On The Road
Chapter 9: On The Road
In spite of what seemed to have been obvious the Doctor was standing, and flicking his screwdriver through every possible setting that it had. He couldn’t reverse his jump, he couldn’t lock him between this space and another, and he certainly couldn’t follow Ripper’s jump without a single shard of other tech.
Ethan met the Doctor’s strange expression, and raised an eyebrow at him, “Sorry, Doctor. But there’s sweet Jack that anyone can do to avoid this. And…”
“And this is with what exactly, Ethan?”
This time the Doctor actually did give him a sharp shake, hard enough that he was worried that his teeth were going to shake out and bounce across the ground, even as he pressed then together.
He looked at him, and the Doctor could see a touch of despair in his expression, “I’m sorry, but I don’t know. I can’t remember a tenth of it. You said… what you said was that a child didn’t deserve to remember that kind of pain. All that stays with me is a few random events, and the words that you left me with. Well, that and the dreams that I wake from wishing that the gift of memory didn’t exist.
“I’m sorry to let you down in such a way, but there’s nothing that I can do to help it. I’m happy to tell you what I remember, but obviously that’s not enough to counter established events, no matter what I did. Or do, for that matter. What’s happened had happened, and what’s happening is happening.”
When Ethan laughed, the Doctor could hear the bitterness in it. But still, he pushed the man.
“Words, you say. What words?”
He twisted away from the Doctors gaze, as though uncomfortable, and stared at Rose as she swum in and out of focus.
“I’m sorry. You… you told me to do what I had to, to keep it from him; to keep it from him as any cost. To… to…,” he let out a sigh, “it doesn’t matter. Like I said, it doesn’t make a difference.”
“Only one thing for it, then,” he said as he came to a decision.
“It’s back to the TARDIS, then?” Rose asked, as she crossed the damp grass to stand back beside him.
“It is indeed. It seems since there’s no easy way to do this, we’re going to have to do it the old-fashioned way.”
He turned back towards the way they’d come, and took of, stopping at the fence to glance back at Ethan, “Come on, then.”
“Trust me, when I say that’s a bad idea. I may not remember much, but I can still remember what happens when a person meets themselves. This may be only just happening for you, but for me it’s been and gone, and a couple of decades ago.”
“At the very least, do you have any idea where he may have gone?”
“London, I would think. He said that he could hear her calling, and that’s where his TARDIS is.”
He thought for a few moments, before nodding, “At least that’s one starting point. And fair enough, best not risk tearing a hole in the fabric of reality. Come on Rose; let’s get this show on the road.”London, 2002
He tucked his fingers under the doorhandle and brushed his thumb over the trigger-spot on the underside which was attuned to his biological imprint, tugging the door open.
The first couple of feet really did look like a car’s interior; leather seats and metal framing. But beyond that… he watched as lights flared to life along the bottom of the wall down the first passage, as far as the eye could see, and the door closed automatically behind him, as he ducked his head and stepped inside of her.
Where to first, then?
He mused to himself, as he remembered a bar years ago, and the boy who had saved a human from a thrashing. A rebel, who had been more than willing to help another like-minded person raise a little hell, and now that he had the chance he felt that it was well past time to return the favour; see what destruction a human could help him wreck amongst the stars.
He came to the master control room, and flicked a few switches, bringing it to life.
Humming a tune that most people would have found mildly distracting at the least, and off-putting at the most he paused for a few minutes to remember exactly how to do this. After all, he may have done this hundreds of times before, but it had
been a while. He set the chronometer a little way back, hit the lock and circled around to fire the base control up. Then he closed his eyes, and sorted what he needed from what he didn’t, filing notes for the excess off to one side.
He hit a couple of buttons on this side, then circled again, raised the handbrake, gave it a few revs to warm it up properly and hit the jump start, grinning to himself as it fell into the forth dimension for the first time in far too long. He kept a careful eye on the controls, altering them where they needed it, until his TARDIS emerged into real time in the year of 1969.
He flicked the controls, easing it down, and watching its progress on the main screen as he lowered it onto the rain-soaked street, behind a half-stumbling figure that he recognized in spite of the years between them.Devon, 2002
“Tear a hole in the fabric of reality? Were you actually serious?” Rose spoke again once she’d caught here breath back inside the TARDIS which they’d left parked on the cliff edge. The only bull in the field had been eyeing it up by the time they’d gotten back, but that had been easy enough to slip past, and Rose had felt her usual rush of relief as they had entered the ship, almost as though she were seeing a lost friend again.
It felt like everything would be alright, as soon as the ship was accessible again.
“Yes, I’m afraid I was. And that’s the best outcome, without anyone around that could balance the effects. I’ve heard stories of what can happen when people meet themselves, and it really isn’t attractive. If I’d actually seen
if myself, then I doubt that I’d be here talking to you. And if I did take what memories that I could from that man back there, then it wouldn’t have been on a whim.”
“So, you know that the Ripper’s TARDIS is in London at the moment. Is there anything that you can do to… oh, I don’t know, stop it from taking off again or something?”
“No. But I’ve feed the trace radiation that was on Ethan into my ships tracking computer; because of the unique energy signature that each individual TARDIS emits, we should be able to track it for a start.”
“And after that Doctor? After we’ve followed it as far as it can go?”
“Ideally, we should be able to get ahead of him before it reached that point.”
“And then what about in reality?”
“In reality, I don’t want to think about what might happen, what the universe could come to if we can’t. According to the stories, during his reign the Ripper wiped out thousands, Rose. Hundreds of living, breathing, intelligent, sentient races.”
She remembered him telling her, about how some points in history were fixed, and others were in flux.
It wasn’t often that she saw the Doctor as a person who feared. But right now she was seeing a man who was fallible, and afraid. And if he actually was, then that would mean that this wasn’t a part of history that was locked.