Survival

by vegetables [Reviews - 0]

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  • Teen
  • None
  • Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Angst, Drama, General, Horror, Series

“Deep down I always knew the President wasn’t the Doctor,” said Osgood. “A handsome man in eccentric clothes!” She laughed. “How extremely overplayed.”

“Don’t knock it,” said the Doctor. “It was great being a handsome man.”

“It was your friends who made me admit it to myself,” Osgood went on. “Chris and Lorna; I found out both of their names. They met me and they talked about you. And I knew.”

Not hearing anything that sounded like an attacking Dalek, Chris and Lorna came up to the door.

“It’s you!” said Lorna to Osgood, “and you’re all dressed up like her! But how did you know we’d all be here?”

“Oh,” laughed Osgood. “The organisation I’ve just run away from has a lot of very personal information. From credit cards; social media. Mind probes. We never knew what we might need it for.”

“But that’s an invasion of privacy!” said Lorna.

“We always said it wouldn’t matter as long as the database didn’t fall into the wrong hands. Which it has; the Daleks have everything now. Gives them a good idea of who isn’t on board with their plan.”

“Exterminate?” said Lorna.

“Exterminate,” said Osgood. “They can’t leave anything to chance.”

“And you think I’m the only one who can stop this,” said the Doctor wearily.

“I came as fast as I could,” said Osgood. “But not fast enough. They’ve come to houses on this street here already, shot the dissenters down when they opened the door.”

“That’s the Daleks,” said the Doctor. “It’s what they do.”

Osgood gulped.

“It wasn’t only the Daleks who did it,” she said in a very small voice. “There was a family; they showed them where to go. They had a little girl. Her mother had glasses almost the size as her head.”

“People?” said Lorna. “From across the street? I know them; we used to talk. When we tried to have a book club and it didn’t work. They wouldn’t want any of this.”

“No,” said the Doctor. “But they might prefer it to having their child die.”

Lorna stared hard at the ground.

“Yes,” she said. “Yes, I had thought of that.”

She gave a laugh as hollow as she felt.

“It’s easy for you, in a way,” she said softly. “The Daleks do what they do because of hate. It’d be harder, wouldn’t it, if it was because of love?”

“Are you justifying the people about to kill us?” said the Doctor.

“No. I’m saying… that I’d hoped we were different, even now. That it’d only happen where people were evil, not like us. But it’s all just people being people. And it always will be, ‘till there aren’t any people anymore.”

The Doctor avoided Lorna’s eyes and words.

“There might not be anything other than people soon,” she said. “He’s turning the Earth into a reality bomb.”

“What?” said Lorna.

“I only heard a bit of the news. But it was enough to tell. What’s being built, what’s happened here already. It’s miniaturised. Won’t blow up all realities, only what’s left of this one”–

“What?” said Lorna again. “Stop saying things that make me go ‘what’,” she added.

“That’s what a bomb like that does at full power. It ends everything, except what it thinks should remain. The infinite versions of us in every reality there is.”

“But that shouldn’t work,” said Chris. “Because”–

“Hold that thought,” said the Doctor. “It’s not important right now. What is”–

She looked away from them all so they didn’t have to see her face.

“The way a bomb like this works,” she said, “it builds itself into a planet, ‘till weapon and world are the same.”’

She sighed.

“I can’t say how far it’s already gone. But if it’s past a certain point then the only way to stop it would be”–

She looked at the ground.

“It’d be to blow up the world.”

Lorna looked at her, and chuckled very slightly.

“Okay,” she said.

The Doctor looked back, totally shocked.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I thought you said”–

“If that’s what it takes? Then it’s what we have to do.”

“You can’t take a decision like this so lightly,” snapped the Doctor. “You’re talking about killing billions of people!”

“But us people’ll kill trillions more, aren’t won’t? I don’t want to kill anyone, Doctor,” she said. “But you’re about stopping monsters. I don’t think that changes if this time you’re stopping us.”

“It changes everything!” shouted the Doctor. “Can’t you see that? Everything I’ve done, it’s so this wouldn’t have to happen here.”

“You shouldn’t shout when we have guests,” said Chris. “It’s very rude.”

“Your mother says she wants to blow up the world!

“Oh,” said Chris. “I see why she would.”

“But you’re a child.” said the Doctor. “An innocent!”

“Not really,” said Chris. “And I want to blow it up too.”

“That’s not your decision to make!” shouted the Doctor, now visibly starting to shake.

“No,” said Lorna. “That’s what parents are for, right? To protect their children, and show them the right thing to do. Not there in the manual, is it?” she said. “When you have to choose one or the other.”

“We won’t,” said the Doctor, looking wildly to the sky. “There’s always hope, and it comes when you least expect it. I was in your shoes once, lifetimes ago. I thought I had to blow up my own world. But I found another way. Loads of other Doctors, coming just at the nick of time, slamming out of nowhere to save the day. It’s– it’s what has to happen, when things get desperate enough. I’ll have found a way out, it’s what I always do. A past or future me. They will be coming.”

They all looked up through the window as several battered old police boxes failed to appear in the sky.

“I expect they’ll be along any minute now,” said the Doctor.

The four of them shuffled in a very uncomfortable silence.

“Doctor,” said Osgood after a while had passed.

“They’re coming, Osgood,” said the Doctor.

“I don’t doubt it. I know that it happened before; the skinny you told me the whole story. And it’s good, don’t get me wrong, finding another way. But I remember thinking–”

“Don’t,” said the Doctor. “It’s never a good idea.

“It’s just that it’s not a lot of help when there is no other way–”

“But there always is,” said the Doctor, “that was the point.”

“What is it now?” said Chris.

“Well,” said the Doctor. “It’s not really about specific examples“–

What is it now?” said Chris again in an even more irritated way. “If you don’t arrive to save yourself, then what are you going to do?”

“I could set up a chronoclastic incubator,” said the Doctor, “a machine built out of time and space themselves”–

“You don’t know, do you?” said Lorna.

“No,” said the Doctor very quietly. “I don’t know.”