There were a couple of questions and comments made on previous chapters. As the commenters in question posted as guests, I could not reply to their comments, so am taking the opportunity to answer them here. Everyone else, feel free to skip this bit.
Hillary and Gandalf; you both asked who exactly the Doctor has killed and when exactly he's ever committed genocide, as the Time Lords and Daleks were thrown into a Time Lock, not outright killed. Specific examples are as follows;
The Fourth Doctor destroyed the following species;
The Osirians (trapped the last member in an inescapable prison and abandoned him to his death)
The Fendahl (dropped the last members of the species into a supernova)
The Sixth Doctor destroyed the following species;
The Vervoids (to prevent them from killing all the humans on Hyperion 3).
The Tenth Doctor destroyed the following species;
The Racnoss (Killed the last queen and all of her thousands of children by drowning them)
These are not counting the deaths the Doctor has caused that did not result in the obliteration of an entire species. If I started listing those, this would be an extra six pages long. The new series is not all the Doctor Who there is. There are, in fact, eight other Doctors and twenty-six seasons (plus one movie) more Doctor Who. Watch them.
In addition, I never claimed that the Oncoming Storm was another personality; It's a name that he's earned. The Ninth and Eleventh Doctors even use it to refer to themselves. It was given to him by people who'd seen what he was capable of when he was angry, or simply had decided that something couldn't go on. That's all the Oncoming Storm is; the Doctor, when he's angry.
The Doctor is a good man, and even a hero. But never doubt for a second that he is also a dangerous man; he is, in fact, the most feared single being in all the cosmos, and for a good reason. He can't be bargained with, or stopped. One day he just drops down out of the sky and tears your world apart if he doesn't like it. Many people and species have tried to stop him, and they've all failed.
Oh, and almost all of the Doctors are prone to an occasional "Damn!" or "Hell!" Again, watch the rest of the series.
*Earlier that morning*
His smaller, sleeker, newer time machine wasn't completed yet, and wouldn't be for another week or so. This did not, however, mean that there was any reason to delay his plans; after all, he had a perfectly serviceable and slightly upgraded time machine already sitting in his lab.
Destro paced back and forth before the Night Creepers. He'd already sent four groups off, and was completing the briefing for this fifth and final one. "Your target will be none other than Storm Shadow; from what I hear, you lot have reason to wish him dead." He smiled at the pained grimaces. "Yes, I know about the incident in Spain. And the incident in Russia. And both incidents in New York. But I believe you will find him a bit more…manageable where I'll be sending you." He smiled. "You'll be going back in time. He'll be about six months old. If he can manage to defeat you then, I've vastly overpaid for your services. All of the information you will need is in your packets. You will have two weeks, after which I shall bring you back. Here, only a day or two shall have passed. Any questions?"
"No, sir." The leader of the squad shook his head.
"Most excellent. Now, you may experience some disorientation and nausea after time transport. It's normal, and it will pass. You will come out in an uninhabited area outside of Fresno, California. Everything once you are transported will then be up to you. Are you prepared?"
He didn't wait for a response; he just pressed the button. A flash of energy as the vortex opened and closed in the blink of an eye, and the Night Creepers were gone. Destro nodded in satisfaction and turned to his new machine. He'd just run a bit more of the wiring, and then maybe run a quick test on the coordinate system…
*Seventeen Hours later, in the Time Vortex*
The whole 'sentient spaceship' thing was going to take some getting used to.
Scarlett and Snake Eyes had been soldiers long enough to know that when you got a chance to get some sleep, you did so. They'd headed in the direction that the Doctor had claimed the bedrooms would be, and had found a room with the door standing invitingly open. Inside, they'd found a king-sized bed and a sword rack on the dresser. They'd both raised their eyebrows at this, but hadn't commented.
Snake Eyes closed the door, removed his mask and the most obvious of his arsenal of pointy things, and preformed his customary new-bed test of flopping down on it and sprawling out. It was Shana who found the bathroom. And oh, but was it a bathroom.
Their little bunkroom in the Pit was one of the few to have the luxury of a private bathroom. Normally such accommodations would be reserved for officers, but Snake Eyes had been assigned to it in light of his extensive scarring; even now, Shana was really the only person he was comfortable with unmasked. Still, all their little bathroom had was a shower, a toilet, and a sink. Luxury by military standards, but nothing close to this.
This was a room at least three times the size of their tiny bathroom in the Pit, with a large old-fashioned claw foot tub. An assortment of soaps, bath oil, and salts were piled on top of a stack of extremely fluffy blue towels.
She was running a bath about twelve seconds after opening the bathroom door. A couple of minutes later, just as she was pulling her shirt off over her head, Snake Eyes, now down to his boxers and only one semi-forgotten knife still tucked into the top of a sock, wandered in to see what she was doing. He eyed the bathtub, then her. He raised an eyebrow.
She smiled at him and unclasped her bra. "You'll have to be on the bottom."
Breaker couldn't sleep.
He hadn't had such a problem in years. Not since high school, really. But there'd been so much to learn, and so much code to write, so many systems to build, so much tinkering to do, and if he was being brutally honest so very many video games to play. And then, once he'd found bugs in the programming, so many video games to hack and 'improve'.
But since graduating with a degree in electronic communications and computer engineering, he'd learned the values of a good solid eight hours. Mostly because he'd joined the Army, and if there was one thing you learned in the Army, it was that morning PT really, really sucked if you'd only gotten two hours of sleep the night before.
It had been a rude transition. Breaker had been accustomed to going to bed at 4 AM, not waking up at 4 AM, which seemed to be the favorite time of day for every drill instructor ever born. Particularly Beachhead.
Breaker still wasn't entirely sure that Beachhead had been born. He had always rather imagined the Sergeant Major emerging fully formed from a growth chamber in some secret lab at Fort Benning, scowl and ball-shriveling bellow fully functional and balaclava and tac vest intact.
Anyway, he hadn't (often) stayed up until the wee hours of the morning for years. (Did this count as staying up until the wee hours? Breaker wasn't sure. How did one tell time of day on a time-travelling spaceship hanging out in the Time Vortex?) Still, how could anyone sleep when they were on this magnificent ship? Breaker had been wandering for an hour and a half, and still hadn't seen the same corridor twice.
Once he'd started worrying about getting lost. The next turn of the corridor had led him back to the console room. Breaker had stood there eyeing the control console for a good five minutes, just staring.
Sentient ship. Right.
He could have sworn that he'd sensed a bit of pleasedsmugoohi'mclever from the control console. After that, he hadn't worried so much about getting lost.
He came to a fork in the corridors. He chose the left passage on a whim, and opened the first door he came to. It was a squash court. So were the next two doors.
The fourth was already open a crack. Light spilled into the hallway, buttery and warm as sunlight. He caught a whiff of grass and warm air. Curious, he pushed the door open.
It was…well, it appeared to be another world. A grassy plain stretched away, knee-high grass of a deep scarlet red waving gently in the breeze. Small white flowers grew here and there, and off thirty or so feet before him and to his left a little grove of trees grew, the trunks smooth and grey and the leaves gleaming silver. Insects hummed in the grass, including something that looked amazingly like a normal Earth honeybee. Birds-or things a bit like birds, anyway-twittered happily in the trees. Two suns shone in the burnt orange sky; everything cast odd double shadows. Around them, the world appeared to go on forever; far off in front of them, blue with distance, mountains rose. Breaker could see the gleaming of something that appeared to be an enormous glass dome nestled miles off in the foothills.
Breaker stared. It was like something straight off the cover of one of the pulp science fiction storied he'd loved as a child (and still loved, for that matter.) A great glass (or something that looked like glass, anyways) dome sparkled under the light of the twin suns, covering an entire city.
He stared across the plain at the great glass city on another world, or at least a simulacrum of one, and experienced no less than twelve simultaneous flashbacks to the John Carter of Mars books. Though the Doctor didn't look particularly red and was wearing a good deal more clothing than the Martians in those books, and there didn't seem to be any stunningly beautiful women wearing little more than artfully placed chains lounging about. He experienced only the briefest pang of disappointment over this last fact; he was too busy trying to figure out how all of this was possible.
Advanced holographic technology. The vegetation and bees are real enough…some sort of greenhouse or park or whatever you call a meadow on a spaceship…but the holographics give the illusion of distance. Oh, but that's so beautiful! A seamless blending of technology and reality. Look at the rendering! That's perfect! They even got the bluing from atmospheric scatter down! The perspective is flawless!
There was someone sitting under one of the trees in the little grove. A tall, skinny man with messy hair and a jacket that was far too heavy for the warm air. He was staring out at the distant mountains and city; his back was to Breaker, but the slump of his shoulders still managed to convey an air of abject dejection.
Breaker started to edge backwards. A twig cracked under his heel.
The Time Lord straightened up and twisted around. Breaker tried to look apologetic. "Sorry! Didn't mean to interrupt. I was just wandering around and this door was open. Leaving now."
The Doctor shook his head, and to Breaker's surprise, smiled. "Don't worry about it. The TARDIS must have thought I needed company; I know I shut that door." He patted the grass affectionately and looked back at the distant glass city. "She'll never admit it, but she mothers me sometimes."
Breaker moved closer to peer at the bark on one of the trees. It looked very much like the smooth grey bark on young ash trees. "Still. I didn't mean to intrude." He eyed the strange alien man who looked so human, and noted the wistful sort of sadness about the Doctor as he ran the scarlet grass through his fingers.
A flash of rare human…well, life-form…related insight. Breaker often had flashes of insight regarding circuit systems and code lines, but people were much harder to figure out. "This is your planet, isn't it? Or it looks like it. What is it, like a greenhouse? A few hundred square meters of real planting with holographic walls to mimic distance?"
The Doctor twisted around and eyed him appraisingly, moodiness apparently forgotten. "Oh, you are clever, aren't you?"
"How do you water it?" Breaker was poking at the grass now. The dirt the grass and trees were growing in appeared to be ordinary dirt. "Is there like an irrigation system underneath the soil?"
The Doctor raised an eyebrow. "No. It rains."
"Yep." The Doctor smiled, but the smile faded after a moment and he looked back out at the distant mountains. "On Gallifrey, I used to sit outside and when it stormed. I liked watching the lightning. I used to dream about how much more there was, beyond Gallifrey and the Time Lords." He stared moodily out over the crimson grass at the distant city.
Breaker was very, very smart. This intellect usually applied better to computers and mathematics than it did to humans; he liked computers because they did exactly what you told them to. No more, no less, just exactly as they were told. Sometimes a few programs conflicted and they did things you didn't expect, but no computer could operate outside its programming. Math and computers were logical and made sense. Even when a computer wasn't working, it was usually because of a conflict or glitch in its programming that could be fixed once it was identified, which traditionally was a process assisted by large quantities of caffeinated beverages and cursing.
(Breaker had a private stash of Jolt cola precisely for this purpose. If another member of the IT team managed to impress him highly enough, they might be granted the supreme honor of enjoying a Jolt from Breaker's minifridge.)
Humans were different. Humans were complicated and spontaneous and did things because, hey, they could. You couldn't program humans for optimal behavior, even though Cobra had tried. Breaker had a far more difficult time understanding humans than computers; humans never made sense. You couldn't reduce a human to a simple series of yes/no commands, and no human he'd ever met had the equivalent of control-alt-delete keys or an on/off switch to press when they weren't being cooperative.
Still, he was exceptionally intelligent, and now his neurons fired up again. Pieces fell into place. This huge, wonderful ship, with only one pilot. The sadness he saw when the cheerful exterior faltered. The little hints, the sense of loneliness, the true the reason why this strange man had been willing to have them come with him. This room. All of it clicked into place, and he just knew.
He was standing in the last echo of a lost world, before the last member of an endangered species. A little piece of his lost home that this strange man called the Doctor carried with him, just so he could come here and remember.
"It's gone, isn't it?" He asked. "Gallifrey."
A pause. "Too clever by half, you are."
Breaker sank down into a sitting position, his back propped against another one of the silver trees. "What happened? If you don't mind talking about it. I mean, I'm a soldier. I understand if you don't want to talk about…you know…things."
"A war." The Doctor's tone had gone dark; there was pain there, and regret, loss and loneliness and longing, all rolled up into two little single syllable words. "We lost. Gallifrey burned. I stopped the Daleks, but I couldn't save Gallifrey. I didn't even think I'd be able to save myself. But I lived. Just me. No one else."
"But…" Breaker paused. The Doctor was staring off into space again. "Well…this ship. Your people. You're so far beyond us. Your weapons tech…"
"Time Lords weren't warriors." The Doctor shook his head. "Violence and destruction aren't natural things for Time Lords; our last war on Gallifrey was tens of millions of years ago. Our weapons tech was centuries behind that of other planets. Except for a few renegades, Time Lords didn't interfere with other races, and didn't lower themselves to anything so base and petty as war. We learned, but not fast enough, and Gallifrey burned with Skaro and the Daleks. I wanted to save them. I tried to save them. But they wouldn't listen, and in the end I had to stop it before the whole universe burned."
Breaker stared. "Stop it? As in the whole war?"
"But you're…" Breaker waved a hand, taking in the wild hair, the skinny build, the suit and the trainers and the distinct lack of anything that looked threatening. "One guy. And you stopped a war? How?"
"I threw Gallifrey and Skaro into a Time Lock." The Doctor looked hard at him, eyes glittering. "All of the Time Lords, and all of the Daleks. The Nightmare Child. The ruins of Arcadia. All of it. I locked them all outside of Time itself, trapped in the final moment of the Time War to burn forever. I sealed them off, outside of Time and space as we know it, so that they can never escape. I did it because otherwise the Time War would have destroyed everything, and every living thing in the universe would have burned. I had to choose, you see; my people, or everything that was and could ever be."
Breaker stared. "So…this planet…"
"Yes." The Doctor sighed, a sad, tired sort of sigh. "I destroyed it. I didn't have a choice; I tried everything else, but they wouldn't listen."
Breaker stared at the man sitting in the red grass, talking about stopping an interstellar war and throwing entire planets outside of time single-handedly. It occurred to him that the between the skinny build, the suit, and the sneakers Doctor looked like nothing so much as a junior partner in a law firm. He certainly didn't look dangerous.
Then he remembered the look on the Doctor's face when Destro had ordered the vipers to take them into custody. He didn't look dangerous. Except when, sometimes, he did.
Violence and destruction aren't natural things for Time Lords…except for a few renegades.
"You do the same sort of thing as us, really." Breaker said at last. "Don't you? You see bad things happening, and so you stop them. No matter the cost, because they have to be stopped, and you're the only one who can. Even if you have to risk everything. Except you do it on a cosmic scale. How? You don't use weapons. You talk."
"You forgot the running and fiddling with things." The Doctor grinned again at last. "See, I don't know if you've realized it yet, but I'm sort of brilliant. Certified genius. Not to make you feel bad, but you're a genius yourself, and I'm so much cleverer than you that it's like comparing a rhesus monkey to Albert Einstein…who was a very clever man and never did figure out the equations for faster than light travel. I told him that he couldn't, not given what he had to build on in his time, but he was a stubborn bloke. Twentieth century physicists for you; never take 'no, you can't' for an answer. Had to go and try. He did figure out relativity and teleportation and was making good inroads on the equations governing quantum tunneling, but he died before he could hit on faster than light travel. So he still owes me a steak dinner."
Breaker blinked. "Albert Einstein never figured out teleportation."
The Doctor grinned knowingly, seemingly utterly distracted from his gloomy mood of four minutes ago. He was a bit like Storm Shadow that way, Breaker thought. Both the ninja and the Doctor could swing wildly from one end of the mood spectrum to the other in the span of about three seconds. "Says who? History books?" He shook his head sadly. "You never want to trust those. They always get bits wrong. I mean, they all say that Elvis is dead."
"You. Ended a war. Single handedly." Breaker paused for a moment. "And Albert Einstein invented teleportation." A heartbeat passed as what the Doctor had just said sank in. "Wait…Elvis isn't dead?"
"I've ended lots of wars." The Doctor ignored him. "It's remarkable what you can accomplish by being a bit clever, really. Along with a bit of running. Or a lot of running." He stared up at the sky contemplatively. "Well…More usually with quite a lot of running."
Breaker nodded sympathetically. All of the Joe's plans tended to involve rather a lot of running too, even if they weren't supposed to at first.
The Doctor seemed to be settling into a topic now; he'd perked up, and was back to his normal cheerful, talkative self. "You know, I've never in all my nine hundred years met a race as prone to trouble as you humans. Other species can manage to colonize other planets and establish galactic empires without me saving them four times a year, but you lot attract trouble like a magnet. And whatever the trouble, it always seems to take a lot of running to solve it." He scratched his chin thoughtfully. "I've saved other races and planets too, but usually not repeatedly. I've saved you lot, oh, six hundred and eleven times now. And ninety percent of the time, it involved running away from people and things trying to kill me horribly."
"You know, I always thought those UFO people were completely off their rockers." Breaker shook his head. "So I guess we don't manage to kill ourselves off, then?"
The Doctor grinned. "Well...most of them are nutters. No species I know of that comes all the way to earth just to dissect some cattle and pick up a few poor farmers to torment. Mind you, in all the universe, there's nothing that goes with cookies quite like cow milk. It has to be a cow, and it can't be replicated. It just doesn't taste the same. And steak! Got to appriciate a planet that can invent steak and chips. But you don't need to dissect a cow to get that; you can just pop by the market like any of the locals.'
'And oh, no. Two thousand years from now, humans will have an empire spanning the Milky Way. Three thousand years from now, they'll have spread to all of the Milky Way's sattilite galaxies and to the Andromeda Galaxy too. You'll fight Cybermen and Daleks. You'll unravel the secrets of black holes and surf the stars on the shock waves of supernovas. The Time Lords always looked down on you, but really you're a better lot than we ever were. You humans will be around until the end of the universe. Indomitable. That's what you lot are. No matter the odds, no matter what problems get thrown at you, you just don't have it in you to give up." His smile widened.
Breaker contemplated that for a few minutes. "Thanks."
"For what?" The Doctor raised his eyebrows, apparently puzzled.
"Letting me know it's all worth it." Breaker shrugged. "I risk my life for my country...and my planet. We all do, in G.I. Joe. But we can only do so much, you know? Sure, if there's a threat of nuclear war we can go in and save America and the world, but we can't do much for bigger stuff. I mean, you hear people talking all the time about killer asteroids and flu viruses that could kill us all and giant solar storms and that sort of thing. People die easily. We know that better than most. But you're saying we don't die. And that's nice to know." He was quiet for a second. "Why tell me all of this?"
The Doctor shrugged. "I like you. You're clever. Far too clever for what you do, really. You could be a millionaire, but you're in the Army instead."
Breaker shrugged again. "The money doesn't matter. There are more important things."
The Doctor's grin widened. "And that right there is why I like you. Now go on. Get some rest. You humans need so much sleep; I don't know how you ever get anything done when you spend a third of your time unconscious."