Disclaimer: As much as I'd like to, I don't own Doctor Who
Feedback: Of course
AN: A complicated chapter, but I feel it was worth the effort; we have a scene coming up soon that I'm REALLY looking forward to writing...
The Legacy of Gallifrey
"Right then," Jack said, as the various companions stared at the controls of their sole remaining TARDIS- the ship's forebodingly dark interior still didn't entirely comfort Martha, but this wasn't the time to be picky about the conditions they were working in-, "who wants to do what?"
"Well..." Ian said, looking uncertainly at the console, taking in what was in front of him as he tried to find something he recognised from his own Doctor's ship. "This looks like the door control, and this was the fast return switch on the TARDIS I know..."
"The dematerialisation circuit was normally located in here," Jo continued, indicating a particular panel. "The Doctor normally sets coordinates here, but since he could never get us where he was going I can't be certain how to set it now..."
"It's somewhere to start, anyway," Klein said, walking over to the area that Jo had pointed out before Leela suddenly had a knife at her throat.
"I will set the coordinates," Leela said, staring firmly at Klein. "I have lived among the Doctor's people for many seasons beyond my usual limit, and have learned at least some things about how to operate their machines; you may have taken knowledge of the TARDIS during your time with the Doctor, but I would not trust you to adhere to our current plans."
"We are all in the same boat here, Miss-" Klein began.
"If the Doctor you are travelling with does not completely trust you, I see no reason why I should do differently," Leela said, shooting a final glare in Klein's direction to make her position clear before turning to look at Tosh. "Where do we go?"
"That's... where it gets a bit trickier," Tosh said, her initially hopeful smile fading as she stared at the screen of the PDA she held in front of her, a concerned frown on her face as she studied the readouts. "I've managed to use the rift sensors to give us an approximate location for the area where the Timescoop took the Doctors- thanks to your own insight I've been able to work on making some improvements to the Hub's sensors to track this kind of activity-, but that still doesn't help me actually program this ship to follow it."
"Why not?" Barbara asked, looking inquiringly at Tosh.
"It's... well, I don't know how this ship actually processes coordinates," Tosh explained, looking apologetically at the history teacher. "I can calculate the coordinates based on the traditional galactic guide, but if this thing processes coordinates via the elliptical system I'm in a bit of trouble, and then there's the possibility that it calculates coordinates from a completely different starting point than what we're used to anyway..."
"In other words, we're still stuck," Claire said, rolling her eyes in frustration. "Bloody context; it's always a pain in the neck keeping that crap straight..."
"Hold on..." Amy said, looking thoughtfully at the TARDIS console. "Maybe I can..."
Before any of the other companions could react, Amy placed her hand on two flat, circular panels, and suddenly the entire console began to move, the central column moving in its familiar manner as the wheezing sound momentarily filled the room.
"What the-?" Fitz said, looking at the younger woman in confusion.
"That was the telepathic circuits!" Jo said, looking in new understanding at the circles Amy had just touched.
"The what?" Claire asked.
"The Doctor- my Doctor- used them once to send a message to the Time Lords for help," Jo said, before she looked at Amy more thoughtfully. "Did you-?"
"No- at least, I don't think so," Amy replied, shaking her head as she looked at the circuits, the ship already in motion. "I was just... I was thinking about the mission that I was on with the Doctor when we first met you all- I use those circuits to... help us find what we're looking for- and I touched them, and... and then... we started moving..."
"Hold on; are you telling me that you just... told the TARDIS to finish whatever you were doing?" Rose asked, looking at the other young woman in frustration. "I mean, maybe whatever you're doing is important, but we've got to save the Doctor; we can't just-!"
"Actually," Tosh said, looking thoughtfully at another screen on the console with a hopeful smile, "according to this, once I run them through the appropriate mapping system- now that I've seen how the ship displays coordinates it's easier to work it out-, it looks like the coordinates Amy sent the TARDIS to travel to... are the same place as where the Doctors are now."
"Really?" Amy said, looking over at the Japanese computer expert in surprise, a smile on her face at this unexpectedly pleasant news. "You're sure?"
"Looks like it," Jack said, glancing at the screen himself to confirm Tosh's assessment before he looked back at his new friends. "I'm not exactly an expert in TARDIS navigation- been a while since I last actually travelled anywhere in this thing, you know-, but I know enough about these systems to know what they're telling me, and Tosh is right; run it through the right mapping system, and this definitely looks like the same coordinates for where the Timescoop dropped the Doctors off."
"But... how's that possible?" Barbara asked. "I mean, I know that I don't know what you and... well, your Doctor... are looking for, but what are the odds that it's in the same place that... whoever's behind this... took the Doctors?"
"Precise odds unknown in the absence of information about the nature of the Doctor-Master's search with Mistress Amy," K9 said, after his ear-radars had wiggled for a few moments in the manner they always moved when he was calculating something. "However, consent with Mistress Barbara's prior assessment; odds of the artefact and the Doctor-Master's various selves being in the same place at the same time will be extremely low, exceeding a million to one at an approximate guess without access to precise information about the subject of Mistress Amy's search."
"Well... we have to get lucky some time, right?" Martha said, smiling hopefully at her new friends, stuck for other explanations that she could provide in the face of such a confusing turn of events.
She didn't know how whatever the cricket-wearing Doctor and Amy were looking for could be in the same place as the Doctors, but this wasn't the time to look a gift horse in the mouth; if they had a chance to rescue the Doctor, they were going to take it.
"Besides," she said, looking over at her fellow companions with a smile, "good luck aside, we still have at least a couple of advantages."
"We do?" Jo asked, looking curiously at the doctor. "What are they?"
"We have numbers, and we have the element of surprise," Martha replied, looking back at the younger woman with a smile. "Whoever was responsible for this plan probably thought that none of us would be able to use this ship- assuming they even knew it was here-; it's time we showed them that we travel with the Doctor to do more than give him someone to show off to."
"Indeed," the Brigadier said, exchanging a slight smile with Jo Grant as though the two of them were sharing some private joke, before he turned to look at them. "For what it's worth, I know that I only met many of you recently- and some of you don't know me as well as I know you, for various reasons involving the Doctor's nature-, but I am nevertheless confident when I say that, if I had a choice of going into action with any of the men and women I have served with over my long career, I could not pick a better group that the group standing with me today."
"I second that," Jack said, smiling at the old soldier as the other companions nodded their own agreement (Even Klein conceded the point, even if her own nod was slightly hesitant compared to that of the others; Martha decided not to quibble too much about her apparent reluctance to help in favour of focusing on the problem at hand).
Further conversation about their resolution to be there for the Doctor was cut short as the TARDIS's central column finally stopped moving, leaving them looking apprehensively at each other for a few moments before their gazes settled on the door.
"Well," Gwen said, smiling around at the others out of a lack of anything else to do, "shall we?"
"We shall," Leela said, nodding at her teammate before she activated the door switch, opening the console room's exterior doors, leaving them free to depart from the ship and explore their new surroundings.
As she emerged from the TARDIS- which, glancing back as she left the door, seemed to have become some kind of pipe in the room they were standing in; maybe it was meant to look like it was part of the ventilation system or something like that-, Martha smiled in relief at the sight that greeted her and her new friends; the Doctors, Susan, Serena and Romana, kneeling or sitting on the floor while gathered around an unconscious Ianto Jones, with six police boxes standing behind them and two near-identical Compassions standing blankly at attention on either side of the more familiar TARDISes.
"Oh my... Martha!" the Doctor said, leaping to his feet as he took in their arrival, hurrying over to embrace her as the other companions hurried over to their respective Doctors; everyone seemed to be relatively unharmed, but Martha quickly noticed that one Doctor appeared to be conspicuous by his absence.
"How did you find us?" the Third Doctor asked, looking curiously at them. "I know that you're all quite capable, but that's not even my TARDIS; how could anyone work out how to pilot-?"
"Actually... even we're not sure about that," Owen said, shrugging uncertainly as he indicated Amy. "Apparently the girl over here was able to tell the ship to find you telepathically because you're in the same place as something she's looking for-"
"It's here?" the Fifth Doctor said, looking at Owen in surprise at this news before looking over at Amy. "How-?"
"You cannot know about that," the Sixth Doctor said, stepping forward and placing a hand on his past self's shoulder, turning the younger Doctor around to face him as he stared resolutely into the eyes he'd possessed in his last body. "You will find out what it means soon enough in your timeline, but you and Amy have to remain ignorant for the moment; the TARDIS can only erase so much specific information, remember?"
The Fifth Doctor looked at his future self in confusion for a moment, but finally nodded and did as the older Doctor had asked, remaining silent despite the questions burning in his eyes at the unintentional hint about his future that he already knew he couldn't follow up.
"So," the Doctor said, looking at his companions with a smile, evidently wanting to prevent anyone asking any questions about that brief confrontation, "now that we're all here-"
"Where's the Doctor?" Rose asked, looking sharply over at him.
"Pardon?" Fitz said, looking back at her in surprise. "We've kind of got a surplus of Doctors here right now-"
"Where's my Doctor?" Rose clarified, glaring briefly at Fitz before looking back at the Doctor, her severe stare putting Martha briefly in mind of Rose Saxon before she pushed that thought aside; the slight tremor in Rose's stance was enough to confirm that she still wasn't the version of her that Martha had last met.
"That's... well, you see..." the Second Doctor said, looking awkwardly at Rose.
"He joined our captors," the Doctor said, his voice rushed in a manner that put Martha in mind of patients ripping off a band-aid before it could hurt.
"WHAT?!" the other companions said, looking incredulously at the Doctors.
"One of you... joined our enemies?" the Brigadier said, looking in shock at the Doctor. "Why-?"
"He... had his reasons; let's just say he's still dealing with a lot of things that I've moved past a while back and leave it at that for the moment," the Doctor said, glancing back at his other selves as though seeking their opinion before he turned back to look at the companions with a slight smile, only the warning edge in his eyes making it clear that he wasn't willing to discuss what he'd just told them yet. "Now then, with everyone here, I think it's time we see about getting out of here; Doctor Jones, if you'd be so kind?"
"You mean this?" Martha asked, guessing her boyfriend's train of thought as she pulled out the sonic screwdriver he'd given her for her birthday shortly before they'd rescued Leela.
"Precisely," the Doctor said, pulling out his own screwdriver and holding it out apologetically. "I normally wouldn't ask, but when we were relocated here our enemies deactivated our sonics; if you could just key in the relevant settings...?"
Smiling in understanding, Martha triggered the relevant setting on her own screwdriver- she was still learning all of the things that this device could do, but the Doctor had given her instructions on how to use some of the most essential settings, and recharging equipment was one of them. In a matter of moments, the Doctor's screwdriver was back up and running, prompting him to turn to his other selves as he worked on recharging the screwdrivers of those who had them.
It might be an obvious delaying tactic to avoid discussing the true scale of what they were up against, but Martha wasn't going to blame him for wanting a few moments to think about what he was about to say; the idea of something motivating one of his past selves to betray them had to be difficult...
AN 2: We move on to a very particular confrontation next chapter that I hope will meet with your approval.
AN 3: To answer the question of those who don't know how Amy was able to find the Doctors, she is a sentient Tracer assigned to find the six segments of the Key to Time, of which she and the Fifth Doctor already possess five; it was revealed in the audio "The Chaos Pool" that Romana became the new disguise of the sixth segment after she regenerated, with the result that Amy was 'homing in' on Romana when she made contact with the TARDIS telepathic circuits, but the Sixth and later Doctors don't want to let the younger Doctors know about that unless it becomes absolutely necessary to try and limit the knowledge that must be erased.