Oh the weird ass dreams that come to my brain… I rarely have a themed one – what more a whole freaking fan-fiction pour out of my head?!?!?! Okay – whatevs brain. Have at it:
I was angry, and hurt. My entire world had disappeared before my eyes. I’d been trapped for years on another planet, and I stood facing the man who abandoned me with tears in my eyes.
“How could you?” I demanded. “I had to find my own way home – across the GALAXY! You left me in a dangerous, with villainous people. You just left!” I didn’t delve into the horrors that I’d experienced in my decades away.
He looked remorseful as he considered his words.
“You killed all of those people.”
“I had to survive. I had to survive to save you! I didn’t know what I was doing? I’d never been away from my home for any length of time, let alone my planet. And you were dying.” I yelled.
He didn’t hold my gaze, instead walked past me to a device on the console of his ship. He ran a hand through his foppish mess of a mane and pulled over what appeared to be an old fashioned colander attached to some wires.
“You told me when we left you could return me to the moment we left. But I’m old now. How can you fix that?”
“I can’t, obviously.” He sounded apologetic. His jaw moved for a moment, but no words escaped. “When I came to, you were standing there in the village, covered in blood. Bodies spread at your feet. You looked feral.”
“That’s not an excuse to ditch me like you did. You never once asked what happened, how we ended up there, or why they might have been dead. You made an assumption and ran.”
“I did. But I’d like to see your side of things.” He held up the colander. I raised an eyebrow.
I stepped forward and he placed the device on my head. I thought remembering the torture was bad enough, but the device brought every detail, sensation, and emotion back with crystal clarity.
I stood in the field mouth agape as the blue box wheezed into existence in front of me. I blinked a few times expecting thing to vanish, but it was not a stress induced hallucination. Solid white windows revealed nothing prior to the tall man popping open the door and glancing around, his bow tie bobbing at his throat.
“I don’t think this is where I was expecting to land.”
“I don’t think the land was expecting you,” I blurted out. He appeared to notice me for the first time and smiled.
“Fancy a ride?”
I raised an eyebrow. “Ride?”
“Jump in.” He disappeared through the open door. I followed him through and did a double take.
“I know, I know…. It’s…”
“A multi dimensional void space?” It was his turned to look perplexed.
“Not quite… but good guess. So where to first?”
There were what appeared to be advance spaceship controls in the center of the Police Call Box.
“I can’t actually go anywhere. I have to get home and make dinner. My son will be home soon.”
“Oh, I didn’t tell you. It’s a time machine. I can drop you right back off here just seconds after we leave.”
“Well then in that case, I could use an adventure. Pilot’s choice, just make it fun.”
And it was. It was glorious. We jumped to the distant past and watched the birth of the universe (from a safe distance). We traveled from there to a space run, where they strap you into a pressure suit and set you and dozens of other people loose through an obstacle course in zero gravity. I didn’t win, but it was exhilarating nonetheless. We traveled for months like this. I missed my family, but it was like living in a dream. If not for the exhaustion in my limbs each night before bed it didn’t seem real.
The next stop though, something went wrong. We knew it went wrong from the moment the whine of the TARDIS died down.
“Ah… well – we should leave,” he said and threw the lever once more. The blue box did not react.
“Bad coordinates, unfriendly space, the possibility of negotiating with the locals or…” There was a knock at the door. “Or…getting hunted down by said locals.”
He pulled out the little flip book that he kept in his coat pocket and flung the door open with a flourish.
“Greetings! We have arriv-” Large hands grabbed him before he could finish his words. My yelp wasn’t audible and I ducked immediately out of sight as massive, suit wearing aliens tromped through the door. They didn’t seem phased by the size difference between the outside and in. They didn’t explore much, but gave a cursory glance and marched back out. I snuck over to the console and checked the surroundings. The air was oxygen rich, gravity was a little light, but I could make due.
I closed the door and locked it and darted around the busy loading dock as to not be noticed. I caught sight of the Doctor and followed them from a safe distance. He appeared unconscious and was tossed in a cage with a dozen other beings. I waited for the abductors to carry on and I crept to the cage.
“What is this? Why were you all captured?”
“We’re fodder for their next round of death games.” A surly alien grumbled.
“Beings across the galaxy bet on a winning team. That winning team gets to live.”
“So they abduct you in the first place, force you into this, but you MIGHT be able to win your life back. Sounds fair,” I muttered and reached through the holes of the cage to take his hand. “Whelp… can’t let you go it alone now, can I? Someone’s got to look out for you.” I looked back up to the aliens. “What do they base their choices on?”
“Anyone they think might not be missed.” I shrugged – easy enough. I had myself captured in under an hour and I hunkered down next to the Doctor. His hair was a mess – as always, his jaw slack. We’d been through some tight scrapes, but I’d never seen him down.
We didn’t have to wait very long. It appeared they were already prepping for these games, nabbing whatever stragglers they could to boost their numbers before the onset of the games.
Before being dumped out of the cage and into a multi room and level arena, we were given little headbands with an electronic counter that assigned our teams and noted who was still alive. It reminded me of a video game I played once upon a time. The Doctor’s skin was cold and clammy and I knew the only way to get us out of this scrape was to be on the winning team. I tucked him away in a corner and went to scope out the playing field.
I thanked the universe when I came across a small, two person fighting shell that resembled an ant. I jumped inside and maneuvered the transport back to the Doctor. He… was not light. I fought to put him inside with me, panting by the end of it. I sealed ourselves inside just as someone from the other team entered the room.
We stared each other down through the viewport of the ANT. I took a slow breath.
“Maybe there’s a way out. If we can just stay alive and find the way out, we won’t have to hurt anyone,” I said. I didn’t think the alien could hear me, so I was really only talking to myself.
The opponent burst forward as I spun the ANT and pranced out of the way. I swung a large metal leg and swooped the other off of his feet and sent him skidding across the floor. I had the ANT dodge two shots as he recovered before ducking behind a corner and using the climbing ability to scale straight up the wall.
We skittered over every centimeter of the arena. There was a single door… it was a portal in the ceiling from which we had been dumped through. Our team was doing well. That of course meant our team was murdering a hundred other terrified souls.
“Why won’t you wake up? What would you do?” I reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his sonic screwdriver and looked at it for a minute. “It won’t work on the portal above I bet… but I wonder if I could disable all of the weapons in here.”
I took the ANT to a far corner and climbed out, using the screwdriver to lock it down with the Doctor safe inside. I set off looking for the others. I pocketed a single pistol, just in case and proceeded to disable every weapon’s stash I could find. That’s when I found the first person.
I was behind them, and I quietly kept it that way. The screwdriver had a decent enough range, and they spun at the sound of the device. Their weapon groaned a dying sigh as they brought it up to to their shoulder.
Nothing but a dull click.
“Now look, we could fight each other… or we can work on staging a revolt and try to get everyone out of here,” I gushed. She threw down her weapon.
“Can you do that to all of them?”
“I haven’t killed anyone yet. I’d like to keep it that way. My name is Ghita”
“So would I. My name is Jen”
“I’ll bring them to you,” her voice was husky and brisk. She turned the corner with incredible speed. I stepped through the doorway to watch her leap an impossible distance to another platform in the arena. I let out an impressed whistle and tucked in to wait.
Within an hour, we had disarmed nearly three quarters of our fellow slaves and they were all on board with our plan.
“Our teams changed,” someone said. My eyes flashed to the heads up display. Sure enough, all of the people that joined us, morphed onto the same team. The remaining individuals in the field left to another.
“They’re determined to pit us against each other, one way or another,” Ghita said.
“We have to keep trying,” I urged. “There aren’t many weapons left. If they really want to fight, that means hand to hand and we outnumber them.”
I followed Ghita down the stairs as we closed in on a small knot of them.
“We know what you’re up to,” one of them called.
“Then help us. What could you possibly get out of this?” I called back.
“War is glorious! What better way to die?”
“This isn’t war. It’s murder. We have no quarrels with each other. We are not from rival nations.”
There was silence. A short, bald alien in a battle suit stepped out.
“I do not know you. We might be from rival nations.”
“We are not, I assure you.” He looked like a child who was just informed that Santa wasn’t real as he handed over his blaster.
“You have an adequate point.”
I disabled his blaster and left it on the ground as we searched for more. Our hunt lead us into the upper reaches of the arena. I started getting nervous. I left the ANT up here, hidden with the Doctor.
I had a good reason to be nervous. There were four of them, leaning around the ANT… waiting for us. I couldn’t say for certain if they knew what, or who was inside, but they knew I didn’t like them being so close.
“You’re not going to get us on the murder card. We signed up for this,” one of them mewled with a hungry grin spreading across his lips. I hadn’t counted on the fact that some of the people that wouldn’t be missed would be criminals and misfits.
They didn’t give us a chance to come up with any witty reply. The four of the lunged, their feral eyes flashing. All but one was disarmed, and that one grabbed Ghita. He pulled out his blaster to move it to her head. It was the pistol, not the screwdriver that was smoking in my hand when he hit the floor. Ghita yelped and jumped away from the dead body. My heart was pounding and the world stretched and spun as I fumbled my aim over to another attacker.
He backed up, obviously unaware that I almost fainted after killing his comrade.
“Are you alright?” I asked Ghita. She nodded stiffly. A siren blared overhead and the lights came back on brightly. The hud over our eyes flashed green for victory. We could hear cheers and catcalls from the rooms beyond.
“Does that mean we’re free?” Ghita asked.
“The portal is opening up. Let’s not wait around to see.” I popped open the ANT and hefted the Doctor from inside. Ghita stopped and watched me curiously.
“What is wrong with him?” she asked. I set his prone body down on the stone and kneeled over him.
“I don’t know, but he’s fading fast.” He already looked gaunt and gray. “His hearts are beating, he’s breathing… but it’s like something is sucking the life out of him.”
“The Arena Master.” Ghita said. I looked up at her in confusion. “He will sometimes steal the power out of strong beings before sending them to fight. Your friend must have been very strong.”
“He never seemed…. strong. Clever, funny, kind… morally strong… but I never would have applied ‘powerful’ as one of his titles.”
“There are different kinds of strength, and some taste better than others.”
“How do I stop him?”
Ghita looked around with what I assume was a grimace. “He has to die. Once the process is started, it won’t stop until the recipient is destroyed.”
“Of course not.” I watched the Doctor’s sallow face. I could feel tears running down my cheeks. “I know you don’t want people to die for you, but what about the others? If this Arena Master does this regularly, imagine the hundreds… thousands of beings that have been slaughtered for his amusement and gluttony. Please forgive me.” I leaned over and kissed his forehead.
We found a blanket that I used to wrap the Doctor up in and I used it to hoist him over my shoulders and keep him in place. It was the most tiring, awkward trek I believe I ever made. Ghita knew where the Arena Master was, and I was ready. He had found the TARDIS and had it moved to his throne room.
He wasn’t alone – and he was ready as well. He sent his guards after me first. I had to leave the Doctor to the side. I dodged one of the bladed pikes and put myself between the guard and his weapon, using the leverage to rip it from his grip.
Desperation moved my limbs as I danced around the guards. I disabled as many as I could without dealing a killing blow. I couldn’t let the Doctor die. He was my friend, a partner, without him the galaxy would be in danger… and I’d never get home. I would never see my family again. I would never hold my son again.
I didn’t know when I made it across the concrete, but I was shaken out of my reverie as my blade sunk deep into the Arena Master’s chest. I heard a deep gasp and out of the corner of my eye I saw the Doctor bounce up to his feet, as the Arena Master slumped onto my pike.
Blood was everywhere, the floor, the walls, the ceiling, and on me. From head to toe. I couldn’t tell if it was blood or tears running down my face as I turned to him with a smile. He did not return my smile.
It was horror affixed to his features.
We didn’t speak. He didn’t ask what happened…. I was too tired and broken to think. I released the pike and it clattered to the ground with the Arena Master. I think there was cheering in the distance, victims and survivors that were free at last. But the Doctor didn’t ask.
He stepped over dead and broken bodies and walked straight into the TARDIS. With slumped heavy shoulders, I nodded my goodbye to Ghita and followed after him. I turned the knob, and bumped my nose on the door.
It didn’t open. I stepped back and looked at it for a moment in confusion. I tried again and jumped back as the familiar sound of her engines moaned to life.
“No….” I breathed. “Doctor – no! You don’t understand!” I hammered on the door between fumbling for my own key. It wouldn’t turn, the door wouldn’t open and I pounded on the TARDIS until she vanished beneath my fists and I fell to ground sobbing.
I was still on the floor sobbing when he pulled the colander from my head. “You can’t take me back now. I’m an old lady. My family wouldn’t recognize me anymore. Everything I loved has grown up and moved on. You left me there…”
“Maybe I can fix this. It’s not a fixed point in time. The people that died were most likely going to die anyway… I can go back and stop us from taking that last trip. The events that happened will flood your mind as the time stream repairs itself and you’ll remember the last thirty years as vividly as if they’d actually happened. But in time… they might fade like a dream.”
I stared up at him desperately and just nodded.
“I didn’t mean for it to turn out like this.”
“It wasn’t meant to turn out like this.”
“No, you’re right. It wasn’t,” he said and turned to the TARDIS.
“Doctor,” I called. He paused and looked over his shoulder as I pulled his sonic screwdriver from my pocket and held it out. “I couldn’t have made it this far without it.” He offered me a wistful smile and plucked it from my hands.
“Neither could I.”