The Time Lord's Handbook of Regeneration

by Awdures [Reviews - 9]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Angst, Character Study, Humor

Regeneration, in general is fairly straightforward affair. Years of guided evolution have adapted Time Lord physiology to make the process generally trouble free. However in rare cases there can be undesirable side effects including:

-Temporary (in in rare cases more sustained) confusion and clumsiness
-Mood swings and emotional disturbances
-Partial or intermittent memory loss
-Lethargy or abnormally prolonged periods of unconsciousness
-Excess regenerative energy causing disruption to bodily process

These effects can be minimised or in most cases avoided all together by following, wherever possible the simple guidance contained in this pamphlet.

The Doctor gave a derisive sniff and dropped the book back on the pile of clutter he'd unearthed from one of the storage lockers in one of the further recess of the TARDIS.

"Over-simplified, pretentious nonsense," he declared. "Makes it sound like putting the kettle on. Now then..."

He plucked out another book, equally as dog-eared and examined it hopefully before discarding that as well.

"Grandfather?" Susan appeared around the corner. "What a mess! What are you hoping to find in there?"

The Doctor fished out another ragged book and discarded it.

"The manual."

"TARDISes come with a manual?"

The Doctor sniffed. "I'm starting to doubt it."

He abandoned the pile, and straightened.

"Not to worry. I'm sure I shall work it out as we go."

Chose Your Moment

In ideal circumstances, regeneration is the natural conclusion of one body's period of useful service. While it is a valuable last resort in cases of accidental or violent death, the maximum lifespan can only be achieved through a series of controlled regenerations each spanning the optimum compromise between longevity and vitality,

The latter of these is often underrated and while it tempting to simply persist as long as possible, it is undesirable to leave it so long that the current body become worn enough that biological failure begins to set in.

He'd put it off, perhaps too long. And it wasn't only fear of the change, of how wrong it might go out here alone, far from home and familiar things.

It felt more like giving something up than it should. Less like he was gaining something new.

Still, the planet was safe, the Cybermen defeated. His companions had done well while he was afflicted, had brought him back to the TARDIS.

He had never explained this to them he realised too late. Never explained and now was saddled with mistrust and their confusion on top of his own.

Confusion and energy he hardly knew what to do with. His thoughts wandered, and he found himself inexplicably impulsive, more so than he remembered or entirely liked.

Polly believed him first, and perhaps that was the steadying influence that reminded him he was still himself. A new man maybe, but still himself.

He smiled at them both as he set the TARDIS spinning away once more.

Everything was new now.

Selection and Control

While there is a certain amount of randomness inherent in the process, a well organised and prepared mind need not be taken too much by surprise by the appearance, personality and tastes of their new self. Preparation for the event need not be elaborate but should be considered wherever possible. General desires for form and nature are more likely to be achieved than specific features and all require presence of mind and determination.

Above all, one must not dither. It is infinitely preferable to select a form with which you are at least content to spend the few centuries than to attempt to be over selective and find yourself saddled with something which will be a constant reminder of your lapse of concentration.

The dizziness was now so severe it was borderline painful, his head throbbed and nausea and confusion swallowed all coherent thought. Even submerged the outraged indignation that they had the gall to decide his fate so abruptly, even after accepting his argument, however grudgingly. 'Yes there is evil, yes you have fought it, but no we're still not going to back down. We'll punish you even though you're right because that's the way we've always done it.'

The irony of his sentence was so pronounced it could almost be calculated spite. To be trapped on one world, in one time, for the crime of wanting to see more and do more than even a Time Lord's lifestyle allowed.

The dizziness seemed to take a long time to ease. Whether that was due to the fact the regeneration had been forced upon him or my his own resistance to it he wasn't sure, but with hindsight, it was almost welcome. The conscious world, the world he know had to find a way to live with, was almost a less appealing prospect than sinking back into that mire.

But he'd never been given to resignation in his two previous lives and had no intention of starting now. He did have friends here after all, however unwillingly he found himself stuck with them, and nothing was forever, not even, or especially for him.

Initial Stages

The initial stages of regeneration can be quite subtle, especially where insufficient preparation has been allowed. Symptoms can include unusual amounts of energy, tingling or overheated extremities and in later stages, emission or light and blurring of vision.

Concentration during this period can be severely impaired and tasks requiring it should be avoided. In particular anything which requires use of telepathic faculties, including TARDIS flight control are likely to be impacted, particularly controls relating to the traverse of the Time Vortex.

He'd resisted going back, known what it would mean but done it anyway, unable, as he always had been to choose his own safety over that of the infuriating, wonderful, silly, brilliant humans.

He resisted going back and now he resisted the change being forced on his body by the radiation of the caves, the beautiful, poisonous crystals. He could feel himself failing, his concentration ebbing away, but he couldn't let go here. Not with the TARDIS tumbling through the vortex.

Perhaps he should have stayed on the planet, let the regeneration take its course there. He wasn't sure what had driven him to try and get back to Earth, had never wanted to stay there in the first place. Loyalty perhaps. He'd wanted to leave so much, craved even this erratic tumbling flight, suspected his next self might finally regain that freedom, and he didn't want to go without saying goodbye.

But he was lost, the TARDIS wandering as his mind wandered, slowing as his strength ebbed, tangled and snared in the energy currents as he was caught by his obligations and ties of friendship.

He struggled his way back to the controls, unable to remember when he'd fallen away from the console. Dizzily, he entered half remembered coordinates, trusting to the TARDIS to do the rest.

When the time rotor finally stilled he flung himself towards the door, grabbing it for support and pulling it open with difficulty.

They were there of course, as he'd known they would be, the TARDIS had brought him home. And even as he fell he wondered when he'd started thinking of this world by that title.

His next self would not think it such he was certain. Bubbling over with left over energy and renewed vigour and freedom he fled the place grinning, two new companions at his side and the universe at his fingertips.

This time, for once, it truly felt like a new life.

Outside Intervention

Of course optimum conditions might not always be achieved, particularly in the case of those whose duties take them away from Gallifrey frequently. While the general principle of non-interference should serve to ensure that no Time Lord emissary or agent should ever find themselves in the direct line of fire, there is always a proportionate risk of accidental injury or unforeseen attack by a rogue element,

In such cases, where the Time Lord has been forced to regenerate unexpectedly and with little preparation, the risk of side effects such as those detailed above is greatly increased. It is therefore advisable to return to Gallifrey promptly, where appropriate facilities and support can be made available.

His hands were slipping and he knew without looking the distance below him, he could feel it, feel gravity sucking at him, knew somewhere the Watcher was close and all his dashing around and running and cleverness had led here and nowhere else after all.

He cursed himself for a fool for trusting the Master even for moments, knowing even as he did that he'd done it before, would have done it again, because the chance was too good and the alternative too dire.

His fingers cramped painfully and it would be easier to let go since it was inevitable anyway, but it wasn't in his nature. The Master would have called it cowardice no doubt, and probably his companions would have used the gentler but still damning 'stubbornness'. Personally he preferred to think of it as hope. Hanging on to the last minute just in case that wild outside fluke came along and a solution fell from the sky.

As he was about to do of course. A laugh would have escaped him at the comparison had not his grip finally weakened at that point and sent him plunging into the ruthless embrace of gravity.

Change brought only more confusion as he found himself upright again but unable to even keep his feet as the world moved and spun around him. Shouting and movement and stumbling blurred together, with the TARDIS the only recognisable beacon.

Inside, he all but ran for the comfort of her deeper corridors. Behind, he could hear his companions shouting but all his focus, rattly as it was was bent on stabilising this regeneration which he could feel wavering. 'Prepared for' indeed. He'd hate to discover what unprepared felt like!

Afterwards, when things were calm again, when he was himself again, or not-again, newly-so, he took stock. Not bad on the whole, he allowed. Different certainly, but that was to be expected.

All in all things could have been a lot worse.

Act Promptly

A secondary risk posed to those who travel widely on Time Lord affairs is the risk of exposure to alien toxins or diseases. If such a condition should be contracted and it is clear it is likely to prove fatal then it is generally preferable to initiate regeneration at as early a stage as possible.

The Time Lord constitution is generally robust and may well outlast the expected survival time of such conditions but the experience is unlikely to be pleasant or productive and will certainly increase the risks of side effects in the regeneration.

Everything hurt. Even the cut on his forehead, which by rights shouldn't even have been worth mentioning when set against the burning of the toxins and the blisters and the laser burns and the ache lancing through his shoulders.

He'd fallen so many times and he was so tired. Regeneration ought to come as a relief, but there was a curious absence of comfort in it. Something felt wrong, more wrong than simply the pain.

He half wondered if it was too late, maybe this really was his death this time. There'd been a moment on the ship where his vision had blurred, dissolved into wavering lines of light. Perhaps that had been the moment, perhaps holding off the regeneration then had forfeited his chance now.

But Peri was safe. He couldn't have risked it, not then, who knew whether he'd have remembered what he was about or been in a fit state to save her if he'd let it happen then. He rolled his eyes back, trying to find her face and failed. She'd been there a moment ago he was sure. Perhaps the voices had frightened her. Except they were in his head weren't they? Not real, couldn't be real. They were gone, all gone, even the Master, so that laughter couldn't be real either.

He gave up trying to reason it out. Let the confusion and the swirling light blot out thought and memory and self.

And what a lot of fuss and drama over nothing that had turned out to be. The Doctor sniffed, examining the TARDIS console as though half expecting it to have changed too.

Peri was still boggling at him in that infuriating way, as though she expected him to sprout a second head any moment. Although come to think of it, she had recently been confronted with a second face, so perhaps her suspicion was mildly understandable.

Has he ever got around to telling her about regeneration? He couldn't quite remember. Some things were still settling back into place and his memories of the more recent regenerations were the most muddled. That would be the side effects of leaving it so long of course. What on earth had he been thinking?

Sorting things out would have been so much easier like this.

In Case of Accidents

Even quite severe injuries can frequently be healed short of total regeneration. Exceptions known to be capable of triggering forcible hibernation even though they would not normally be fatal include severe head trauma and contact with discharge from faulty or damaged temporal components such as the space-time element common to most marks of TARDIS.

As always, familiar surroundings and companions can help to minimise the shock-induced side effects of such a regeneration.

It was the indignity of the whole thing that rankled. He barely even remembered what had caused the regeneration. A stupid accident. A trivial bit of turbulence. As if they'd never been shot at before. As if the TARDIS and he had not ridden out far worse than again and again.

He looked himself up and down. Still, there had to be one or two advantages. Whatever he'd been thinking to bedeck himself in that coat was one of the mysteries lost in the confusion of the regeneration. Presumably it had seemed like a good idea for some reason at the time.

As for the Rani, she must have thought it a proper gift that the damage to his TARDIS had had such a more dramatic effect than she can have anticipated. She surely can't have hoped to be lucky enough to have caught him newly regenerated and confused.

Not that it had done her much good in the end, he noted with a certain amount of satisfaction. Perhaps he was getting better at this. A few hours of confused memories were a definite improvement on near-madness or days flopped out cold.

Location and Support

As noted earlier in these guidelines, regeneration tends to proceed most smoothly when it takes place on Gallifrey with the full support of the technology and knowledge available here. The minimum one should aim for is the support of a fully equipped and crewed TARDIS.

If forced to travel without the company of other Time Lords or other trained Gallifreyan staff, then it is vital that any companions present are briefed on the essential principles and are prepared to intercede appropriately on the regenerating Time Lord's behalf if they are incapacitated.

Obviously alien medical facilities are likely to have limited, if any knowledge of the process and might make any number of mistakes and assumptions which could adversely affect the process.

If they didn't stop trying so hard to save him they were going to kill him, and there was no way at all to get that across to them and the panic was almost worse than the pain.

The irony was maddening. The banality of it worse. All those fearful alien creatures, all those mortal enemies of his entire species, all those world-destroying weapons and what was it got him this time? Some stupid little human squabble.

Not that he hadn't wound up in the line of fire over relatively stupid little wars before, but he hadn't even been peripherally involved in this one. Had barely set one foot outside the TARDIS in fact.

Too late now. He tried again to speak, to find anything to say that would halt his would-be saviours, his killers, in their work.

And then it was over.

And then he woke up.

Woke cold and confused and overwrought with unspent energy and a muddled urge to find the one who'd killed him and find out who he was. Or who she was maybe. He was rather unclear on that point. On a number of points if he allowed himself to admit it.

For some reason that need to remember prodded some deeper memory, this wasn't the first time he'd felt this. Impossible memories of other deaths, other confused re-awakenings, other selves.

Maybe I'm not doing that much better at this after all, he reflected once he had found himself again.

Baulked Regeneration

A topic not often addressed is that of rejecting the change, of accepting final death over regeneration. The reasons why this might be desirable are not the purview of this publication but are extensively addressed elsewhere in both medical and psychological texts. This document will confine itself to outlining the methods be which it might be achieved.

Firstly it should be noted that while regeneration is indeed an elective process,it is also largely instinctive. To actively halt it requires that the Time Lord in question is both conscious and possesses a high degree of mental control.

He hadn't expected to survive, couldn't explain how he had. For a long time wished he hadn't.

If he could have chosen, perhaps he would not have.

Or perhaps he would have.

He wondered about it. Knew himself well enough to know that he would have hesitated, even with the prospect of living as the only survivor, the last.

Knew he would have thought about the pain of that, would have wondered if death was better.

But there there was still that flicker that perhaps would have hung on, would have chosen life if the choice had been offered.

Selfishness perhaps, he told himself in his more self castigating moments, or cowardice, or stubbornness.

Or hope.

Energy Discharge

The amount of energy released during a regeneration can be considerable and any onlookers or companions are advised to remain well clear while the regeneration is taking place. As discussed earlier in this guidance, it is preferable to limit those present to trained Time Lords.

Energy discharge can continue in the early hours of a new regeneration and can cause a certain amount of physical discomfort as well as attracting unwanted attention if the location of the regeneration was not well managed.

Along with other side effects, this is more like to be a problem if the regeneration was delayed.

It had been wonderful to have companions in the TARDIS again. It had been wonderful to have Rose.

But humans were so fragile, breakable, so vulnerable, and he never had been able to give them up.

The vortex energy burned through him, made him shudder, double over in cramps, made his skin itch and burn as his tried to contain the energy. Tried to hold the process off long enough to say goodbye.

Again.

And the fear and confusion on Rose's face, was Peri's and it was Nyssa's and Tegan's and Adric's and Sarah Jane's and Jamie's and Zoe's and Ben's and Polly's and he would spare them it if he could, would keep them all safe, would even spare them his changing if he could, because the fear and the distrust and confusion always stung, and it was never the same. Not quite.

But it was too late, and the world disappeared into golden light and he was remade.

And eventually, when they were safe, again, he stuck out his hand and he read the doubt in Rose's face and the relief, the leaping joyous relief when she smiled and took it and knew he was himself. Or close enough.

The Importance of Calm

All of the problems and side effects mentioned here can be largely minimised by a disciplined and organised approach to the impending regeneration. While the circumstances might not be ideal and there may be physical distress in the case of an unwanted regeneration, it is important to try and keep one's emotional reaction under control.

Concentration and calm will greatly smooth the process.

He didn't want to go and it wasn't fair and hadn't he done enough? But pain and anger had never been enough to remake the world into something which played fair and in the end he knew somewhere that this was still better than the alternative.

But it was still having to settle for the last resort option, still meant giving up the things he loved the people he loved. Giving up himself, in a way, part of it.

This time he was in control enough to realise that this time he really could halt it if he wanted, if he wanted to keep this life badly enough to die for it rather than exchange it for an almost new one, he had the power to do so.

And he knew he wouldn't. Not really. Not ever.

He'd hang on and dig in his heels and hang on by his fingertips waiting for that last minute reprieve which would never come, because whatever the change, he was still him and that was what he did.

Where's there's life there's hope.

It had been a long time since he'd said that and believed it but he found this new self did.

He made promises now he hadn't dared to make for long years, afraid of failing those fragile companions yet again. He made them and sometimes he broke them and regretted it but they were still worth making and striving to keep and maybe this time, this him, could do it.

Adapting to the Change

Following the guidelines above should ensure the smoothest possible regeneration, however it should be noted that a certain period of what might, in more technological language be described as a "running in" period. During this time you will be adapting to a new body's altered sense of self and becoming used to a new physical form. Where possible you should avoid important business or social occasions until you have acclimatised. A formal dinner for example is not the place to be newly discovering which foods you now do or do not like if embarrassment is to be avoided.

This period should be as relaxed as possible, an enjoyable time of exploration and discovery of self. Regeneration is one of the greatest assets of the Time Lord race and ensuring you follow the advice given here you should be well placed to obtain the full benefits.

"Doctor," asked Amy, a tone of irritation in her voice. "What are you doing down there?"

The Doctor's head emerged, startled, followed by one arm, which with he gave a vague wave.

"Oh, you know... Exploring."

"Exploring," Amy repeated. "You mean you don't know your way around your own spaceship?"

"Well, everything's sort of moved, hasn't it?" The Doctor pulled himself up out of the hatch and sat on the edge, dangling his feet, and flicking through a small, tattered book. "You find things you'd forgotten you had."

"Like...?" Amy trailed the question, leaning over his shoulder.

He tossed the book straight up and left it to her to catch before leaping back to his feet.

"Nothing important. Nothing I plan to need for a little while yet." He was halfway back to the console room before he paused and turned back.

"So? Where next?"

-END-