A/N: Random Plot-Bunny Strikes… An 'Adult' version of this story is going up at GM Andy's TARDIS ramblings over on Live Journal.
Short Summary: The TimeWar left him shattered & alone. Experiments left her shattered with voices in her head. Survival threw them together. You aren't scared of the dark are you? 9th Doctor/River and Simon Tam/The Hunter-Gratzner. A Dr Who/Firefly/Riddick crossover.
Long Summary: The Doctor can go anywhere in space and time, right? Reeling from the effects of the TimeWar, the last surviving Timelord stumbles into a situation he cannot ignore when the TARDIS lands him inside a ship that is clearly in trouble.
So… 500 years in the future, Humanity is in space and expanding outward in fits and starts. Not everyone fleeing Earth-that-was went to the same system.
Lets just imagine then that Blue Sun exists on the opposite side of the galactic arm from the rest of civilized space, and that this ship is taking a ghost run through the long route. Port of Departure: Eavesdown Docks, Persephone. Mixed Sino-Anglo culture. Port of Call: Tangiers-5. Darkside. Mixed Islamic-Anglo culture. Crew complement: Four. Passengers: Forty.
So what happens when a passenger by the name of Dr. Simon Tam and his cargo get on the wrong ship? There's a Bounty Hunter aboard, but not one after him…
Doctor Who / Firefly / Riddick crossover.
Features Doctor 9, Pre-"Rose"; Simon and River Tam, Pre-"Serenity", Firefly episode 1 and the cast of Pitch Black…
Doctor Who and the Great Eclipse
He was dying, burnt from the last-ditch, ultimate weapon of his people. His lives flashed before his eyes, even as the ripples of the fire shooting through time reached his brain and one after another the connections he'd lived with since he was eight years old snapped. It all happened so fast, like a string of Earth firecrackers, a thousand pops long. He expected to follow them. His twin hearts beat a frantic tempo as he realized that the moment had passed and he was still alive, although barely.
By rights, he should have fallen into the same timeless void of nothingness that the rest of them had been consumed by. Only the fire of fury blazing through time and space, seeking out and burning everything marked or touched by his people, friend and enemy alike, and leaving behind nothing -- had missed him. He screamed, trying desperately to follow his fellows to whatever beyond they had found. Instead his exertion triggered the inevitable cycle of rebirth that he had experienced so many times before. 'Mercy, please. Just let me pass with the rest of them.' But his thoughts fell on the uncaring energies of the Universe that was clearly not finished with him yet.
Somehow, by some cruel twist of fate, he was aware of his agony, the coming change hovering for his last breath in this life to pass. The skin and muscle over much of his body was nothing more than a thin covering of jerky-like tissue and ash. He couldn't even swallow. But worse than his physical pain was the vast emptiness that had once been filled by a thousand other elite minds, Timelords, like himself, all gone in a brief hot flash that left him with echoes of their mental screams and nothingness.
He wanted to die. Shouldn't he be allowed that peace? But the raw power of his connection to Time and the Vortex granted him god-like endurance. He had stopped the foolishness of the Grand Artifacts abuse by the corrupt Celestial Intervention Agency. He had held the Key to Time. He had fought the Paradox Faction. He alone had restored everything once. Could he do it again? Could he avoid the mistakes he'd made before? Or should he just go on as the Red Guardian, and do as he'd been told was his fate to do? A breath forced its painful way into and out of his scarred lungs. He couldn't just let go. He didn't want to just give up. But it hurt. Life hurt. And there wasn't even a higher being he could blame…
Golden light forced its way out from his torso, where it had already begun regenerating his vital organs; it moved over his skeletal form, slowly spreading across the burnt flesh as a noise and light surrounded him, solidifying into his faithful living ship. His life's companion. They were nearly one being, each being lost without the other. The TARDIS would protect him, and his mind, from the worse of the energy that he alone now held in his hands.
The regeneration threw him rigid, altering his bones, reshaping his face, and healing his muscles and skin. The burnt flesh pealed away, falling to the floor as his new form filled out re-growing what had been so horribly damaged. He collapsed, having no strength to support his larger form; not caring that he had bigger ears and hands then the last time. Not even the slight itch that started on his scalp and spread across his skin registered as his body tried, unsuccessfully, to replenish his radiation-lost hair. Instead, a short dusting of the stuff managed to take hold after he'd gained and shed several heads worth of the inch long fibers. Most the rest of his body remained hairless or sparse, but he didn't notice that either.
As his flesh changed from being on the brink of death to being healthy and new, the emotions from his loss overtook him. His people, his family, his friends brave or foolish enough to fight alongside him against an enemy that traveled through time and space with the same ease he'd always taken for granted… All gone. 'Ah, Susan, Leela, Dorothy… Why? Why couldn't they have survived?' Huddled on the floor of his ship, naked as the day he was Loomed, the Doctor sobbed.
A sharply dressed man with round dark glasses surveyed his surroundings as he pondered his next move. Simon Tam had enough cash on him that he could have chosen any ship in Eavesdown Docks. He walked through the multi-ethnic area, listening to an enormous variety of languages and dialects that flowed over and around him with their colorful chatter. 'River would love this place,' he thought. Not only would the languages intrigue his brainy sister, but the tone and texture of the place itself, the exposition of new and old, the smells and sights, colors and flavors, would expound into a glorious harmony for her that no-one else would understand except for him. If not for their age differences, Simon and River could have been twins caught inside their own world. He hated the fact that she wasn't really here with him in the way she should have been. It was far too dangerous to do this any other way, however.
The vast majority of the ships at Eavesdown were local flyers, in-system transport. Some were big; some were small. But while there were plenty of backwater worlds to hide on that were inside the sphere of the Blue Sun System, something twitched in his gut at the thought of staying so close to home. This made him discard most of the ships without even looking at them. Only one local transport even registered with him and that by virtue of a single factor that had nothing to do with the ship itself. His final choices boiled down to two ships.
First there was the bucket-of-bolts with her very cute, almost beautiful hawker, the Firefly Class Serenity. Something about the honey-haired young woman made his heart flutter in his chest. He wanted on that ship, really he did. So much so that he almost gave up his cash on the spot even though she was an inter-system transport. So selfish a motivation it was to board the Serenity that he'd hate himself later, and it was recognizing this fact that caused him to pause, caught in the crowd near a food vendor, staring at the object of his desire as he debated with himself. Would this be right for River?
But then the man, Hobbson -- Robbson, or something similar, signed on while he was debating and that gave the good doctor a very bad feeling… His connection to his Mei-Mei thrummed in his chest. It couldn't be right for her with the alarm that trickled between them even with her fast asleep. So he steered his cargo the direction of the single long-range transport at Eavesdown.
Behind him, Laurence Dobson cursed under his breath and tried to get his money back from little Kaylee. Only after he'd flashed his gun and Wash stepped in did he get his credits back. But he'd lost the elusive Dr. Tam and had no idea which direction the man had gone. Feeling like an ass, he slinked back to the ship and persuaded the little engineer that he was sorry and ended up paying an extra fifteen percent for the trouble he caused.
Simon hadn't waited. Instead he'd blended into the throng as best he could and headed directly to his second choice. The Tower for long-range docking was very empty. But at the apex of it docked the slightly battered, multi-compartment Hunter-Gratzner. He manipulated his cargo into the lift and stepped inside. Before he could close the gate a dark-skinned man dressed in floor-length robes and a turban ushered in three boys before stepping in himself, "Thank you for holding."
"No problem, Father," Simon replied out of habit. As the traveled upward he found himself asking, "Are you on Hajj?"
The Imam graced him with a smile, "Yes. Once in every lifetime should there be a Great Hajj. To know God better."
Simon nodded, "I take that you've seen the Core Worlds then and are now heading to New Mecca?"
"I might just be taking that Hajj with you then," Simon said softly. He could use a miracle or three right about now.
"God always has room for one more," the Imam replied, settling his hand on his youngest pilgrim's shoulder.
The lift reached the top of the tower, and the pilgrims assisted Simon as he moved his stuff. One of the boys scurried off and returned with a loader and his brothers helped Simon place the boxes and bags onto it, chattering in Arabic the entire time with light sing-song voices that made the doctor's dark mood much lighter.
He looked over what he could see of the huge Hunter-Gratzner as he steered his belongings toward it, the boys playing around with each other and seeming to be all over the place at once. He glanced over at the Imam and noticed that the man had a serene smile on his face as he watched his charges play.
This was a bit more high-class than the other ship, sure. But he could get farther away from those seeking him. He glanced at the passengers, noting that there was a nice mix of classes and ages on this ship. Families both high-classed set to take an exotic vacation and low-classed following work, businessmen ranging from suited desk workers to shopkeepers to art dealers, prospectors, pilgrims -- and the fella with the badge already had his bounty. Simon thought that he'd blend right in.
He had to negotiate getting his cryo-cargo hooked into the ship's systems, and felt lucky that there were enough empty cryo-lockers that the captain, Tom Mitchell, was rather eager to accommodate him.
Simon had never been in cryo before, although he knew all the medical factors and jargon involved with it. He'd put others into cryo. It was safe enough. He chewed on the inside of his cheek as Greg Merritt, a cryo systems technician, moved over from the 'No Early Release' lockdown cryo-locker that he'd installed for the redheaded badge. "It's top of the line technology. Do you need converters?" He offered as Merritt studied the self-contained system.
"The ones that came with the unit would form the most secure seal," the fact that the older, used converters the ship had might malfunction was left unsaid. Simon turned to his unloaded luggage before Douglas Owens, Communications Officer, could wheel it away. He retrieved the converters and handed them over. Shortly thereafter Owens returned and handed him a cargo code for his luggage. Simon glanced at the mix of Arabic, Chinese, and Anglo symbols, committing them to memory before slipping the card into a vest pocket. The Arabic was a rare sight here, on Persephone. He guessed that it was far more common where he was going.
A blonde woman approach him, "That'll be 10,000 creds, Mr. Tam."
He glanced over at her, noticing her jacket claimed that her name was Carolyn Fry. "Yes. Thousand-note bills okay?" Her hand extended flat towards him. It must have been okay then. He paid her with ten oversized Alliance notes. She flashed him a smile that rivaled the honey-haired woman back at Serenity before moving away to pay the docking fees.
Watching her, Simon wondered if he'd made the right choice.
He wasn't sure how much time passed before he managed to gather himself together and force his shivering, naked form through the halls of his ship. The mental hum of her quiet support steadied him, easing away the bleak pain of his interior hollowness. Try as she might, the TARDIS couldn't fill that blank spot in his mind. Her knowledge, her constant readings, the multi-threaded ebb and flow of her internal systems were like a drop landing on an ocean basin gone dry. But she was trying, so he figured he should try too.
He wanted something to mark him as different, now. He was less prone to the outlandish fashions of his other lives. Just something comfortable. Timeworn like his soul. Faded jeans, an assortment of thin sweaters and tees in darkish colors, a loose blazer-cut leather jacket… All far too plain for any of his other lives. He didn't care. The style suited him, and he didn't need a mirror to dress for there were no ties to mess with, nothing to straighten, just simple comfort. The fact that he could avoid looking at his face was a bonus. He didn't want to see the haunted look that he knew lurked deep inside his eyes.
He looked around and located several other pairs of jeans in different finishes that were the same simple style. He'd take them too, and perhaps something would move him to change his pants once in a while. The doctor finished up his trip to the wardrobe room with a few pairs of comfortable shoes, half a dozen soft socks and y-fronts. His arms full, he set off to claim a room for himself, one different than the other eight he already possessed.
The TARDIS actually accommodated him by moving the perfect room to a point near the main control bay. It was clean-lined, uncluttered, with dark warm colors and heated enough to remind him that he could want to sleep. The bed was heaped with pillows and duvets, looking altogether fluffy, like he could sink into it and never even desire coming out. 'Tempting, but no,' he told the ship. 'Maybe later, though.' She thrummed in agreement with him as he turned his attention to unloading his arms.
The Doctor was methodical about putting his things away. He carefully shook each item out and refolded it, perfectly lining everything up just so. He color coded each item into its perfect spot, using the rather nifty ebony cubbies that took up one wall and functioned as both a closet and a dresser. The socks and y-fronts went into spaces with drawers inserted into them. The coat had a perfect hook, near enough to the door that he could snatch it on the way out. The pairs of shoes each had a cubby with a raised area so that they wouldn't slip out. Then the jeans, sweaters and tees all had their own level. But getting it right took time.
So he took it, even as the sounds of his ship alerted him that they had landed. Blast it. He wasn't ready for this. He wanted, say, a hundred-year break. Just as he finished placing the last sweater away the claxon started to go off. "Well, whatever did you decide to land here for?" he argued with the ship as she begin to scream at him. "Fine!" He stomped out into the main control area and realized that the location the TARDIS materialized at was in the process of speeding down to a yellowish planetary surface at an unforgiving rate. 'Oh – hellfire and damnation…' He grabbed for whatever handhold he could find and wondered if fate was having a good belly laugh at his expense.