Seems like this is the last chapter! I thought there was one more after this, but there isn't, so this is the final chapter to this story.
General Sansheraz walked proudly through the corridors of his magnificent warship, the command ship that had been his home ever since he had joined the Armorinian navy when he had just been sixteen years old. Trained from birth for this ranking, he had worked hard to achieve his goal and bring honour to his people. His broad arms swung at his side, a smirk on his handsome face. The Prestinians would soon be dead and his people would be able to inhabit the land that was rightfully theirs. He was prepared for everything. It angers him that the blonde girl had betrayed him. What made her do it? Before she dies I will find out why she turned against us.
It was a promise he fully intended on keeping. General Sansheraz never broke his promises, and this would not be start of him failing to do so.
He glanced around at the soldiers marching behind him. Fully trained and deadly, they were his to control. No one else could command them, not even the Supreme Commander. His person squad would do everything he asked - even kill Arkia if he ordered them to do so. They would have no qualms about that order, not at all, loyal to him until the end. After all, he held the lives of their loved ones in his hands; threats and bribery, he had learned long ago, were important traits and skills to have to ensuring people remain loyal to you, not matter the commands.
"Remember," he began, his voice full of smugness, "your orders are clear. Do not kill the girl; do not harm their prisoner," he was referring to the Doctor, "but you have authorisation to kill all the infiltration team! Once we have secured the ship, instruct the cleaners that they will need to thoroughly clean every inch of this ship that has been spoiled by the Prestinians. You all understand the punishment, if any of you dare to disobey me, of course."
A chorus of 'yes sir' echoed behind him. He smiled, his lips curling upwards. Life was good. He had loyal guards who would stand by him until the end. Threatening their families was the best thing I ever did, he thought smugly, they will never betray me. Ever.
He did not know how very wrong he was.
Jenny's trouser pocket vibrated. The Doctor had fallen into a healing trance in a bid to help him keep as much strength as possible. All Donna and Jenny could do was keep the oxygen mask on his face. One of his hearts wasn't beating; he was surviving on just the one. Technically they were useless; all of those in the chamber were, all placing their face in someone who was their enemy. Even Jenny was having doubts now as it had been more than fifteen minutes since she had sent word to Arkia regarding Auraya's decision.
Reaching into her pocket she extracted the communication device, looking at Donna with wariness on her face. What if she had judged Arkia wrong? What if she was only playing with them? No, I have to believe that there is some good in this world.
Jenny flicked the switch and said: "Jenny here."
"I'm glad I could reach you," Arkia's voice was breathy and full of urgency. "I have decided what the best course of action will be. General Sansheraz is just minutes away from your location, but I can stall him. I have arranged for my advisors to make sure the confrontation that I am about to go into will be broadcast throughout the entire fleet. I will force him to admit the truth, the deceit he has done. I hope that my people will side with me. I already have people onboard the rest of the fleet ships ready to tell me what the consensus is. If the General does not agree to a ceasefire then I will have to kill him. As we are at war, he does have more power than me, however, if the entire fleet rebels against his actions I will then have enough authorisation to take action and remove him from his post. He will not go easily. Embarrassing him publicly in front of the people that honour his name is the only way to bring him down."
Jenny swallowed, casting a glance Donna's way. "What can I do?"
"You and your companions have to remain in the control room. I imagine the Doctor is badly injured?" There was concern in Arkia's voice, as if she generally cared about him.
"He is," said Donna, making her voice louder so that her message got through.
"Then you need to keep him alive. I give you my word that we will heal him as payment for what we have done to him." She seemed to hesitate before continuing to speak, as if she was wondering whether saying what she was about to was a good idea or not. "I feel I should come clean with this, but when the Doctor was bought onboard originally, I ordered for him to be conscious throughout the operation that allowed us to connect him to our machines so that we can drain his life force. I regret doing that now to him and I want to make it up to him. I understand that you may be angry with me, but I want to help end this war. It's been going on far too long now."
Jenny and Donna were stunned. They exchanged significant glances.
"Can you still trust me to keep to my word?" asked Arkia, her voice soft.
"I don't think I can call that," said Jenny. She handed the communicator device to Donna. "Donna has known the Doctor longer than I ever have. She has more of the right to accept whether we can trust you or not."
Donna swallowed and took the communicator device. She brought it to her lips, her mind whirling with the new information that she had just been told. The Supreme Commander had ordered the Doctor to go through an operation conscious? How could she still trust her after what she had done to him? Willingly allowed happen to him? People can change. There was that niggling voice at the back of her mind, telling her that she should trust Arkia. She bit her lip and hoped that she was making the right decision. "I trust you to save us all and end this war for good."
"Thank you," the reply was gentle. "The General is coming. You need to stay inside, otherwise what I am about to do could go horrible wrong. I do not wish for any more people to die."
Donna acknowledged the call and switched off the link, handing the communicator back to Jenny who slipped it deftly back into her pocket. "I guess we wait," she said, her eyes falling on the pale form of the Time Lord lying on the floor beside her. "I don't like sitting here but we have no choice. I'm usually one who would want to go out there and help, but looking at the Doctor now..." she met Jenny's gaze, "he needs us here, just in case things go wrong."
Jenny nodded, feeling the same way. She got to her feet. "I'll go and tell Ricka the plan. I don't think he'll like being forced to sit in here and wait for an outcome. If Arkia fails..."
"...then we all die," finished Donna, her face pale, but her eyes were bright with fire. If it came to a final fight she would not surrender, she would go down fighting, even if it killed her in the end.
"Supreme Commander." To say he wasn't surprised that Arkia was waiting by the control room, surrounded by her guard was an understatement. He was mad that she interfering with what was right. She had no right to! Still, she didn't know the truth. Getting rid of her would be easy. After all, in war, he had the most power. "If you excuse me I will talk to you later, I have some infiltrators that I need to deal with quite urgently." He kept his voice calm and collected, hoping that his reasonable voice would urge her to leave. He had ordered his people on the bridge to keep him informed of any changes. They had not told him that she was outside. Of course, the security cam is down out here but not in there. It wasn't every day that he forgot something like that. I'm stressed, that's all there is to it.
"No." The word was said in a hard voice and not for the first time Sansheraz noticed the anger in Arkia's eyes.
The smug smile he had been wearing slipped from his face and he cracked his fingers. Now he felt wary. If she didn't move he would order his own guard to stun her. She could not be allowed to stop him from ending this war for good and ridding the Armorinians of the Prestinians for good. It was his destiny. It was his right. He had been trained for this. What use was a General if he never won any victories? Generals were not useful in peace but after a war, they would be; he would be required to help set up the government, help his people settle, but peace with the Prestinians, no, there was no honour in that, no future for a General. If they made peace with the Prestinians, his time as General would be meaningless. He would be a failure, having been unable to lead his people to victory over the enemy. He would not allow that to be his legacy. "Surely you know that we have the infiltrators cornered? We are on the brink of winning this war, of ending the Prestinians lives for good! We will regain the planet that is rightfully ours! Do we not deserve that honour after travelling the stars for so long? They stole it from us!"
Arkia crossed her arms as she pulled her hand out of her pocket. "No, they did not." She was surprisingly calm, despite the anger simmering in her eyes. "You lied to me. You have lied to everyone so that you can have your victory, so that you can be honoured for winning a war that we do not deserve to win!"
"I have not and will not ever lie to my people!" he spat vehemently. Anger was rising. He could not be dealing with this now. Not when victory could be in his hands!
"Everything we have believed is a lie." She began to walk slowly forward, her guard accompanying her. "I commissioned a report to discover whether the Prestinians really did evolve on our home world after we left it. I never got the report back; you intercepted it and then told me that the claims were not true. And I believed you like the fool I was, but now I know the truth."
How does she know? He began to raise his arm to signal his men to fire upon her.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," she said. "You know what I am and what I can do. I have power of which you would not believe. You cannot kill me. I have already disabled your weapons. You may as well hear me out and you may yet live through this, General."
Oh yes, he knew what the Supreme Commander was. She was unique among their people, one of the reasons why she was their leader. She had incredible mental powers and when applied correctly could do things that no one else could do. She had even used them against the Doctor when she had first met him. No one knew how these powers had developed or why only she of their people had been gifted with them, but everyone had agreed that the powers meant she should be their leader. Ever since her powers had been discovered, Arkia had been raised to lead; it had always been her destiny, just like being General had been his.
She had never threatened him with her powers before but it was rumoured when she did, it was not wise to argue with her. He swallowed, weighing his options. Perhaps he could reason with her? He was good doing that, he had always managed to save his skin before; maybe he could do that again?
"The truth is out there, Sansheraz. I have made sure of that. The Prestinians did evolve on our world and have every right to be living there. We have less of a right to claim the world as our own since our entire species abandoned the world. We wanted space-travel; the Prestinians are what we used to be before we got bored. It took years, thousands of centuries before we got bored with exploring the universe. We have no right to take our world back. I know you want to win this war, but the only person to have made this war what it is, is you. By lying to me and keeping me from the truth you have deceived your entire people, made them believe that we have a right to ownership. We do not. Surrender now, General, and your punishment will not be as severe as it could be if you resist."
He gritted his teeth. "NO! I have worked too long to even consider peace with them! They will not consider that with us, not after what we have done! They cannot forgive! We have the power source to win! Let me use him, drain the power completely and use it against Auraya, we can win! I'll – we – will gain the recognition that we deserve!"
"The Doctor is an intelligent, telepathic being. It is wrong to imprison someone against their will just because they have the power we need to run our ships. Yes, I am admitting something that has been kept quiet for centuries. When we ask for a volunteer child to help us we use their psychic potential to help run our fleet, they are unconscious and do not feel any pain. We release them once they get to a certain age, and we have never used an adult Armorinian before. But the Doctor, another species entirely became our energy source, fully conscious of everything that was happening to him. That was what your hero of a General decided to do and I agreed with. But I always regretted it because such an intelligent being should not be imprisoned against his will. I want to make amends and the Prestinians are willing to help us, that is if everyone agrees to the immediate removal of General Sansheraz, for his lies and deceit to me and his people."
"You are making no sense!" yelled Sansheraz. There was no one there to listen to what she had just said; only his guard and they were loyal to him. Always.
A smile twitched on Arkia's face and she slipped a hand into her pocket and pulled out the device that had been recording her conversation with the General and was still transmitting on all frequencies throughout the fleet. "You think? It's over, General. Surrender now and your life will be spared."
He was shaking his head frantically. No, no, no, this cannot be happening! Everything I've worked so hard for!
"Supreme Commander? The vote is in. They stand by you. Only one fleet ship does not. They all tire of war; they do not care if they have to lower themselves to begging for mercy at the hands of Auraya." The voice came over Arkia's communicator which she held in her other hand.
"There, you see, our people have spoken," answered Arkia smoothly.
"NO!" Sansheraz was desperate. "I need my victory otherwise I am nothing!"
"You can still be honoured by doing the right thing."
"No, fighting until the end is the right thing!" he spat, his face reddening. "Peace with the enemy is not the way!"
Arkia's shoulders loosened and she looked almost sad. "Then I'm sorry I have to do this." Placing her communicator back into her pocket, she raised her right hand, pointing it straight at him.
He knew instinctively what she was going to do. He raised his hands just as something spurt out of her fingertips and hit him straight in the head. He felt darkness spreading through every part of his body, he was screaming, his head hurting. He spat blood out of his mouth; the darkness swimming through his entire body. He was convulsing in pain, he felt like his head would burst –
The darkness ceased and he blinked rapidly. He shouldn't have survived that... and he moved his head. He was now lying on the floor in a puddle of blood, but as his vision returned he saw a woman who his spies knew as the Doctor's friend and companion as Donna Noble. Her hair was tired back in a pony tail, but her face was pale and she was talking in hushed tones to Arkia. He could just manage to discern the words.
"Don't kill him. He should live," said Donna. "The Doctor wouldn't want this. Not ever. Don't you see? Sansheraz is not right in the head. He never has been. Everything we've heard proves that. Help him get his mind back. Killing him will do no good. The people side with you, there is no need to kill him, even after all he has done."
"I am not accustomed to mercy," whispered Arkia.
Donna swallowed. "I know, but there is always a first, right?"
Arkia was silent. If she ever replied, Sansheraz did not know it, for he sunk into unconscious, the darkness claiming him.
They had taken Sansheraz to a secure holding cell where he was analysed by medical doctors from throughout the fleet. They all came to the same conclusion: he was slightly off his rocker. The best thing they could do for him was give him medication in the hopes that it would calm him down and return him to his normal self. When asked about what had brought his mentality on, one doctor had politely explained that it had been brought on by the expectations of him by his family ever since he had been born and it had only heightened when they had returned to their home world to find it populated. No one had noticed his slow decline, the Doctor's appearance only a few months ago had been the end of it. The real Sansheraz would never have wanted a conscious being to suffer for months on end just so that they could use his energy. Alternative methods would have been sought first, however, since he had acted alone in acquiring the Doctor, no one could have told him how very wrong he was.
True to her word, Arkia arranged for the best doctors and nurses to care for the Doctor. They had taken out all the connections placed within him without his consent and patched him up accordingly. They had even attempted to give him compensation with their form of money, however Donna refused on his behalf; travelling with the Doctor had told her that he would not accept anything like that. He would be grateful that Arkia had come round to his way of thinking and had managed to end the war.
Negotiations between Auraya and Arkia had begun almost immediately with Donna acting as the go between them until both leaders figured it would be safe to meet in person. Arkia took the risk and flew down to Prestine to meet with Auraya – without her guard with her, as a gesture of her trust in the young leader – and within a few days an agreement had been drawn up that would benefit both sides.
Aware that her father had always tried for peace, Auraya had decided to follow in his footsteps. Having heard first-hand the condition of General Sansheraz, the only thing she had asked for in return was that he was kept well away from the planet. It also turned out that the Armorinians ambitions for their world included setting up an international Market, which Auraya agreed to help them with. Trade for the planet would be good and open up new opportunities for the Prestinians; and so the markets that the Doctor and brought Donna to see in the first place were born.
Time was back on track.
More than a week later, the Doctor, Donna and Jenny were still on Prestine (mostly because the Doctor had been recovering) but now they were getting ready to leave. Auraya had opened up the world to the Armorinians and the first of its people were beginning to settle on the unoccupied land. Though there had been dispute among the Prestinians as to whether the Armorinians should be allowed to settle on the planet, the general consensus had been that they be allowed to since the entire people couldn't be blamed for the actions of one General.
Jenny strode beside her father, hands in her pockets. She had picked up that habit from him when they had met on Messaline.
"When are we leaving?" asked Donna. "Much as I like it here, you did promise me a Market and I'd like to see them in their prime, not before they were set up." She elbowed the Doctor lightly. "And you said that you couldn't interfere with a fixed point in time."
"I didn't interfere. I guess my presence being here helped the markets being formed. I doubt if I hadn't turned up here the Markets would never be formed and then we would have one big paradox," he smiled wearily, "and that wouldn't be good at all."
"I guess not," mused Donna. She turned to Jenny. "So, are you coming with us? After all, before you died, the Doctor said you could join us."
Jenny was silent for a while; a contemplative look came over her face. Donna exchanged a glance with the Doctor.
"I think I'm going to stay here," she said finally.
The Doctor's eyes bulged. "Why?"
Jenny kicked a free stone that was lying on the grass. "I like it here and there are so many opportunities here. I can see how a civilisation and government is established. I've been around, not much as you, dad, but this would be educational for me."
"There is something else isn't there?" said The Doctor.
Jenny nodded. "They need my energy. Yeah, they are slowly bringing them down to the surface but there is an entire race in the skies up there. They need my energy to survive while everything is sorted out. Someone needs to stay. You know about the peace treaty details. They will settle them down a month at a time. In ten years all the Armorinians will be done on the planet's surface, but their ships are not going to last long without energy. It's better to have a willing volunteer rather than one who has been forced to. And I'm willing to help them." She had had already had to give some more energy to keep the ships in orbit and they had taken enough from her so that it would last them at least three weeks before they would need to top up again.
"I thought you'd stay," whispered the Doctor. He wiped a hand through his hair. "Though before I leave, I want to know, how did you survive that bullet?"
"I don't know. I died but then I woke up again. Is that normal?"
"Time Lords can regenerate," explained the Doctor, "where if I am fatally injured I can regenerate which gives me a new body and life, but I still retain memories from all my other lives. This is my tenth body now."
"Really?" Jenny sounded shocked. "Do you think I can regenerate?"
"You didn't change body which makes me think you didn't regenerate. I think it was the Source that brought you back. It was meant to bring life, I think it affected you and it brought you back," he said. "You would have regenerated instantly if you had that ability. I think, much as I hate to say it, that you don't have it, and you were just very lucky."
"So I should avoid potentially live endangering situations then?" she asked cheekily.
The Doctor grinned. "Well, if you are going to be spending the next ten years here, then after that, if you want to lead a full life, it might be best to be a bit more careful then I am. I tend to get in trouble every other week or so."
"Ahem!" Donna's arms were crossed across her chest and her eyebrows were raised. "Every other week? How about every day?"
The Doctor crowed. "Well, yes, there is that..."
Jenny laughed. "I guess this may be goodbye?"
"Not for a few days at least," he replied. "If I'm not going to see you often, then I may as well spend some more time with you, besides after all I've been through, I think I deserve a rest."
"You do, dad, you do," smiled Jenny. "I'm glad to have found you again."
A slight smile pulled on the Doctor's face. "Me too, I'm glad you're alive. At least I know I'm not alone in the universe."
Donna placed a hand on his shoulder. "Doctor, you never are alone. No matter what happens, there will always be someone there for you."
"Thank you, Donna Noble." He pulled her into a hug, dragging Jenny into one as well. "So Jenny, before I go," he started after they had pulled away from one another, "how would you like to see my spaceship?"
The answering squeal was all the confirmation he needed to change direction back to his beloved Time Ship that he had not seen in months. Hooking his arm through Donna's and Jenny's, he led them back to his home.
Everything would be fine; he just knew it would be.
Please let me know what you think.
This story marks the end of my time as a Who fic writer. I have no plans to write any more. Currently I am working to finish all my Harry Potter fics before I go off to university next year. I have enjoyed my time writing Who fic over the years - it has been lots of fun creating stories for the BBC character's. Thank you to everyone who has read my stories over the years.