To address some concerns: This will be River/Doctor and Rose/Doctor. River/Doctor is established in this story, and the Doctor cannot just drop his wife for a younger model. There will be Rose & the Doctor, but it has to be developed and make sense within the parameters of this story's universe.
I had a lot of fun writing this chapter! Remember that I love to hear your thoughts and constructive criticism is always welcome. Thanks! (And wasn't last night's ep awesome?)
Chapter VI - Age of Tyranny
Stepping outside the TARDIS was a relief. Smoke poured out of the blue box behind the Time Lord and his humans. They choked and stumbled away to get fresh air. "Extractor fans on!" the Doctor shouted into the box, and coughed as the TARDIS tried to take care of the mess left from the crash.
"What happened?" asked Amy. "Why did we crash? Where are we?"
"We're in London," Rose answered without giving anyone else the chance to. She looked around, recognizing the concrete park a few blocks away from her home. "Mum's flat is just over there."
Rory sighed, clearly pleased that they were somewhere familiar. "Do you think we can go get some tea?"
Rose shrugged. "I don't see why not. That alright with you, Doctor?"
He stared blankly at her before making an elaborate motion with his hands to accompany his words: "Why would it matter to me? You just take care of yourselves while I take care of the TARDIS. We should be able to get back up and running soon, once she clears the smoke and I can determine what's keeping us."
Rose exchanged a look with Amy and Rory before heading off toward the Estate. It was amazing how much this place didn't change. She'd been gone for weeks and it still looked exactly the same. But where and when had they landed? Was it possible for her to run into herself? Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all...
"What's the date?" Rose asked, pulling out her mobile. She answered her own question. "Sixth of April of last year. We can't be here. I'll see myself and since I don't remember that happening, that could be bad."
Amy and Rory weren't paying attention. Their eyes were fixed on a chalk graffiti that read 'BAD WOLF'. "Wasn't that written in the TARDIS walls?" asked Rory. The women shrugged and Rory continued, "That's weird. But, uh, maybe it's something from pop culture. I mean, we are pretty isolated in the TARDIS." His words seemed more an attempt at self-reassurance than an actual explanation. None could disagree with his logic.
"Oh my God," Rose said, pointing at a poster of a man pasted to the brick wall. Labeled 'Your Prime Minister, Pete Tyler', the poster had the smiling face of a tall man with blonde hair giving a thumbs-up. "That's my dad."
Rory and Amy scrutinized the photo. The resemblance between Rose and the man was there. "But this is 2004? How can your dad be prime minister?" Amy asked. "I would remember Pete Tyler being mentioned at some point."
"That can't be my dad," Rose said, raising her fingers to the poster. She looked at the Ponds. "My dad's dead. He died when I was a baby. I don't even remember him."
"But how can he be prime minster?" asked Rory. Amy hesitated, but then took off at a run for the Doctor and the TARDIS. Following closely, they ran at a pace to rival a car. And why hadn't they seen any cars? The air did seem clearer. But if this was the past, how could everything be different.
Just as they rounded the corner, the Doctor waved them over, his face revealing his concern. "This isn't Earth," he said as they approached and stopped to catch their breath. "We're in a parallel universe. Somehow we ended up here when the TARDIS crashed. It must have had something to do with whoever got in the TARDIS. We need to get out of here quickly."
Amy folded her arms. "When will the TARDIS be ready?"
Before the Doctor could answer, Rory said, "So if we're in a parallel universe, anything could happen. We could see ourselves or kill our gangers or be killed. So there are just little changes?"
"Something is different here," the Doctor said as he looked around, taking in the surroundings. "Something in my mind is not quite the same. But Earth shouldn't have telepathic technology for several more centuries, so what's causing it?"
"Doctor, my dad's alive," Rose said, chewing on her lip. "He's prime minister."
The Doctor clapped his hands together and grinned. "Well that's positive! If he is anything like you, Rose, then this Britain is destined for greatness."
Rose didn't smile, but asked to borrow Amy's mobile, for it was more modern than Rose's own phone and had internet capabilities. She did a search for her father and read up on his story while the Doctor worked on the TARDIS. Amy and Rory stood off to the side, talking and flirting. There were no other people out.
An orange cat brushed against Rose's feet, and she leaned down to pet the stray with one hand while she waited for the page to load. The cat left quickly and Rose straightened up, shifting her weight to her left. According to the Pete Tyler wiki page, he was married to Jackie Tyler and had no children. He'd become prime minister eight years ago with no intention of relinquishing the position. Unlike the real world (if it could be called that), Pete had not been elected, but appointed by the Supreme Master, whatever that meant.
Fifteen minutes passed, and the TARDIS still did not seem ready to leave. Amy and Rory looked bored, Rose was still Googling her dad, and the Doctor seemed to be growing increasingly frustrated. His mind was driving him insane. There was some sort of presence there, but it was unfamiliar and unclear. He wracked his memory, trying to figure out if something had been seen or heard since landing here that would give any inclination as to who or what was in his head. It didn't seem to affect the others, so perhaps it was the Voice who had chosen a new victim.
Footsteps approached the blacktop where they stood, and the Doctor looked up, as did his companions. The sound was uniform and forceful, like a military. A group of a dozen men turned the corner and approached the four travelers. They were wearing crimson jackets with gold tassels and carried guns. Without a word, they marched up to the four and seized them.
Rose screamed as she turned, having seen her attacker's face. While unrecognizable to her, they looked completely human. Rory and Amy struggled against their captors, crying out to the Doctor, who seemed to be unresponsive. Yes, he was conscious, but doubled over in pain with his hands clutching his head.
A shot rang out. Rose screamed again and tried to pull away, only to be gripped even tighter. The guard holding Rory collapsed as more shots were fired, blood pooling on the gray cement. Rory helped release Amy, then met the Doctor's eyes.
An eternity passed before both men nodded. Rory led Amy, running off into a shadowed alley before disappearing around a corner.
The Doctor and Rose were cuffed and roughly tossed into the back of a van. Rose struggled to sit up as the van sped over bumps and around sharp turns. "Who are they, Doctor?" she managed to ask.
He ignored her question, instead asking, "Are you alright?" They turned left quickly and were thrown to the opposite wall.
Rose fell into the Doctor and hissed, "Been better." She scuttled over, still struggling against inertia. The van was dimly lit and completely empty. There were no weapons of any sort, nor tools to use for defense.
"He knows we're coming," the Doctor said suddenly as Rose was flung into him once more.
"There weren't supposed to be any left. Not anywhere. How is this possible?"
"Oh, Rose, this isn't going to end well."
Before she could make any statements, the van halted violently and the doors were opened. Squinting in the sudden brightness, Rose and the Doctor were pulled from the van, and in front of a massive building.
"Bloody hell," Rose mumbled as she recognized their location: Buckingham Palace.
A large tapestry fluttered just inside the doors they were dragged through. It was crimson with gold text: a circular language that Rose had seen on the TARDIS. The Doctor paled. He looked to Rose and said, "No matter what happens, do not draw attention to yourself. I didn't recognize his walls; it's been so long. We should never have come here." He continued to mumble until they reached what seemed to be some sort of throne room. Scarlet tapestries fluttered in the breeze from the open windows, each with a unique gold symbol. The Doctor grew more wary as his eyes scanned each.
"You will kneel before your Lord and Master," a guard commanded. Rose and the Doctor were un-cuffed, but knew better than to try to escape. Footsteps echoed from a far hall, and the guards shoved Rose and the Doctor onto their knees. He reached for her hand and held it tightly.
"Be brave," he whispered. She gave him a weak smile of reassurance in return. The Doctor took a deep breath and grimly looked upon the room's entrance. In walked an entourage of guards surrounding a tall figure. The Red Seas parted, and out stepped a man with a manic grin that seemed to match his messy hair and pin-striped suit.
Amy and Rory ran as fast as possible, determined to escape so they could start to figure out a plan to rescue the Doctor and Rose. Once they were several blocks away from the danger, the couple slowed to a brisk walk and stopped behind a dumpster to rest. Chest heaving, Amy closed her eyes and leaned against the brick wall. Rory pulled out his mobile and began an internet search on who was in control of this Britain. Those men did not look like the police in their world, but were too official to be rebels or a gang.
They only allowed themselves a short break of a few minutes before taking off again. Getting caught was the last thing they wanted if they were to help the others. Walking slowly enough to appear casual, the Ponds took account of everything and everyone around them. Having made their way to a busier part of London, more people were out shopping. Life seemed almost normal, if not for the more advanced technology and fewer people out and about.
"What is this place?" Amy asked her husband, reaching for his hand.
He grimaced. "I dunno, but it's far from home. Amy, I have a feeling we're not in England anymore." They exchanged a quick smile and a laugh, but then turned serious again. How were they supposed to figure anything out?
There still weren't very many cars out, only a few official looking vans and automobiles, with what looked like the affluent being driven around. A black van that had several dents pulled up to the curb alongside Amy and Rory. Wary of the people inside because of how the Doctor and Rose had been captured, the Ponds turned to face the driver.
It was a man with spiked blonde hair wearing a black t-shirt. He grinned. "Get in," he said, his accent revealing his home of Wales. "We can help you find your friends."
Amy and Rory exchanged a glance before pulling open the passenger door and climbing in. It was a tight squeeze on the bench in the front of the van, but not impossible. Yes, it was dangerous to trust a stranger in such a dangerous place, but how else were they supposed to find the others?
"I'm Jake Simmonds," the driver said, looking for traffic before pulling out onto the road again. "Saw that you'd been with two others and got attacked. You ran, they were arrested. Bit usual, except for the bit where you two actually got away. You two rebels, then?"
"No," Amy said quickly. "Just travelers. I, uh, I'm Amy Williams and this is my husband, Rory."
"Married, that's nice," Jake said as he drove. "Well, you sure aren't from here, judging by how obvious you were being."
"How do you mean?" asked Rory, thinking back on what they had done since arriving.
Jake laughed. "You admired the scenery. The posters, the graffiti...all done on purpose."
"But you weren't there," Amy interrupted. "How did you see us get ambushed?"
He nodded; it was a fair question. "We have techies who hack the cameras. Saw you bein' different and then attacked. Knew we needed to pick you up before they did."
"And who's they?" asked Rory.
"Government. Bit corrupt around here, they are." Jake explained more as they drove. No one else seemed to be out on the streets. Eventually, the Welshman stopped talking and they drove in silence. Overall, the ride was short, but it seemed to drag forever. Finally, they stopped in an alley behind an industrial building made of old bricks.
"Welcome to the Church, home of the Preachers," Jake said with a cryptic smile. He locked the vehicle before leading Amy and Rory to a metal fire escape. They climbed to the third floor of the building before stopping. Jake knocked on the thick door-a set pattern of four taps.
There was a single knock back, and then Jake knocked twice more. The door unlatched, and then opened a crack. "Password?" a female voice said.
Jake rolled his eyes. "Really, Donna? You know it's me. I've got the other two."
"Well, aren't you just a bucket of sunshine?" Donna said, still hidden from view. "You know how careful they are. Password?"
The blonde man sighed and said, "Torchwood."
"Wrong," Donna said.
"She changed it again?" There was a vague sound of assent, and Jake muttered, "Shit." He wracked his brain before huffing loudly. "Let me the hell in, Donna. We've got business to do."
"Close enough," she said, and the door opened, revealing a tall woman with long red hair, not unlike Amy's. She looked older than the Ponds, but not by too much.
"This is Donna Noble," Jake said crossly, "temp extraordinaire and our bouncer. Sort of."
She smiled and gave a quick wave before leading them through the dark room to a dimly lit hallway. All of the windows had thick curtains over them, only allowing slivers of light through. The place looked abandoned, which must work in their favor since they didn't seem to be law-abiding citizens. They were led into another room, but this one looked more like something they were used to.
The walls were a stark white with fluorescent lights shining brightly. Computer screens sat on the desks which littered the floor. Cords and wires covered the floor, connecting everything to everything else, and eventually leading to a large screen hanging on the wall.
An attractive man with dark brown hair and a vintage military coat approached them, extending his hand. "Hello," he said suggestively, "I'm Captain Jack Harkness."
Rory, becoming defensive and protective of his wife, took the American's hand before his wife could and said, "I'm Rory Williams, and this is my wife, Amy."
"Ignore him," a different female voice said. "He's always like that." The woman walked over and smacked Jack on the arm before smiling and reaching to shake the Ponds' hands. She was shorter than the Pond couple, with flawless dark skin. "Martha Jones, UNIT representative. Well, more like the only member left."
Amy and Rory smiled and looked around the rest of the room. There were some other people working, and a few flitting in and out of the room determinedly. It seemed that they would never stop working. "Can you help us find the Doctor and Rose?" asked Amy.
"We're already working on it," Martha said, leading them over to the large screen. Several camera views were showing, with other screens of fast typing and search bars. The words 'ACCESS DENIED' flashed on the screen before there was more quick typing. "Did you say your friend was called the Doctor?" When Amy and Rory nodded, Martha said, "That's odd. The name of the man in charge is also the Doctor. He's not human."
"Neither is our Doctor," Amy said, feeling much more at home with these people than she thought she would. It saved them a lot of trouble if the others already knew about aliens and time and space travel.
"We're from another universe," Rory said. "We fell through here on accident. I think we need to rescue the others and just get home."
"It's gonna take some time," Jack said, clapping Rory on the back. "But we're working on it. Ianto's getting coffee, and then we're gonna work overtime to get your friends back."
"But why do you want to help us?" asked Amy.
Jack gave a quick smile. "Because you're different."
"You keep saying that," Rory said, "but you never define it."
"Think of it this way," Martha began to explain, "we need help to overthrow the government and it's kind of obvious that you've got the technology to help us. With the help of your machine-that blue box-we can launch our program to stop the Doctor."
"How can the TARDIS help you?"
"Advanced technology," a new voice said. They looked over at a near set of computers to see a small woman sitting criss cross in her chair, typing furiously. Without looking up, she continued, "Time and Relative Dimensions in Space, right?"
Amy and Rory, on their guard, looked at each other before unanimously saying, "Yeah."
The woman stopped typing and looked up at them. "Is there a way to say genius that's modest and a tiny bit sexy?" The couple exchanged another look and the woman smiled. "Clara Oswald. I'm a bit of a computer freak."
Taking Rory's hand, Amy smiled. Maybe this wasn't so impossible after all.
Rose couldn't help but admit that this man was incredibly attractive, even though he had enslaved all the Earth. Something in his eyes seemed familiar. His voice was smooth and deep. "And who are you? Clearly, you aren't from Earth. Oh, your walls are easy to break"-the Doctor winced as the man snapped down one of his more superficial barriers- "Time Lord. So who are you, and how did you survive me?"
"I'm the Doctor," he said loudly, squeezing Rose's hand tightly, "the last of the Time Lords."
The other man laughed. "No, I'm the Doctor, the killer of the Time Lords. So you're me from the future?"
"Why in the name of Rassilon would I wear something as childish as a bow tie. Bit pretentious?"
"Bow ties are cool," the Doctor said boldly.
The other Doctor walked closer and asked, "Where are you from?" No answer. Rose could tell from the way the men were staring at each other that they were having a mental battle. Suddenly, the trainer-wearing Doctor shrugged, "No problem. She'll answer me." He pulled Rose up roughly, holding her close to him. "What's your name."
She bit her lip before answering, "Rose Tyler."
"Thank you for being cooperative, Rose Tyler. I'll be getting to know you well." Somehow, that didn't make Rose feel better about being in this man's arms.
He placed his fingertips on her temples, gently caressing her head. Rose's Doctor shouted, "You can't do that!"
And then Rose felt the strangest thing. She cried out as the Doctor pressed his mind fully into hers with no warning. He was rough and forceful as he probed her mind, filling her being completely. Somewhere in the distance, Rose thought she heard her Doctor shouting in protest, but she could only focus on the man in her head. Not only was the situation uncomfortable, it was painful and surprisingly intimate. Was it raining or was Rose crying?
Then the Doctor pulled out suddenly. Rose collapsed to the floor, feeling oddly violated.
"She's human!" Rose's Doctor shouted angrily. "According to Article Nine of the Shadow Proclamation-"
"Don't quote ancient legislature to me," scoffed the dark Doctor. "I destroyed it. I am the supreme ruler of the universe-the Time Lord victorious."
Rose moaned and clutched her head. It was almost as if she could still feel him there. How could the two men be one and the same, even if from different realities? They were nothing alike. The Doctor was kind. This man was twisted. He was so wrong. How could this have happened?
Rose was glad Amy and Rory had escaped. But how would Rose and the Doctor get out of this mess? It seemed unlikely that this Time Lord would just let them go.
As if he'd read her mind-which was not entirely impossible-this world's Doctor said, "Miss Tyler, I would be greatly honored if you would accompany me to dinner. As for you, Doctor," he spat with disgust, "your TARDIS will be located and destroyed. You will leave my palace, never to return, but only after the use of the Chameleon Arch."
Guards pushed Rose and the Doctor from the room, and separated them down different halls. Rose found herself in an ornate bedroom unlike anything she'd ever seen. The customs must have been from the Doctor's home planet because they were not of Earth.
The walls were cream with ivory accents and moulding. Scarlet curtains hung at the windows, matching the crimson comforter on the four-post mahogany bed. Rose immediately went to the windows, but they were locked. With a sigh, Rose searched for another means of escape, finding none.
Turning to the wardrobe, Rose saw that the only dress was a floor-length TARDIS blue evening gown. Slipping her trainers off, Rose held up the dress. It looked like it would fit well, if not perfectly. How could this new Doctor have known her size? Maybe the wardrobe was like the wardrobe in the TARDIS-it would adjust to her size. Somehow that wasn't reassuring.
Rose pulled off her jumper and stepped out of her jeans. She had certainly lost weight since coming onboard the TARDIS. Whenever she went home, surely her mum would notice and be suspicious. How could she lose ten pounds over night-literally? For once, Rose wasn't entirely unhappy with her body. The obscene amount of running seemed to do her well, and even her face had begun to thin out. Maybe she was finally losing her baby fat. Age nineteen seemed late for that to happen, though.
When would she see her mother and boyfriend again? Would she see her mother and boyfriend again? It didn't seem like they were going to make it out of this alive. As frustrating as that was, Rose hoped that the Doctor-her Doctor-had some sort of plan to get them out of this mess. Surely he'd been in a situation like this before.
Rose pulled out her mobile and called her mum. The signal wouldn't reach from this universe to the next. She couldn't call home. If Rose never made it out of this alive, no one would know what happened to her. Rose thought she might be sick.
Dressed only in her unmentionables, Rose sat on the posh bed, feeling a headache coming on. Tears prickled at her eyes and Rose bit down on her lip. She would never see her family again. They would never see her again.
And then Rose remembered that she was not some poor damsel in distress. She would help the Doctor figure a way out of this. Not to mention that Rory and Amy were off somewhere hopefully figuring out how to fix this. Rose stood and picked up the TARDIS blue dress once more.
This must be the Doctor's favorite color in every universe, subconscious or not. And as Rose slid it on, she felt beautiful. The color was really gorgeous and the dress was flattering. She fumbled with the buttons on the back, but eventually got the dress situated. A pair of silver flats were on the wardrobe floor. It seemed this Doctor thought of everything.
Rose's stomach grumbled, and she realized that she didn't know how hungry she was. Hopefully her Doctor would be at dinner as well. She didn't want to be alone with this man who'd been in her mind without her permission. Sure, the TARDIS did the same thing, but that was different. This-for lack of a better description-had been like a rape: intimate and unwanted.
She shuddered and shook off the feeling. She didn't want to think about that man in her mind. There was a knock at the door. Hesitantly, Rose opened the door. It was a guard. He said nothing, but Rose understood that she was to follow.
Another guard walked behind Rose so she couldn't drift away, and she tried to admire the scenery. This couldn't be what the Buckingham Palace in her world looked like. It was too Gallifreyan, too alien. Just before walking into the room where they would eat dinner, Rose took a deep breath and straightened completely. She wanted to look intimidating and confident (and maybe beautiful for once, since she never got that luxury back home).
The large room had a long table in the center, but, other than a few guards, was completely empty save for the Doctor-the Time Lord from this universe. Her Doctor was nowhere to be seen. The man with the fabulous hair stood as she entered the room and motioned for her to sit across from him. As Rose took her seat, she noticed that she had to be at least fifteen feet away from him. That was good; she didn't want to be too close to this monster of a man.
The first course was brought out and Rose tried to eat slowly, despite her hunger. She offered no start of a conversation, but knew she would be forced to talk eventually. It turned out that 'eventually' was sooner than she had hoped.
"Tell me about yourself, Rose Tyler," the Doctor said.
Quickly swallowing a bite of a roll she'd been eating, Rose thought before saying, "Not much to say. I'm just a shop girl from London. I'm nothin' special."
He smiled. "Oh, but there's got to be something special about you if the other me took an ape like you along. If he's anything like me, which I suppose he is-well, was like me-he must think of you as pets."
Rose's brow creased, and she shook her head. "We're not his pets. We help him save the universe. He saved us, we save him."
The Doctor raised his eyebrows. "Molto bene." He turned to his food and continued eating. Rose did the same, trying to appear civilized while still eating more quickly than she would have liked. Of all the days to skip breakfast... "So you travel with him, then. The universe is quite exciting, no? I love to travel. Of course, I'm busy being in charge so much now that I can't-"
"Why did you enslave the earth?" Rose interrupted. He looked quizzically at her, obviously not used to being cut off mid-sentence. "How could you do something like that?"
"It needed my protection. You lot are just so stupid. If there's ever a problem, you don't say, 'We should get out of here.' You say, 'let's go aggravate the problem and screw ourselves over.' Quite exhausting. With a Time Lord in charge, everything runs so much more smoothly. I'm just a more naturally clever species."
Rose didn't look at him as she continued eating. Any other questions he asked were brushed off or given a one word answer. An hour or so passed before the Doctor stood and walked to Rose. His stride was so large, it only took a few steps before he was at her side, extending his hand.
"May I have this dance?"
She looked up at him and raised an eyebrow. "Are you joking?" When it became apparent that he was not, she tentatively put her hand in his and allowed him to lead her away from the table. Strangely enough, his hand felt like her Doctor's hand. It was a different size, with different skin, but it felt the same. Maybe it wasn't entirely impossible that they were the same man. Then again, this Doctor was a psychopath.
He gently placed one of her hands on his shoulder and laced his fingers through the other. With his free arm, the Doctor pulled her much closer than Rose was comfortable with. Held against him, they began to sway to the soft sounds of the piano in the corner.
Rose refused to meet his eyes, rather looking off to the side. He was taller than her Doctor, but was still tall and thin. The Doctor pulled her even closer and began to hum along in a language that was not English-it didn't even sound like it was from this planet. Rose assumed it was Old High Gallifreyan, the lost language of the Time Lords. She'd heard the Doctor cuss in it several times when he was frustrated with the TARDIS.
For some reason, Rose's eyes began to fill with tears of hatred. How could he stand here, singing in the language of the people he murdered? She pushed herself away from him, but he caught her hand. "You're terrible!" she exclaimed. "Who the hell do you think you are?"
His eyes grew dark. "I am the Last of the Time Lords, the ruler of the universe, the Oncoming Storm."
"You're a coward!" Rose shouted, trying to pull away from him. He was much stronger than her and would not let her wrist go.
"Don't you dare say that!" the Doctor roared, tightening his grip on her wrist.
Rose cried out in pain and tried to pry his fingers from around her wrist. The Doctor seized her other hand, and Rose kicked his shin. Taken by surprise, the Doctor loosened his grip enough for Rose to pull herself free and start to run.
To Be Continued
Hope you enjoyed that. Please review! Your thoughts mean the world to me!
Next Week: The Dark Doctor