VIII

The Doctor stopped dead, looked up from his console, and gasped.

"We have to go help Carrie!" he said.

"Why?" Daniel asked, confused. "What's happened?"

"The other Doctor – the Fake Doctor – he's been stabbed!" the Doctor explained.

"How do you know?" Daniel asked, confused. The other Doctor wasn't anywhere in sight.

"He might be a fake me," the Doctor replied, "but he is a Time Lord. We're linked. And he's been stabbed."

"We have to help him, if we can," Daniel said, reasoning less for the other Doctors sake, more for Carrie's.

The Doctor made as if to run for the lift, but then he stopped, and a look of grim indecision came upon his features.

"We need to find out what Zoltran is planning," he said, solemnly. "We can't do that if we run off."

"The other Doctor went to see Zoltran didn't he?" Daniel countered, thinking wildly – they couldn't just leave Carrie to her fate. "Maybe he already knows!"

The Doctor smiled, slowly, and then he nodded.

"Very well then. Avanti!"

And with that, he ran off, leaving Daniel to follow him, grinning widely at the Doctor's impetuousness.

One day, he knew, it was probably going to get him killed.

--

Zoltran advanced on her, menacingly.

"You turn me down, come here with this clown, and you think I'm going to let you live…?!" he said, drooling with anticipation.

"I," a rather hurt voice came from the floor, "am not a clown."

Carrie looked at the floor, and she saw a balding head, shorter, and the voice had a north-England twang to it. The Doctor stood up, and Zoltran stood there gaping.

"Right then," the Doctor said. And he turned.

He was old. Fifty or more. He looked mildly peeved, his face obviously not capable of more – or maybe he wasn't. Carrie noted that he studiously avoided her eye.

"How…?" Zoltran said. "What…? Why…?"

"Do try to finish a sentence old boy," the Doctor said, with a smile. Then his eyes locked on Carrie for the first time, and he smiled sheepishly, before looking at Zoltran again.

"Guards!" the dictator yelled. Three guards ran for the time travellers, but the Doctor hit the first one, spun the second into the third, and turned a complete circuit, before smiling at Zoltran.

"That was fun," he opined. "Bit hectic."

He was still studiously avoiding Carrie's eyes. It was as if he didn't want to be reminded that she existed.

"How the hell do you keep doing that?!" Zoltran screamed. "Why the hell don't you just bloody die!!"

The Doctor raised an eyebrow, and smiled.

"You'd be amazed how many time someone says that to me," he said. He scratched the back of his neck, and smiled. "And regeneration is nice."

"Well, stop it!" the evil Zoltran screamed. "Just stop it!"

"Doctor?" Carrie said. He glanced back in her direction, but studiously didn't meet her eyes.

"Yes?" he said.

"Can we – y'know – leave now?" she asked. "I'm getting a tad worried."

"Well," the Doctor smiled, "we do have a Deadly Device of Doom etcetera, etcetera to destroy, but I take your point. I suggest we rejoin my other self and Daniel and tell them what we know."

"You aren't going anywhere!" Zoltran said, his voice suddenly, frighteningly, much calmer. He was aiming a futuristic laser pistol at the Doctor's head. "You're going to die, again."

The Doctor looked at the pistol as if it was a mildly annoying gnat.

"I don't think so," he said, and he kicked it out of the dictator's hand. "You lose, old bean." He then delivered a perfect nerve pinch to his foe's neck, and the old man collapsed.

"Where'd he keep that?" Carrie asked.

"I'll explain later," the Doctor said. He knew full well of course, but obviously, human olfactory senses were quite bad…

--

The Eighth Doctor and Daniel ran into the Fake Doctor and Carrie three minutes later.

"We know what it is!" Carrie yelled excitedly at Daniel. "We know exactly what it is!"

"What?" Daniel asked. But the Doctors were only staring at each other, having murmured "contact" again, and now they were walking off towards yet another corridor.

"Where are you going?!" Daniel asked.

"To destroy Zoltran's Deadly Whatever," the Eighth Doctor called. "My other self has it all figured out."

"So what is it then?" Daniel asked. But the Doctors didn't pay attention. Daniel turned and looked at Carrie. "Carrie?"

"Well," she said, grinning smugly, "let's just say - I'll explain later."

She ran after the Doctors, and Daniel sighed.

--

"So," the Fake Doctor said.

"So," the Eighth Doctor added.

"Blimey, he doesn't play around when he makes his deadly thingamabobs, does he?" Daniel said appreciatively.

The Deadly Device of Doom, Damnation and Destruction was fifty feet high, with a thick, tree-trunk-like middle section connected to an outer balcony only by a thin metal walkway. The top of it was a giant, sci-fi-stylised laser weapon aimed at the sky. The entire thing was sci fi silver and white.

"How the hell do we take that down?" Carrie asked.

"Simple," the Fake Doctor said, still not quite meeting her eyes. "I would imagine that if one of us went inside, and deactivate the – would you say Zactronium core?" the Fake Doctor asked his counterpart.

"Oh definitely," the Eighth Doctor said. "Without a doubt."

"What the hell's Zactronium?" Daniel asked.

"We'll explain later," the Doctor's said together, then looked at the machine. "Now," the Fake Doctor said.

At that moment, a hail of laser bolts crashed towards them. Daniel grabbed his own weapon and fired back, while the others took cover, but the Fake Doctor was too slow, and took a shot to the abdomen.

"Argh!" he yelled, landing at Carrie's feet.

"Stay still," the Eight Doctor said, tending his wound. The Fake Doctor's frock coat, by now, had more holes than coat so the Eighth Doctor discarded it, and removed the tie. "You'll be fine."

"I hope so," the Fake Eleventh Doctor said. "I'm sorry about how I've ignored you, my dear," he added to Carrie. "You must think I'm awfully rude."

"No," Carrie said, and she smiled. "No, you're alright."

"It's just this isn't a particularly flattering form," the Fake Doctor continued. "And… and I…"

The shooting stopped. Daniel had driven the enemy back for now.

"You rest," the Eighth Doctor smiled. The Fake Doctor nodded, and then slumped. Daniel came over.

"Is he…?" he asked. At that moment, the glowing light returned and the Fake Doctor's features were blotted out, before they became visible again and an extremely handsome, dashing looking man lay in the Fake Doctor's clothes.

"Whoa," Carrie said, eyes widening.

The Fake Doctor's eyes opened.

"Cabin fever," he said.