A/N: Well well well... episode 13. Unlucky number, so watch this story be terrible lol! I hope not anyway. I'm not doing a synopsis or anything because I don't want to ruin anything, and there'll be a lack of author notes at the top because I probably will end up ruining it in one of my rambles (which i'm sure you'll be all so distraught to lose). So I hope you enjoy it, and I hope I actually tie it up decently - you'd be surprised how bloody hard it is to work out a story arc type thing. Anywhooo... there's flashbacks in this and they'll be in lovely slanty writing X3 so it won't be too confusing. And plus it's more fun that having someone standing and explaining EVERYTHING in a boring monotone voice. And I'll be updating quickly (hence it starting so soon after the end of Degeneration) because I want it done before xmas. Cos I'm weird like that. And I want to start series 2 in the new year. Cos I'm weird like that. :S
Whoosh, that's enough of the rambling. ONWARDS! (-unsheaths sword-)
The Beginning of the End
Orbiting Sol III (aka Earth)
March 20th, 2008
The Doctor blew out loudly between his pursed lips and tapped the sonic screwdriver on his knee, watching the screen in front of him on the console. The bar that showed the progress of the most recent upgrade for the TARDIS seemed to be stuck on 95 percent, and had been stuck on 95 percent for at least twenty minutes. If there was one thing that the Doctor hated more than anything; more than Cybermen, more than Daleks… it was having to wait for these blasted upgrades to finish.
'C'mon,' he grunted as the bar crept up two percent. 'C'mon, that's my girl.'
It crept up to 99 percent, and then stopped again. The Doctor watched, frowning, and then sighed heavily when it didn't go any further. He leaned back, rubbing his face, and groaned heavily.
It wouldn't have been so bad if he were somewhere quieter. Like perhaps orbiting the Earth in the 1400s, where no one would have bothered him. Or even the early 1900s would have been better! Someone probably would spot him in their telescope but just assume they had been helping themselves to one too many puffs of opium and gone for a lie down. But 2008… well, he could barely stay in orbit for more than five minutes without having someone needing him.
It would be nice if humans could sort out their own problems once and a while. Just give him a break. A break to… well, go and sort out someone else's problem. Blimey, he did sort out a lot of problems didn't he? Perhaps, he mused, I should get my own help line.
His train of thought was interrupted as the blue bar on the screen finally filled up to 100 percent. With a 'whoop' he hopped off the chair and patted the console. 'And about time too!' he told the TARDIS. 'You're just getting old and clanky, aren't you?'
The TARDIS hummed a little louder in response, and the Doctor looked at it with raised eyebrows.
'Well just listen to you! Can't take a joke anymore, that's for sure.' He was just about to set off to anywhere that wasn't anywhere near Earth, when he noticed something on the screen. He moved towards it, pulling his glasses out of his inside pocket and pushing them up his nose. 'Hello…' he murmured. 'Now what's this?'
Something was entering Earth's atmosphere. It had glided right by the TARDIS and was quickly approaching the UK. That would be right, the Doctor thought, that place just attracts trouble. He tried to get a reading on what kind of aircraft it was, but it had gone down too quick. If he had been around the other side of the console then he would have missed it completely.
He stood for a moment, debating whether or not to go after it. Well he might as well; it wasn't as if his diary was crammed up with things he should be doing. He clicked his tongue and began to set coordinates for the United Kingdom.
'One of these days,' he told the TARDIS. 'I'm going to learn to mind my own business.' He snapped back a lever at the TARDIS began to descend. 'Doubt it'll be anytime soon though.'
Much to his bewilderment, he didn't land in London. It was strange landing on Earth in the 21st Century and not opening the doors to be faced with the houses of parliament, or the London Eye, or even that quaint little Italian restaurant he always seemed to land behind recently. He had landed behind somewhere, but it most certainly wasn't London.
He stepped out of the TARDIS and looked around, pulling the door shut. The first thing he noticed was a bleary looking young man leaning against the brick wall, blinking lazily at him and the TARDIS.
'Hello there!' the Doctor beamed happily as he approached. 'Look, this might seem like a strange question but…' He paused, noticing the stains down the front of the man's shirt. 'Oh, now well look at you. You've been a bit sick there…' He winced. 'You know what? Carry on. It's not important.' He left the bleary man gawping at the TARDIS and headed out of the narrow alley, stepping out onto a dark, cobbled street. He looked both ways and then pulled out his sonic screwdriver.
He wasn't surprised when he picked up low levels of telepathic impulses coming from somewhere nearby as there were a lot of humans who were telepathic in someway or another, but when the signal suddenly grew quite strong – strong in the sense that the sonic screwdriver actually whirred noisily and then went temporarily dead, his brow wrinkled. He shook it and bashed it off his hand.
'Oh now yes,' he grumbled. 'That would just have to happen, wouldn't it? I have the most fantastical contraptions in the universe, but they're less reliable than a bleeding blind tortoise.'
He was walked into suddenly and he stumbled back two steps, startled by the sudden invasion on his person. He glanced around, startled but still ready to apologise.
'Watch where you're going!' a slightly slurred, female voice snapped at him. 'Jesus, what am I, invisible?'
The Doctor looked at the fish-eyed young woman and raised his eyebrows. She was swaying, frowning pointedly at him. 'Not with hair like that you're certainly not.'
The young woman ran an unsteady hand through her vibrant red hair and scowled. 'Are you taking the mickey? Cos I don't like…' She stopped and hiccupped. She blinked, her left eye slower to respond that her right and then looked at him in bewilderment. 'You don't know what time it is, do you?'
The Doctor half smiled, amused. 'Sorry.' He replied. 'Would you like me to help you find a taxi or something? You look a little… intoxicated.'
The girl grimaced at him and began to stagger away. 'Bloody men…' she muttered. 'All the bloody same… ask for the time and they think they've...' She hiccupped again and stumbled off the curb. She cursed drunkenly, and then carried on her way, walking in the gutter.
The Doctor watched her go, shaking his head. When would humans learn that they devolved about five thousand years when they drank alcohol? He glanced down at the sonic screwdriver and gave it another shake. It buzzed back into life and he moved it around, until he began to receive the signal again.
It took him a few minutes to accept that the signal was coming from the drunken red head who had stopped to check the bus times on a nearby bus shelter. Just to be sure, he walked right up behind her and shone the screwdriver at the back of her head.
'What?' he exclaimed, nose wrinkling. 'How can you be emitting such high levels of telepathy? Human beings shouldn't be giving off these kind of levels for at least another couple of thousand years! What have you been drinking?'
The girl turned around and looked at him in alarm, then she batted the screwdriver away. 'Oi!' she snarled. 'Bugger off, will you?'
'What's your name?' the Doctor enquired. 'Are you human?'
'What kind of stupid…' Hiccup. ' Stupid arse question is that…?' She turned and pointed at the bus timetable. 'Is there a bus due?'
The Doctor glanced at it quickly. 'No, I don't think so. So… you're human? Where do you live?'
The girl shoved him back. 'Bloody weirdo…' she muttered, and then fishtailed away down the street, pulling her phone out of her pocket. The Doctor watched after her as she fumbled with it, pausing to lean against the shutters of a closed second-hand shop, and then put the phone to her ear.
'Manny!' she called into the handset. 'Ma… Manny… Manny can you hear me? Look… good, yeah… right, can you ring me a taxi to pick me up from…' She stopped and glanced around. 'Um… I don't know where I am…'
The Doctor rolled his eyes. This was going to be awkward. He would have to find out where she had come from and if the spacecraft that had landed in the area had any link with her, but while she was in this state he had no chance. It looked like he was going to have to do a spot of anonymous investigation. Hopefully he could get to the bottom of all of this without having to get in her way again. He had never liked drunken humans.
It would probably turn out to be nothing, but it would pass the time for a little while.
'I swear to God if you don't all back off right now I'll turn you all into frigging coal dust!'
Ashley sent a small plume of fire in the direction of the nearest advancing soldiers, causing them to back off again. Behind her the Doctor lay on the floor, still unconscious, and the TARDIS stood with its doors open. In front of her stood dozens of soldiers and a grinning Timothy Crowe. A soldier tried to sneak up on her right and she sent another ball of heat in his direction.
'I said back off!' she roared.
'Magnificent!' Timothy Crowe applauded, beaming proudly. 'Absolutely magnificent. If I'm totally honest I didn't think you would ever get the hang of it. Have you done anything else yet? I remember the empathy thing, that worked very well with the soldiers the last time. Any mind reading? Sight? Oh it's going to be wonderful to catch up with you again.'
Ashley glared at him. 'I'm not joking. You come near us and I'll kill you.'
Crowe tilted his head and smiled. 'Oh I sincerely doubt that. You see, I've been doing a lot of research on your friend there…' He paused, taking a moment to regard the Doctor. 'Looks like you had a bit of a spat in there. Care to share?'
Ashley continued to stare at him, saying nothing.
'Okay, that's fine. If you'd like to keep the domestic situation private then I understand completely.' He pitched his voice to a stage whisper. 'Although it looks like you came out on top, yes?' He chuckled at the snarl on her face. 'Anyway, yes… I very much doubt that your friend would condone you burning thirty or so men to death just so you could make a clean getaway, do you?'
'I wouldn't be burning them,' Ashley replied. 'Just you. And I'm pretty sure he wouldn't mind that.'
Crowe chuckled again, but there wasn't as much humour. 'Of course. But you're not going to do anything of the sort.' He turned his head to the right. 'Lorna, if you please.'
Before Ashley could look around to the person he had signalled, she felt a sudden sharp pain in her neck. With a grunt she grabbed at the area, pulling out a short, silver dart. She frowned at it, and then looked to Crowe.
'You're trying to sedate me?' she asked, incredulously.
Crowe clapped his hands. 'Oh, now where's the fun in that? How would we be able to have our chat if you were out cold.' He began to walk towards her, making her flinch.
She stuck her hands out at him. 'I'm warning you.' She said, nervously.
'Warn away.' He grinned.
Ashley gritted her teeth, concentrating on that warmth, but nothing happened. Stricken, she looked at her hands, and tried again. Then she realised. 'How did you do that?' she cried. 'What did you do!'
Crowe grabbed her by her wrists and pulled her closer to him, turning the scarred side of his face towards her. 'Don't worry, sweetheart. It's just temporary. Although it doesn't really matter whether it's temporary for you or not anyway, seeing as you'll be dead by the time it wears off.' He mocked thought by looking up towards the ceiling. 'Tell you what though… there's a few things I'd like you and your Doctor to… trash out if you will, so I think we should go and get a nice cup of tea and wait for him to wake up.' He turned his whole face to Ashley. 'I wouldn't want him to miss out.'