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AN: For those who've read my 'Doctor at War' series- looking at the War Doctor taking action to alter various events in other major conflicts during the chaos of the Time War- this story is a sequel/prequel to the story 'The Counter-Virus'; 'Counter-Virus' featured the War Doctor acting to disable the majority of the Cylon fleet during the Fall of the Twelve Colonies, but this story will look at the subsequent events in Galactia after the arrival of the Eighth Doctor

AN 2: For the Colonials, this starts during the events of 'The Eye of Jupiter', just after the discovery of the Temple of Five. For the Doctor, this is set between the Eighth Doctor novels 'The Space Age' and 'The Banquo Legacy', at a time when the TARDIS had been destroyed and he was travelling in his companion Compassion, who had been unintentionally 'evolved' into a Type-102 TARDIS (To give you a better perspective, the Doctor's ship is just a Type-40); after her 'evolution' Compassion was being sought by the Time Lords to use her as 'breeding stock' for a new generation of TARDISes, the Doctor going on the run as he refused to allow his companion to become a slave. Their other companion at this time is Fitz Kriener, a sixties slacker/amateur singer who joined the Doctor after his mother and everyone else at her nursing home developed psychic powers due to alien interference and had to be killed after they went insane, with Fitz deciding to leave with the Doctor rather than face murder charges

A New Angel, a New Fate

"Another cave?" Fitz asked, looking at the Doctor in surprise as his friend studied the console with a smile. "I thought you said we were travelling at random now?"

"We are," the Doctor smiled, patting the Randomiser with a grin before taking one last glance at the read-outs on the console. "It just seems that we've lucked out with our coordinates so far; the cave on Eskon, the asteroid we were at last time, and now this new cave."

"And it's far more interesting than the last underground location we visited," Compassion's voice interjected, sounding actually intrigued for once. "You should come out and take a look."

"On our way," the Doctor grinned, as Compassion's door appeared in its usual place, leaving him and Fitz to walk out and take in their surroundings.

Even Fitz couldn't fail to be impressed at the scale of what awaited them outside their travelling companion. They were standing in a vast stone chamber with a large central column, extending up to about half the height of the overall room. There were some kind of strange crystals on the top of the column just underneath what looked like a similar set of crystals hanging from the ceiling, along with five smaller pentagonal columns around the central structure. The walls were covered in some kind of hieroglyph that Fitz couldn't even remotely recognise, along with the occasional repeated image of a series of orange, yellow and blue circles inside each other in some sort of pattern.

"Fascinating," the Doctor said, smiling in approval before he turned back to Compassion. "You were right, Compassion; this is interesting."

"Any idea what it's for?" Fitz asked, as he took in the surrounding area once again before asking his next question. "And why's it so light in here?"

"I believe the light's coming from those crystals, actually," the Doctor said, indicating the crystals scattered around the upper level of the temple before he turned to study the walls. "As for your first question, I can't be sure what we're looking at here. Really, it's the writing that's the puzzle; it has some similarities to Ancient Greek, but there's something about it that doesn't quite fit that image…"

"Aside from the fact that we're several centuries in the past even for the Greeks?" Compassion interjected.

"And probably quite a few planets away from there as well?" Fitz asked.

"Yes to both," the Doctor confirmed, his expression curious as he stared at the nearest wall. "Still, where it matters, that's the advantage of this Randomiser compared to the last one; if even I don't recognise the area, nobody will think to look for me here…"

"In what way?" Compassion asked.

"Well," the Doctor explained, turning back to his companions with a smile, "the problem with the Randomiser is that it's not completely random. I mean, where we go is out of our hands, but since any TARDIS with one installed is still bound by the automatic safety protocols not to materialise in a potentially hostile environment, there are still a certain number of likely options that the Time Lords could consider looking for us on. On some level, Compassion has a degree of access to my old ship's flight records to help her automatically calculate a course, but our main advantage is… well, to put it in terms you can understand, she hadn't developed a 'Favourites' list before I installed it."

"Pardon?" Fitz asked.

"When I installed a Randomiser in my old ship, my first couple of trips with it took me back to planets I'd visited before, and after that I spent some time having to override it to respond to distress signals or track down missing friends," the Doctor explained, briefly wistful at the memory of that particular time of his life before he focused back on the present. "Anyway, since Compassion's starting fairly fresh, our journeys are fundamentally more random because she doesn't have any past 'preferences' to influence the Randomiser's destination."

"In other words, since I haven't really gone anywhere as myself, the Randomiser isn't just falling back into old habits?" Compassion asked, curious despite her usual indifference.

"Precisely," the Doctor smiled. "I mean, you may have some degree of access to my past journeys, but that's a minor detail in the grand scheme of things…"

The sound of footsteps suddenly reached the three, prompting them to turn around towards a small door in one part of the room.

"Ah, good; company," the Doctor smiled, turning to look at the door. "Maybe we'll find out where this is."

No sooner had the Doctor spoken than a small group of men walked in, wearing dark trousers and tight grey shirts under what Fitz could only think of as black vests, many of them looking dirty and sweaty and some of them carrying guns.

"Hello," the Doctor said, walking up to the new arrivals with a broad smile and an outstretched hand. "I'm the Doctor, and-?"

"On your knees!" one of the men said, brandishing what looked to Fitz like some kind of Earth gun as some of his colleagues pulled out similar weapons, all aimed at the three travellers in a manner that made it clear everyone present knew how to use them. "NOW!"

"Oh dear," the Doctor said, even as he obeyed the order and quickly got to his knees, a warning glance back at Fitz and Compassion all they needed to follow their friend's example. "It's going to be one of those first contacts…"

"Shut up!" another man said, as the three travellers found themselves surrounded, two men aiming guns at their heads as a third forced them to their feet.

"I don't know how you got here," a third man said, looking at the three with a kind of hostile uncertainty as though he wasn't sure if he should shoot them immediately or not, "but you're not going to share this with the rest of your toaster friends."

"Toasters?" Fitz repeated in confusion. "Why would we want to talk to toasters?"

"What?" the man said, looking at Fitz in confusion before he starting chuckling sarcastically. "Oh, that's rich; you introduce new models for the first time since New Caprica, and you think we'll just be so excited to see new faces that we won't ask any questions? Do you really think we're that stupid?"

"No, we just genuinely don't know what you're talking about," Compassion said, looking bluntly at the man, only to fall silent as the man pointed a gun at her.

"Look," the Doctor said, looking anxiously at the assembled men, "maybe we could talk about this somewhere more comfortable? I don't know where we are, but considering your equipment, I presume you have a ship of some sort somewhere?"

The man stared thoughtfully at the Doctor for a moment, until he nodded and looked at one of the other men.

"Hotdog," he said firmly, "you're due to finish your shift soon; take these three up to Galactica and get Doc Cottle to run a full check-up."

"Sir," the other man said, nodding in confirmation before he turned to indicate a couple of other men. "You're with me; take these three back to the Raptor."

"From which we'll be taken to your main ship?" the Doctor asked, smiling as he got back to his feet. "Excellent; always good to meet people in authority."

Fitz could never be sure how the Doctor managed to be so casual whenever they were arrested; did his friend ever get worried about anything?