All in Your Head

by mystica88 [Reviews - 3]

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  • All Ages
  • Explicit Violence
  • Action/Adventure, General, Series

Chapter 3

“Well,” Fitz said. “I guess there isn’t much choice. We go on.”

Anji sighed and followed after Fitz through the middle door. The hallways that they had been walking continued with twists and turns and several branches in corridors. “Fitz, can I see the map?” Anji asked.

He handed it to her. “Alright, I think I can get us to the next spot where there can be more than one path.”

“Lead on,” Fitz said with a grandiose wave of his arm.

Anji rolled her eyes and walked by, leading them further into the labyrinth.

They snaked around and around the corridors, picking out what Anji told Fitz was the best path. He simply nodded and let her lead. He never really wanted the job of navigator anyway.

Finally they came to another room. This one had two open archways that were darkened beyond.

“Which one?” Fitz asked.

“This is the next choice,” Anji informed him. “Either one will lead to a path out.”

“So, any clues?” Fitz asked as he looked over her shoulder at the map. They both stared at it for a while, waiting for some clue to be given.

Finally Anji shook her head and said, “Looks like we’re on our own this time.”

“But I thought that he wanted us to think this logically. Having two identical doorways without any clue is not logic, but chance.”

“And I thought you said that it was all up to chance anyways?”

Fitz shrugged as he stuffed his hands in his pockets and wandered away. “Anji,” he said after a second, do see what I see on the floor?”

Anji looked down and there, in the red carpet, there was a gold outline slowly began to appear. “What is it?”

“I think it’s a compass rose,” Fitz said as he watched the outline become clearer.

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

above the compass rose there appeared more of the fine script that they had been reading on their map. “Find the time to find your way out.”

“What?” Fitz asked. “All we’ve got is time it seems. Does it make sense to you?”

Anji shook her head. “I don’t know what time has to do with anything.”

Fitz heaved a frustrate sigh as he said angrily. “That’s it. I give up with these stupid games. I’m just going to pick the one on the right.”

Anji hesitated before she walk to the one on the left and said, “We could each see what’s on the other. You look down that one, and I’ll take a look here.”

“Think that’s a good idea?”

“It’s an idea, I have no idea what this one means.”

Fitz nodded and stood in front of his passage while Anji stood in front of hers. “Ready?”

Anji nodded, “Ready.”

Together they stepped through the passages. And together they saw nothing different on the other side than all the other corridors. Together they turned around to go back and together they realized that they weren’t going to be able to go on together from there since the doorways disappeared behind them.

***

It was slow going, even to Phaze… She clung to the Doctor as he slowly and painstakingly sought and found hold after hold. She could barely believe that he was able to continue. It looked to her as if he was climbing a sheer wall. She kept glancing up, hoping to see the end in sight, but there was nothing but rock in view. Feeling completely useless and far too much like a burden, she tried to concentrate on how it was that they were even in this situation. Mentally she disengaged from the moment and began to put everything that she had seen and felt the last several hours together.

She found it so odd that she was able to see through some of the illusions while her friends could not. Also there was the constant presence that she was feeling that had nearly overwhelmed her when they first saved the Doctor. But, when she had forced those voices out of his head, that was when she really started to figure out what was happening and it might actually give them a way out. At least, it could give her friends a way out.

She had no idea how long she had detached, but she suddenly snapped back to reality when she realized that they had stopped moving for some time.

“Doctor?” she asked quietly. She realized that he was shaking with exhaustion and she wondered exactly how long she had taken a mental break. He was breathing very hard and his hair was damp with sweat.

“I just need to stop a moment…” he breathed. He sounded completely drained.

“Doctor, you can’t keep carrying me like this,” she said softly to him.

He shook his head defiantly and huffed, “I can.”

“Doctor, I think that I have figured a few things out that you need to hear,” she said, making a decision right then.

“When we reach the top,” he told her and he reached for another hold to keep moving. But as he pushed his fingers into the next crevice, his other hand gave out. Barely having a grip on the next spot, they swung along the cliff, jarring Phaze and knocking her own grip on the Doctor loose.

She fell from his back and started to plummet but, seemingly impossible, he grabbed a hold of her hand with the one that had just slipped. It all happened so fast, she didn’t even have time to scream, but now she was hanging by one hand, looking down hundreds of feet to rocks below.

The Doctor’s fingers dug into the crack that he had just found in time, but he couldn’t do anything but hang there with Phaze in one hand and their tenuous link to survival in the other. Phaze stared down below her as she took several ragged breaths. Looking back up, she saw the Doctor staring at her, terrified and struggling to maintain his hold.

She knew now that her plans were decided for her. There was no way that he would be able to hold on to her and regain his grip. Now, if only she could convince him of that.

“Doctor…” She stated, but he shook his head to her.

“Hold on! I can fix this. I…” But suddenly the crack that his hand was clinging to began to crumble and they slipped a fraction of an inch.

“No you can’t!” she yelled back at him, pulling his eyes back from looking at his other hand to her.

“You just need to find a hold, just until I can grab on again,” he protested.

“It’s no good. I can’t find the holds that you can. You’re going to have to just left go.”

“No!” he said firmly. “I’m not going to let you fall. We’re both going to make it to the top.” But just then a few pebbles from his handhold rained down on them.

“Listen to me, Doctor,” she spoke firmly. “I don’t want to fall either, but I don’t think that I am going to.”

“If I let go, of course you are,” he gasped. She could see his strength was fading fast.

“Doctor, I think I’ve worked something out. This whole place, everything that we are perceiving, is all being controlled. Those voices that you heard screaming in your head a while ago, they were real. The more that I think about it and am looking for it, the more I can feel those voices in everything around us.”

“What are you saying?”

“They’re psychics, Doctor. The Toymaker is using different types of psychics to create this place.”

“Are you saying that since this isn’t real, we won’t get hurt if we fall?”

“No, those rocks below will hurt and kill just the same as anything real would when hit from this height, but I think that now that the Toymaker knows that I am psychic too, he won’t allow me to hit them.”

“You think?” The Doctor shook his head as drops of sweat dripped from his forehead. “That’s not a chance I’m willing to take.”

“But I am,” she protested. “I’m not bringing you down with me. The Toymaker wants me alive. This whole place is being run off of those telepaths and he won’t risk another battery to die before it’s able to be used.”

“No!”

“Doctor,” she said in a small, quiet voice. “Please, let me do this. I am only going to be bringing you down. If I let him take me, then I might find a way to help you.”

He stared at her for a moment, completely at a loss. Mentally, he knew that this was the best and only option, but emotionally was another matter. He couldn’t see himself risking the life of one of his companions in this way. There had to be another option, but there seemed to be none at the moment.

“Please Doctor,” she said again.

He knew it was it. No other path, nothing else that could be done. Either take a risk with her life, or they both would die. He closed his eyes for a moment and took a shaking breath before nodding.

He opened his eyes again in time to see a single tear falling from her face. “I’ll find you. I promise,” he told her. “I won’t let him keep you.”

She nodded. It was all that she could manage. She was not really as confident in her plan as she pretended to be. But she too saw it as the only choice. “I’ll see you soon then,” she managed to say in as steady a voice as she could muster.

Taking a deep breath, the Doctor closed his eyes once more. As he opened them again, he let his grip on her relax. Painfully slowly she slipped from his grasp. Time seemed to slow as the distance between their bodies increased. Their eyes never broke contact as he read the fear that her plan was going to fail in hers and she saw the pain of watching a companion possibly plummet to her death.

The Doctor held his breath, praying that she wouldn’t hit. He wasn’t sure what he would do if he was the one responsible for her death. He had never taken such a blatant move towards endangering a companion and he was having a hard time believing what he had just done.

The distance grew and grew as her figure became smaller and smaller. Hope was beginning to fade with every second. But, finally, just before she was out of eyesight from the distance, her figure suddenly vanished. It didn’t hit anything or completely drop out of seeing distance, she just was no longer there.

With a sudden rush of relief the Doctor gasped his first breath since he allowed her to fall. She was alright, at least for now. Taking another breath, he turned his attention to his own predicament. He was already completely exhausted and his grip was slipping. His fingers were raw and bloodied from the climbing and clinging and there was still a fair distance left to go to the top. But he wasn’t going to do his companions any good just giving into the exhaustion and allowing himself to fall. He had to reach the top, even if it only meant facing another of the Toymaker’s challenges.

Facing the rock wall again, he swung his now freed left hand up and found a new hold, slowly and painfully continuing on his ascent.

***

As Phaze fell, all she could think of was what if she was wrong. Would she feel the impact, or would it kill her before it registered? How much further to the rocks did she have to go? How close would the Toymaker cut it if he was going to save her?

The wind was rushing up to meet her as she plummeted, each second that passed, the Doctor became smaller and smaller in her view. But just before he passed out of sight, there was a sudden shift as he vanished from her eyes and the wind stopped racing past. Her movement towards the ground stopped but it was as if she had never even been falling.

She now found herself lying on her back on a cool floor. Above her was a very high white ceiling with wires and tubes criss-crossing below it. She turned her head to the left and saw another stark white wall. Turning it to the right, there was a steel table that appeared to be the first in a row of steel tables. Far across the room was yet another white wall.

“Congratulations on figuring out my secret, girl,” the Toymaker’s voice boomed above her.

Quickly she got to her feet and turned around to face him. As she stood, she realized that on all of those steel tables lay a body. Wires were running from each of the bodies and streaming up into the air to meet just below the ceiling. She followed the trail of the tubes and wires and saw that in the center of the warehouse sized room there was a huge metallic cylinder with a glass dome top. Inside the domed top appeared to be an electrical storm.

“Are these people?…” she began as she stared at the figures nearest her.

“All are telepaths, plugged into my machine. I dictate everything that they do.”

Phaze continued to look around the room, taking in the horrible picture. Wandering in between the tables were what looked like life-sized dolls. There were clowns, ballerinas, soldiers, a King and Queen, a jester and several others all moving about. It looked as though they might be checking on the inert people on the tables, almost like a nurse would look over someone in a coma.

“What is going on here?” she wondered out loud.

“Ah, I’m glad you asked,” the Toymaker sneered as he firmly took her by the arm and began propelling her in and out of the tables. “As you may recall, I told you that I used to be much more into toy making, as my name would suggest. These are some of my old toys. Though I have progressed on, I am still able to find a useful job for them.

“But what are you doing with all of these telepaths?”

“Collecting,” he answered. “I came across a telepath some years after the Doctor first left me and I was intrigued. This particular sort was able to move objects with his mind, telekinesis it’s called. I was fascinated and began to study how I could use this to my advantage. I had already had the power of my own to alter perception, but this new thing was quite interesting. Soon I had figured out how to tap into his brain and use his mind myself. That was when I decided that I wanted to see all of the types of telepathy that are out there.”

“So you began to collect people,” she stated flatly.

“Exactly. I found all sorts. More Telekinesis, Fire starters, Teleporters, more perception altering, those that could create objects just by thinking them… it was a vast resource that I was now able to access, giving me untold of power.”

“Is that really why you brought us here? Because you were after me?”

“Actually, no. I meant what I said that I am after revenge against the Doctor. That is the reason that I pulled the TARDIS here. Your mental abilities were something of a surprise to me. Strangely enough, I never even thought of looking for someone who could read thoughts. It didn’t even occur to me that someone like that would exist.”

Phaze was a little startled by this, “Thought perception is the largest type of telepathy in the galaxy. There are entire races whose only form of communication is to read each other’s thoughts. How did you miss that?”

“I suppose that I just already had so much power over making people feel certain ways, primarily fear, that it didn’t matter all that much to me. But then I found you. You were able to drive the voices from the Doctor’s mind. You could see through all of the perception alteration and could even sense the other telepaths that I am using. I believe that you will make an excellent addition to my collection.”

All the while that they had been speaking, he had guided her nearer and nearer to the central column. They were now standing right beside it at the table closest to the machine. Phaze glanced down and saw that this table had no occupant.

“How does this thing work?” she asked, trying to fight off the fear that was building.

“It sends you into a deep sleep, much along the levels of a coma, and then taps into the area of your brain that is telepathic. Those signals are then fed into the central control column which is wirelessly connected to my own mind. The area at the top that you see the electricity, that is where the sleeper’s consciousness is filtered. You were able to hear a bit of what it sounds like in there. Chaos. All of those voices screaming to be heard over each other without a shred of organization among them, leaving me free to use their minds at my will.”

Phaze was beginning to shake. She had heard those voices when she pushed them from the Doctor’s mind. The Toymakers had flooded the Time Lord’s senses with the Chaos of hundreds of people all trying to make themselves heard. If she hadn’t pushed those voices from his mind, he either would have been pulled into it himself or had his own mind crushed under the pressure.

The Toymaker was now gripping her shoulder rather painfully. She realized that he was holding her as one of the toy soldiers came up with what looked like a large needle in hand. As she caught sight of the implement, she tried to squirm away, but the Toymaker held her fast.

“I’m sorry my dear, but I will have to cut our little lesson short. I’d like to get on with the games and I’m excited to add your unique talents to my little collection here.”

As he spoke, the solider grabbed her arm and plunged the needle into her shoulder. She gasped as the liquid was forced into her veins. It didn’t take but a few heartbeats for the numbing effects to set in. The world around her began to fade as she felt her muscles loose the ability to resist. The Solider grabbed her and lifted her up to lay her upon the table. She could feel the cold steel against her back as the light of the room quickly faded. The last thing that she knew, the solider was placing cold metal disks on her forehead.

***

If anyone had been at the top of the cliff to see, they would have witnesses a shaking, bloodied hand slowly reach over the edge, and grab a hold of a final rock. A moment later a sweat soaked man with flattening chestnut curls in a scuffed up Victorian velvet jacket appeared over the precipice only to just make it over the edge to collapse on his stomach.

The Doctor made it. He was completely drained, in pain, dehydrated, and windblown, but he was alive and had reached the top. He could feel his over exerted muscles begin to twitch and tighten up as they were finally allow a moment of reprieve. Phaze had been right, even if he hadn’t been forced to let her go, he probably would never have been able to make it to the top carrying her. As it was, he wasn’t sure that he was going to make just a few moments ago.

How long he laid there, nearly passed out, he had no idea, but when he finally found the strength to open his eyes, he discovered that he was no longer on the top of the mountain that he had been scaling for what felt like an eternity.

Carefully he sat up and looked around. He had been lying against a flat white floor and as he looked up he saw a similar flat white wall. But as he stared at the wall it began to change as well as everything around him. Every other surface began to curve. The walls seemed to weave and wave around. Everything was white and the curves all seemed to blend into each other. Slowly dragging himself to his feet, he turned in a slow circle, examining each wall. Not a single strait line existed here.

“Do you like it, Doctor?” the Toymaker said from behind him. He spun around to face the man.

“A little hard on the eyes I would say,” the Doctor replied. “And a splash of color here and there could liven it up a bit.”

“Careful what you wish for Doctor,” the Toymaker chided.

“I know, I know… I just might get what I want. But if that were true then you would be gone and my friends and I would be back on board the TARDIS, far away from this place.”

The Toymaker chuckled and said, “I did so miss your company, Doctor. I must say that you seemed to enjoy that invigorating climb I arranged for you.”

“Yes, it was quite exhilarating,” the Doctor replied flatly. “Speaking of which, what did you do with Phaze.”

“She’s quite alright, I assure you. But it is unlikely that you will ever see her again. She completely belongs to me now that you so willingly let her go.”

The Doctor glared at the Toymaker but didn’t bother to say anything.

“You may be interested to know that your other two friends are getting themselves into a bit of trouble.”

“They’ll be alright.”

The Toymaker ignored his comment and continued, “I think I’ll leave you here for a little while, so feel free to wander and enjoy. I don’t think that you will like to stay in one place for too long around here; things have a tendency to… change”

“As happens anywhere with time,” the Doctor said.

“How true,” the Toymaker answered evenly. The Toymaker then vanished, leaving the Doctor alone in the disturbing room.

Clasping his hands behind, him, he began to wander the room. Actually, it was more of a hall than a room, he realized as he began to be able to force his eyes to focus on the confusing curves of the walls. It appeared that the hall slowly snaked around, making a very strange pinwheel that gradually got bigger. He had started at the center and had only been able to see the final loop and the gap that led onto the next circle had blended in with all of the other white walls.

Tracing his steps he went back to the center loop, but, instead of a stark white walled snaking circle, there was what appeared to be a field of mirrors.

“Hmm,” he said to himself. “mirror, mirror on the wall…”

“What shall be the first to fall?” a strange voice answered him.

He looked around for the source of the voice. It had been female and vaguely familiar, but he couldn’t quite place it.

“It was Gallifrey, wasn’t it Doctor?” the disembodied voice said.

“What do you know of Gallifrey?” he asked the room of mirrors.

“Thanks to you, there is nothing to know about it. It is no more. You killed your own people, and for what? Has anything gotten better out there Doctor? Is the Universe now a better place?”

“Who are you? What do you know about all of this?” he asked as he began walk into the forest of mirrors.

The voice didn’t answer. “Who are you?” he asked again more forcefully. But still only silence met him. He realized that as he had walked, trying to find who was speaking, he had lost sight of the gap he had entered through. All he could see where various versions of his own reflection. Some of the mirrors were convex and others were concave or different mixes of the two, giving a fun house effect. But this wasn’t fun. As he turned around slowly, looking for a passage out of the mirrors, he swore he saw a flash of an incredibly bright, multicolored coat fly through one of the reflections. But as the Doctor turned to see where it had come from, all he saw was himself, looking in multiple directions from different angles and from different positions.

He decided that it might be best to just close his eyes and so he went up to the nearest mirror and rested his hand on it. Closing his eyes he began to walk, using the wall of mirrors as he guide. But he hadn’t made it very far when his nose bumped squarely into another mirror.

He opened his eyes, startled and for a split second a face with wildly curly dark brown hair, a big nose and large teeth was smiling back at him. But as he brought his eyes into focus, the vision vanished into his own slim face with the long waving light brown hair.

“What is this place?” he couldn’t help but wonder out loud.

He turned again and caught a glimpse of the end of a cane moving away in another mirror. He realized that these strange reflections were not being picked up by the other mirrors like his own was. All he could conclude was that they must not really be there. But what were they if they weren’t real?

“Hello?” he asked the room. “Is anybody, or anything there?”

“Adric!” a female voice suddenly called out in alarm.

“Who’s there?!” he demanded. The name that was called sounded so familiar. Could it have been his at one time? But the only thing that he could ever remember being was just the Doctor.

He spun around, trying to fix where he had heard the voice. He found himself looking at a young girl in the mirror directly in front of him. She looked achingly familiar and yet he couldn’t put a name to her. “Grandfather,” she said to him and then suddenly he was staring at his own reflection again.

“No!” he cried, feeling confused and lost and completely fed up with this place. “What is this!”

“What you want Doctor,” the first voice that led him into the mirrors said. “Your life, your memories. That’s what you want the most in the world, isn’t it? But do you really want them? The good and the bad? The joy and the sadness?”

“Of course I do! Just not like this. Not in warped fragments without context or names.”

“Do you think you could live with it? With the knowledge of what you have done?”

“What is done is done. I can’t change it, only accept it and move on.”

Then another voice was speaking, it was his own, but with so much malice and hatred, he barely recognized it. “You will die too…” Then it seemed that he answered himself, only now it was the sound that he recognized. “Just as well I think. I’d never be able to live with the memory anyway... I never thought I’d admit to choosing the lesser of two evils.”

“Do you really want to know?” the female voice asked again.

The Doctor was silent. He closed his eyes, blotting out the myriad of reflections that were haunting him. Yes, he wanted to know, but what would it do to him? If he knew all of the truth, would he even want to keep going? It had always been a possibility that he wouldn’t like who he had been but he thought that if that became true, then he could change. But what if it were irrevocable actions that caused him to not like who he was, how could he change that?”

“No,” he finally said, still keeping his eyes closed. “Someday, perhaps. But not today. My friends are still out there and I can’t forget that. I don’t need to dwell in the past today, thank you.” With that, he opened his eyes and saw seven different faces suddenly were reflected in front of his and they winked simultaneously before they vanished along with the mirrors that had surrounded him.