On Gallifrey, the High Council was in session. They had been discussing a worrying, new development in the timeline. After nearly three Gallifreyan solar cycles, a decision was reached on what should be done. This potential threat needed to be examined and contained as soon as possible.
“Then we are in agreement?” piped up a short stout man in pale green Council robes. He stood in the speaker’s box, facing his peers. His dark brown eyes gazed over the rainbow coloured Council members.
Several of the members nodded, while others looked slightly uneasy. The decision had not been a simple one for many reasons from the security risk the threat posed to Gallifrey to the fact capturing it threat would mean potentially coming in conflict with one of their own people.
“Yes, Councillor Ryco,” a slender woman in white answered authoritatively. Her pale blue eyes glared at the Time Lord in the speaker’s box. “We are quite in agreement.”
Ryco smiled and bowed to the woman in white. “Thank you, President Romanadvoratrelundar,” he said happily.
“But, Councillor Ryco, don’t forget that this threat is a person, possibly one of our own,” she said. A slight grumble from the rest of the Council sounded, which she silented with a wave of her hand. “And as such a cautious approach and consideration needs to be in part with the capture. Is that understood?”
Ryco’s eyes shifted back and forth as he twisted his lips in thought. Then after a cough, he replied, “Of course, Madame President, I shall tell…”
“And to that end, I have decided that I shall select the agent to go,” President Romanadvoratrelundar continued, motioning to someone near the doorway of the Council Chambers.
All eyes turned to look as a Time Lady dressed in a long white gown moved toward the speaker’s box. Her long brown hair was pulled up into an elaborate design on the top of her head and her bright blue eyes sparkled with wisdom and confidence. She took a place beside Ryco, who looked critically at her.
“One of your hand ladies?” scoffed Ryco. “Are you quite serious, Madame President?”
“Yes, Council Ryco,” President Romanadvoratrelundar snapped with a glare before turning to the Time Lady in the white dress. “Do you understand your mission, Abby Romana?”
Respectfully, Abby Romana bowed and said, “I do, my Lady.”
“Good, and hurry,” said another Councillor, “You know as well as we do that if we are too late and something goes wrong, then the universe could be in the gravest danger it has ever faced…”
Over in the Doctor’s TARDIS Aisha was in her room. The place had been hastily prepared for her when she’d been discovered stowing away, but by now she had gotten it to the way she liked. The single bed she was now lying on had a layer of blankets over it, which she removed and put back on depending on what the temperature was like. The usually white walls were draped over with ten different shades in ten long scarves, one for each of her father’s selves so far, as she was him as well as herself. Her music system was built into the wall, and despite a few odd looks from the Doctor, she had all her music on human ‘CDs’.
She felt closer to the Earth-based race than her own people… but then besides the Doctor, she’d never even MET another of her species, the race that made up 80% of who she was… or any of the species contained in her genetic make-up. She’d bugged the Doctor a few times to take them to Gallifrey, but he’d knocked back her protests explaining that it was dangerous for her to be in the midst of an ancient race that frowned on anyone different in attitude, never mind DNA…
And speaking of people who were different, her newest friend was unique… Alzarian but dead… a self-proclaimed and practising Guardian Angel to herself… her best friend. He had worn a bluegold star before he’d died, but now it was silvergold (he said it meant he was her Guardian Angel, but he’d had it long before they’d ever met). He didn’t know that she’d found the broken remains of his old bluegold star in a room that had belonged to another of the Doctor’s companions (Nyssa, keeper of Traken), and now had transferred them to a pouch that hung hidden behind the cream and red scarf that represented the Doctor’s fifth self… And she didn’t want him to know, as she knew he’d never quite found out what had happened to it…
As she looked at the digital clock on her side table her eyes shot wide and she sat up.
“Is that the time? … Possibly not but still…” She got to her feet and walked over to the door. “I thought he'd be back by…”
She was cut off as there came a clattering noise, then suddenly Adric shot out of the wall and ploughed into her, sending them both flying. As they lay stunned a gentle jingle of a bell sounded softly before fading away, but was too soft to be heard by either of them yet…
“...Oh, wasn't expecting that... GET OFF!” Aisha cried, pushing at Adric’s wing.
“Sorry, still not used to the dimensional gaps...” Adric said, as he got up off her.
As they began to talk the jingle returned a bit louder and this time it didn’t just fade away. In fact, it slowly built to a crescendo and danced through the air into Aisha’s room…
“...So you got the cakes? Fantastic. Midnight feast tonight!” Aisha cried.
Adric grinned back, then suddenly his ears picked up the sound… gentle bells chiming out a gentle melody, like a music box…
“…Can you hear bells?” he asked Aisha.
Aisha put her head to one side, her cyberear focusing…
“Sort of… wait, I CAN!” Aisha cried.
She walked out of the door, following the sound with Adric following on behind her. The music was washing over her, making her feel calm…
“So... familiar...” she muttered as it put her into its trance.
She turned left down the corridor, towards the garden… She felt so blissfully happy, so serene… She forgot all else besides following the noise…
Adric, meanwhile, was just curious about the noise, and had noticed that Aisha was a bit out of it…
“Aisha? Hello?” he said, then frowned. “Hmm…”
They had come to the doorway to the garden, but just as she passed through the doorway into the garden, the doorway slammed shut in front of Adric. His eyes flew wide, this was NOT good!
“Aisha!” he cried, running at the door but rebounding. “Aish…!”
Suddenly he heard footsteps, he spun around and, taking one last look back at the door, he ran through the nearest wall and flew away from the garden leaving Aisha…
Meanwhile on the other side, the slam of the door had shattered the feeling of calm in Aisha’s mind and she blinked rapidly.
“What? What’s going on?” she cried.
The garden room was completely white, a searing eerie white that was almost blinding. None of the radiant and colourful flowers or towering trees the Doctor had shown her on the tour were there anymore, and she knew that she was in trouble.
“This isn’t right…” she muttered, spinning around on the spot looking for a way out, but the door too had vanished from view.
Suddenly her cyberear started to broadcast a high-pitched static squealing, and she grasped it in pain. She tried to turn down the volume but it kept on going, boring into her brain and forcing tears from her eyes.
“Hurts…” she muttered through clenched teeth.
As it began to peak the whiteness seemed to close in around her like a void, she collapsed to her knees and cried out…
“SERIOUS… PAIN!” she cried. “ARGH!”
Suddenly another voice came out of the void and it said, “Just relax, Aisha. It will be less painful if you don't fight it.”
“Stop…” Aisha pled to the voice coming from thin air.
“Don't fight it, child,” the female voice said, trying to calm her. “All will be over in a few seconds…”
“Ad-ric…” Aisha said, before blacking out completely.
As her form hit the floor it completely disappeared from the TARDIS and went elsewhere…
A nearly invisible vessel tailing the TARDIS pulled away, carrying its cargo. Its covering was black as space and its form small and sleek enough to manoeuvre around the TARDIS undetectable even in the time corridor.
Inside Aisha lay curled up in a ball. Around her entire form was an energy field… as she started to recover her consciousness she tuned into the voice again, this time much clearer and closer.
“Target has been obtained. I will make the drop off in a few hours?” it said, sounding cold.
“…Ugh, what was that?” Aisha muttered, opening her eyes and seeing a black jump suited and helmeted figure talking into a commlink on the console in front of it.
“Understood, Captain,” another voice replied in an almost grumble.
“Until then, Commander,” the figure replied, before turning off the commlink.
Aisha uncurled, but then found herself severely restrained. On either of her wrists were two mechanical manacles with flashing lights. Around her neck was a similar metal band. Attached to her ankles were more simply designed manacles. She pulled at them but it was no use, she was stuck.
“What the…?” she cried.
The figure deliberately pressed a few more buttons before turning around to face the bewildered Aisha.
“Well, looks like the mouse is awake at last,” she said.
“Who are you?” Aisha asked.
The figure stared at her for a while before turning around and replying, “It isn't important. Just get comfortable, it will be awhile before we reach our destination.”
Aisha bristled, “Oi. I’m not going anywhere caged like an animal!” She shot out her wire from her cyberear, but it bounced off the energy field.
The figure’s gaze snapped back at Aisha. In a rougher and serious voice, the figure said, “You can either go like a caged animal or a sleeping one. Your choice.”
Aisha snarled, but she sat back down and turned to face the wall.
“And I suggest you don't try that little trick with your ear piece again. It won't help you and you might end up damaging yourself.” the figure said.
“If you haven’t already...” Aisha muttered, and then said quietly, “Oh, Adric... he'll be going nuts with worry...”
“Adric? Was it the strange little boy who was following?” the figure enquired rising from her seat.
But Aisha kept her mouth closed. Why give away more information to someone who had abducted her in such a way?
“Well I won't worry about him. If it’s any comfort to you, he was quite fine when we left the TARDIS and we have no interest in him,” the figure explained, stepping closer. “But that doesn't mean you should be expecting a rescue either. Neither he nor the Doctor will coming after you.”
“Why are you even bothering transporting me? Aren't you just gonna kill me?” Aisha asked, and then said in a snide voice, “I assume that you're from Gallifrey?”
The figure gave a soft chuckle, “So you aren't just another stupid ape, you are at least partially Gallifreyian.” The figure raised her hands to the helmet. As the helmet was peeled away, the strong features of a Time Lady appeared with long dark brown hair and striking blue eyes.
“I'm MOSTLY Time Lady.” Aisha said, with a slight superior snooty edge to her voice.
“And I am a Time Lady,” the Time Lady said with a confident smile. “But I don't think you're as much a Time Lady as me. No, if you'd been you'd have picked up on telepathic thought I sent to you, but you didn't so I think you're another cross-bred.”
Aisha looked away, as she felt that pang of shame that reminded her of her own muddled DNA…
“Not my fault... I never asked to be born a mechanic… or to be brain drained by the Cybermen...” she said.
The black jumpsuited Time Lady slowly stepped around the energy field cage, watching and studying Aisha.
“Yes,” the Time Lady said. “I can see it in your thoughts... you were created, not born. And you haven’t had the best of luck thus far. You can’t be more than a few years old in fact at least physically. Yes, Aisha, you are much more than a mutt.”
Aisha just resumed her glaring at the wall, trying to concentrate on a meditation technique the Doctor had been trying to teach her. But the comments still stung her pride, and she’d never really paid that much attention to her lessons…
“I think I can see why the High Council and the CIA are interested in you, you are a scientist's dream.” the Time Lady said, with a smug smile.
Aisha tried harder, but still nothing…
“Your mind is like an open book, child,” the Time Lady said. “So completely untrained.”
“Ignore her...” Aisha thought to herself. “Ignore and just slip into a happy place...”
“I wonder what madness drove an evil Time Lord, like the Doctor, to make you?” the Time Lady muttered, thinking out loud.
“Don't call my father evil,” Aisha growled, losing what little progress she’d made to meditate.
“Would you prefer immoral instead?” the Time Lady spat. “Or perhaps just dim-witted ?”
“My father is not anything like that!” Aisha snapped, getting back to her feet. “And he didn't create me...” She sighed. “That honour goes to a travelling space colony...”
“Oh, no? He didn't ignore the rules of time and nearly destroy all of Gallifrey?” the Time Lady asked, her eyes growing serious and hateful. “He didn't break every rule to change history according to his whim? He didn't give you his DNA to bring you into this world? He didn't go to places, like this colony, placing himself directly in the way of people like those who used his DNA to create you?”
“His DNA was not taken voluntarily you know!” Aisha spat back. “You have no right to judge him, being stuck in the past like the others of our race.” She shook her head. “Pathetic.”
“The Doctor is one of the wickedest Time Lords there has ever been,” the Time Lady growled. “And I should know after what...” She caught herself, then continued with, “It is you, child don't know him.”
“I've lived with him for all my life...” Aisha said, then added. “Or what I remember of it.”
“But you've been with him for a very short time in the expanse that is his life, child,” the Time Lady said. “You don't know what he has done, what goes on in his mind even now.”
“I see more than you do,” Aisha said.
“I doubt it,” the Time Lady snapped, before heading back to the pilot’s seat. “How could a mere child... a mixed bred at that know more than a true Time Lady? I’m one of the Doctor’s own people.”
“I've been him, seen it all from his eyes...” Aisha said. “The cyberear allows me to do more than hack machinery you know...”
The Time Lady snorted with lack of belief. “Technology is only as good as its wielder.” she said before turning back to the controls.
“I've seen and felt so much more of his thoughts than you can ever...” Aisha continued, sitting back down and staring dreamily into the distance. “I’ve watched the birth of new races, seen such beauty…and experienced the death of good friends… all because he watched them first.”
The Time Lady remained quiet as the room darkened slightly around them and the sound of the engines intensified. She was purposively ignoring Aisha… Aisha however was smiling. She'd finally hit something. A raw nerve as it was. If they were gonna treat her this way, she would not make it easy to take her to whatever nasty surprise they had waiting for her at the other end…
The trip was going to take a long time, and all of them on the craft needed their rest. Aisha awoke the next morning, still restrained and trapped within the energy field. She’d spent a cold night curled up on the floor, without even a blanket or pillow for comfort. Her neck was stiff from being at an odd angle thanks to the manacle collar around her neck. She just wasn’t in the mood today…
Suddenly from a corresponding side room appeared the Time Lady Captain, now she was dressed in a long and white flowing gown. Her long dark brown hair was pulled back into a tight bun and ordained with a silver headpiece. She now looked more regal. She walked up to the cage.
“Did you have a good rest, child?” she asked sweetly, crossing her arms over her chest.
“Go away…” Aisha muttered, turning away.
“But we're almost there,” the Time Lady said, lifting up her skirt to reveal a longated gun. “And I can't have you looking like that before meeting the high society of Gallifrey.” She removed the gun form the holster on her leg.
She turned it on and came closer to the cage, Aisha shrunk back. She was going to meet her maker here, on a ship away from her father and friends… at the hands of one of her own race! Then the Time Lady tapped a point on her wrist and the energy field slowly fell away. But Aisha snarled, she wouldn't let her know she was afraid.
Grabbing the end of the chain holding Aisha's feet and hands together, the Time Lady tugged her as if Aisha was an animal. “Now... now, that's no way for a lady to act,” the Time Lady said. “Particularly, one who claims to be a Time Lady.”
“I won't die without a fight,” Aisha growled as she was pulled onto her feet.
The Time Lady looked temporarily taken back by those words. “Who said anything about you dying?” she asked. “I just want to give you a chance to clean up and prepare yourself before we arrive on Gallifrey.”
“And the gun is for...?” Aisha asked, in a voice that suggested she was fed up of being taken as stupid.
"Well you have made it quite clear to me last night that you aren't weak and that you have a unique ability to get into people's heads," she said, lightly tapping her gun. "This is insurance to keep myself safe from you."
Aisha stared at the Time Lady but allowed herself to be led, she did need to wash…
“If you'd be willing to behave I'll be more willing to remove some of your restraints,” the Time Lady told her as she lead her into a large white porcelain bathroom. It was bigger on the inside than it looked possible.
“I don't approve of the method you used to get me…” Aisha said. “It HURT,” she said, as her cyberear ached.
“Then I apologize,” the Time Lady said, blinking. She bowed respectively toward Aisha. “On Gallifrey, we might not see eye to eye with other species but it is in our blood to be respectful of the… uniqueness of others. I do apologize, Aisha, but it was the only method possible on this Type-88 time capsule for removing items and people another time capsule, particularly without notifying the pilot or the ship.”
Aisha said nothing, but she was surprised that there was an apology... “Can I be left to get washed then?”
“I will leave your presence, but as the Doctor, I am too connected to my ship a telepathic link,” she said. “So if you try to escape I will know... and I will activate your restraints to control you again. Is that understood, child?”
The Time Lady nodded and then left Aisha, with the sliding of the door closed. As she went out Aisha removed her hat, and threw it against the wall, she removed her scarf and folded it up... she sighed.
“Doctor... god, I wish I could see you right now...”
She stripped and then, sliding the aerial of her cyberear into the casing stepped into the warm water... Crying all the time for her home, and her father and friends... especially her new friend...
As she got out she dried her hair and then stuck her cap back on, and quickly pulled on her jeans and jacket over her white t-shirt. She tied her scarf round her neck to complete her re-dressing. The ship made a slight shuddering movement as it began to rematerialize and Aisha waited by the wall for her 'collection'. The door slipped open immediately and the Time Lady appeared with gun still in hand.
“Now, don't we look much better,” she said. “Were there any issues?”
From her pocket, the Time Lady produced a scanner, which a lot like the Doctor's sonic screwdriver. She ran it over Aisha. “Are you suffering any unpleasant effects from the transportation still?”
“Not that I know of...” Aisha said, as her cyberear gave another pang.
The Time Lady gave her a strange look, as if she didn’t quite believe Aisha, but finally nodded her agreement.
“The Panitopican guards are outside ready to take you to a medical examining room,” she said, stepping up to Aisha. Waving the scanner over the chains, the ones on her feet and hands fell away. But the one around her neck remained. “From there they should take you before a small group of the High Council for preliminary questioning. If you don't cause any further trouble, it shouldn't be too bad,” she said. “And they be nice enough to allow you some privacy and to ask them questions in return.”
“I still object to being treated as an animal and being taken away from my family.”
“I understand your discomfort, child…” the Time Lady began.
“No you don’t,” Aisha said. “If you did you wouldn’t be treating me this way.”
“But I have no choice in the matter. There are protocols for these sorts of matters. You are a level 3 danger and must be treated as such,” the Time Lady continued.
“I am NO danger!” Aisha protested. “To think I thought you might ACTUALLY be sorry for causing me this hassle…”
The Time Lady sighed. “What I feel doesn't matter,” she said before gesturing for Aisha to follow. “Now come, the guards are waiting.”
Aisha glared at her, but allowed herself to be led. She hated to admit, it but she'd always wanted to see her 'home planet'.
They entered the main part of the ship and already there was a large opening to the outside. The Time Lady stopped at the opening and gestured for Aisha to proceed outside, where several well-armoured men with guns waited for her.
“I'm sure this many is overdoing it...” Aisha said, trying to make a joke in the style of her father.
“As I said there are protocols,” the Time Lady said. “But as long as you don't cause trouble, things can be changed.”
“And if I don't I’ll never see the Doctor again...” Aisha thought, but forced a smile and walked forwards. The second she was clear of the doorway, almost all the guards rushed forward and restrained her limbs. Then one started searching her over for weapons and other items.
“Get off me!” she cried.
Meanwhile, the Time Lady walked out, looking quite shocked. “Is that really necessary?” she protested.
But a large man in Councillor’s robes interrupted her, “Leave them be, Abby.”
Aisha was now getting annoyed, before they'd left she'd been browsing memories from her father's sixth self, and now she could feel his temper rising in her own head… She’d really have a hard time convincing them if she exploded now! But she couldn’t stop it from coming…
“Oh, not now!” Aisha thought, as it bubbled up inside…
Abby Romana turned to look at the man before bowing respectfully, “Chancellor Ryco.” Out of the corner of her eye, Abby Romana noticed Aisha's form shaking. “No offence, Chancellor, but I really don't think what they are doing will be necessary. I doubt the President…”
“It is protocol, Abby Romana,” Ryco said, approvingly smiling at the scene of the guard’s searching Aisha. One of them removed her cap, tossing it aside as he searched her face and head.
“GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME! I HAVE DONE NOTHING!” Aisha suddenly exploded, as the Six memories spun her head to his personality.
The guard that was checking her jumped back and point his gun at her, looking ready to fire.
“THIS IS BRUTATLITY! THIS...” She broke off and her eyes blanked out… She shook her head and looked up. “Oh god, I hate it when that happens!”
“Stop!” Abby Romana yelled, running over. She pushed the guards away from Aisha. “She might be a level 3 danger, but that's no reason for such searching. By the order of the Madame President, the captive is to be treated an intelligent being with respect and simple Gallifreyan courtesy.”
Aisha was now stumbling, and fell back onto Abby Romana. She caught Aisha just as Abby Romana heard the growl of Ryco:
“How dare you interrupt an inspection of an alien lifeform!”
“Sorry...” Aisha muttered.
Abby Romana wasn't sure if Aisha was talking to her or not, but she didn't have time to think about it as Aisha was snatched from her arms by the guards. She watched helplessly as Aisha was carried away.
“Me!?!” Abby Romana snapped, looking at Ryco. “I mean no offence, Chancellor, but you said she was going to be medically examined not physically attacked!”
“She had to be searched for the safety of Gallifrey,” he said.
“She's a child,” Abby pointed out.
“A child that holds the parts of the most powerful and dangerous species in the universe,” he declared before following after the guards carrying Aisha.
“President Romanadvoratrelundar gave explicit orders to…” Abby Romana pointed out, glancing back at Aisha.
“Well, your Lady isn’t here is she?” Ryco sneered. “Now return to your Lady President, I'm sure she needs your help dressing, Abby Romana.”
Abby Romana stayed behind, sighing deeply before hurrying off in another direction.
That sudden flood of anger and shouting had left Aisha’s body weak and temporarily paralysed... but at least she was half-asleep and couldn't rage against the injustice of what was happening anymore... She was now recovering some feeling in her legs and arms, enough to try and resist. Chancellor Ryco had caught up and started to talk to the guards.
“Let... me... be,” she protested weakly. “Let me go!”
Chancellor Ryco ignored her protests and rubbed his hands together excitedly as he directed the guards into a pair of open sliding doors. “Now let's see a physical examination to be efficient in the bit of time we have. Yes, just enough to get to know how you tick, mutt,” He smirked happily as the door slid shut behind them.
“Mutt... I am not,” Aisha thought, her mind clearing.
They laid her on a long cold, metallic table. Then the guards started to clamp her arms and legs down as a few others started to undress her, removing her hat, jacket and scarf. It was getting beyond a joke now... as they grabbed her arm she kicked out. More by luck than skill they backed off, and she twisted away.
“What are you fools doing, grab her and restrain her to the table!” Ryco ordered.
She could now feel a lot of rage once more, but this time it was different, it was her own... She ducked and weaved, and ran for the door. Before she reached it there was a distinct clicking sound of the door locking… or was that unlocking? She crashed off the door and stumbled back. The door slid open and a tall slender woman with blonde hair appeared. Aisha was a bit too dizzy at the moment to notice the Time Lady.
The new entry’s blue eyes looked first at Ryco and then at the guards before finally falling upon Aisha.
“Madame President,” Ryco said, sounding shocked and slowly backing up a bit.
“Romana...?” Aisha said, recognising her. She was now resisting the urge to tell Romana it was good to see here 'again'... it was getting difficult to separate herself from the Doctor's memories...
Romana stared at Aisha with a narrowed look before flashing a dark gaze up at Ryco.
“What in Rassilon's name is going on here, Chancellor Ryco?” Romana demanded to know. “And why is the Head Examiner not here with you?”
The Chancellor looked about confused before hurrying forward. “We were simply preparing the mutant for examination when she savagely attacked us,” he explained.
“Don't call me Mutant.” Aisha spat.
Romana's glared snapped to Aisha with a severity that told her to hold her tongue. “And how would you define yourself, child?” she asked seriously. There was no rudeness to her tone, but simply a direct question.
“As Gallifreyian. I'm near as possible… makes no difference... at least to the Doctor and my friends,” Aisha said. “I'm just Aisha…”
Romana looked shrewdly at Aisha as if taking her whole being in for the first time.
“I know that you frown on half-breeds... but you, I’d never have guessed,” Aisha continued.
Then Romana’s face softened and she turned a serious look at Chancellor Ryco. “There you have it, Chancellor. From her own lips,” she smiled back at Aisha. “If Aisha says she is Gallifreyian, then who are we to argue?”
“That isn't for her to decide,” Ryco pointed out. “The High Council will decide her defining.”
“High Council!” Aisha snorted.
Romana's smile fell. “Yes, but for now referring to her as she wishes is what shall happen. And as such, treat her with respect. Is that understood?”
“As you wish, Lady President,” Ryco said, bowing to her. There was a sneer on his face as he bowed, but Romana seemed blind to it.
“Good,” said Romana.
Aisha rolled her eyes... this was the very reason she... no the Doctor had fled Gallifrey in the first place...
“Then for now, I will show Aisha to her living space while she remains on Gallifrey,” Romana said.
“But the examination, my Lady?” pointed out Ryco.
“But an examination can't be done with the Head Examiner,” Romana said, with a raised eyebrow. “Do you know where he is by the way, Ryco?”
Ryco had a guilty look on his face. “He's busy at the moment.”
“Either way I don't trust someone not to try and slice me up like some lab specimen...” Aisha thought to herself.
“Then when he's not, Aisha can be examined,” Romana said. “Under proper guidance.” Romana gestured for Aisha to exit the examination room with her. “Come, Aisha,” Romana said.
“Yes Lady President.” Aisha said respectfully, before following. As she went she looked over her shoulder at Ryco and grinned, he scowled back at her and he also appeared to be cursing under his breath. Aisha just prevented a laugh and turned back, together they headed down a long white corridor, leaving the examination area behind them.
“Thank you…” Aisha muttered to Romana. “He would have killed me…”
Romana's eyes remained focused forward, but she said, “Chancellor Ryco is many things, Aisha, but he is no murderer.”
“Even for a 'mutant'?” Aisha asked, her voice cynical. “It hurts to be called that…”
“I'm sorry for his comments, Aisha,” Romana apologized. “He is from the old ways... you'll find many of the older Time Lords still are a bit closed minded on outsiders, particularly those that lay claim on the blood lines of the Time Lords. I guess they want to protect their heritage... it is a sad fact even here.”
“It's not my fault I am how I am... well, the cyberear maybe. But my DNA...” Aisha sighed. “Why am I here if you're not going to kill me?”
Romana abruptly stopped and turned toward Aisha. “Is part of you really from the Doctor?” she asked pointedly.
“So I've been told…” Aisha replied.
“And part of you is Cyberman as well?” Romana asked.
“Unfortunately…” Aisha muttered, then quickly added. “It's not as if it affects me... no matter how much of my brain is cyber...”
“Within your body, your blood are two very powerful races,” Romana said, her gazing averting away momentarily. There was a sad and terrified look on her face. “Imagine what a being like that could become... could do.”
“I've been able to control it,” Aisha said, then paused. “Mostly…”
Then Romana’s gaze snapped back to meet with Aisha's. “That is what we fear,” she said. “What happens if one day you can't control? What happens if the Cybermen get a hold of you? The things they could learn... they could do. And even if they don't... what will you become... what would happen when you regenerate?”
“They had hold of me once before... I fought it,” Aisha said, looking away.
Romana moved forward and placed a hand on Aisha's shoulder. She searched Aisha's eyes. “I know you would fight them time and again, but there is no guarantee you'd win next time or the time after that. You are a walking time bomb, which could destroy or rewrite the universe as we know it.”
“I can't die... there's things I need to do. And Adric... he'd be so lonely,” Aisha said, thinking of her best friend.
“Your fate isn't restricted to that option alone,” Romana said. “Death might not be the best option.” She smiled at Aisha. “You are a new form of life... you might find the peace and control you need here on Gallifrey. That is the other option. There are others on Gallifrey who would welcome you with open arms. You could learn so much and teach us so much,” she said. “You could help me in changing the old ways... and making a better Gallifrey and improve the Time Lords.”
“I’m my father's daughter,” Aisha said, as they reached the door. “I couldn't stay... I'd be off again so fast.”
“Don't answer yet, Aisha,” Romana said. “You might be of the Doctor's blood, but you are not him and you have just arrived. Give yourself time to get to know Gallifrey in all its beauty and wonderment. You might find you'll change your mind.”
Romana leaned forward, pressing a button. The door to the room slid open to reveal a simply decorated white living room.
“I'll think about it...” Aisha said, walking into the room.
“Here I must leave you, Aisha,” said Romana. “I have work to do, but this guard shall get you anything you need.” From behind them a tall imposing guard with a gun approached. He remained expressionless.
“I'll be fine.” Aisha said, with a nervous laugh.
Aisha walked in and the door closed, she sighed. “Stay? But what about my family? What about Adric?”
She reached for her scarf ends to fiddle with them, as she did when she was nervous, and only when she touched her neck did she remember the struggle in the examination room… She’d have to look out for Ryco and others like him… She didn’t doubt that they’d have her put to death if there was any small excuse to.
As she went into the bathroom to splash her face with cool water she noticed something in the mirror… Her cyberear was blackened, and sparking. As she put her hand on it, a particularly hard pang shot through her head and the top of it blew out, exposing some of the wires. Aisha just stared at it in the mirror.
“Oh, this can’t be good…” she said.