"So, run by me just who the hell the Daleks are?" Crichton asked. "I mean…"
The Doctors – both of them – looked up at him, annoyance plain on their faces, and to John's surprise, so did the others.
"There're a legend," Aeryn said. "Like Bagoo Men are to humans."
"Bogeymen," both the Doctors replied before John could say anything. "And they're not Bogeymen," added the Thirteenth Doctor. "They're far worse. Genetically engineered murderers, in Dalekanium armour. Destroyers."
"Legend had it that they were the destroyers of whole systems," D'argo said. "That they fought a war against the guardians of light, and were annihilated."
"Sort of, yes," the Other Doctor said. "They fought a war in the heavens, against my people, and died trying to kill those who resided there."
The Thirteenth Doctor looked at him, oddly.
"What incarnation are you?" he asked.
The Other Doctor looked at him, and sighed.
"Too long a story," he said. "Far too long."
The Thirteenth Doctor wanted to know, though, so he held up his hands. Realising what the Doctor intended, the Other Doctor sighed, and submitted, and the Doctor grabbed his head, and sifted through his mind.
And suddenly, the tale was regaled him. The man, Jackson Lake, who had been so happy, had lost everything. His wife and son were murdered by the Cybermen. In despair, and with the help of a backfiring info-stamp or two, he had assumed the identity of the Doctor, and had sought to battle the Cybermen. The real Doctor, though, had come to aid him, unknowingly – but had been killed in battle against the Cyber-King. Despairing once more, Lake, searching far and wide, and nearly killing himself by using the info-stamps on himself, had found the Doctors TARDIS, repaired it, and somehow assumed the identity of the Doctor on a wider scale. But his grief threatened to consume him, and so he had, in grief, gone exploring – avoiding Earth. Thus, he had ended up on Moya, and gladly stayed there, grateful for the rest. Until now.
He had been reckless, too. Experimented with the Chameleon Arch, and used it to alter his own DNA – he had become a Time Lord, and discarded the human DNA happily – it was not who he wanted to be. That explained how the Doctor had shifted into him. He was the 'Next' Doctor, of sorts. His replacement.
Then Lake had studied the late Doctors adventures and library, becoming – while not exactly fluent – at least intelligent enough to have rudimentary control. And wanderlust was his forte. But he had lost so much, that the true Doctor could not help but pity him.
"Oh," the Doctor said. "I am sorry."
"So am I," the Lake-Doctor smiled. "Sorry for his death. But he lives on as me, and I as him."
"Right," the Doctor said, a grin widening over his face. "Well. Doctor. We have a universe to save."
"Oh, well," the Lake-Doctor grinned. "That's easy. Pilot!"
"Yes, Doctor?" Pilot asked. The Lake-Doctor quickly did some mental calculations, and as he had been a mathematics teacher, that was not so difficult.
"How difficult would it be for Moya to generate a central-ultra high temporal frequency wave pulse?" he asked, speaking very quickly. Pilot raised an eyebrow.
"I do not know," he said truthfully. "I am unaware of what those things are."
The Doctors sighed.
"Here, lets just build one," the Doctor said.
"Agreed," the Lake-Doctor said. "Now then…"
After roughly half an arn, there it was. Both the Doctors had been jumping around, but now, they were done.
It was a big thing, built from scavenged parts from the TARDIS junkyards. Green light, corally texture.
"Will that thing work?" Chiana asked, eyeing it suspiciously.
"It better do," the Lake-Doctor said. "We've built five thousand, thousand, on every other Moya."
To the blank looks, the Thirteenth Doctor merely shrugged. "I'll explain later," he said.
He grinned, then he flicked a switch. The room suddenly glowed with a white light, glowing brighter, and brighter...
"Ready!" the Other Doctor yelled.
"NOW!" yelled Thirteen.
And then the light vanished.
The Doctors ran to the screen. The light was spreading across the universe, each and every other Moya vanishing into the darkness, the rift itself vanishing. The two Doctors smiled. The Daleks that were spreading like a plague across the space vanished too, destroyed by the pure energy. Only thirty three Moya's, including the one of their origin, had been destroyed. Out of countless billions, that was a small price to pay. The Daleks were defeated, without ever having to set eyes on the ugly mutant monstrosities.
"Multiverses saved," the Doctor grinned.
"Daleks defeated," the Lake-Doctor added.
"A job well done," the Doctor finished. "Oh yes."
He noticed that the Lake-Doctor still looked a little sad. Too sad. His Moya, his world, his TARDIS – they were all gone. Nonetheless, he too was smiling. The Doctor smiled with him – for them, this was a good days work well done. Then the Doctor looked at his suddenly bleeping sonic screwdriver, and smiled.
"This day," he grinned, "just keeps getting better."
The TARDIS looked different.
Obviously it didn't, but to the others, used to seeing it as just a dead piece of wood, it suddenly looked – and almost felt – alive.
"The regeneration cycle is complete," the Doctor grinned. He walked over to it, and placed a hand on it. "The TARDIS is fixed!"
"What does that mean?" Lake asked.
"That means that my Second Exile on Moya is over," the Doctor said, only a hint of sadness in his joyful tone. He stroked the wood, then turned to Chiana, who was watching him intently.
"Come with me," he said to her. "I have adventures, fun, you're always in danger here anyway."
She thought about it long and hard, but shook her head, throwing a glance at her friends.
"As much as I want to, I have a life here," she said. "I don't wanna leave it."
The Doctor sighed, but nodded with a smile. Then he turned to Lake.
"No," Lake said. "I want to remain. This Moya will need a guardian angel, now, and it might as well be me."
"I can think of none better," the Doctor smiled. Because he remembered his own universes Jackson Lake. A good man. "If anyone had to be the Doctor, Jackson, I'm glad it was you. Doctor," he added.
"Oh, no," Jackson grinned, waving the title away, but the Doctor grabbed his hand.
"Listen to me," he said. "You. Earned. It."
He grinned, and Jackson smiled.
"Thank you, Doctor," he said.
"No, thank you Doctor," the Doctor said. Then he went inside the TARDIS, and the great box dematerialised from Moya. The others watched in silence, then Jackson Lake – the Doctor – clapped his hands together, and smiled.
"Who's for tea?" he asked.
On a peacekeeper command carrier some way away, a Captain Soren looked at the screen.
Space was big, he knew. Huge. But one day, all the Gods willing, it would all know the name 'Peacekeeper'. He swore it.
Dressed in long leather coat, black leather undershirt and black trousers, the only incongruous thing about him was the little watch on a chain he wore, which he said reminded him that 'time is as much an enemy as Scarran or Nebari'.
Even though he never opened it.
Even though he thought it was broken.
Even though, deep in his mind, he heard the sound that made that watch something more sinister.
Duh, duh, duh dum. Duh, duh, duh dum. Duh, duh, duh dum. Duh, duh, duh dum.
He was seeking something. Rumours of a nameless entity, who went by a title. Rumours of a being who could travel in time.
"I will find the Doctor," he murmured. "If it's the last thing I do."
And somehow, those words were not unfamiliar…
To be continued in: Drums.
Thank you for reading.