror and fragment of the broken engine could cause catastrophic failure.

The holographic voice had told him that this third mysterious part had been added after – but in fact it had been weaved into the mix earlier. It had been the cause for the Fountain’s pains. It had been the poisoning that it couldn’t understand. In this strange amalgamation of broken core – a hint of memories lingered which only formed after it had fully adapted. Memories of the Time Vortex, and of spaces which could not be described dampened into memories of an isolated consciousness. It learned what it was to think thoughts in a linear manner.

It hurt incredibly to lose it’s freedom of time, especially when it learned what pain really was and how to remember it. He wondered vaguely how much Idris had hurt when she fall from her celestial palace into another form. Maybe this had been similar? He hoped not.

For him, it felt like fire and lightning. Even if his mind and body were gracefully separated for the moment – he felt as if his body was somewhere swimming in agony as his nerves attempted to keep up with the memory of pain that wasn’t even his own.

This was unstable, this was madness. It was a foolish, dangerous and deadly combination. It made him feel as if he was going to explode. Memory boiled over in the heat of the panic. This was a bad idea… this was a very bad idea… His very mind screamed for stability, a gargled remnant of that scream echoed from his own lips…

And then the mind of Ravenya awoke to the Doctor and opened up like a painful stone flower. In it’s blooms there was an odd quiet that stilled the pains and the torments and the fear.

The Doctor found himself suddenly aware of a large white room. His head throbbed and he stroked his temples in slow circles as he looked around. He breathed heavily and laboured as he tried to expell the memory from his mind.

“That… was unpleasant…” he whimpered quietly, hoping the noise of his own words wouldn’t anger the pounding in his skull.

“Doctor.”

He turned swiftly to find a woman standing there. One lavender eye was clouded with a pale sheen of white. The other a ball of grey, the colour long worn away. She was not entirely blind it seemed, but close to. She had been pretty once, and still somehow echoed that grace despite the long tracing scars which covered her skin. She seemed somehow patch-worked together from bits and pieces. Her various parts seeming to look Nephel and Chilaru respectively. Where they were connected the incisions seemed to have healed badly leaving the scars angry and red and her flesh disfigured.

“You must be Ravenya.” he tilted his head carefully to look her over. She looked to be at least twenty cycles old. Young for either species, but certainly not a child. “You are the one that remains in the water?”

“Yes.”

“At least that mystery is solved then.” he swallowed and straightened up. The pain was receding nicely and he breathed a sigh of relief. Now his mind could focus more freely on the other mysteries to solve. “I need you to tell me what happened to you.”

“Many of my memories are flawed, sacrificed to the process of forced merging with the others. I know pieces however that I have organized together. I tend to be experienced in pulling pieces together. Many treatments to cure me included trying to rebuild me as well.” She raised a hand out, it’s curved claws stroking the air as pale images formed in the outer circle of white around them. “I was an experiment. I can no longer recall what I started out as but I do remember I was always flawed. My mind was powerful but suffered illness. I believe I was born with it.”

He turned, careful to keep one eye on her and one on the sterile foggy world of images forming around them. It took him a few moments of analyzing the various scenes and faded out snapshots before it occurred to him.

“You don’t feel?” he turned to regard her more carefully. His brow furrowed slightly.

“I feel pain, confusion. I have morals and logic. You are speaking about emotion? I suppose I have some yes, I have experienced what it is like in the other parts which were joined to me. But no, I have no real understanding of emotions myself. I suppose I was always different. They call it being Void. It is looked at as a major and rare disfigurement. Most with this illness seem to lack mental abilities at all. I was the exception. A powerful psychic mind, but lacking heart. I always found that curious myself.”

He walked around her, clasping his hands behind his back, after a moment he smiled again and found himself in front of her. “So that is why you were chosen. That makes sense then – in a psychiatric hospital you’d be the perfect person to pick for this kind of thing. All through the universe I’ve run into different types of people who were called psychopaths before, I even married one. But you would seem to fall under the clinical definition. They get a bad rap but the truth is it isn’t such a bad thing. Varying degrees and personalities. People, just wired a bit differently.”

She nodded quietly, as if surprised. “It’s strange, you are the only one who has ever approached it like that. There are many treatments I’ve had here which did not end well due to my illness. They called it being Void, and it meant I was less then I should be. However, this is not what we need to discuss right now. You may be injuring yourself by being here.”

“Hogwash, I’m tougher then I look.” he chuckled but her eyes drew his attention to a tickle on his lip. He rubbed the back of his hand against it and the slight smear of red on the back of his hand seemed bright in the white room. “Ah. Well that’s nothing really.”

“I can not buffer all the damage, or else I would. Pain is merely an annoyance to me really but I can not block all of the damage from occurring. My mind was weakened by creating the Quantum messenger and it has only now become stable enough to communicate with you.

When I found myself thrown into this situation I decided to use it to my advantage and I spent time purging through my new access to memories and knowledge. It took time to go through all the pain and try to help piece myself back together. I was not aware of all the damage my physical body had sustained at first – or how unstable the other pieces in control had become.”

The images changed around them and he watched and listened carefully – the small trickle of blood gave him enough motivation to simply let her talk.

“I was able to sort most of it out, but not before realizing the damage they had already done.”

“Damage? What damage?”

“The Great Resurrection. It was us Doctor, as you’ve likely guessed. It seems with all the massive changes we were able to access more then we should ever have been able to. They were hurt and confused. We were hurt. I am equally responsible, though I was not aware of things at the time. They saw into the molecular structures. They broke things down to their basic parts. They quieted the minds so they could think. It killed them all. Save for one. I believe he left before the event.”

“How is that possible?” Her coolness really was disturbing but he reminded himself that she was trying to be helpful. “A mind can do many things, but making that kind of changes in physical states of living beings?”

“Why is it so hard to believe? He had given us access to plenty of energy, and the Fountain gave us access to molecular workings which we had memories of. To heal, to change, to harm – these are all of similar principle. Given the access we had to things beyond us we essentially could do as we wished. We were unstable, and before we could understand how to remedy that, we blew. We eliminated all the other minds we could which were too loud for us. We silenced the planet so we could think and heal.”

The Doctor’s parlour changed. He paled slightly, though there was the undertone of a flush threatening on the brims of his cheek. His tone was deep and low. “You killed them all?”

“Yes.”

She watched his fist clench a bit and his back stiffen. She was neither angry at this or worried. It made logical sense. The act should disgust him. Logically it bothered her as well, if not entirely in the same manner.

“The loss of life was not intended. I was so used to not having emotions that I found it… difficult to deal with minds that were just experiencing their own emotions for the first time. Raw and uncontrolled – we were a tragic mess. They wished for obedience, we did not know how to provide it. Even now I do sense them… their pain and regret. They were not sure at the time what silencing all those minds meant.” she splayed the image out for him, changing the white expanse into the empty devoid rock-face of the planets surface.

“You see Doctor, I understand now what he had attempted to do. He wished to create a lifespring. Something akin to a place he knew of on a planet he called Karns. He hoped that he could use these bits and pieces to create a fountain of life as his only option. I am not sure why. I’m not even sure what was killing him. Strange how things aren’t always so easy to recreate. He wanted a source of never-ending life, but unintentionally we gave him a planet of dead things instead.”

The elixir of Life… it clicked like a flashing bulb. The sisterhood of Karns had their own lifespring which the Time Lords knew about. It was how they have stayed around for centuries. But to recreate it with such random untested means? It was bound to fail… wasn’t it? Yet the Monk had certainly created something here. Something even he seemingly did not expect.

“I calmed them as best I could, explained to them what I knew of life. We decided to remedy what had been done by creating what this place had apparently attempted to be. We gave them a new start. We even made changes to improve the state of things. We had plenty of matter to re-create what we needed to.”

“So, you are God here now, why bother calling me?” there was an edge to his voice that he forced himself to back off of. “I know you were hurt badly..”

“Please don’t. You can be honest. We have committed genocide. I may be new at trying to comprehend and understand these emotions that I am starting to experience– but I am moral. I understand the gravity of our crimes. It isn’t always the reason behind an action that matters. Sometimes it is the action alone that stands for itself. That is why I tapped what knowledge I had and summoned you. You are the most logical one that can accomplish what is needed.”

He swallowed past the small lump in his throat. He wasn’t sure what he should be feeling right now. “Which is?”

“You must kill us. I believe you are the only one capable of such a feat.”

Doctor Who: The Mad God – Chapter Nine

[ Down the  rabbit hole.. the Doctor finds himself in over his head as the mystery surrounding him gets deeper and deeper. Doctor Who characters are (C) by the BBC, story is (C) myself. I hope you are enjoying so far 🙂 ]

CHAPTER NINE

He felt at home now, standing in his favourite spot inside of the TARDIS while the large centre control panel whirred, glowed and pulsed. It’s centre column danced up and down as if she were breathing all on it’s own. He couldn’t help but smile and breathe it all in.

Of course this wasn’t really his old girl, it was a pale comparison of her. But it certainly would do for now. It was the still room in his mind where he always did his best thinking, and sometimes where he found himself fleeing to escape from his worst thoughts.

Usually he only retreated here if he needed some time to think, or his life was in immediate jeopardy. It was normally used for his own desperate thoughts – and he was used to being completely alone here. Today was an unusual exception.

“Normally I don’t simply allow others into this space… the last guest inside my head tried a hostile takeover.” the thoughts of Mr. Clever still gave him an unsettled, unfinished feeling. He quickly brushed the memories out of his mind for fear of invoking his image. “Let me make it clear – it did not go well for him. Understand?”

The warning seemed to be understood as glanced to his guest. Her wide lavender eyes just as vivid as they always seemed to be. Though strangely tired looking now.

It was as if time had cycled back on itself in an odd coincidence of de’ja vu, only the control was more squarely in his favour. Which tended to be the way he liked it.

“This is your mind? This place?” Her small mouth opened in awe as she slowly looked around with bright eyes trying to capture a thousand details. “There is so much colour here. I’ve never seen so many colours.”

“Oh.. I forgot that you wouldn’t have seen the TARDIS. Your messenger did though, briefly. She stood where you stand now.. only in the real ship. Isn’t she glorious?” He extended his arms, let the lights and controls dance and sing. Let the colours blaze and pop as he watched her wide and bewildered eyes. After all, he couldn’t resist the urge to show off a little. “My beautiful old girl.”

He basked in her amazement for a few moments before grinning and returning back to business. “This however is just a mirror version in my mind – my minds version of a workspace. I thought it only fair.” he tapped his temple with his long fingers. “I was in your minds neutral space when I walked into your psychic trap. Now you are in my head; in my version of safe space.”

She nodded carefully, clasping her hands together. “You… trust me enough to willingly allow me access to your mind?”

“Part of my mind,” he corrected quickly. “A secured part of my mind. But yes. It’s the best place to help us unravel some of the mystery. I suggest you don’t try to take advantage of that trust. There are many darker places in here as well…”

He ran his fingers along the control column like a pianist strokes the keys of his piano, memorizing the sounds of chords and melodies. His mind whirled with thoughts and calculations.

“We need to figure out what exactly was done to you, why, and for what reason.” Monitors flickered to life and information and readings started to dance in the very air between them. He focused all of his scanning equipment on the girl however the monitors showed up relatively blank. The only words and symbols which drifted on the screens were unanswered questions and unknowns.
“How? I don’t understand how me being here will answer anything.” she touched her throat as she talked as if bothered by the vulnerable tone to it.

“There is a lot we don’t know about you. You said you were the Fountain, and you were also the remains on the table. Two minds linked together perhaps – but there is so much I don’t understand about that, and that’s only the tip of the iceburg, as it were. How were you able to read Gallifrey? How did you know about Quantum messengers? To start figuring out how I can help you, what I need to do first is figure out what exactly you are.”

She nodded, but it was obvious that there was a nervousness behind her body language. He breathed deeply and addressed her in a calmer tone. Her mind wanted her to be seen as a child, perhaps she would need to be treated a bit more like one.

“You’ve been through quite a lot. I imagine there is a lot of pain and trauma you may have blocked off. But I need you to trust me. Can you do that?”

With a steady gaze, she nodded once more. “You were the only one in the history banks who seemed proper to contact. I had no other choice. I must trust you.”

“Yes, good.” He cleared his throat and glanced from the monitors and back to her a few times. There were no changes on the screens. They were still reading so many unknowns. It was as if there was a solid wall keeping him from inside her thoughts. “Now, you are a guest here in my head but you are still blocking yourself from me. I need you to relax and open your mind up to me so I can access things in your mind. Can you do that?”

She looked down at her hands. She wrung them as if she weren’t used to having them. Her fingers delicately squeezed together as if she were trying to reassure herself. She seemed so much more alive here then she’d seemed in the hologram. So much less cold and seperate.

“I can try.” She whispered. “I did not think such a thing would feel so difficult. I’ve let others into the white space before but that felt so safe. Here… it is harder. I would have to let go.”

“Yes yes, but it’s necessary. I won’t hurt you, I swear it. We need to know what he’s done and it’s the only way I see to figure it out.” he didn’t intend to sound so impatient, but the monitors were blank and he hated having riddles left unanswered.

Her small shoulders relaxed and she breathed a deep sigh. Those lavender eyes closed.

“Good, just relax and let me take a loo–”

There was a sudden jolt in the very floor beneath them as the TARDIS tipped left, then harshly slammed back to the spot it was. He nearly flipped over his feet before gripping the closest monitor to steady himself. The monitors blinked and pulsed alarms all around them, the lights shedding flashes of crimson light.

“What?!” He pulled the monitor from her sight and glared at it. His inner mind pulled up on his defences, ready to toss her out if he had to. He forced the alarms to silence with a few rapid flails of his hands across buttons and levers. All the while his eyes stayed glued to the information relaying to him from his monitor.

“I don’t feel well.” She whispered quietly, the jolt had forced her to kneel in a crouch on the floor. Her squeak of a voice all but drowned out from the chaos.

Had she attempted to attack him? Was it some sort of trap?

No. It became obvious as the information buzzed and pieced together in coherent streams. The construct of his mind was just reacting to the massive amount of confusion the opening of her mind created. It was clear from just the brief look she allowed him to have that she wasn’t the construct of two separate minds merged into one consciousness – but the combination of a tangled things all given life with the use of a dying TARDIS matrix… or at least a part of it.

He opened his mouth, but couldn’t find the words.

It was obvious now. Whatever the Monk had been planning, he was bloody mad. He had not only been willing to strip bits and pieces of technology from Gallifrey for his insane endeavour to save himself – but he was even willing to cannibalize the very heart of his own ship to do it as well.

The creature who was in his mind with him was something altogether new. A creature created in Frankenstein fashion with things that should never have been combined. The screens warned him that her mind was cluttered, blocked, and possibly very dangerous. There were a thousand things hidden from him yet – and it was all hidden from herself as well. Opening her mind up fully may cause a hundred other problems he’d have to deal with, but leaving his mystery alone wasn’t an option either.

He steadied himself and forced all the alarms to hush and tried to calm his own rampant thoughts.

“And just how deep does the rabbit hole go, Alice?” he mumbled quietly as he reached out to the controls, breathed deep, and delved into her memories.

Doctor Who: The Mad God – Chapter Eight

[ The story carries on… Doctor Who characters are (c) the BBC, the story and some added elements are (c) me. ]

CHAPTER EIGHT

All the facts and tiny pieces of information jumbled into place inside the Doctor’s brain. If you could see it, you’d visualize it all arranging and rearranging in the great vast recesses of his mind. Snapshots of information trying to string itself together into a more cohesive story. Neurons firing quicker then the flash of lightning and expanding his thoughts into a huge tapestry of possibilities. His beautiful TARDIS had nothing on the corridors of his own mind. Perhaps that’s why his head often mimicked her beautiful control room when he needed a place to escape. It was easier to comprehend. Even for him.

It often happened so quickly and so efficiently that sometimes he would lose himself in those moments of time – as if the ticking and progression of time merely stopped around him while he thought and escaped inside his own inner workings. Perhaps it was a side effect of being a Time Lord and time itself really was bending to his power. Or perhaps it was because he lived so many extra years and his mind was used to thinking quickly.

Or perhaps he was just staring so still and so intensely for a few moments that he was in-fact completely unaware how idiotic he looked and everyone else was simply too rude to interrupt him. He hoped it wasn’t the latter.

“What in the world has been done to you?” his voice was a welcome distraction which snapped him back to the problems at hand.

He braved a few steps closer and the illusion of time started ticking forward again as monitors blinked idly, the black water still rippled, and the flesh and wires on the raised table still moved ever so slightly.

Looking over the morbid display splayed out before him, it was obvious that this was not the way an organism would choose to evolve. He’d seen millions of other life forms over his many years. None would develop like this naturally. Even some of the unnatural ones.

“Many things, Doctor. I can not give you a complete list. And I am not trying to be vague. I merely do not know everything that has occurred. It is complicated.” the voice seemed to be echoing now more directly around the flesh and beating heart; though it was still somehow ethereal. It was telepathic but at least seemed to be coming from that direction.

“I am rather used to complicated. I don’t think anything involving me is simple.” he muttered under his breath as he turned from the haunting remains and fluttering heart and turned instead back to the control panel. It was much less disturbing to examine.

“Let’s ask something a bit less complicated then, shall we? Why did you call me back here?” Best to keep her busy, he thought.

With a familiar awkward grace, he flipped his sonic screwdriver out and buzzed it to life as he scanned every inch of the panels. Especially the pieces that were harvested from Gallifrey tech.

“It was a necessary last resort. I knew to find you due to the records and the spoken associations. The one named Mortimus spoke of you as friend. His journals seemed to speak of you often though most could not be translated properly. I called you because you were the only one able to help.”

Friend was definitely not a word the Doctor would have chosen. He grunted his disdain before checking more results from his scanning. It didn’t make sense. It was obvious now that this mish mash of mechanical equipment wasn’t just scanning and medical – but scientific and molecular converters which seemed to be harvested from the engine of a TARDIS. The Monk must have worked on his mechanical skills since he last met up with him.

He also must have been very desperate to pick apart his own TARDIS and leave these pieces behind. Even though most of these parts didn’t appear to be created from essential working functions – a TARDIS was rather protective of it’s pieces. Even the smallest part could create a temperamental issue in an already dysfunctional machine.

“His journals? And do you have records of them still? It might explain whatever he was doing here.”

As an answer a few screens lit up with new pages of information. It seemed she was doing as much as she could to not hide anything from him. It was either exceedingly helpful of her, or leading him into a false sense of security. He wasn’t convinced on either direction.

The Monk’s journals were a rather frantic and disjointed mess of notes and messy thoughts. It was lacking in a lot of details but the rough outline of his plans could be gleamed from it. She had been correct when she first mentioned him needing help. He apparently was dying. And he was also very desperate not to.

It never occurred to him before that he could have been seeing this old familiar acquaintance at the end of his days. There always seemed to be an eternal grace with other Time Lords. Death was usually something that merely happened and didn’t at the same time. It was a sick day. Normally they’d be back around before you knew it. Another face, another headache – back as good as new.

But eventually the regeneration cycles run out. And Death finally catches up.

It was likely his last regeneration was ticking away and a Time Lord at the end of his regeneration cycle was an insanely dangerous thing. He merely had to think of the Master to realize how incredibly dangerous some Time Lords could be when the clock finally counted down.

So with all that being said, what was he doing here? What salvation did he think he could find in this place?

Much of the information about his reasoning and experiments were in shorthand or so disjointed that he’d need to understand the Monk’s own code to break it. Perhaps some of it was scribblings and nonsense. There were pieces missing and files corrupted. Did she edit things or had he?

One other thing nagged at him like a bad itch.

“You’ve told me you’ve translated some of his journals. Indeed it seems like you’ve told me what’s here.” he peered past the glowing symbols and moving lines to the steady beating heart of his host. “How is it you are able to read any of it at all?”

“Also complicated.” She replied, almost too quickly. “But I will try to explain as best I can. The records of my own creation are difficult to sort out. It was long after those who ran this place kept records. All I have left is what I’ve learned from the systems and his journals.

The one named Mortimus was my creator, but I existed here in part since the beginning. Many experiments were done, many painful things experienced. The one on the table was his attempt to merge us to a living host. To make us easier to control. I was once the Fountain of Asheran. That is what they had called me. I was also someone more. Her feelings… her pain. It has poisoned me.”

“So… you were the Fountain? I don’t understand…”

“I did not know speech until I learned it from her. I did not understand pain until I learned it from her.” the voice became more strained and slowly grew louder. “Pain, was a concept I did not know. Words. Emotions… he wished to create something but I did not understand. She was hurt and I wished to relieve our pain but I did not know how.” Louder and louder until it almost seemed to ripple the very air. “The things they had done! I did not understand desperation until I learned it! So much pain!”

He gripped the control panel as a shudder ripped through the rocks below his feet. The lights flickered and a few alarms flashed in warning. “Calm now, just calm and breathe!”

A few seconds later and it was still again. The lights returned to their dull steady glow. The monitors stopped alarming. And her voice, again calm and robotic slowly and quietly responded. “I apologize. I am still learning to cope without her guidance.”

“Without her guidance?” He breathed deep, let go of the panel and brushed his jacket off. “Whose?”

“I do not know what she was called before she was us. The living host. She sleeps now, she sacrificed her conscious mind to create her servitor. Her quantum locked messenger. I no longer have access to her memories.” there appeared to be a sadness in her words, but diluted.

Vaguely the Doctor remembered her conversation with the mysterious messenger on his ship. It left a rock in the bottom of his stomach. “How did she.. or you.. even know how to do that?”

“There is much I do not remember, and much I do not know. He needed a third part to keep us stabilized. He used something to join us, something strange. It seemed to have a mind of it’s own. It expanded us.. it made me.. think, not just experience the living host’s mind and memories. I began to have my own coherent thoughts.”

He rubbed his chin, then stood straighter and rubbed his temples instead. He had to sort out what in the world he had been up to in order to figure out what in the world he had to do to fix this mess. It seemed every question was merely taking him deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole.

Maybe he needed to stop asking questions and start getting straight to the answers.

“I think we both need to learn what exactly happened here. And I think there is only one way to get down to the truth of it all. I’m going to need to get inside your head…”