A/N) I started posting this story in 2008 however I stopped writing it and ended up deleting this story from this site. I have now picked the story up again and am coming to the end of the writing process so I have decided to start posting it again.
Title: Saving Him
Characters: Ten and Donna plus original characters.
Summary: Donna finds herself a part of a military organisation as the Doctor fights for his very existence. But can Donna save the Doctor and re-establish the time-lines all by herself or will she need help from someone on the inside?
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who.
LOCATION: Prestine, the Spiral Arm, Leroda Galaxy.
"When I said I wanted to go a market world, I didn't expect to be dragged into a war!" snapped Donna Noble, glaring at her erstwhile companion, who was grinning like a loony at her. His eyes danced with delight and even Donna couldn't stay mad at the Doctor for long. He had shown her so much of the universe, so many impossible things that he had changed her entire outlook on life. Despite the situations he usually got them into, he was always full of ideas and kept coming up with them regardless of the trouble they inevitably ran into in almost every place they visited. In all the time she had travelled with him he had never let her down once, and Donna was certain, that inside that thick skull of his, he was concocting another brilliant idea that would solve the current mess they had fallen into.
"Oh come on," he said, "its all part of the fun!" He shrugged, trying to ignore his companion's steely gaze. "Besides we haven't exactly done anything wrong! Just parked in the wrong place, that's all…."
Donna's eyebrows shot up. "We have been accused of being spies for General San… San… Sanshawotsit."
"Sansheraz," informed the Doctor. "Not Sanshawotsit."
"Oy! Don't get smart with me, alien boy!"
He shifted away from her slightly as if scared that she would hit him though it was effectively impossible since their wrists were tied together with rope and they were placed behind their backs.
"You'd better have a good idea that will get us out of this!"
The Doctor shook his head. "Donna, Donna, Donna….when have I ever let you down? I am always full of brilliant ideas." And then he smiled that manic grin of his.
"You haven't," her voice became softer, "yet."
"Good." The Doctor's eyes swerved round their little prison. Their feet had been clamped to the floor, preventing them from even trying to escape. They were being held in a van, which was transporting them to the Courts of Justice where they would be judged for their crime. The Doctor knew they hadn't committed a crime – it had been blown out of proportion. The truth of it was the fact that the TARDIS had happened to materialise in the Minister's Private Gardens and the guards on duty had assumed they were spies because the grounds were protected so well that no one had made it in before without having a thorough security check. The TARDIS had bypassed all their security and appeared in an impossible place. He could understand their suspicion but they could have at least allowed him the chance to explain it was all an honest mistake and that he and Donna were just innocent travellers. But they hadn't even allowed him that privilege.
They had learned something though. There was a conflict that could escalate into a war if it got any more deadly and that a General Sansheraz was involved. The soldiers were assuming that they were spies for that General, but they were not. Assumptions were a dangerous risk to take – because you could end up making an enemy of someone you really didn't want. However, the Doctor was confident once the situation was analysed they would be set free and allowed to go on their way.
Donna sighed audibly, her breath blowing a bit of her red hair up. "Anyway, what planet are we on?"
The Doctor frowned, his tongue poking between his lips. "By my reckoning we should be on Prestine, which is located on The Spiral Arm of the Leroda Galaxy. It is known for its markets and it was the planet I wanted to take you to." He gave her an apologetic grin. "The TARDIS may have made a slight miscalculation."
"A slight miscalculation? It doesn't seem like it to me," scorned Donna, the glare now back in her eyes.
The Doctor swallowed. If his hands were not tied behind his back he would be tugging at the collar of his shirt with two of his fingers. "Well, maybe not a little…" he admitted. "As far as I can tell, we have arrived during the time when the markets didn't exist. Not much is known about Prestine before that, so this war – whatever it is – does change Prestine for the better, but being caught up in it is not very good."
"And that is because…" began Donna, curious as to why getting caught up in this war was not good when they always got caught up in worse situations and survived just fine. "Surely us being here gives us the opportunity of discovering about a planet's history that is not widely know?"
"There is that," admitted the Doctor. He was intrigued as to why this planet's history was not well known and part of him was tempted to stay – if they got out of their current situation intact. But there were disadvantages of staying – he would be gambling with a set time-line; he could risk changing the established future just by being in the past. "I run the risk of changing the future, Donna. Some things are fixed in time and I know for a fact that these markets are fixed. They are too big advent for the universe for me to run that risk of changing it. I know that Prestine is the market capital of the forty thousands…and I think we have arrived in the year one hundred and thirty four thousand and seven which…" he tilted his head, "is quite a long time away…and the market had to begin around this time in order for its popularity to spread around the universe by the forty thousands…"
"So," began Donna, "when we get free," She didn't like the fact that they wouldn't be seen innocent, "we will go to the proper time period we were heading for?"
The Doctor leaned back, exposing his throat. "Maybe – I may stick around, despite the risk, to ensure that history plays out as it should."
Donna pursed her lips. She didn't say anything. The Doctor could be quite a hypocrite at times. Shaking her head Donna leaned back against the wall and waited, wondering if she was truly going to be able to visit the Prestine Market or if she and the Doctor would be swept into something more dangerous.
She had the ominous feeling that it would be the second option.
"Come on Auri!"
Auraya glanced up as Feena looked over her shoulder at her. She sighed and stood up, brushing the grass from her hands. She walked quickly in order to catch up to her guardian.
"You know it's not safe to be out in these gardens especially since those spies were caught!" muttered Feena, her eyes alight with fear and concern for her young charge.
Rolling her eyes and folding her arms, Auraya responded: "Fee, they were caught. They are not going to harm me."
Feena shook her head slowly, brushing the lock of blonde hair out of her eyes. "If two people can get in without being detected then so can many others! For all we know there could be others and those two were just incredibly unlucky to be caught! And you are forgetting a very important detail about yourself!"
Auraya cocked her head to the right side. "What's that then?"
"You are the heir! If something happens to you, your father will be heirless! Do you really want your world to fall into disarray due to your premature death?" asked Feena.
She had a point, Auraya realised. Her mother had died giving birth to her which meant that the office of Minister (which was passed down through the family) rested on her shoulders. If her mother had survived and gone onto give birth to a son then she wouldn't have to worry about that burden falling to her. The Minister's position fell to the oldest male in the main line, but if there was no son then the post went to the oldest daughter. It was complicated and Auraya held no interest in taking her father's position but it was her destiny and duty to take it. She knew deep in her heart that her safety was paramount to keeping the Laris line safe but sometimes her craving for adventure and excitement made her wish she was just an ordinary girl with no path laid out before her. However she loved her home and people and wanted to see them safe and in order to do that she had to take her own life seriously and abound to the rules that kept her safe. "I don't wish to mess this world up…I mean, who would want to hurt a sixteen year old girl? I've done nothing wrong to warrant such attentions from the Armorinians. I know my father has though…"
"You've hit the nail on the head," replied Feena, grabbing Auraya's hand and thrusting the other in her pocket where she kept a miniature, but very powerful blaster. "They could cause you father terrible pain if they captured or killed you. That is why your safety is far more important then your father's. I appreciate you know how to defend yourself but the enemy is known to play a dirty game. The fact that they managed to sneak in two spies into our very grounds without tripping our wards speaks volumes."
"If they have developed a way to get through our wards without tripping the alarms then surely that must mean someone close to dad is a traitor?" But then her mind whirled realising that if there was someone on the inside surely they would have acted before now? "If there is a traitor feeding information to the Armorinians, and I can be used against father, then why haven't they acted yet?"
"Because," whispered Feena into her ear, "maybe that isn't their mission objective."
It was a hint that Auraya could not afford to miss. She had been trained since childhood to replace her father one day, and the answer to what could be a tantalising question was lingering on her mind. "If there are spies and their mission is to not get at me or my father, then their objective is information. Information that could potentially ruin us if given to the wrong hands – it could lead to our downfall. But how does dad know who to trust?"
"He doesn't," explained Feena. "He just has to hope that they remain loyal to him."
Auraya nodded, understanding that faith in your subjects was important especially when you had to make decisions on who was trustworthy. She just hoped that when she became Minister she would have as much foresight as her father did. She had to wonder how her dad had realised that the man and woman who had appeared in the blue box were spies for General Sanseraz. Something nagged at her mind. There was a feeling that she had that was telling her that the two prisoners were innocent…caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. She hoped that her father would give them ample opportunity to explain themselves. She had to wonder if he would allow her to sit in on their trial…after all it would be a learning curve for her…as one day she would be expected to preside over trials and determine whether someone was innocent or guilty.
The Doctor and Donna stood side-by-side in front of the Minister of Prestine. They had not yet had the chance to defend themselves since the Minister had been shuffling through the paperwork their guards had forced them to fill out. On those pieces of paper were their confessions of innocence. The Minister looked up from his work, setting the papers down in front of him, his dark eyes boring into theirs.
"You say your names are The Doctor and Donna Noble?"
"Yes," answered the Doctor. He and Donna had discussed that unless any questions were directed at her, the Doctor would be the only one to speak.
"You were caught entering the grounds bypassing the security systems that have been installed. You claim you are just explorers - travellers to be exact – and that you arrived here by accident." The Minister's gaze was steely as he glared down at them. "I do find that difficult to believe."
"I understand that my ship materialising in your garden does give the wrong impression. I realise there is a war going on," admitted the Doctor, "but I did not know of it until the guards mentioned it when we were being escorted to the prison van." He spread his hands out in front of him. "In all honesty, Donna and I are just travellers. If you don't believe us then surely there is something we can do to prove our innocence to you?"
It was risk, but it was gamble they had to take. If they showed their willingness to do anything that would prove them innocent of what they had been accused of, them going through with it should convince the Minister that they were just caught in the wrong place.
The Minister looked thoughtful by his request. He scratched his chin, running his fingers through the short beard. "Well…if you are innocent then I suppose I could, in order to find out, use the mind probe on you. It would hurt a lot and allow me access to your deepest and darkest fears and memories. But would you consent to the pain?" he wondered aloud, looking down at the two of them with a steely expression.
The Doctor swallowed, his mind running through many possibilities, but each action he thought of would only convince the Minister that they were guilty of being spies. He had asked to do something that would prove their innocence, but the Doctor knew what a mind probe did and he couldn't allow them to know what he was or the extent of his knowledge of the past, present and future was. He could see no way out of it and he realised that he would have to take that risk. Allow that knowledge to be potentially discovered. If it got them out of this mess…No matter how he analysed the situation, no viable idea came to him.
But he couldn't allow them to use the mind-probe on Donna. Her human brain wouldn't be able to handle it. She could die or worse go insane from it being used on her. He wondered if he pleaded for her they would show clemency to her if he submitted to its usage on him. Squaring his shoulders he took one step forward and looked up into the Minister's eyes. "I will consent to the mind probe being used on me, but Donna is a human being and her brain would not be able to handle the probe. It could kill her or drive her insane and I promised her grandfather that I would keep her safe. Allowing you to do that to her would be breaking that promise and I wouldn't be protecting her."
Emotion carried in this Doctor's voice. Raw emotion. He really cared for this human being and that wasn't the type of spy General Sansheraz would employ, the Minister knew that. His own spies had told him that. So he could only come to the conclusion that both of them were innocent. He raised his voice so that the whole hall could hear him pronounce his judgement. "You have accepted the mind probe on yourself and you have also made a plea to protect your friend which spies would never do. From your actions here in this very room, I must conclude that you are not guilty."
The Doctor and Donna breathed a sigh of relief. Donna couldn't help it – she hugged the Time Lord, nearly crushing him. He patted her on the back before drawing her away from him. He turned back to face the Minister. "If you don't mind me asking, Minister…?" He let his sentence trial off.
"Laris," nodded the man. "Ager Laris."
The Doctor smiled. "Thank you. If you don't mind me enquiring," he rubbed the back of his neck, "did you think that we were innocent anyway?"
"I did," replied Ager, inclining his head. "I had the impression that you genuinely didn't know what was going on this planet. You are not even meant to be here at all – that is obvious from your statements. And my daughter also had an ominous feeling that you were just caught in the wrong place." He motioned to a young woman with long brown hair and was wearing a dark blue dress that showed off her figure. "This is my daughter and heir, Auraya."
"That's a nice name," said Donna, smiling warmly at the girl.
"Thank you," the girl said as she walked towards her father and took her place by his side.
"Auraya is my heir who will one day retain my duties of Minister as her own," explained Ager Laris. He clasped his hands together. "Now I feel that I owe you two an apology for the way you were treated by my men when you arrived here. I would be honoured if you would accept our hostility and stayed with us for a while."
"No, no, no…" said the Doctor hastily. "No apology is needed. It's easy to make an escape. I do it all the time…well sometimes actually." He ran a hand through his hair in embarrassment. "Though I have to admit I am interested about the history of this war – perhaps you could care to enlighten us?"
The Minister frowned, his eyes searching the Doctor's own. "I suppose I can oblige to your request."
"I told you that they were innocent!" insisted Auraya, as the Doctor and Donna walked out of the Judgement Hall. "They didn't seem to be the type that would cause any harm!" Truth be told, Auraya, from even seeing them from afar had deduced by feelings alone that they were innocent.
Ager glanced at this daughter, scowling at her enthusiasm at being proved right even though he'd had the same thoughts too. "They did seem innocent through their aura. I sensed that much, however the male does have the distinct impression that he has killed many during his lifetime. He is not entirely innocent but he is not guilty of being a spy for General Sansheraz."
Auraya nodded, understanding. She too had had the feeling that the Doctor had killed but it was not their place to judge his past crimes. Besides he seemed a likeable guy. "Are you going to explain to them the conflict to them?" she asked. "They could be a great help to us."
Ager nodded at his daughter. "I will. I think they would be very useful in aiding us. I am glad that your psychic abilities are coming to the fore. They will be a great asset to you when you assume my position. I just hope that the war will be a thing of the past by the time I die and your reign is not tainted by this conflict. I do intend, Auri, for you to rule in peace and prosperity. I just have to find the solution that will please General Sansheraz and the Armorinians."
"And giving them Prestine is not the solution either," said Auraya.
"No it isn't. And that wasn't on my mind at all. Perhaps the Doctor and Miss Noble will be able to bring about a solution that will please both sides and allow peace to prosper between our peoples. This has been going on for far too long."
"What, the war?" said a voice.
Ager glanced behind him noticing that the Doctor was approaching him with Donna in tow. His hands were thrust deep in his coat's pockets and an infectious grin was fixed on the man's face.
"Would you be able to help us?" asked Ager, noticing that his daughter's eyes became hopeful.
The Doctor shrugged, strolling round the room they had just been tried in. "It depends on what this war is about and whether I can do anything useful that would bring about peace. I do promise that I will give you some help whatever the situation is." The Doctor returned to stand in front of Ager, his dark brown eyes boring into his. "If I can bring the end to this war with a minimal loss of life I will do so."
"I understand your concerns," replied the Minister. "If you two would care to follow me I will take you to my private quarters where I will explain this dire situation to you." He turned towards his daughter. "Auraya, perhaps you could spend your time studying? You do have your theory exams approaching rapidly."
The girl bowed. "Yes, father." Turning from the room, Auraya departed heading towards the library leaving her father alone to talk to the two strangers. She hoped that he would convince them that they needed their help.
To be continued...
Please let me know what you think! The next update will be next Wednesday.