STANDARD DISCLAIMER: Not mine, no money.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This was written as a stand-alone, so even if you've never read any of my other Doctor Who fics, you should be able to follow along easily.
Cast of Characters (in order of appearance):
THETA SIGMA: A young student at the Prydonian Academy. Eventually grows up, causes all kind of trouble, steals a TARDIS, leaves Gallifrey, and becomes known as THE DOCTOR.
KAPPA SIGMA: THETA'S Cousin and classmate. Eventually grows up, causes all kinds of trouble, steals a TARDIS, leaves Gallifrey, and becomes known as THE MASTER.
ZETA TAU: An older student at the Academy. Eventually grows up, causes all kinds of trouble, creatively bends the Laws of Time, and becomes Dean of the Prydonian Academy.
RHO NU: THETA and KAPPA's classmate. Eventually grows up, angers the Lord President, gets banished from Gallifrey, and becomes known as THE RANI.
PHILOSOPHICAL DISCUSSION #1:
"I can't imagine a more boring life," Theta mused. He picked up the desk blotter, applied a liberal amount of molecular epoxy to the bottom, and replaced it on the desk.
"Things will change, Theta," Kappa assured him. He picked up the nameplate, applied a liberal amount of molecular epoxy to the bottom, and replaced it on the desk.
"Things never change around here," Theta replied, molecular epoxy-ing the telephone's headset to its cradle. Then he epoxy-ed the telephone's bottom to the desk for good measure.
"One day we will both sit on the High Council – "
"Big deal!" Theta interrupted, using one of his mother's favorite phrases. He watched Kappa glue a cup full of pens to the desk. "What does the Council do, besides sit around gazing into the Matrix and making cryptic proclamations about Time?"
"And how would you change things?" Kappa asked, methodically gluing each pen to the cup, carefully arranging them so that they appeared to be resting against the cup's sides.
"I'd let people actually go out and do things!" Theta exclaimed, gluing the stapler to the desk. "In fact, I'd make it mandatory. Go out and help people. Make things better." Kappa looked up from his kneeling position, where he was busily gluing the desk drawers shut.
"A dangerous proposition," he murmured. He tilted the chair back and began working on its legs. "You know what the Laws of Time have to say about interfering – "
"And I know what my conscience says about sitting on my hands while people suffer, knowing that I could help them!" Theta shot back, gluing the terminal keyboard to the desk's surface.
"No doubt you could show them a better way," Kappa murmured ironically. He'd finished with the chair. Now he stood, crossed the room, and began work on the doors on the book cabinets. "You'd be a Time Lord, all-powerful and wise."
"That's not what I meant – " Theta began.
"Isn't it? The superior Time Lord showing lesser beings how it should be done?" Kappa looked over at his Cousin, who was gluing the computer monitor into a stationary position.
"No! You're twisting what I said – "
"I prefer to think of it as clarifying what you said." For a few minutes, the two Cousins worked together in companionable silence, continuing to glue every moveable object in the room to something that was immobile.
"That's not what I meant," Theta finally said quietly. He got down on the floor and seeped some molecular epoxy between the desk's legs and the floor.
"A pity," Kappa mused, gluing the chair in front of the desk into place on the floor. "You see, I thought we were in agreement. I wish the Time Lords would actually use their power, make us Lords over all the lesser species!"
"I'm not," Kappa assured him. He glanced at his cousin, who had stopped his work and was gazing at him with a horrified expression. He chuckled. "Ah, Theta," he said ruefully. "You who can do no wrong. The bright shining star of the family… I might have known you wouldn't agree. You feign rebelliousness, but in the end where it really counts you have no belly for it!" He slipped the cap back on the tube of molecular epoxy and pocketed it. "You're just – "
"Shh!" Theta interrupted. "Someone's coming!" He hurried over to stand next to Kappa on the other side of the desk. He just made it before the door opened, revealing Lord Borusa standing there with a suspicious expression on his face.
"Well, if it isn't the Two Terrors of the House of Lungbarrow," he said, moving past them to his desk. "To what do I owe the honor of this visit?" Theta thought fast.
"We weren't sure we'd written down this morning's assignment correctly, sir," he told their teacher. "We wanted to double check with you."
"Mmm," Borusa replied, setting his books on his desk. He sat down, flipped open his class planner, and repeated their assignment. Kappa took his datapad out of his pocket and quickly jotted it down. "Will there be anything else?" their teacher asked tetchily, pulling his grade book and a stack of papers out of his briefcase.
"No sir," Kappa replied. "I think we've got everything we need."
"Thank you, sir," Theta said, following Kappa to the door. He turned back, his hand on the doorframe. "Would you like your door shut?" he asked innocently.
"Please," Borusa replied without looking up from his grade book. He didn't see Theta's huge grin when he shut the office door, neatly epoxy-ing it to its frame. Inside the office the phone rang. And rang. And rang. The two Cousins heard Borusa's perplexed voice. "What the…?" Exchanging satisfied smiles, they headed for their next class.
"With great power comes great responsibility," Theta said firmly, taking a bite of his sandwich.
"You sound like Borusa again!" Kappa complained. He pulled a shiny red apple out of his brown paper lunch bag and took a bite. Around them, other students ate protein bars and swallowed nutrient pills.
"Well, hello hello!" a new voice said. An older student with piercing blue eyes and a shock of bright red hair slid onto the bench beside Kappa. "I just heard that someone used molecular epoxy to seal Borusa's office door shut with him inside. I wonder who could have done something like that." From across the table, he fixed Theta with a significant gaze.
"I have no idea, Zeta," Theta said tranquilly, taking another bite of his sandwich. "But whoever it was, they glued down everything in sight inside his office too!"
"Oh dear," Zeta said with a sigh. "Poor Borusa."
"And someone put epoxy on his seat as well," Kappa said thoughtfully, crunching into his apple again. "So it looks as though Borusa will be staying put for awhile."
"A cruel joke," Zeta mused.
"Very," Theta agreed. One of Zeta's classmates walked by, mouthing the name Flavia and giving Zeta the thumbs-up sign.
"Goodness, Epsilon, I got her ages ago!" Zeta called after the other student, who shrugged and kept walking.
"This sounds interesting," Kappa mused, his dark eyebrows going up.
"C'mon, Zeta," Theta said. "Share." Zeta cocked his head at the two Lungbarrows.
"You first," he said significantly. With a sigh, Theta handed over his untouched shiny red apple, while Kappa gave Zeta the other half of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. "Ahhh, real food!" Zeta sighed contentedly, biting into the sandwich.
'Yes," Theta agreed. "One of the advantages of having a human mother."
"She's not your mother as well, is she Kappa?" Zeta asked, surprised.
"No, but she can't bear to send me off to school with protein bars and nutrient pills."
"She says they're unnatural," Theta added.
"I'm inclined to agree with her," Zeta said, biting into the apple.
"So come on, tell us," Theta prodded. "What was that about Flavia?"
"Epsilon and I have put together our own version of Scavenger Hunt," Zeta said, grinning wickedly. "He's made a list of girls and handed it around… the first one of us to… get… all of them wins!"
"Get?" Kappa repeated, puzzled.
"Yes… you know… get," Zeta said, giving him a suggestive look.
"I don't know what you mean," Kappa told him.
"Sex, Kappa!" Theta said, sounding exasperated. "He's talking about sex!"
"Oh," Kappa said, nodding. "Wait a minute, you… got… Flavia?" He sounded shocked.
"Mmm hmm," Zeta said, smiling at the memory. "Sure did!"
"I don't understand why anyone would waste their time on something so nonproductive," Theta said.
"Try it once," Zeta advised sagely. "Then you'll understand!"
"Think about those strange sounds your mother makes!" Kappa said.
"I told you before, that's Yiddish!" Theta said.
"Not those sounds, you idiot!" Kappa said, laughing. "I mean the sounds she makes late at night, when she's with your father in their bedchamber!" Now Zeta was laughing too.
"You two are absolutely disgusting," Theta said, his face red. "And thank you, Kappa, for that mental picture that I really didn't need!" He put the remainder of his sandwich down, making a face. "You've ruined my appetite!"
"Oh… well, in that case…" Zeta said, helping himself.
PHILOSOPHICAL DISCUSSION #2:
The two Cousins stood in front of a wall of lockers. The black-haired student was holding open a large cardboard sleeve used for storing data disks in the Records Archive. The blond student was squirting a liberal dose of fire retardant foam inside.
"So tell me," Kappa was saying. "Where do you draw the line?"
"What line, Kappa?" Theta asked absently, concentrating on the task at hand.
"When is it all right to interfere in the affairs of lesser species? And how much intervention is too much?" Theta thought about this for a minute.
"It depends on each situation," he finally said. He took the cardboard sleeve full of foam and carefully sealed the open edge shut between two fingers, making sure none of the foam leaked out. "You can't make a set of rules that will cover every conceivable situation, as the Time Lords have attempted to do."
"Well, their rules are absolute," Kappa said, watching Theta slide the sealed open edge into the crack between a locker and its frame. "No interference whatsoever, no matter what."
"Yeah, I know," Theta agreed. "All right, give it a squeeze." Kappa deftly pressed the sides of the cardboard sleeve together, forcing the fire retardant foam through the crack and into their victim's locker. "Again," Theta said, handing his cousin the empty sleeve.
"And why do you believe it's all right to interfere in some cases, but it's not all right to take over and show them the correct way?" Kappa asked curiously, holding the sleeve open again.
"There's a difference!" Theta insisted, refilling the sleeve with foam.
"It's a very fine line, Theta," Kappa told him firmly.
"Yes, all right, you might be right," Theta said impatiently as they repeated the procedure, filling the locker with another dose of foam. "In some cases, anyway," he amended, handing the empty sleeve back to Kappa. "Again."
"If they could only be made to see the right way – " Kappa began.
"And what is the right way, Kappa?" Theta asked, sounding interested. "Our way?"
"Of course!" Kappa replied without hesitation. He watched Theta fill the cardboard sleeve with foam again. "Our people are the Time Lords, given to see the great mysteries of – "
"Oy vey!" Theta sighed, rolling his eyes.
"You sound like your mother!"
"I understand how she feels!" He prepared to insert the sleeve into the crack between the door and its frame once again. "Always listening to this or that pompous Time Lord natter on and on about how we're above everyone else in existence!"
"Well, aren't we?" Kappa asked mildly. Theta gave him a look.
"Again," he said, handing over the sleeve. "Do you remember what I said at lunch?"
"That business about great power?" Kappa asked, holding the sleeve open while Theta reloaded.
"Exactly. We cannot impose our will on less developed civilizations!"
"But you propose to do exactly that by - as you put it - helping them," Kappa pointed out.
"It's not the same thing!" Theta protested. "Honestly, talking to you is like talking to a wall!"
"No… walls don't talk back," Kappa corrected. Theta sighed. "Ready?" Without another word, more foam was added to the interior of their victim's locker.
"Suppose," Kappa mused, "a Time Lord had gone to Earth and stopped the rise of Hitler. Wouldn't that have been for the best? Think of all the lives that would have been saved, the evil that never would have been done, if only the Nazis had been wiped off the face of the planet!"
"All right," Theta agreed. "And suppose some race greater than ours had happened upon Gallifrey during the Dark Days of Rassilon and decided, well that lot's a bunch of rubbish, let's get rid of it!"
"That's impossible," Kappa said smugly as Theta filled the sleeve with foam again. "There never was nor will there ever be a race greater than the Time Lords. Ergo, it couldn't have happened!"
"You'll make an excellent Time Lord, Kappa," Theta told him. "Already you have the arrogance!"
"I prefer to think of it as taking pride in my heritage!" More foam was added to the locker's interior.
"You know what my mother would say about that, don't you?" Theta said quietly. "Pride goeth before a fall." Kappa laughed.
"Come on, Theta," he said, clapping his Cousin on the shoulder. "Enough."
"Enough serious talk, or enough foam?"
"Enough of both."
"All right," Theta agreed with a sigh.
The final dismissal bell had rung, and students were hurrying to their lockers to gather their books and other materials before leaving for the day.
"Aaaah!" the dark-haired girl shrieked as gobs and gobs of fire retardant foam came spilling out of her locker. "That miserable mongrel and his cretinous cousin! I swear to Rassilon, I'll unravel them both with my bare hands!"
"What seems to be the problem, Rho?" The girl turned to see a red-haired student standing behind her.
"Zeta," she said, sounding flustered. "Look what they've done!"
"Theta and Kappa?" he asked.
"It would have to be, wouldn't it?" she said acidly. "Look at this, they've ruined my Advanced Genetic Engineering textbook!"
"Oh dear," Zeta murmured, all sympathy. "I suppose they thought their little prank would be amusing."
"That's rich," Rho said archly, stuffing books into her bag. "Coming as it does from the student who put red dye and soap crystals in the fountain in front of the Arcalian Academy!"
"Who me?" Zeta asked innocently. "Would I do something like that?" She gave him a look. "Listen, come for a walk with me," he offered. "It'll give you some time to cool off before returning to your House."
"All right," she agreed with a sigh. "I have to go buy a new genetics textbook anyway."
That evening, Theta was working on schoolwork on his computer terminal when a notice popped up indicating that he had new e-mail. He saw the sender's name and grinned as he clicked on the link to open it. It read:
Rho Nu – check!!