bit_impossible: (Doctor-Ice and rage)
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[Note: This is a related piece for a character experiment in [livejournal.com profile] realityshifted where Ten is played in an AU.]


The Stygian Experiment



The lights within the control room of the TARDIS had dimmed. Even the normal thrum that pervades the ship had quieted and was, in essence, no more than a whisper--but the man on the floor only heard silence in the back of his mind as he opened his eyes. That silence stoked the fires of his temper, rousing him from the awkward position from which he'd landed on the metal-grated ramp. It felt...different yet familiar being in this body. He might have preferred to keep his own, but this one, he could already tell, was strong, young. A tiny little smile graced his lips at the thought. The possibilities were endless!

The din was then interrupted by a crackling noise in the speakers and the appearance of a hologram in the form of a tall, blond man with curly hair, dressed in a horrific coat and yellow pinstripe trousers. He glanced up at the hologram, his hand gripping the lower rung of the railing tight as he sneered at the familiar visage before him.

"This is Emergency Protocol #816," the hologram began, eyes focused on the wall straight ahead, rather than the man glaring up at him. "If you are seeing this, then I am very sorry. I had hoped there would never be a need for such a precaution, but since you are here--and don't ask me how I know you are there--I have programmed the TARDIS to lock all her controls and to contain you within her interior so you cannot wreck havoc throughout the universe. How do you like that, Stackyard?" The Doctor's former face smirked rather smugly, and he was filled with a sudden desire to do whatever he could to make it disappear. Hearing that ridiculous nickname had made his eye twitch involuntarily in annoyance. Pushing himself to his feet, he staggered forwards, bursting straight through the impetuous cretin, though the image did nothing but flicker.

"In addition to locking you in, the old girl has set herself back into the Vortex to drift forever-more so no one, Time Lord or otherwise, will be able to stumble upon her and break you out. It is my one regret that I have to do this to my beautiful ship, but she recognises the full risks: that allowing you access to all of time and space would lead to complete and utter chaos and destruction of the universe."

He grumbled murderous, but vain, threats under his breath as he both tried to tune out that insipid voice and to get one single function on the central console to respond to him. Nothing worked. Not the brakes, the fast return switch, the stabilisers--temporal or otherwise--not a single thing! A soft growl escaped his lips.

"Oh, would you shut it?!" he snarled at the EP hologram, vaguely noticing how it had turned to face the central console. The sound of the current Doctor's voice--no, no this voice was his now, wasn't it?--had surprised him. He'd expected to hear his own, the one he'd possessed the last time he had a body, but then again, a different body naturally meant a different voice. It'd take some getting used to, but he had all the time he needed, didn't he?

"Meeting you that first time was quite educating and illuminating, let me tell you! Unlike yourself, however, I am not completely heartless. By now, I will have repaired the food machine so in the event that you eat every morsel contained in the kitchen, run out of every vegetable and fruit growing in the gardens, and every last animal in the zoo, you still will not starve. Likewise, life support systems have been updated and maintained so you will always have air and water to subsist on."

But as the EP hologram spoke those words, old memories floated into his mind. The Doctor never did complete repairs on the food machine. Something about a part he had still been searching for but eventually forgot about weeks later. "You were always such a fool, Doctor," he muttered, mentally marvelling at the Doctor's ineptitude to finish one single project.

"As a final farewell gift to you, Railyard," the Doctor said. He sincerely hoped he was getting near the end of the soliloquy. "I have left you access to every Earth programme ever viewed on the scanner. No doubt you may grow bored of all the cricket and football matches, so you might want to pace yourself. Oh yes, the scanner will indeed work for you, but only if you are nice to the TARDIS. That's my girl." He gave the holographic form of that bothersome Doctor a look of disbelief; he'd already checked the scanner. His finger flicked the switch again and amazingly, it turned on, giving him a status report on the life support systems currently functioning. He huffed slightly, seeing that the Doctor had at least performed those maintenance checks. Plus it would figure the Doctor would have a little trick up his sleeve just to show off one final time.

"Sadly, that is all I have left to say to you. I could list all of the times and places I would have loved to have visited, all the people I had wished to meet... I can only hope our companions will never have to see us like this." The hologram sighed, a look of pity crossing the Doctor's face. "But I am afraid the only way you or I will ever be able to travel again is if you give me back my body. You're not likely to do that, now are you? Good-bye."

And then there was blessed silence. His fingers curled around the edges of the console, gripping it tightly as his eyes closed and focused on the steady heartsbeat within his body. His body now, not the Doctor's! Of all the cheek trapping him in the TARDIS! And Harriet had gotten out moments before... He couldn't get to her, but he supposed that was all for the best. What need did he have of some self-righteous politician getting under his skin? She wasn't the sort who would have been easily swayed to do what he... But even as he thought that, he felt he could have manipulated her; become the shadow ruler and puppet master behind the architect of Britain's golden age.

And he had won--finally won!--his fight with the Doctor. And ohhh, he yearned to flex his muscles, so to speak. He wanted to see what the universe held for him out there and grab it by the reins--but he'd been denied everything from the start!

His eyes snapped open suddenly, his hand automatically reaching for the nearest tool he could grab and he began to circle the console like vulture. "How dare you betray me?" he growled, his knuckles turning white the harder he gripped the mallet. "Me! You are my ship, TARDIS. I am in control and you will obey me!"

The mallet sailed through the air as he sent it crashing down on the nearest whirring glass thing that he didn't quite remember the function of right then, but the smashing of the instrument made him feel...vindicated. So he lifted it again, his muscles tensed, and struck the controls over and over. He lost sight of what he'd broken and what he hadn't in that flurried rage--but that anger quickly faded and he let the mallet lie amongst the sparking and cracked components on the console as he strode away a few steps, turned on his heel, and regarded the central console with a neutral, almost remote gaze as though he were already bored of the whole game.

"So," he began coolly. "Who will you listen to? A facsimile of a man who no longer exists--or the man who won?"

The TARDIS maintained her silence in the back of his mind. That moment made him think how the Doctor would have reacted to such an affront. No doubt he would have sulked and whined about being spurned, and those overwhelming feelings of loneliness he kept locked away...

He mentally scoffed at it all. What a child that man had been, he thought as he approached the doors. He pressed a hand against one and instead of feeling that innate warmth from his ship, there was nothing but the grainy surface touching his skin. And he felt nothing in return now. No fire or anger, not as he had minutes ago. The detachment didn't bother him one bit.

What did was the fact that he really was trapped inside. The entire TARDIS was his playground, but he was completely--no. No, he wasn't trapped (and he wouldn't ever let him start thinking on the same lines as the Doctor).

Slowly, he began to smile. "Well, Doctor. There was one avenue of escape you hadn't planned for, after all," he said, adjusting the cuffs of his suit. "Don't wait up for me, ship."

And with that victorious realisation made, he took a step forward and dropped from his reality.


Character: The Tenth Doctor
Word Count: 1507
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The Doctor

November 2011

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