|Requiem for Eight
Author: Notorious JMG PM
A tale of destruction and rebirth.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Tragedy/Hurt/Comfort - 8th Doctor - Words: 1,328 - Reviews: 4 - Published: 09-03-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3766260
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
There is no hope. The battle is lost, and with it, the war. The planet will fall. The burnt orange sky will be filled with the ashes of a thousand cities. The mechanical voices will create a deafening din over the surface of the continents. The snowcaps on the mountains will melt and flood the land below as the planet is globally warmed to accommodate the victorious conquerors.
It wasn't supposed to end this way. Over strenuous protest, they had brought HIM back. Brought him back, resurrected him, given him another twelve regenerations. It was thought that he was powerful enough to single-handedly stop the enemy.
But he ran. He stole a ship, and ran. Now, he can't be detected at any point in time or space, which means that he either is dead, or he has taken the coward's way out and used the chameleon arch so that he can't be found.
And now, the fates of two races – one living, breathing flesh; the other bastardized organic-mechanical hybrids – are held in the hands of one man. He could, with one keystroke, instantly wipe out the enemy invaders. They would be gone. The war would be over.
But it would be a pyrrhic victory. To destroy the invaders would be to destroy the planet, to destroy his own people. There can be no true victory here.
Is it better, though, that they should die in the blink of an eye, painlessly, in a heartbeat? Certainly better than years of torture and "extermination" at the hands of those monstrous creatures whose ships filled the skies.
Despite nine hundred years of life and experiences, he cannot bring himself to make the decision. He sits in his strange blue box, orbiting the planet, falling deeper and deeper into despair. Then the speakers of the communication systems crackle to life.
"Please help us! We are under attack! The Presidential palace has been breached! We can't hold out much-"
The awful sound of laser weapons firing and bodies falling to the floor is magnified over the speakers. Finally, unable to listen any longer, he switches them off, and falls crumpled in a heap on the floor.
He does not know how long he laid there. Minutes, hours, days? Finally, when he looks up, he sees it blinking on the console – one solitary blinking red button. To push it would be to end the war.
Opening the door, he looks down on the planet below. The war is clearly lost. Smoke rises from every city. Fires span entire continents. Streams of aliens fly to the planet below.
"Forgive me," he says. Two simple words. Then he turns to the console and pushes the blinking button.
It turns solid red.
He can feel it open. As it opens, the event horizon is released, and the structural integrity of the planet begins to fail.
The fires increase and expand. They consume the continents. They consume the atmosphere. They begin to consume the alien ships. Finally, before the fire can reach his ship, he engages the vortex, and is swept away through time.
By the time he lands, the shock of what he has done has truly taken hold. He is a broken man. He unlocks the door and staggers into the night.
He has no clue where he is. He has no clue when he is. Finally, he stumbles upon a newspaper – Detroit Free Press, December 12th, 2004.
He finds a bar. He drinks. He drinks until he can drink no more. He sleeps that night in an abandoned house. He cannot bear to return to the ship. He cannot bear to be in that vessel of death.
The pattern continues, over and over. One night, when his screwdriver fails to cause an ATM to produce any cash, he curses and hurls it into Lake St. Clair. It sparks when it hits the surface of the water, and then disappears.
No cash. What to do? Without cash, he can't drink. If he doesn't drink, he will lose his mind. If he loses his mind… well, the consequences of that are unthinkable.
It isn't until he sees another newspaper that he realizes it is Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve – people would be at church now, attending their late night mass.
Stumbling into an affluent neighborhood, the repressed ingenuity sends a small spark through his drunken haze of depression and insanity. He picks up a rock, hurls it through a window. Enters the house. Raids the master bedroom, comes away with nearly five thousand dollars in cash.
In his alcoholic glee, he heads for a bar. Any bar. Anywhere he can find to put himself back into a truly drunken state.
But one after one, he discovers them closed. Closed for Christmas Eve.
As Christmas Day dawns, as his drunkenness fades, and his lucidity returns, the full impact of his decision two weeks before returns to him, an unwelcome reminder of the weight on his soul.
And within his depressed, yet lucid mind, a plan begins to take shape.
He returns to the ship. Within a small recessed closet, he finds something he has had for years, though he can't remember why.
He leaves the ship again. He goes to a nearby service station, purchases a five gallon gas can, fills it, and buys some matches. Then, he returns to the ship.
He is now surprisingly lucid and sober. He is calm and clear as he sprinkles the gasoline on the console, all around the main control room, and finally on himself. He deadbolt locks the front door, and seals off the remainder of the ship.
He lights a match, and holds it up. Reaching behind his back, he retrieves the pistol he dug out of the closet earlier. Holding it to his head, he whispers, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." He pulls the trigger.
Blood spouts from his head. He falls to the floor, the burning match falling on him. Immediately, his clothes ignite. The fire quickly spreads, and becomes a blazing inferno, enveloping the control room, immolating the console, and turning his body into a lump of charred flesh.
After about ten minutes, the fire suffocates itself. There is no more oxygen for it to burn.
Long after the sun has gone down on Christmas Day 2004, the metal in the control room has finally stopped glowing. The heat has receded, and there would be no chance of a backdraft burn if the room is exposed to oxygen.
Recognizing this, the ship opens the doors separating the control room from the rest of the ship. Cool air is vented into the control room. As the temperature comes down to a normal livable range, what is left of his body begins to glow.
Columns of light shoot out in a thousand different directions. His body reshapes and reforms itself. When it stops, it leaves a tall, skinny man with big ears and close-cut hair. He awakens, naked, shivering.
Unsure of his footing, he staggers out of the destroyed control room, making his way to the ship's wardrobe. He chooses an outfit that reflects his mood – black t-shirt, black jeans, black leather jacket. Clothing himself, he leaves and heads to the secondary control room.
When he reaches the controls, he begins to put in the coordinates for his home planet, where he can go and repair his ship. But as he does so, he stops himself – it is no longer there.
With a heavy, heart-rending sigh, he changes the coordinates – the US Air Force boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Tucson, Arizona. He can find what he needs to repair her there, although she will never look the same again.
He pulls down a lever to engage the time circuit. The TARDIS makes its peculiar sound, dematerializing, taking the Doctor away to rebuild his shattered existence.