Who Is My Enemy? © 2003 Margaret Price combines the stories Command Override © 1989AND The Evil Exchange © 1989
This is a 5th Doctor story that takes place shortly after "The Five Doctors."
Author's Note: This story has the dubious honor of being the first fan fiction I ever wrote. It was part of a call for short stories put forth in the now defunct Whovian Times. They don't know what they started.
This story sees the return of the Doctor's former traveling companion, Jason Krystovan, whose life has taken some strange twists since he and the Time Lord parted company.
WHO IS MY ENEMY?
The Biochemical Research Institute was a gleaming building that stood in stark contrast to its gray and barren surroundings. Originally it had been two separate structures set side-by-side, but the space between had long ago been enclosed with large tinted windows and connected with gantry bridges. Normally the building would be bustling with activity, as members of the scientific community came from far and wide to utilize the abundant facilities available. At present, however, the Institute was almost completely shut down due to a long overdue decontamination sweep of the buildings.
The Executive Director, Professor Robert Turner, was a tall, imposing man in his late fifties who carried himself with all the authority of his office, and then some He was a genius in the fields of biochemistry and biogenetics and had clashed with the leaders of the scientific community on more than one occasion. Some of his most brilliant works were the result of the research performed at the Institute. Despite the shut down, he and his team were still hard at work. He was enjoying the fact that he had the place practically to himself and was not being bothered every five minutes with one petty problem or another from the Prima Donnas who tended to frequent the facility.
Professor Turner's current project involved an aristocrat from a planet he'd never even heard of, not that that mattered. Astro-cartography was hardly his specialty. What interested him was the fact that the young man in question possessed the unique ability to scan anything with which he came in contact, being essentially a living medical scanner. He could determine anything from vital signs to molecular makeup of any object simply by touching it. He called it "reading the aura" knowing of no better way to describe what he did. The Professor called it astounding and had been ecstatic when offered the chance to study him at length, looking on the requirement to sign official secrets documentation as an irritant rather than a necessity.
"Only a few more tests, your highness," the Professor said happily as he removed some small boxes from a crate.
The young man to whom he spoke heaved a heavy sigh. He was seated in a chair and had an incredible assortment of electronic leads and wires attached to him. He appeared to be in his early twenties with curly, black hair and striking sapphire blue eyes. He wore an exquisite velvet suit and looked quite incongruous in the setting of the lab. Beside him was an elaborate gold collar that he wore when not being tested, a jeweled medallion signifying his rank and status in the Alterran aristocracy dangling from the edge of the countertop.
One of the lab assistants turned to another upon hearing the resigned sigh. "Looks like our Prince Jason is pretty well done in," he said softly
Professor Turner charged up to the weary Prince and dropped a stack of boxes on the table nearby. "Now, if you'll just scan these—"
The Prince cut him off. "Again! Professor, how many times must I do this? I must've scanned every accursed box in the Containment Area a dozen times over."
The Professor was not to be put off. "I'm aware that there's some repetition—"
"Repetition!" the Prince cried, unable to contain his frustration any longer. "Professor, need I remind you that after I've scanned something once I've can recall it exactly. Not in part, exactly. An aura is like a fingerprint. After all these months you must have some idea how I do it."
Now it was the Professor's turn to sigh. He was grateful to be nearly finished with the trouble some, and ofttimes argumentative aristocrat. "You'll be happy to learn, your highness, that these are the last of the lot. After you've done with them, your part in the project is finished. I'll correlate the findings and then draw my conclusions."
The Professor was not the only one having problems that day. The security center was having a few of its own. The entire surveillance system for the Complex, which housed the residence and research facilities, had mysteriously gone dead, inexplicably jamming the radio communication system in the process. Just as inexplicably, the surveillance system in the Containment Area, which housed the storage facilities, was still functioning perfectly.
"I don't believe it," said a guard flipping switch after switch without success. "It's all dead. The whole Complex."
"What the blazes is going on up here?" the Guard Leader demanded as he strode into the room. "I can't get a blessed thing but static on my communicator." He was a tall man with blond hair and a tanned face that belonged more on a California surfer than a security guard in a blue uniform.
"Mr. Saunders, the surveillance system's out in the entire Complex. I can't reactivate it!"
"Well, don't get hysterical, man, go and see to it," the Guard Leader ordered. He dropped into a chair at the main security console and glanced at the monitors. "Go straight to maintenance and have them start working on the radio-link." He looked up. His subordinate had not moved. "Go!" he thundered. "You think I can't manage the center on my own?"
Professor Turner sat at the desk in his office, hunched over a stack of notes. The clutter of texts and papers all around him seem to threaten to bury him at any moment. He was attempting to locate his computer monitor when a dark haired woman entered with an armload of printouts that she added to the already enormous pile on the desk.
"Here are the final results you asked for, Professor," she said brightly.
The Professor gave her a dark look. "Must you be so damn cheerful, Janet?" he asked disdainfully, inadvertently knocking a stack of books to the floor at the same time. He looked down, glared at them and then back at Janet, who was trying very hard not to laugh. "That boy's worn me out these last few months. I'm glad to be finished with him."
"Boy!" Janet exclaimed. "Professor, that boy, as you call him, is an Alterran. He's probably older than you and I put together."
"Well, he acts like a boy," the Professor snorted.
With his portion of the project finallyfinished, the Prince seized the opportunity to investigate the massive Complex uninterrupted. Donning the flowing black cloak that seemed to have become his hallmark, he set out on his explorations.
Because of the shut down, the only occupants of the building were Professor Turner's research team and the facility's security guards. The majority of the Complex was unoccupied and the corridors were only partially lit. Prince Jason found the strange half-light more disorienting than he expected and suddenly found himself at the edge of the gantries that connected the two buildings. He looked across the chasm to the Containment Area, which rose six floors higher than the Complex itself.
The sun was setting and the building interior was aglow with an eerie orange light caused by the tinting on the windows. The Alterran leaned over the railing to look down at the ground far below. At some point in time, a small courtyard had been installed, complete with trees, flowers and a small waterfall. Apparently it was meant to be soothing, but Jason had never much cared for it. It had always struck him as being a bit too contrived and unnatural.
The ventilation system came on at that moment and a cool draft of air blew across his face, triggering a wave of homesickness. Jason thought wistfully of his home planet so many light-years away. Cool summer breezes, rolling hills, the deep blue ocean. How he missed the ocean. Carna was such a barren, desolate rock of a planet.
"Excuse me, your highness," said a voice from behind him.
Startled, the Prince spun around. He hadn't heard the guard approach and was certain he was about to be admonished for being too close to the edge.
"I…I'm…sssorry, sir," the guard stammered. "It's…just that…uh, I mean…it might be best that you not be here, sir. The surveillance cameras are on the blink and the communication sys tem has gone haywire as well. It's probably nothing serious, but…for your own safety, you might want to return to your quarters."
The Prince smiled and nodded. "Thank-you for your concern," he said graciously.
"Your welcome, Professor, er…Doctor, er…SIR!" The flustered guard bowed and hurried away.
Jason smiled and shook his head. What would the poor guard have thought had he known he had only acquired the title of Prince a short time ago? It was so much easier when everyone had just called him by name. How he hated being called by a title. Then again, he had been able to indulge his flare for the dramatic since his elevation in status. With the clothes to fit the part.
The aristocrat considered the titles the confused guard had thrown at him. Some interesting parts. Professor—like Turner? Ridiculous. Doctor—like… Well, like…the Doctor!
"The Doctor…" Jason said to the empty room. "Now there's someone I haven't thought about in a very long time." He thought back on the last time he had seen the enigmatic Time Lord. They had parted company on his home planet of Tel-Shye. The Doctor's dark hair a tangle of curls on his head, a broad smile on his face, and an incredibly long scarf wound round his neck. Smiling at the image he had conjured in his mind, Jason set off for his quarters.
Inside the TARDIS control room, Jason would not have recognized the slight, fair-haired young man who now called himself the Doctor. Now in his fifth incarnation, he had a fresh open face that revealed no hint of his nearly eight centuries of existence. He wore the rather unlikely costume of an Edwardian cricketer complete with white sweater, striped trousers, open necked shirt and a cream-colored frock coat that had a stalk of celery inexplicably pinned to the lapel.
The Doctor was currently on his hands and knees constructing an elaborate labyrinth of domi noes. He was watched in mild amusement by his companions, who had been engaged in a game of dominoes when the Time Lord suddenly decided he wanted to test the domino effect.
"Do you suppose the Doctor's regressing to a second childhood?" asked Turlough. Not more than a boy himself, he was a refugee from an English Public School with red hair and piercing blue eyes.
"I don't know about that," replied Tegan, "but if he doesn't finish soon, he'll be after our domi noes. There can't be another one left in the TARDIS." She had the distinctive accent of her native Australia. The auburn-haired woman was endowed with an independent spirit that fre quently played on the nerves of her fellow travelers.
The Doctor stood up and smiled in satisfaction. "Not to worry. I've finished." So say ing, he touched the first domino with his foot and the whole maze began clattering to the floor. It snaked around the control console across the room and ended in a crescendo of twenty parallel rows fal ling simultaneously.
The Doctor was aglow with pride. "A cumulative effect produced when one event initi ates a succession of similar events," he imparted.
"You mean, they knock each other down," Tegan injected.
The Doctor gave her a withering look. "Yes," he said acidly.
Before any major confrontation could occur, a light on the control console winked on and off. The Doctor scrutinized the indicator light as if it had just appeared out of thin air. He had installed it himself, but could not for the life of him recall when…or why.
"Doctor…?" Tegan ventured tentatively.
"I don't know."
"I don't know why the indicator light came on," the Time Lord said, annoyed with himself. "Because I can't remember what it's supposed to indicate."