Summary: When light-manipulating aliens dupe the human race into believing they constitute the one true God, the Doctor decides it's his task to set humanity straight. Meanwhile Jack is in real danger when the United Divine Order accuse him of breaking every law and commandment in the Bible. The Doctor finds himself torn between revealing the absolute truth, and saving the life of the man he has grown to love.
Rating: this chapter - G. Eventual R. Overall R.
Warnings: Slash (Ten/Jack) and blasphamy. Lots of blasphamy. A good dollop in every chapter. The slash is mild at first, but will become more intense. I don't want to see ANY reviews telling me I'm going to hell for writing this. I'm an atheist with a fascination for Christian mythology, which gives me a very interesting angle on the whole thing.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of anything pertaining to Doctor Who. The mighty and holy British Broadcasting Corporation owns the lot.
The TARDIS materialised with a little reluctance this time. The Doctor, ever in tune with his machine, winced in physical pain as her engine stuttered and almost died. Relief shone in his eyes as she got a grip on herself, engines purring and finally settling into silence.
Jack looked up from his side of the control panel and raised a questioning eyebrow at the Doctor. "Are we there?"
"Dunno." The Doctor nodded at Martha, already poised by the door. "Take a look and see. If we're lucky, that should be twenty-first century Earth, London, Oxford Street just before midnight on Friday 3rd August 2007. If we're unlucky… Who knows? Centre of the sun? A planet full of dinosaurs with a taste for human flesh? Bromley? I shudder to think of the possibilities."
Jack could tell the TARDIS still wasn't quite right, despite the flippant tone in the Doctor's voice. He was no expert at maintaining the thing despite his near obsessive fixation with learning to understand it, but the TARDIS was telepathic, and since she and the Doctor welcomed him back Jack had come to realise she was opening up to him more and more. He could feel her unease, her sense of bewilderment, and wondered what the hell could be wrong.
Then there was the Doctor. If Jack was learning to read the TARDIS, he was something of an expert with her Time Lord partner. He was standing there, grinning away, but his left hand lightly stroked the TARDIS console as if soothing or placating her. And there was that look in his eye. The look that was Jack's early warning, the look that said danger was lying in wait. Either something was very wrong with the TARDIS herself, or she had detected something and communicated it to the Doctor. Either way it was bad news.
Martha pushed open the doors and stepped outside. That was one thing Jack had noticed about the TARDIS's regular occupants; they never looked before they leaped. Never checked to see if the coast was clear. If it was, then all was well, and if it wasn't – well, that was part of the fun.
"Earth?" asked Jack.
"Um," said Martha. "I think so."
The Doctor checked his instruments and nodded. "Should be. London, England, Earth."
"Not Oxford Street, though," Martha called back. "And I'm not so sure this is the twenty-first century."
Jack and the Doctor joined her on the pavement outside the TARDIS. The Doctor smacked a hand against his forehead. "Twenty-second century," he observed as something vaguely resembling a car trundled past and disappeared into the night. Then his mouth opened, but no sound came out. He shut it again.
"Jack," said the Doctor very slowly. "You saw that solar-powered car go past."
"Sure." Jack caught the look on Martha's face and grinned. "Stores energy," he explained. "It'd be a little bit shit if solar powered stuff just broke down at night or malfunctioned when it's overcast."
"Right," said the Doctor. "Solar powered cars are very big in the twenty-second century. Very popular. Utterly green, utterly safe. Unless you get hit by one, I suppose. Went out of favour by the twenty-third century when they finally found a way to make a non-rubbish electric car. None of that leaving it in the sun to charge malarkey, no solar panels, just plug it in when you're not using it and takes two seconds to charge up at a power station on long journeys. Solar powered lasted, oh… maybe sixty years, tops." He scratched at his ear then pointed down the road. "So what puzzles me is, why is there a church to the Holy Sect of Dru in twenty-second century Britain? And more to the point, why are those people setting fire to it?"
Jack and Martha had little choice but to follow the Doctor down the road towards the small, squat building on the corner. There was quite a crowd growing outside it, most of the people equipped with burning torches or flamethrowers, some of them yelling but most of them silent, intense. A tree in the small front garden was already ablaze, but the presence of a small man in a robe, with tears streaming down his face was currently preventing the mob from setting the building itself on fire. Jack looked at the symbol in place over the door and knew there could be no mistaking it: the three triangles of Dru. But he and the Doctor both knew Dru to be an alien god, a belief imported to Earth in the twenty-fifth century by travellers from a distant solar system. He proved very popular amongst new agers due to his followers' fanatical devotion to peace and tranquillity, their advice to seek harmony above all else, and their belief that chocolate was the holiest of substances and should be eaten several times per day to aid peace of mind. Dru, like solar powered vehicles, was popular in his time but somewhat gimmicky and unconvincing. He had his place and time, but it was limited. On Earth, it was limited to the twenty-fifth and –sixth centuries A.D.
"Oi!" the Doctor yelled as they approached. "What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?" He grabbed the flamethrower from the grip of the nearest mob member and launched it with surprising strength across the road, where it exploded harmlessly on the concrete and smouldered for a few minutes.
"Help me!" pleaded the Druian priest.
"Too right," said the Doctor.
He ploughed his way through the crowd, Jack following with the vague intention of dealing with anyone who tried to stop him. No one moved. Everyone stared at the furious newcomer.
"Setting fire to a temple of Dru!" the Doctor yelled incredulously at the mob. "A deity who preaches nothing but peace? Who are you? What makes you think you have the right to do this?"
No one answered. The mob waited in silence, waited for the priest to stand down or for the Doctor to do something else interesting. As mobs went, they weren't very angry, and their cause was anyone's guess.
To Jack's surprise it was the priest who answered the question.
"Um. Actually, they do have the right. I just wish they didn't."
The Doctor stared at him. "What did you say?"
"They have the right to tear down temples of sin. As it were. Places of unholy worship. It's the law. It's just not implemented very often…" He blinked up at the Doctor with wide, frightened, yet curious eyes. "How come you do not know this?"
"The Law? The law? What sort of bloody stupid law is this then?"
"The first commandment of the United Divine Order." The speaker appeared to be the leader of the mob, a broad man with intense brown eyes. "'Thou shalt not worship false gods, nor tolerate such worship, nor allow it to go unpunished'."
"Oh yes?" The Doctor nodded at the priest beside him. "Sparky here says this law isn't implemented much. That's a bit slack, isn't it?"
"We show mercy, even when The Light does not. It is our failing to feel compassion for our fellow men. It is our failing to allow their delusions of truth and spare their lives. We will suffer for our mercy."
Jack shook his head as if expecting the cotton wool that was obviously muffling his hearing to dislodge itself from his ears. "You'll what?"
"Right," said the Doctor. "You'll suffer for your mercy, is it? United Divine Order, eh? You worship The Light?"
"This is correct. You feign ignorance. Why?" There was no accusation in the leader's tone, just curiosity, as if ignorance of his cause was simply unheard of before.
"Just checking. Sorry to bother you." The Doctor turned on his heel and ducked into the little building. He emerged a moment or two later with a young woman and an older lady, both dressed similarly to the priest, and both absolutely terrified.
"I'll just take these three for… questioning. Have fun."
Jack and the Doctor herded the three Druians out into the street as the mob descended on the little temple. Some of them had produced sledgehammers and pickaxes. Some simply stood back and watched.
The two women were clutching large bags which, Jack suspected, contained anything of value they possessed. The three of them clung together in the middle of the road, none of them daring to look back as the onslaught on their temple began.
"You lived there?" said Jack. "Doctor, that was their home! We can't let it be destroyed."
"Just a building," said the Doctor. "Plenty of those around, but have you ever tried to stop a mob destroying one? Not worth it." He looked at the Priest. "You got anywhere to stay?"
"My nephew's home, I suppose."
"Excellent. I'm the Doctor, by the way, and these are Jack and… Well, Martha's around somewhere. Probably getting herself into trouble as usual. We're not from round here. We're not even sure where here is. But we're here to help."
He took the address of the priest's nephew and promised to check up on them later. Then he stalked off down the road in the opposite direction from the TARDIS. Jack had to jog to keep up.
"Where is this?" he asked.
"But where? And when?"
"Where are we going?"
"To find out, of course."
The Doctor slowed down to allow Jack to keep pace with him. "You don't have to come, you know. Could be dangerous. You could always stay behind in the TARDIS."
Jack stared at him. Then they both burst out laughing.
"Come on then," said the Doctor. "First we figure out when and where we are. Then we find out what's gone wrong. Then we fix it. Might be an idea to find Martha too, but I suspect she can take care of anything this world has to throw at her." He gave jack a crafty sideways grin. "You and me. Just the way I like it."