A/N: The second and final part (apologies for my poor Latin)...
Mind Altering - Part II
It was London. There was no escaping it. Fred had tried to find something different about it and had failed. She stood on the pavement as the bus pulled away, the Doctor beside her pointing out buildings and chuckling.
'Well, this is quite something. Modern London next to Ancient Rome.'
'Why and...how?' Fred asked, baffled.
'No idea...but there's something very good about this. We know where all of the leaders are! Parliament! If it really is like London they should be...that way!' The Doctor spun around, beaming with excitement. 'C'mon! Let's not dilly-dally.'
Fred half-jogged to keep up with him. 'Doctor? Don't you think we should find out what's going on before we go storming in there? We have no captus - '
The Doctor stopped and wheeled around to face her. 'Oh-ho! What did you just say?'
'I was just saying that we have no idea - '
'But that wasn't what you said was it?'
'Yes, it was.'
'No, it wasn't.'
'Yes! It was!'
'It was what you meant to say! You said cappy-something. It's this.' He pulled the gum from his mouth and Fred made a face at it. 'This has affected you little brain box and it's making your language and this language mix.'
Fred opened her mouth but was cut off by an old man muttering to himself as he walked past:
'Leviculus salutor. Votum they would licentia quod nunquam redeo.'
The Doctor and Fred watched as the man struggled past. 'So...what?' Fred asked, turning back to the Doctor. 'The longer you stay here and the more of this gum you have, the more of the language you speak?'
'Seems so.' The Doctor sighed and seemed pensive before looking up and gesturing to a cafe. 'Let's have some tea and think about this.'
Fred slurped her second cup of tea, happy to be out of the blazing sun and in this air-conditioned cafe surrounded by people who looked like everyday people from London. A welcome relief from the bizarre things she had been encountering.
'Right.' The Doctor said, straightening up in his chair opposite her. 'So we've got Ancient Rome, custard flavoured language chewing gum, modern London...what else?'
'Weird sand. And what do you mean 'custard flavoured'? Did you have a different flavour?'
'What flavour was yours?'
'Raspberry. Which is weird because it's my favourite.'
'Really? Custard's mine too...' he drifted off for a moment and Fred watched him, fascinated before he slammed his hand down on the table making her jump. 'Got it! So this Gauisus Diripio is created to be everyone's favourite flavour. Why?'
'To make them keep buying it.' Fred replied immediately through a mouth of biscuit. She had come to term with the fact that she would never be deemed 'skinny' a while ago and was now embracing biscuits with open arms.
'Exactly! To keep them docile. But why? Why do you need to keep them docile? What's this planet hiding?'
'It must be some sort of corrupt system. Someone at the top is up to something.'
'How do you get to Parliament from here?'
'Will you stop talking about...yeah! That sand was weird wasn't it?' The Doctor was looking pensive. 'It's no good. I've not seen anything like it before.'
'It was sort of...powdery. Not like real sand. It was like...' Fred trailed off, trying to think of the right words.
'Go on.' The Doctor encouraged, eyes shining. 'What was it like? Remember it. Squeeze your mind.'
'It was sort of...like a bad imitation of sand. Like someone had tried to make sand but hadn't - '
'...hadn't got it quite right!' The Doctor finished, triumphantly. 'We are BRILLIANT! C'mon! To Parliament!'
It took them almost two hours to find the Houses of Parliament. Evidently, geography was not the Doctor's best subject. Fred was ashamed to say that she was no use either. She had only been to London a handful of times and had a bad memory for streets and buildings. The Doctor stood and stared at the colossal building for a while. Fred tried to wait patiently but found that she really didn't have it in her.
'Doctor? What are we hoping to find here? And how are we going to get in?'
'Oh, that's easy. We'll use my psychic paper.'
'What, that stuff you used on that cranky old bus? What is that?'
'Well, basically, in a nutshell...I think it, it comes up on the paper. Simple.'
'Oh.' Fred said, surprised by the simplicity of this idea. 'Right. Great. Do you have an answer to my first question?'
'What are we hoping to find? Hmm. Trickier. An alien. An evil genius. An evil, alien genius, maybe. Ooh, that wouldn't be good. Suppose we'd better find out.' Without anymore explanation, the Doctor began striding toward the entrance of the building. Just before the main entrance, he stopped suddenly and looked around him.
'What are those?' He pointed to a small, grey device on the wall. He glanced around again. 'Look! They're everywhere! What are they?'
'I dunno.' Fred said, squinting at them. 'They look like speakers.'
'Yeah, you know. Loads of towns and cities use them for notices like 'don't leave any unattended baggage' and things like that.'
'Oh yes!' The Doctor beamed. 'Oh, this'll be good! C'mon! We're going to bring down this government. I feel like an anarchist!'
Fred was wary of being caught out. The Doctor's psychic paper had got them into the building but the place was still crawling with security. His unpredictable ways were beginning to take their toll on Fred and she was afraid that they both looked suspicious. The Doctor was wandering here and there, then changing direction and then back again. Thankfully, he stopped striding about, glanced around shiftily before reaching over an empty security desk and fiddling with some wires.
'Doctor? What - '
'Shhh!' he hissed. 'Cover me!' Fred stood in front of him for all the good it did due to their difference in height. She heard the whirring of his sonic screwdriver and then a triumphant yelp. 'Yes! It'll be broadcasting at a flick of a switch!' He emerged from behind the desk clutching a tiny plastic microphone. He grinned at Fred. 'I have a theory! And a plan! Well, a sort of plan. We just need to find the Prime Minister.' With that, he was striding again, this way and that, up steps then back down and through the same door, then another door, up steps, through a new door then:
'Doctor! Stop!' she grabbed his arm and pulled him to a halt in a wood panelled corridor. 'Tell me what's going on. What's your theory?'
'My theory? Ah, good old theories! Can get you a lot of places, theories can. This one is particularly good. Well...'
'Doctor.' Fred interrupted, spotting a man over the Doctor's shoulder. 'He looks pretty important.'
The Doctor whipped around, spying a middle aged man with greying hair marching down the wood panelled corridor in the distance, protected by two burly security officers.
'Aha!' The Doctor grinned. 'Just the ticket. Excuse me!' He called to the man who promptly stopped and glared at the Doctor.
'Yes?' The man hissed, his voice a touch too high for his stature.
'I was just wondering when my meeting with the Prime Minister will get underway.' Fred couldn't help but admire the Doctor's smooth blagging.
'I have no meetings scheduled this morning. You must be mistaken.'
'You're the Prime Minister? What a joy to meet you!' The Doctor made to shake his hand but the security guards stepped in front of the Prime Minister.
'What is it you wanted?' The Prime Minister asked.
'I believe you wanted to replenish your supply of these?' Fred intervened smoothly, pulling out the wrapper of her Gauisus Diripio out of her pocket. The Prime Ministers face fell and he beckoned them into his office. Fred risked a glance at the Doctor who was grinning broadly as he entered the Prime Minister's office and took a seat without being invited to do so. Fred leaned against the wall to his right, terrified and excited by their improvisation and possible events to come. As she passed him, the slid something into her pocket and muttered,
'When I give you a wink, switch it on.'
'I was expecting you until tomorrow.' The Prime Minister began as he sat down opposite the Doctor. 'I need some sort of identification. I can't just take your word for it. This is a dangerous business.' Fred felt panic build up inside her until the Doctor grinned, pulled his psychic paper and gave it the Prime Minister with a flourish.
'I'm the Doctor, by the way. This is my good friend Fred.' Fred felt the tension in her shoulders ease, reassured by the Doctor's relaxed attitude. The Prime Minister stared at the paper for a moment before breaking into spontaneous laughter.
'How wonderful!' He said, wiping his eyes. 'This is alien technology, isn't it? I've seen something like this before but nothing so convincing. It must be very advanced; it had me going for a moment before I fought it off.'
'Ah!' To Fred's bafflement, the Doctor still seemed completely relaxed. 'Can't kid a kidder, eh?' He said, grinning and taking the paper back from the Prime Minister. The Doctor pulled out the Gauisus Diripio wrapper from his pocket. 'So what is this stuff? Some sort of mind altering gum? Willy Wonka would love you.'
'What makes you think I would tell you, stranger? You have discovered my little secret. Congratulations. I commend you for your excellent detective work but I'm afraid it's done you more harm than good.'
'C'mon!' The Doctor said. 'Give me a clue. You're dishing these out to your people so they start speaking another language and they are all docile and not taking a blind bit of notice to all of the varying aspects of time merging together. That much I know. But you've replicated the human race. Why? Why do that?'
The Prime Minister eyed him before standing and looking out of the large window behind his desk. 'You are already dead, Doctor. What's a five more minutes to your sentence?'
While the Prime Minister studied the people outside through the window, the Doctor glanced at Fred and winked. With a trembling hand, she reached into her pocket and flicked the switch with a wince expecting explosions, gunshots and holes in time and space. The works. After two seconds, Fred opened her eyes and relaxed. Everything was how it had been.
'Very well,' The Prime Minister was saying. 'I shall answer your question. This is planet Earth. My planet Earth. My race is small and we have often observed these...humans.' He eyed Fred this time who shifted uncomfortably against the wall. 'I have created all of my favourite parts of human history and merged them onto one planet. Quite a spectacle don't you agree, Doctor?'
'But why?' The Doctor asked, frowning. 'How have you recreated the human race?'
The Prime Minister laughed and threw his head back. 'Oh, Doctor! You don't think I've honestly recreated an entire race, do you? No, no. You give me far too much credit. These are droids, Doctor. Useless, domestic droids. And look at what I've done with them. I've created something spectacular; these droids have lives. They feel. At least, they think they do.'
'Why? What's the point of it all?' The Doctor glanced over his shoulder at the door behind him. As Fred listened, she could a sort of buzzing from outside.
'Why, Doctor? I did it because everyone likes to play God. Everyone would like to have their own little doll's house to play with. My race have died out, Doctor. Do you have any idea how that feels? Do you know how alone I am?'
Fred noticed that the Doctor had suddenly gone very still. 'Yes.' He said softly. 'Yes. I understand.' He sighed. 'But I can't let you do this. Your droids know the truth.'
The Prime Minister laughed. 'No they don't, Doctor. Don't you think I've kept this from them?'
The Doctor looked at him sadly.'This is being broadcast. Through those speakers you so conveniently placed around here. They all know. Look out of your window. They've all shut down. That's what's you programmed them to do, isn't it? To shut down if they ever found out? Wise, I think. They might have turned on you.'
The Prime Minister was shell-shocked, pressing himself against the window and gazing down at his precious droids. Fred suddenly felt her heart lurch as wave of sympathy washed over her. For all his faults, he was a lonely old man; the last of his kind. He turned to her and the Doctor.
'What will you do with me?' He swallowed. 'Kill me?'
The Doctor looked at him and laughed sadly. 'No. I don't do that.' He sighed and thought for moment. 'I was going to send you away. Take you with us and leave you on some planet.'
'Please, Doctor. No.'
The Doctor studied him for a moment before saying, 'No. No, I won't.' He stood. 'You should stay here.'
The Prime Minister's face lit up. The Doctor spoke again. 'On one condition.'
'I can shut down the system. You need to stop influencing these droids. Let them be who they are. Stop trying to create a universal language. Earth isn't like that.'
'I...thank you, Doctor.' The Prime Minister said, flushing. 'Not many people would have been so merciful.'
The Doctor laughed as he removed the last piece of the complex whirring system situated under Parliament. 'Well, that's me! The Merciful Doctor.'
'I thought you were the Jolly Doctor.' Fred piped up with a raise eyebrow.
'I'm both! Jolly and merciful. That's me.'
The Prime Minister smiled. 'I thought you were going to kill me.'
The Doctor's grin faded. 'You're the last of your kind.' He placed his hand on the Prime Minister's shoulder. 'I can understand that; the loneliness, the isolation, the...idea that nobody else will ever understand and that you'll never meet one of your kind again. I can understand that. You need company so you can live out the rest of your days in peace.'
Watching the Doctor speaking so sadly, Fred felt a lump rise in her throat. She swallowed and blinked, turning her back on the both of them.
'Was it this hot last time?' The Doctor was tugging at his bow-tie as he sweltered in the heat on his way back to the T.A.R.D.I.S. Fred was a few paces behind as usual, the hot non-sand brushing over her feet.
'Yeah, I reputo is eram.'
'You humans! So weak when it comes to mind-altering chewing gum and sand!'
'What? The sand's mind-altering!'
'Yep. You see, your 'weird sand' comments set us on the path to discovering the truth about the planet Parum Terra!' Fred looked unimpressed. He shrugged. 'Well, it's something to put in your diary, isn't it?'
'Hmm. I suppose.'
'What's wrong with you? We just saved millions of droids from mind alteration. Not a bad day's work.'
'I just...don't feel like I did much. I'm not sure that I'm cut out for this. I can't think quick enough.'
He snorted again. 'Now that's nonsense! If you hadn't got that about the sand being weird or told me that we had different flavour chewing gums this would never have been solved! Tell you what, to cheer you up, you can pick the next place we go.' He dropped his arm around her shoulders and grinned when her face brightened.
'Really? Hang on, why are you being so nice?'
He stopped and smiled at her. 'Quoniam vestri smile est decorus quod is planto mihi gauisus.'
There was a pause where looked a little embarrassed and she grinned. He cleared his throat and she began to laugh. 'Er...sorry. I don't know why I said that.'
'Ha! Brilliant! Just after you gave ME a lecture on being weak to mind altering drugs. Then you come out and say a whole sentence in another language.'
'Oh!' The Doctor brightened. 'Was it in another language? You don't know what I said? Oh. Well.' He looked awkward again before he flung one arm in the air and said triumphantly, 'Ah! There she is!'
Fred forgot the mystery of the Doctor's lost sentence when she saw the T.A.R.D.I.S.; her legs desperately crying for relief and her hair crying for a wash. Just before he reached the door, the Doctor stopped and gazed down at the sand. Once she had caught up, Fred stopped next to him and looked down too. There, amongst the hot non-sand, were her blue shoes. She grinned and picked them up, feeling as though they were an old friend.
'So you were wearing my socks while we were meeting the Prime Minister and walking through the streets of non-London?' The Doctor asked, a smile tugging at his lips.
'Oh.' Fred said, feeling a little embarrassed and looking down at her feet. 'Yes.'
He grinned and opened the T.A.R.D.I.S. door. 'Come on then. Still plenty more to see.'
Fred beamed at him and slid through the door, still clutching her shoes; a pair of charcoal grey socks on her feet.
Well, there we are! Their first adventure. Please tell me what you thought of it by reviewing.
I love hearing what you think :)