The Doctor was grinning from ear to ear as he placed more items in his bigger-on-the-inside pockets, anticipating his son’s reaction to all the ‘toys’ he was going to get. After the near-miss with the Vashta Nerada, the Doctor had been extra careful while programming the Tardis’ next destination to further avoid any such future incidences. As such, he was almost finished with his ‘shopping’.
Besides the books from The Library, he had also acquired enough parts from Junk Planet to build most of the items that he couldn’t get anywhere else, and a few things that he thought would occupy Alex’s time while he worked to build what was needed. It was amazing how long a Time Child could play with a Universal Timepiece.
Some of the little things had been easy to find: a handheld computer for school, blocks and threads for building and weaving, and even a few junk items that Alex could take apart without repercussions. Besides the things he would build, and the items that were galacticly cheap (if you went to the right place and time), there were also those that had to be stolen. A Universal Timepiece was one of them, but necessary enough to warrant the theft.
But finally, after much digging through piles of trash, haggling with beings of questionable hygiene, and sneaking through a planet or seven to steal priceless artifacts, he was ready to head back to his son.
He was smiling to himself and carefully tuning the Tardis to only a few hours after he had left Earth and was en-route when a ringing filled the room. The Doctor blinked for a nanosecond before he frantically dug into his coat pocket for the cell phone that Martha had given him so long ago. His hearts beat a staccato rhythm in anxiety as he feared the worst. He looked at the number, and pushed the button while placing it next to his ear. “He’s gone, isn’t he?”
*Yes.* Jack’s voice was soft, quiet. *How soon can you get here?*
The Doctor saw the familiar light on his console that lit when the requested destination was reached come on, and replied, “I’m here.” And clicked the phone closed.
A part of him wondered vaguely why he could be so calm and collected about this, wondered idly where the fear he had felt only moments before had gone, where the anger that should have come resided, the guilt of leaving his son with inadequate protection. There were many things that he should be feeling, but all were oddly absent. That small piece of his mind wondered, but it was ignored by the need to get Alexander back. Under such overwhelming pressure, the piece quieted and withdrew, taking it’s wonderings with it.
With the absence, a strange quiet descended to encase the Time Lord’s mind. All that intelligence, experience, determination, and will power became focused onto a single task: Get Alex back.
Behind the moon, a heated debate took place. Set in a room with an oval table, five beings sat around. All of them had pale blue skin with varying shades of green for hair. Their eyes were all golden and dressed in a black jumpsuit, but there the similarities ended.
Only two were female, one approximately six foot with waist length braided sea-foam hair and twilight skin. She wore a galactic-standard white lab coat over her suit to indicate her profession, and she was angrily yelling her opinion.
The other female wasn’t speaking, but her eyes sparked with anger while her diminutive five and a half foot tall form shook, bobbed forest-green hair and noon-sky skin trembled in rage. This woman’s black jumpsuit had bright orange stripes running from neck to wrist in a set of three, making her appear slightly taller than in actuality.
The man yelling at the first female was the tallest at six-three, appeared to be the oldest, and the darkest. His navy skin and green-black crew cut hair almost made him disappear into his black suit, the broad scarlet stripe wrapped around his chest an intimidating contrast.
Another man, the only one not at the table but rather standing against the wall across from the fighting pair watching the battle with trained eyes. He was obviously a twin to the yelling woman in every physical aspect, but his mannerisms sharply set him apart. Around his wrists and collar were three pencil-thin pure white stripes, barely discernable. He also carried what looked like some kind of weapon at his hip, within easy reach of his crossed arms.
The last member, male also and obviously the youngest, was noticeably agitated and worried. His shaggy, short white-green hair and cerulean skin made him the lightest in coloring. He also had only one stripe on his suit, but it was not broad as the dark one’s. The bright yellow stripe encircled his biceps, only about two fingers wide. He was visibly torn between agreeing with the yelling woman, and obeying the near-black man. At times he would open his mouth to speak but quickly snapped it shut at the glare from the tallest.
^I don’t care what you say Arashi, he’s a child!^ The tall female screamed, leaning forward in her chair aggressively, her hands balled into fists. ^How dare you do that to a child! A child
that is barely old enough to even survive
the procedure?! Are you mad?! What in the name of Fyrl is wrong
The other member of the intense fight, Arashi, glared at the woman. ^Yes, he is a child. However, if you hadn’t noticed, we are stuck in the middle of the Fyrl-forgotten end of the universe without fuel
! It is my job
, Skye, to think of the safety of this crew and to ensure that everyone gets back home. We have been sitting here for months
, running out of food and water. And since neither Cloud nor Rayne have come up with anything remotely
helpful, that when the choice came, I made it. If we ever want to get home, this is currently the best and only
Cloud had winced when his name was mentioned, sinking further into his chair. Even though he was only sixteen, he already had completed his Engineer training and this was his first trip out to the stars. It wasn’t turning out as he expected. And since he was the youngest, and the least experienced, he was blamed for a lot of things that weren’t his fault, this particular situation was. He had been the one to make the mistake that had gotten them stranded in the ass-end of nowhere, beyond the range of their communications equipment, and with no ability to repair the most essential part of the ship. It was his job to fix what went wrong, but not even the youngest engineer ever to graduate from the Space Academy could create tachyon particles from thin air.
The other female, Rayne, already glaring daggers at her captain, didn’t appear to react to his insult. Only her hands, carefully hidden under the table, moved to clench tightly. Enough that she was certain that soon she would draw blood. She was the only member of Destiny
, a standard long-jump salvage ship, that wasn’t related to another crewmember. When she had graduated from the Science Academy ten years ago, she had been the best of her year and one of the most innovative. She had been offered many jobs, but had decided to take up the Space Academy’s because traveling the stars and seeing new worlds had always appealed to her. Today was the first that she regretted that decision.
^Don’t you blame this on them! You
were the one who stole a child from its bed. You
were the one to take it from its home. You
were the one that gave it a sedative that hadn’t been tested on its race. And you
are the reason that it is barely alive miles from its home and parents! It took all of my experience to do even that much! If you had been even a minute later, that child would be dead
! So don’t you dare
blame this on them!^
Arashi jumped to his feet, barely noticing out of the corner of his eye that his weapon’s specialist, that had situated himself against the wall within stunner-range of the table, moved his hand slightly to rest on the butt of the weapon. As twin brother to the healer on board, who was hot-headed enough to get into a lot of trouble, he saw it as his duty to protect his sister above all others. Even his captain and Arashi knew it. So when the movement came, he used his considerable willpower to reign in his temper.
A captain had to sometimes make hard decisions. At 35 years old, he had been required to make several. This was one of them, and if he wasn’t careful, he would lose more than sleep. His crew could easily take a Shimmer and shift to the planet. If even one did so, they would all be severely crippled. And if two left, the ship would never leave orbit. And while he was loud, outspoken, and stubborn to a fault, he was not stupid.
He took a couple of eight-breath counts before speaking, his voice was more level and wasn’t as loud. ^What’s done is done. The child will only be here for a few more hours anyway, four cycles at the most. Then I will return it exactly where I took it. But right now it is our only hope of getting home again, so I need you to stop fighting with me and do your job. With luck we will be leaving in a rotation.^ His golden eyes asked her to understand, or to at least comply with his requests, ^All you need to do is tend to it. It’s physiology isn’t that different from ours, you said so yourself…^
Skye cut in, her teeth tightly clenched so her words were slightly garbled, but those present were used to this and were still able to understand her, though a few wished they hadn’t. ^I said that the indigenous population on that planet wasn’t that different than ours. That child is not
part of that population. I have neither seen nor heard of his species. I don’t know if what you are asking me to do will harm it or not.^
Arashi sat back down with a sigh and thought for a few more moments, trying to gather his thoughts. He was about to have to make another hard decision. Twice in one cycle was a record, and he wished to Fyrl that he never had a chance to break it. His mind went over all the possibilities again, all the consequences he could think of and the potential gains. Finally, he made a decision.
^The device has been made safe for 98% of the universe’s populations. The chance that the child is one that won’t tolerate the procedure is low, and we need the effects. Do it.^ He gave another sigh, this one belying his age and conveying to the others how much he hated the choice he had just made.
Technically, he was right. There was only a small chance that the child would react negatively to the patch…but it was still present. A two percent chance the child would die. Some of them didn’t think it was worth it.
But since their captain had made the decision in a calm manner and his crew’s best interests were at heart, they couldn’t disobey him.
I needed a pick-me-up after a rough test, so this has not been back from the betas yet. When they do get back, I'll go back and fix any errors. Until then, tell me what you think.