A Change In Time

by ElderoftheUniverse [Reviews - 1]

  • All Ages
  • None
  • Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe

Author's Notes:
No convenient gift of additional regenerations from the Time Lords here. This is how I envision it... Disclaimer – All characters and situations belong to the BBC with the exception of the original characters created for the purpose of this story. This is a piece of original fan fiction written for entertainment only.

A Change In Time

“It’s no use lurking about in the shadows. I know you’re there.”

“I didn’t want to wake you, Alistair.”

“Very thoughtful, Doctor. I see you finally found some courtesy to go along with one of your faces.”

The Doctor smiled broadly as he stepped out from the darkness. “Hello Brigadier,” he said, placing his hand atop the old man’s.

“My word, Doctor, look at you. Are you trying to blind me in that get-up? It’s amazing you didn’t glow in the dark.”

“I take it you don’t like my clothes, Alistair?”

“Certainly not your worst,” the prone man replied with a snort, “but a little bright, don’t you think?”

“What’s wrong with bright? I like bright.”

“Yes, well, enough about your fashion faux pas, are you going to tell your friend to step forward, or should I just hurl something at him?”

The Doctor turned his head and peered back into the darkened corner of the hospital room. A quick nod of his head brought the young man forward.

“Tobias, may I present Brigadier General Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart.”

Lethbridge Stewart raised his hand slightly, the effort obviously taxing.

“Ah yes, of course, my apologies…Brigadier General Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart…retired.”

“A pleasure to meet you my boy. Tobias is it?” The Brigadier asked of the ginger haired young man.

“Yes sir,” he replied, moving closer to the bedside. “The Doctor’s told me all about you sir. It’s an honor to meet you.”

The Brigadier shifted his gaze to the Doctor, consciously willing himself to see one of his friend’s more…familiar faces, instead of the new one looking down at him. “A polite one, eh Doctor? Quite different from your usual fair of sharp tongued women, no?”

“Hmm, yes, well…” the Doctor fidgeted a bit. “I’ve moved away from all that now. Tobias is a very capable young man, and in these times, well, let’s just say…unlike so many of my former companions, he knows exactly what he’s gotten himself into.”

“Really?” The Brigadier mused, his chuckle interrupted by a low cough. “I doubt anyone could ever know what they’re getting into with you.”

“Begging your pardon, sir, but I do. I’m well aware that if I don’t die during my travels with the Doctor, I’ll most likely end up stranded somewhere…alone.”

“Tobias,” the Doctor said in a low, almost menacing voice.

“Doctor, what’s he on about?”

“Nothing, Alistair, now tell me, how exactly did you know it was me skulking about the shadows of this oh so posh suite, hmmm…”

“I may be old, Doctor, but I’m not a fool. The body may have deserted me, but my mind is still as sharp as a whip. The end is near, Doctor, I know that. Who else would come to call on this lonely old soldier right at the end?”

The Doctor just looked down at his long time friend, a deep sigh evident in his shoulders.

“This is the end, Doctor, isn’t it? You don’t have to lie to me. I’ve been fighting alongside death for too many years to fear her embrace now.”


“Well, I’m glad you came Doctor, you and that garish silver suit you’re wearing.”

“Garish,” the Doctor exclaimed in mock horror. “I’ll have you know this suit is one hundred percent pure psychic cloth. Garish indeed!”

“Psychic cloth?” The brigadier coughed again, louder and longer this time.

The Doctor froze, staring helplessly down at his friend. “This was a mistake,” he whispered to himself.

Tobias stepped in between the Doctor and the old man’s bed. “Yes sir, psychic cloth. You see, the Doctor here, well, he doesn’t really like to get dirty, so, much like his psychic paper, the material of his clothes adapt to his desires. In this case, to always be clean. The shiny, silver texture is an unfortunate side effect.”

“Unfortunate!” The Doctor came forward again, his distress now under control. “I’ll have you know silver…suits me. Besides, what’s wrong with being clean, hmm…?”

“Doctor,” the Brigadier said quietly, calmly. “You should go.”

“Alistair, I will not leave you alone…”

“Do shut up and listen to me for once Doctor. My time is up. I know that. I’ve made peace with this life. I have no expectations to come back with a different face like you do. Just go. And know that you made this soldier’s final moments a little bit better than they would have been.”

The Doctor looked down at his friend and nodded slowly.

“Take care of him Tobias,” Alistair said to the younger man. “He’s the single greatest asset planet Earth has.”

“Goodbye, Lethbridge Stewart, my friend,” the Doctor said as he placed his hand once more atop the older man’s. He remained a moment, before turning and walking out the door.

“It’s funny, you know,” Tobias said, sitting down on the bedside, adjusting the worn leather satchel at his side.

“What’s that, my boy?”

“The Doctor always said that you were the greatest defender the earth ever had.”

Lethbridge-Stewart smiled slightly, his eyes starting to flutter. “Wh…what did you mean when you said you would be alone, stranded?”

Tobias looked back towards the door, making sure the Doctor had gone. “Well you see, Brigadier, this is the Doctor’s last regeneration. Once he dies, he’ll be gone for good this time. That’s part of the reason he came to see you. He’s been trying to make peace with his past. Like you said you did. In fact, we just spent hours standing at the gravesite of another friend of his. He wouldn’t talk about her though. Smith was her name, I believe.”

“Sarah Jane…” The Brigadier whispered as the tears flowed freely from his eyes. A sudden shiver passed through him as the thought of a universe without the Doctor became almost too much to bear.

“But don’t despair Brigadier. All hope is not lost. You see, there’s a plan…”

Explosions roared around them, debris rocketing upwards even as the residue of past detonations rained downwards. The Doctor stumbled, gasping for breath as he tried desperately to maintain his hold on Tobias.

Falling to one knee, the Doctor shifted the boy’s weight in his arms. A spattering of blood from the wound atop his head dripped onto Tobias’ torn shirt, mingling with what was already seeping from the ugly wound on the young man’s chest.

“I don’t think I can make it. Leg’s already too far gone.”

“Don’t give up Doctor. You can do it. Please, just get us back to the Tardis.” Tobias rasped weakly.

A beam of pure destructive energy passed just feet from their position, encouraging the Doctor to stand despite the pain pulsing up from his leg. He bit down on his lip to quell the agony. This was new, he thought to himself. By now he would have felt the energy within him begin to well up, reorganizing his molecular structure and bringing about regeneration. So this is what death feels like, he mused. It hurts, a lot.

He tried to maintain his footing on the rocky terrain, knowing full well that this time, Skaro wouldn’t survive the devastation he had wrought. Summoning the Daleks had been his only option. Here, nearly at the end of time itself, the Doctor and Tobias had found the lost home planet of the Daleks, moved by Davros in order to create anew his master race.

The Doctor had no choice. He knew that as he stumbled towards the Tardis, still out of sight over the next rise. Davros had started again, this time using all the knowledge he had gained over the centuries, to create a new species of psychopathic monsters. Aided by the Rani, he had succeeded in turning the final, surviving Thals into creatures as single-minded in their motives as their older brethren. But the rogue Time Lady had a surprise for her erstwhile partner. She had used her considerable knowledge of genetic engineering to slip something past Davros. While the Daleks thrived on hate, the new race of “Thaleks,” were totally consumed by love. Their burning, uncontrollable desire: to cull the population of the universe into a group of helpless, mindless slaves, needing the care and protection of their overlords. The Rani had laughed at Davros when he discovered her little joke. A laugh silenced when their creations rebelled. Unwilling to accept the “care and protection” of her joint creation, the Rani had escaped back into her Tardis right after the initial attack. But she had not escaped unscathed. The Doctor had seen her take a blast from one of the Thalek’s eye beams, and he hadn’t failed to notice the regeneration energy beginning to manifest about her familiar form as she made her escape. Acknowledging this horrible new threat to the universe, the Doctor knew the only way to stop the Thaleks was to call in their older siblings. Now, as Skaro itself was being torn asunder by the fury of their genetically encoded hatred for each other, the Doctor wondered if he hadn’t brought about the end of everything.

Davros had been at the center of the explosion that had injured the Doctor and Tobias. The Doctor had seen enough death in his lives to know when a wound was final, but still he tried. His suit was shredded, fragments flapping beside him as he moved clumsily over the rocks. But, what remained of it was remarkably clean, a testament to the resiliency of the psychic cloth. In contrast, the Doctor himself was covered in soot and red, swelling burn marks, a final gift from Davros, before he exploded in cackling joy at seeing his children exterminate each other.

The Doctor had tried to take the brunt of the blast, throwing himself in front of Tobias. Still, a large piece of shrapnel, most likely from Davros’ chair, had been faster, and had struck the young man in the chest. Tobias had gone into shock as the Doctor, moving unsteadily on his now nearly useless leg, had picked him up and begun stumbling.

Davros’ rapidly disintegrating laboratory of horrors behind them, the Doctor carried his now delusional companion through the rubble towards the perceived sanctuary of the Tardis.

“Tardis…” Tobias gasped again as he flitted in and out of consciousness.

The Doctor let out a wail of agony as he settled the boy more steadily in his grasp. Tobias’ ubiquitous satchel dangling uselessly from his shoulder and thumping against the Doctor’s mangled leg. Mustering all his resolve, he pushed forward, a haze of blue now entering his rapidly blurring line of site. Like a man possessed he moved steadily toward it, his leg feeling as though it would snap off at any moment.

Another explosion, directly behind them, flung the Doctor forward. He and Tobias hit the ground just yards from the Tardis. The Doctor reached out and grabbed Tobias by the collar of his shirt, pulling him towards the solitary blue structure that awaited their return.

“Open, damnit,” the Doctor screamed, tears burning in his eyes. He lurched forward, pushing off with his one good leg, and fell through the open door of his ship, Tobias falling on top of him. The door closed and suddenly, an eerie silence replaced the sounds of explosions and destruction. The Doctor shuffled back towards the console, pulling Tobias with him.

“We made it,” Tobias said, his face twisting in a grimace of pain. “I can’t hold…

“Stay with me,” the Doctor said as he tried to pull himself up to the console. “I’ll set the co-ordinates…” he gasped as a fresh burst of agony rolled through him, “…have the Tardis take you to help…”

Tobias reached up and grabbed the edge of the Doctor’s shredded coat, tugging him back down to his knees.

“No time,” he stammered, “please, just take my hand.”

The Doctor knew the time had come for both of them. Tears fell from his eyes as he clasped the young man’s hand in his, his other holding onto the edge of the Tardis’ console for support.

“Don’t be sad Doctor; it was everything I hoped it would be. You were everything I knew you to be…” Despite the pain, Tobias smiled broadly.

The Doctor squeezed Tobias’ hand tightly, bringing it up close to his face, preparing for the end. The soft glow didn’t register at first, the Doctor’s vision blurred by his injuries, but when the swirling energy fully coalesced around their clasped hands, his eyes widened in shock and disbelief.

“How…how can this be? I’ve run out…”

“B…but I haven’t,” Tobias stammered with his final breath, “now…”

The Tardis console wheezed to life. The column rising and falling as the swirling mass of energy engulfed Tobias’ still body. The Doctor tried to back away, but found he was unable to release his grip on hand or console. He felt himself slipping away, the shadow of death finally moving over him. And then he was caught; a warm, loving embrace surrounding his very being, with only the sound of the control column to be heard.

“No,” he cried out in final fury, “what have you done? How could you…”

And then there was blackness as the Doctor’s body finally succumbed to its wounds and fell atop the changing form beneath it.

Then, the Tardis took off, leaving the disintegrating Skaro to its final fate.

He was leaning back against the base of the console when the doors opened and she walked in. Her face was familiar, although twisted with worry. Her name was just out of reach, and he sighed deeply in weary frustration.

“There’s a dead body,” he whispered.

“Yes, I know. I’m sorry you had to spend that much time alone. Skaro’s explosion affected the Tardis’ guidance system as it took off. The trip took longer than we anticipated.”


“I’m sorry?”

“You called her ‘it,’ she’s a she.”

“I see. Forgive me. Are you alright?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know a lot of things at the moment.”

“That’s understandable Doctor, you’ve been through a very traumatic experience.”


“Yes. You are the Doctor. Do you know who I am?”

He looked at her from his position on the floor. Just inches from the body, he was leaning back, legs pushed up to his chest and arms wrapped around them. He seemed to be having trouble keeping his head from falling between his arms.

“No…yes…maybe. I don’t know that either.”

She stepped closer to him.

“It’s me Doctor, R…”

“Rani!” He screamed, scrambling backwards against the base as though trying to get away.

She held out her hand towards him. “It’s all right Doctor, I’m not the Rani. It’s me, Romana. Do you remember me Doctor?”

“Romana,” he said, settling back down into his original position. “There’s a dead body Romana.”

“Yes Doctor, I know. I’m very sorry about that. I had hoped to get you here sooner, before you awoke.”

“So I wouldn’t see the body?”


“Are we friends Romana?”

“Yes Doctor, the very best of friends.”

“I don’t think so.”

Romana’s hearts ached at his words as she crouched down in front of him; the lifeless form face down on the floor between them.

“We are friends Doctor. You are just confused from your trauma. Please, let me help you.”

“How could you do that Romana? How could you do that to me?”

Romana didn’t answer; a disturbing silence building between them.

“It’s alright, you don’t have to answer. I don’t even understand the question. I was just…finishing a thought…I think.”

“Will you let me help you?” Romana asked quietly.

“More than you already have?”

“Yes. Let me help you more than I already have.”

“I don’t know…did you bring me a puppy?”

“No Doctor, I didn’t,” she replied to his odd question, instantly regretting not arranging for K-9 to be present.

“Puppies are nice…” he intoned softly before dropping his head back down.

They sat in silence for several minutes, looking at each other whenever he managed to keep his head up long enough to meet her gaze. He was exhausted and weak, and Romana knew she had to take things slowly with him. He was always a bit unstable immediately post regeneration, and she had no idea how these circumstances would affect that.

“What will you do with the body?” He asked finally, whispering once again.

“A tomb has been prepared in the Panopticon. He shall rest for eternity with the other great heroes of…”


“Yes, Gallifrey. You are home Doctor.”

“He was a hero?”

“Oh yes, Doctor. He was a selfless hero who sacrificed himself for the good of us all.”

“I’m not sure…”

“Can we take him now Doctor? Can we take him to his rest?”


Romana rose and made a small gesture. Three red cloaked men entered the console room and slowly approached the body.

“Take him to the tower and prepare him. I will join you later.”

“Yes Madam President,” two of the guards said in unison as they knelt on either side, gently lifting the body and carrying it out of the Tardis. The third, his uniform slightly different from the others, knelt and picked up the satchel that had been lying under the body.

“Leave it,” the Doctor screamed suddenly, causing Romana to jump slightly.

“Do as he says Castellan.”

“Yes, my Lady,” he said, bowing slightly before exiting.

“I would see him later as well,” the Doctor stated, still not moving from his position.

“Of course, whenever you like.”

“He lied to me. Heroes don’t lie.”

“Sometimes they do, Doctor, when it is necessary.”

“Was it necessary for you to lie to me as well?”

“I have not lied to you Doctor.”

“But she did,” he said, inclining his head upward toward the underside of the Tardis’ console.

Romana chose not to answer that as it was obvious that these events had created a new dynamic between her friend and his ship.

“I don’t think any of you should have done whatever it was you did.”

“Doctor,” Romana said, beginning to think she needed to be more forceful with him, “we can discuss things more later. Will you let me help you first? You need care.”

“Okay,” he said as he leapt to his feet and looked down at himself. “I appear to be quite the mess.”

Romana was taken aback momentarily by the sudden change but maintained her composure.

“We’ll have you looked at, get you some robes.”

“Like yours?” He asked, approaching her cautiously, his head cocked to one side.

She smiled warmly. “Not quite. You never took kindly to these robes.”

“Really, I didn’t like the robes of a traitor?” He asked as he lunged towards her.

It took the Castellan and three of his men to subdue the Doctor. Romana had managed to stumble backwards and fall through the doors of the Tardis as the Doctor leapt at her. The guards were on him instantly, grasping at his arms as he flailed wildly.

“Don’t harm him,” Romana shouted, even as the first of the guards was flung halfway down the corridor by her enraged friend. So strong, she marveled as he shook off the other two guards and turned again to face her. The Castellan imposed his body between them, prepared to sacrifice himself for the Lord President of the High Council of Time Lords.

The Doctor stopped momentarily, confused as to why this man would be willing to sacrifice himself for this…

The hesitation was all the guards needed as the two nearest grabbed ahold of each of his arms. Before he could react, the third, charging from his landing spot several yards away, slammed into the Doctor’s knees from behind, sending him crashing to his back. The other two guards flipped him over and pulled his arms behind him, allowing the Castellan to quickly secure his wrists with restraints.

“Gently,” the President commanded as the guards pulled the still struggling Doctor to his feet. Romana looked at him, mindless fury flaring in his dark eyes, his longish black hair dampened by his exertion. His clothes, what was left of them, were obviously too small for his new form, and she could see the charring and dried blood all over them, especially at his chest. This new regeneration was young, and its inherent stamina, coupled with the already displayed strength, and erratic behavior, made her realize the situation had to be gotten under control quickly and efficiently.

“Bring him to the medi-lab, the secure sector. Have him sedated and examined. I will be along shortly.”

“Traitor, betrayer,” the Doctor screamed, spittle flying from his mouth as the guards dragged him from her presence.

“Romana,” the Doctor said drunkenly, the sedative still not fully worn off. “You can’t go around wearing copies of bodies. Go try another one, go on.”

She smiled slightly, remembering when she had chosen to regenerate while traveling with him. She had tried multiple forms, and he had not been shy about offering up his opinion on each one. It was a good sign that he was remembering. She needed to make certain that his identity had fully established a hold on this regeneration.

His tattered clothing had been removed, replaced with a simple green medical frock covering him from chest to knees. He was lying calmly on the diagnostic couch, thick cuffs wrapped securely about his wrists and ankles. Romana hated having him restrained, but she was responsible for his safety, as well as that of the guards, so her options were limited.

“I’m sorry Doctor, but you’ll just have to get used to it.”

“If you insist,” he said, his head listing from side to side.

“How do you feel?”

“Betrayed,” he replied, “how did you think I would feel about this?”

“I see that some rest has cleared your mind,” she said, hopeful that his lucidity would continue to improve. The conversation would be difficult. She knew that, and had lived in fear of having it for a long time. But, that time had finally come, and there was no escaping it.

“Oh yes. ‘Madam President,’ my mind is much clearer, but then, it’s not really my mind, now is it?”

“Please Doctor, don’t make this more difficult than it already is.”

Suddenly, he lunged upwards against his restraints, causing Romana to step back even as the guards moved forward. She waved them back quickly, hoping that she could calm the Doctor on her own.

“What’s wrong Madam President? Don’t want to watch the guards beat on your helpless prisoner?”

“You’re not a prisoner Doctor, don’t act the child.”

“No, of course I’m not a prisoner,” he said, squirming in his bindings, “I always sleep like this, it helps me to relax.”

“If you’re going to continue on this path, I’ll leave you to your rest,” she sighed, turning to leave.

“Romanadvoratrelundar, wait.”

“Yes?” She said, turning back to face him, excited that he had remembered her full name.

“Why did he do it? Why did you help him?”

Romana moved to the side of the couch and paused for a moment.

“He was one of the first academy graduates after the Time War. A brilliant student, but rebellious, his teachers never cared for the unorthodox means he devised to navigate through his courses. And he was obsessed with you, spending all of his free time studying your exploits. Then, fittingly, he joined my staff after his studies. Working for me, not only Lord President, but also a former traveling companion of yours, was a dream come true. He was honest and open, a free spirit, unlike most of the mewling sycophants the academy produces, and we grew close, bonding over tales of your exploits. Naturally, I sponsored him for the ritual, and stood at the edge of the vortex with him as he stared within. When he finally looked away, a brand new Time Lord, and cast his gaze on me, I saw something in his eyes, something terrible and wonderful. I saw you Doctor. Later, he told me what he saw in the vortex. He saw a plan, a plan like no other; a way to save you now that our ability to bestow more regenerations was eliminated by Rassilon after his rebirth.”

The Doctor closed his eyes as she continued.

“There was no reasoning with him. He was determined, said that it was what he was meant to do. I could not dissuade him, and after a time, unable to argue or find flaw in the fact that you, whether you like it or not, are needed, gave in and agreed to aid him in his plan.”

“So you sacrificed one friend for another?”

“He sacrificed himself Doctor,” Romana shouted suddenly, “and I have to live with my part in that!”

The Doctor fell silent as Romana fought to compose herself once more.

“I have to live with that,” she repeated calmly.

“The rest of the plan,” he offered, suddenly chuckling under his breath, “so simple, so obvious, and so complete in its deceit.”

“Yes,” she replied solemnly.

“You set him up as a captive of the Rani on earth, knowing I would stop her and find him, just another innocent victim of her insidious experiments.”


“His memories were suppressed, a Chameleon Arch, I assume, preventing her, and me, from recognizing him as a Time Lord.”


“When I took him aboard the Tardis the suppression somehow cleared and he communicated with her, while I blindly accepted him for who I thought he was.”


“She kept his identity hidden from me while we traveled, allowing him to prepare the recall circuit so you could bring the Tardis back to Gallifrey at the end.”

“All correct.”

“Consciousness transference, forbidden science; how very Master-ish of you,” he stated with disdain. “The psychic circuits in the Tardis linked my mind to his as we died, then shifted our identities from one body to the other. All of what I am pushed into his mind mid regeneration, while his very being was deposited in my dying body and lost forever. How could you condone that?”

Romana sighed and placed her hand gently on his arm. “I did what I had to Doctor. There was no other way. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must attend to matters of state. Get some rest. You have a funeral to attend in a few days.”

“I will never forgive you for this,” he said softly, turning his head and closing his eyes.

“I know,” Romana said as she turned and walked away.

The Doctor’s weariness, a side effect from both the post regeneration stress, as well as the sedatives he was being subjected to at regular intervals, barely managed to outweigh his agitation at being strapped down for so long. Every once in a while, he would strain against his restraints, causing them to creak under the stress of his resistance. The two guards paid no attention to his struggles, standing silently, even more immobile than he was, just staring into nothingness. He had tried taunting them a few times, during his more lucid moments, but fatigue always prevented him from pushing too far. Such discipline, the Doctor mused; this Castellan must be quite the taskmaster.

As though summoned, the Castellan entered the room. With a gesture, he dismissed the guards and approached the Doctor’s couch as they exited with a flourish of their cloaks.

“Ah, Castellan,” the Doctor said jovially, “I was just thinking about you.”

“You will address me as Castellan Vrensa, Doctor.”

“Oh my, so serious and official. Forgive me for not getting up.” He lifted his arms slightly, emphasizing the restraints holding him in place.

“Always the impudent clown, Doctor. Now we can add ‘Abomination’ to that as well.”

The Doctor’s demeanor changed instantly. “What do you want, Castellan?”

“What I want is to drop you in a hole and seal you away forever.”

“I see,” the Doctor replied. “Does the Lord President know of your desires?”

“I serve my Lord President faithfully, for now, but she is overstepping the bounds of her office. You are proof of that.”

“Did you go to the Chancellor then? The Cardinals?”

“There is no Chancellor, Doctor, and the Cardinals are almost impotent. Lady Romana kept the war powers bestowed upon her after the deposition of Rassilon. She has yet to surrender them. She claims the reconstruction requires more authority with less delay. So far, the majority supports her, but that is changing.”

The Doctor stayed silent a moment, just looking up at the man staring down at him. “So what’s your grievance with me Castellan? I don’t know you, do I?”

“No Doctor, but I know of you. You spread anarchy every time you come to Gallifrey. Your caustic interference always causes problems for us. And now, you are no better than the Master, continuing to plague the universe while living out stolen lives.”

The Doctor did not respond, how could he? The man was basically telling the truth.

“To me, you are a war criminal, and fortunate that you have devoted friends in high places. But be warned Doctor, things change quickly.”

The Doctor smiled unnervingly up at Vrensa. “Understood, Castellan. Now let me tell you something. Tread carefully, lest you make yourself one of my priorities once I leave here.”

Vrensa stared down at the Doctor, locking eyes with him before finally turning to leave. “A very deep hole, remember that, Abomination.”

The Doctor fumed in silent rage as the two guards returned, accompanied by a medtech who administered the next dose of the Doctor’s sedative. As the darkness consumed him, he thought about how little his home had changed, despite all it had been through.

He had to admit, he liked his room much more than the medi-lab couch. After a full day of being strapped down to a bed, the Doctor was more than willing to accept this display of Romana’s good intentions. Of course, he was still stuck in the insufferable frock they had put him in. Oh yes, he thought, it makes it easier to run tests, as well as keep one a bit exposed and at the mercy of others. But, not a lot he could do about that just yet, and, although the door was unlocked, the two omnipresent guards remained outside.

He roamed aimlessly about the small, sparsely furnished room, grumbling to himself about the bright white walls and sterile conditions. But, although he hated the d├ęcor and lack of color palette, he was calm. So calm in fact, it wasn’t long before he realized his accommodations were little more than a cleverly disguised Zero Room.

But, he admitted to himself, he was feeling better physically, although he was still struggling with what had been done to him. Ironically, it was then that the pain hit; a sharp jolt of agony exploding in his head. He went stiff, and then crumpled to the floor.

“I’m sorry if that was uncomfortable Doctor.”


The ginger haired young man was standing in the console room of the Tardis, smiling warmly. The Doctor knew an implanted memory when he experienced it, but this one appeared…interactive.

“The Zero Room was the final piece of the plan; a place where nothing from the outside world exists. Now, we can speak for the last time. The Tardis was kind enough to implant this message at the time of transference. I’m not going to try and convince you of my belief that what I did was right. We both know that wouldn’t work, even more so now. But, I wanted to share something with you, my experience of you before I remembered my mission. Will you come with me Doctor?”

Tobias, still smiling, held his hand out to the Doctor.

The Doctor, for quite possibly the first time in his lives, was speechless as he took his companion’s hand and stepped into a blinding flash of light.

The Doctor stood at Romana’s side, two guards, directly behind him, while the Castellan flanked his President on the opposite side. The Doctor’s medical robe had been replaced with robes more reflective of his status as a member of the Prydonian chapter. He had refused them at first, but Romana had insisted he dress for the service.

There were very few individuals in attendance, despite the location of the tomb and the heroic status granted to the deceased. Romana had explained that it was all according to Tobias’ wishes, but the Doctor didn’t seem to care. Now, at the end of the service, the Doctor moved forward and ran his hand across the inscription on the tomb.

“Here lies Tobias, friend and loyal companion of the Doctor.”

“That’s not his name. Before last night, I would have said he was mocking me. I murdered him and he’s mocking me in death.”

“You did not murder him Doctor,” Romana said as the rest of the attendees filed out of the chamber. “And he certainly does not mock you. He honors you by wanting to be remembered only as you knew him.”

“But you knew him as someone else?”

“Yes, and I will honor that memory in my own way.” Romana paused a moment before continuing. “You said before last night, what did you mean?”

“He could have shown me who he was, really,” the Doctor said quietly, his hand still pressed up against the cold stone, “instead, he chose to show me who I really am.”

“I don’t understand,” Romana said.

“There was a message, implanted within a single retained memory.”

Romana bowed her head. “And activated within the neutral environment of the zero room. Of course. Clever boy.”

“He was tortured you know. The Rani couldn’t understand why she wasn’t getting the results she expected. After all, extracting the chemicals she needed from a human should have been simple.”

“But he wasn’t human,” Romana said.

The Doctor removed his hand from the crypt and turned to her. “No, he wasn’t, but she was blinded to his reality. All of her tests showed him as human, but the cure she was trying to create kept failing. Of course, being the Rani, instead of simply finding a new subject, she just…kept going; not concerned with how much suffering she was causing.”

“What was she trying to cure?”

“Not what, who. Cyrian, the last surviving Myasimia Gorean, and her ‘companion’ if you can imagine that.”

“He travels with her willingly; after she was responsible for the death of his entire race?”

“Yes. He’s completely devoted to her, and quite insane. He suffers from the same affliction she imparted to the rest of his people, but she seems intent on saving him before the madness completely consumes him.”

“Who would have thought the Rani to be sentimental?”

The Doctor sighed. “Trust me, it’s a one off event. She showed none of that mercy or concern to Tobias. When I found him, barely alive, still thinking himself a normal earthling, he believed I was an angel, all silvery and sparkling in the dim light of the cell.”

“You were an angel Doctor. You saved him.”

“Just as you knew I would, eh Romana?”

“Of course Doctor, there was never a doubt in my mind, or his.”

“Very touching Romana. You’re concern for me is overwhelming. However, I think I’ll be leaving now. I’ve had about all I can stand of Gallifreyan hospitality.”

“I’m afraid I can’t allow you to leave just yet Doctor. We have to be certain the regeneration and transference are stable.”

“Aha!” the Doctor shouted, pointing at Romana. “At last, the Lord High President acts according to position.”

“Guards,” Romana said wearily, “take the Doctor back to his room and make him comfortable. I will join you shortly.”

“I’m sorry Romana,” the Doctor said as he pushed her into the arms of the two guards.

“After him, Castellan!” Romana shouted as the Doctor fled the chamber.

“Yes Madam President.”

She motioned for her chief security officer to hold back a moment as his guards started off in pursuit.

“Don’t try too hard Castellan.”

“No Madam President,” he replied grudgingly. “Shall I have the door to his Tardis opened for him as well?”

Romana chose to ignore the sarcasm; after all, her head of security was absolutely correct about her intentions. “I don’t believe that will be necessary Castellan.”

The Doctor stood in front of the full length mirror, staring at a body not his own. The irony, after twelve regeneration cycles, was not lost on him. This would have been Tobias’ first regeneration, his second body, full of a strength and stamina the Doctor had long left behind. He felt unworthy of this gift, this sacrifice, offered up by someone so young and accepted on the Doctor’s behalf by one of his oldest friends and most trusted companions. He knew he could never forget what they had done, but could he forgive them? He sighed deeply, and looked around the room at the multitude of racks holding clothes from a hundred worlds and a thousand times. He smiled as the soft hum of the Tardis penetrated his thoughts.

“So,” he said to the ethereal consciousness that surrounded him, “you got what you wanted eh? Here I stand, back with you again, trapped in a hijacked body forced upon me by my so-called friends. Alright then, a new beginning, but perhaps, with just a touch of the old…”

The Doctor posed in front of the mirror, his eyes sparkling as he surveyed his choices. A white shirt with black pinstripes, smattered with a black print pattern depicting Gallifreyan symbols, black trousers, a bit too long, but bunched up off the floor atop a pair of worn, clunky work boots, also black. He tossed a wide silk tie, fiery red, around his neck and loosely knotted it in place. Lastly, he shook out a knee length overcoat, its hue such a dark red that it appeared black except when hit by direct light, and flung it around his shoulders with a practiced flair for the dramatic. He cocked his head from side to side as he grasped the velour lapels of the jacket in his hands.


He leaned in closer to the mirror, contemplatively running his hand across the stubble that had been slowly forming on his face. “Huh, not even old enough to grow a proper beard. Now then, where did I put that…” he said, just as the Tardis lurched, tossing the Doctor into a nearby rack. He spit the end of a feathered boa out of his mouth, got to his feet, and, absentmindedly reaching out and retrieving the worn old satchel from where he had earlier placed it, ran towards the console room as the cloister bell sounded in the distance.

And so it begins…again.