So, I'm back into Doctor Who fics again. Sorry it's been a while, but I think my brain just got really DW-ed out. And then, everything's just been SO UBER BUSY the last few months. I thought things would quiet down, but NO. It got worse! And next month I have to wear pink and be my mum's bridesmaid (yes, she finally set a date). Ugh! So many things.
But I'm back into writing, and I'm having fun. I've got more chapters almost completed, so hopefully I don't keep you waiting too long on everything. Christmas Leave is coming up and I have 2 weeks off, so that's a bonus.
Also, you can blame Farhana for this one, we have ANOTHER fic idea! We should be posting some of them up soon on our joint account.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this chapter!
"So, where are we?" the Doctor asked. "What planet's this?"
"Messaline," the guy – who's name turned to be Cline – told them. "Well, what's left of it." The three time travellers looked at each other. It sounded so melodramatic that Rose wanted to make a comment. But considering that this was a war zone, she decided to be respectful and quite. Who knew what everyone had lost here?
Eventually, they emerged out of the tunnels, going up a set of stairs into a large room. It looked like an auditorium or a theatre going by the fancy stage with red drapes. It gave Rose the urge to go stand on it, just to say she'd been on a stage that fancy... of course, she'd already one upped this with the real Globe Theatre.
But the entire place was so overcrowded. There were hospital cots along the wall, people about everywhere and gear jammed in anywhere it could go. There was another one of those things Jenny came from to one side of the room. Someone was stepping out of it every few minutes. There was a voice speaking over a PA system, reading out what sounded to be a list of the dead.
"...663 – 75 deceased. Generation 6671 – extinct. Generation 6672 – 46 deceased. Generation 6680 – 14 deceased. Generation..."
"Bloody hell!" she murmured. Cline moved off and went to speak to someone as they looked around
"But, this is a theatre!" Donna said, struggling to take in the sight. This wasn't the first proper war situation Rose had been in, but she still never got used to what it was like. She had no doubt that Donna had ever seen anything like this before.
"Maybe they're doing Miss Saigon," the Doctor joked, sitting down on a pile next to him.
"It's like a town – or a city – underground. But why?"
"Sometimes when things get bad you take what you can as refuge," Rose said grimly.
She looked about the room. There was something different about it than usual, and it took her a moment to realise that it was a lack of kids. Every place she'd been to like this, even places that were mostly military, there were still a few children that were huddled in a corner, trying to make do. It took her another second to come to the realisation it was probably because everyone was born from the progenation machine. All of them came into being already as old as she was now, with all the knowledge they need already in their heads.
She idly wondered if you could change the programming of what they knew. You could theoretically fill an entire planet with inhabitants without bigotry or prejudice towards anything... Or they could make this war come to a halt by making the next generations want to make peace.
That was when Cline came back with an older man. The Doctor immediately got up to meet him. He was acting very chipper, but Rose could sense the anger that boiled just under his surface. They needed to get back to the TARDIS fast, and get him away from here. Otherwise things were going to get pretty bad.
"General Cobb, I presume?" he said.
Cobb didn't answer that question. Instead he started with his own. "Found in the western tunnels, I'm told, with no marks. There was an outbreak of pacifism in the eastern zone three generations back before we lost contact. Is that where you come from?"
"Eastern zone, that's us, yeah," he said, rolling with it to get information. "Yeah. I'm the Doctor, this is my fiancée, Rose, and that one's Donna."
"And I'm Jenny," the girl put in.
"Don't think you can infect us with your peacemaking," Cobb said sternly. "We're committed to the fight, to the very end."
Oh, dear lord.
"Well, that's alright, I can't stay anyway," he told him. "I've gotta go and find my friend."
"That's not possible, all movement is regulated. We're at war."
"Yes, I noticed. With the Hath. But tell me, 'cause we got a bit out of circulation. Eastern zone and all that, so, who exactly are the Hath?"
"Follow me." Cobb nodded. He began leading them through the building. "Back at the dawn of this planet, these ancient halls were carved from the earth. Our ancestors dreamt of a new beginning. A colony where human and Hath could work and live together."
"So, what happened?"
"The dream died. Broken along with Hath promises. They wanted it all for themselves. But those early pioneers, they fought back. They used the machines to produce soldiers instead of colonists, and began this battle for survival."
While he'd been talking, Donna had gone over to one of the windows and was standing up on some crates so she could see out them. "There's nothing but earth outside, why's that? Why build everything underground?"
"The surface is too dangerous," Cline answered.
"Well, then why build windows in the first place? And what does this mean?" She pointed to a silver plaque with a series of numbers printed into it that was up on the wall.
"The rites and symbols of our ancestors. The meanings... lost in time."
"Wait, does that mean that you can't read those numbers?" Rose said. "Or are you just being cryptic? Because that guy was reading out the numbers pretty well." Jenny looked at her, slightly confused.
"I can read the numbers, it just... Well, we don't know what they mean." Rose nodded.
"How long has this war gone on for?" the Doctor asked.
"Longer than anyone can remember. Countless generations marked only by the dead."
"What, fighting all this time?" Donna exclaimed.
"Because we must," Jenny defended. "Every child of the machine is born with this knowledge. It's our inheritance. It's all we know. How to fight. And how to die."
Rose looked at her, aghast. "That's horrible! That is a really sad way to live. There's more to life than all of this!"
"Pacifists!" Cobb snorted in contempt.
"Yeah, pacifists. Because all this killing is stupid and pointless! There are incredible things out there, and you're stuck down here in this dank place saying that it's a normal part of life to go and die when you could be doing so much more! I will not let Jenny live like that!"
"But I'm meant to do this..." She seemed rather confused, Rose's words going against everything she knew.
"Love, you're only an hour old. You have so much left to learn... Oh wow. I sound like my mother. Hun, please don't ever let me do that again," she said to the Doctor. "But, Jenny, there are such incredible things out there. Planets, galaxies, new cultures, adventuring, discovering things!"
"Oh, look. Is that a Map?!" the Doctor said loudly, seeing the look on Cobb's face grow darker by the moment. He dashed over to it. "Does this show the entire city, including the Hath zones?"
"Well, it'll help us find Martha."
"We've got more important things to do," Cline argued. "The progenation machines are powered down for the night shift, but soon as they're active, we could breed a whole platoon from you three."
"Sorry, but the Doctor and I agreed to try naturally first," Rose said in way of decline, failing to hide the contempt in her voice.
"I'm not having sons and daughters by some great big flipping machine!" Donna protested. She turned to Jenny. "Sorry, no offence, but you're not... well, I mean, you're not real."
"What? Donna!" Rose cried.
"You're no better than him!" Jenny accused. "I have a body, I have a mind, I have independent thought, how am I not real? What makes you better than me?"
"That's not what I..."
"Well said, soldier," Cobb commended. "We need more like you if ever we're to find the Source."
"Ooh, the Source, what's that then? What's a Source? I like a Source. What is it?"
"The breath of Life," Cobb said seriously.
"And that would be...?"
"In the beginning the great one breathed live into the universe," Cline told them. "And then she looked at what she'd done, and she sighed.
"She? I like that," Jenny said happily.
Rose grinned. "Me too. Glad to see at least a few human colonies that have women as their 'great one'."
Donna almost snorted. "Wouldn't be surprised if you were the inspiration for half of them."
"Well, there are at least 30 other planets out there where I am," Rose grinned cheekily.
"You're a goddess?!" Jenny said in surprise.
"Yeah, she is. Of time and space!"
"Poppycock!" Cobb muttered. "There's no such thing as-"
"So, it's a creation myth," the Doctor said, cutting him off.
"It's not a myth. It's real.-"
"Oh, but a goddess of time and space isn't?"
"-That sigh, from the beginning of time, it was caught and kept as the Source. It was lost when the war started. But it's here, somewhere. Whoever holds the Source, controls the destiny of the planet."
"Aha!" the Doctor suddenly cried, cutting him off. His hand lashed out at the holographic map before reaching into his pocket for the sonic. "I thought so! There's a suppressed layer of information in this map. If I can just..." He aimed the sonic at the machine the holograph was projecting from, and rotated it. More tunnels appeared on the map, highlighted in green.
"What is it, what's it mean?" Donna asked.
"Those are more tunnels," Rose said.
"Yep! A whole complex of tunnels, hidden from sight."
"That must be the lost temple!" Cobb said. "The Source will be inside. You've shown us the way! And look, we're closer than the Hath! It's ours!" He turned to Cline and gave him a slight nod. He began to march off through the camp, the Doctor and the rest of them following after. As the walked, he grabbed the arm of one of the soldiers and started giving him orders."Tell them to prepare to move out. We'll progenate new soldiers on the morning shift, then we march. Once we reach the Temple, peace will be restored at long last."
The man nodded and walked off, his gun in hand. The Doctor reached forward and grabbed Cobb by the arm. "Um, call me old-fashioned, but if you really wanted peace, couldn't you just stop fighting?"
"Only when we have the Source. It'll give us the power to erase every stinking Hath from the face of this planet!" Cobb growled.
"What?!" Rose cried in outrage.
"Hang on, hang on!" the Doctor said. "A second ago it was 'peace in our time', now you're talking about genocide?!"
"For us, that means the same thing." Rose balked. She didn't know if she wanted to vomit, or punch this guy in the face. She'd never actually interacted with anyone quite like this before. The only ones she'd heard talk like that were people famous for starting war, or cold, hard monsters.
"Then you need to get yourself a better dictionary," the Doctor retorted, standing with his hand on his hips. "When you do, look up genocide. You'll see a little picture of me there and the caption will read 'over my dead body'!" Cline walked over and gave the Doctor an odd look.
"And you're the one who showed us the path to victory. But you can consider the irony from you prison cell. Cline, at arms!"
With a slight nod, he aimed his gun at them.
"Oi, oi, oi! Alright! Cool the beans, Rambo!" Donna shouted.
"Take them," Cobb ordered. I won't have them spreading treason. And if you try anything, Doctor, I'll see that your woman dies first.
"If you so much as lay a finger on her, I'll-"
"Oh yeah, just try it, you racist pig!" Both Rose and the Doctor shut up when Cline dug his gun into Rose's side.
Cobb chuckled. "Looks like you do have some fight in you after all."
"Come on, this way," Cline said. He gave Rose a little nudge with the barrel of the gun, indicating which way they should walk.
"I'm going to stop you, Cobb," the Doctor growled, "you need to know that."
"I have an army and the breath of god on my side, Doctor. What'll you have?"
"This," he replied, tapping his head.
"Me," Rose said at the same time. Everyone looked at her. "What? I think I've earned the right to say that." The Doctor ginned at her but it was short lived as the others began to talk again.
"Lock them up, and guard them."
"What about the new soldier?" Cline asked. At the mention of her, Jenny stepped forward front and centre.
"We can't trust her, she'd from pacifist stock. Take them all!"
He gave Jenny a harsh push, shoving her back into the Doctor who caught her. Cline gave them a grim half-smile and lead them off. He marched them through the corridors till they came to cell. He herded them in and locked it. Of course, this wasn't the first or last cell they'd ever be in, so they didn't fuss. The Doctor took off his cloat and chucked it down on the seat before sitting down. Rose sat beside him and began to stroke his arm. He still felt agitated and it was worrying her a little. Donna and Jenny just looked about the cell.
"More numbers," Donna suddenly said, looking up above the doorway outside the cell. "They've got to mean something."
"Makes as much sense as the breath of life story," the Doctor grumbled.
"You meant that's not true?" Jenny said in disbelief.
"No, it's a myth. Isn't it, Doctor?"
"It might be true... kind of. It could be based off something real that happened or something like that," Rose said, trying to lift Jenny's spirits.
"Rose is right. There could be something real in that temple, something that's become a myth. A piece of technology, a weapon."
"So, the Source could be a weapon and we've just given directions to Captain Nutjob?"
"Not good, is it?"
"He's dangerous. Like, beyond reason dangerous," Rose added.
"That's why we need to get out of here, find Martha and stop Cobb from slaughtering the Hath." Looking up, he noticed the look that Jenny was giving him.
"Wh-what are you- What are you- What are you staring at?" the Doctor stammered.
"You keep insisting you're not a soldier, but look at you!" she exclaimed, crossing her arms with a smug look. "Drawing up strategies like a proper general." Rose shook her head, trying to get Jenny to stop.
"No, no, I'm trying to stop the fighting."
"Isn't every soldier?"
"Well, I suppose. But that's- that's... technically. I haven't got time for this! Rose give me your phone." She handed it over and he frowned as he flipped it open. "Aww! It's broken! Must have broken when you fell over on the ship. Here, I'll just fix it..." He grabbed out the sonic and began sonicing it.
"And now you've got a weapon!" Jenny said.
"It's not a weapon."
"But you're using it to fight back!" She let out a delighted giggle. "I am going to learn so much from you. You are such a soldier!" Rose was furiously shaking her head in the background.
The Doctor hesitated a moment. "Donna, will you tell her?" he said, his voice higher than normal. "Rose?"
"Oh! You are speechless, I'm loving this! You keep on, Jenny!"
"No! No keeping on," Rose said. "Not about this. Seriously, after all he's been through, you think it's funny to-" She was cut off as she began to choke again.
"Rose are you okay?" Donna said in concern, placing a hand on her bac. "Oh, god. You look like you're going to be sick."
Just like before, Rose leaned over and retched, like she were puking. But instead of vomit, another golden cloud of energy spilled from her mouth and floated up into the air.
"The breath of life..." Jenny breathed in awe. "You are a goddess."
"Rose!" The Doctor was by her side in a panic, his hands on her shoulders. "Are you okay? Has that happened before yet? How long has it been happening? Why is it happening? You're not hurt, are you? You didn't-?"
"Doctor, relax," she said. "It's fine, I think. I'm not regenerating or anything. I think... I don't know. I just think my body's trying to get rid of that poison. It happened before when they were... um... making Jenny. It pulled out some of the toxins with it."
"I've breathed in poisons before, and that has never happened."
"Well, I don't know. I'm not a... proper Time Lord like you. Anything could be different."
"Time Lord?" Jenny asked, utterly confused by what was happening.
"It's what they are," Donna told her.
"As soon as we get back to the TARDIS, I am checking you out," he said pointing a finger at her. Rose just rolled her eyes. She was so used to him saying that she was past the point of protesting. He began dialling a number into her phone, and put it to his ear as it rang. The volume was so loud that they could hear what was happening on the other side.
"Doctor?" they heard Martha's voice.
"Martha! You're alive!" he exclaimed.
"Doctor! Oh, am I glad to hear your voice! Are you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm with Rose and Donna." Rose nodded pointedly to Jenny. "And -and Jenny... in a cell."
"Um... who's Jenny?"
"Oh, the woman from the machine. The soldier." He sniffed. "My daughter. Except she isn't, she's- she's... Anyway, are you alright? Where are you?"
"I'm in the Hath camp," she said. "I'm okay, but something's going on. The Hath are all marching off to some place that's appeared on this map thing."
"Ohhh... That was me," he said. "If both armies are heading that way, there's going to be a bloodbath."
"What do you want me to do?" she asked calmly.
"Just stay where you are. If you're safe there, then don't move, do you hear?"
"But I can hel-" The phone suddenly cut out and the phone beeped out the 'busy' dial tone.
"Damn it!" he growled. He handed Rose back her phone and paced back and forth across the cell in agitation. A sound drew him back towards the bars. There was cheering and chanting coming from back at the camp. "They're getting ready to move out," he said. "We have to get past that guard."
"I can deal with him," Jenny said, marching towards the door. The Doctor caught her by the arm.
"No, no, no, no. You're not going anywhere."
"You belong here, with them." His tone was so scathing that Rose shot him one of her death glares.
"Doctor, stop it!" she growled.
"She belongs with us!" Donna cried, putting her arm around her. "With you. She's your daughter!"
"She's a soldier. She came out of that machine!" Rose placed her hand on his shoulder, half holding him back, half comforting him.
"Oh yes, I know that bit!" Donna snapped. "Listen, have you got that stethoscope? Give it to me. Come on!"
The Doctor backed off slightly, an almost unreadable expression on his face. But Rose could feel his emotions boiling below the surface. She could feel the turmoil. And just like him, she understood what Donna was trying to do. Somehow she knew that Donna's hunch was right and nodded reassuringly.
He grabbed the stethoscope from out of his pocket and stepped back. Rose slipped her hand into his, stroking her thumb along his as Donna checked Jenny's hearts.
"What are you doing?" Jenny said in confusion.
"It's alright, just hold still," Donna told her, placing the stethoscope on the right side of Jenny's chest, and then on the left. "Come here," she said to the Doctor. "Listen, and then tell me where she belongs."
She handed the stethoscope back to him, and he placed it in his ears. Once again, Donna moved the other end on the right, and then the left side of the chest. Rose suddenly got flashes in her head, faces flitting across her mind. She recognised them from the Doctor's memories. They were his children. His grandchildren... All gone.
Jenny was looking up at him with large, pleading eyes. But he stared back at her stonily and retreated back to the wall, letting Rose's hand slip from his.
"Two hearts," he muttered.
"What's going on?" Jenny asked, still incredibly confused, and feeling very hurt about the way the Doctor was treating her. Rose could feel just how upset it was making her. She was trying to hide it, but right now she wasn't doing very well. She felt as if everyone was rejecting her. ...Hold on, how did she know that?
Shaking her head, she pushed the thought to the back of her mind and went over to Jenny, placing a hand around her shoulder. "We have two hearts too. Me and the Doctor. It's a Time Lord thing."
"Donna said that you were Time Lords before. But, what is a Time Lord."
"They're aliens," Donna said bluntly. "Well, that's kind of broad. They're a different species to humans like me."
"It's who I am," the Doctor snapped over top of her. "It's where I'm from."
"And I'm from you," she said hopefully.
"You're an echo, that's all," he said harshly. "A Time Lord is so much more. A sum of knowledge, a code, a shared history, shared suffering."
"Shut up!" Rose suddenly shouted. Her anger hit him like a mental slap and his mouth fell open. "Just, shut up! If that's what you really think a Time Lord is, then what am I, huh?" Angry tears brimmed in her eyes and his mouth open and shut a few times.
"N-no, Rose, that's different!"
"No it's not!" she insisted. "I was never on Gallifrey. I never got to see it. I never got to be part of your culture. I was never in the war. I never shared your pain about losing it all. That was just you and the Master. But you have never called me anything less than an equal. Despite all that, you call me a Time Lady. Why should she be any different? She's never done anything! She was just born, Doctor. I know why you're upset, but you can't take it out of her. She doesn't deserve it!"
The Doctor looked down and away, swallowing hard. He refused to meet anyone's eyes, but Rose knew that his mind was reeling. Silence hung thick in the air for a moment. The Doctor put his hands in his pocket, still refusing to look up.
"...There was a war?" Jenny said timidly trying to break the silence.
"Yeah." The Doctor eventually nodded.
"Was it like this one?"
He let out a low, humourless laugh. "Bigger," he said quietly. "Much bigger."
"And you fought? And killed?"
"Then how are we different?"
"It's not about how fighting in a war makes you different or similar, Sweetheart," Rose said, going over to her hand taking her hand. "The Doctor never wanted to fight, but he had to. This war didn't just threaten a single planet, if he didn't stop these creatures, they would have destroyed the entire universe. Because of it, he lost everything. His planet, his people... He doesn't want to fight. Because there's always a better way."
"A peaceful one. No fighting if it can be helped."
After a moment, Jenny nodded. "No fighting... I can do that."