Showing posts with label Time's Champion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Time's Champion. Show all posts

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Jodie Won't Fail

" Each Life creates The Next - no wonder Time Lords and Buddhists get on so well. " 

- The Chorister

"The Old Man must die;
and The New Man Will Discover,
to his inexpressible joy,
that He has never existed...!"

- Buddhist/Time Lord Aphorism
K'Ampo Rimpoche

"This is above all Strangeness..."
" This Doctor keeps cropping up all over the place. 

Political diaries, conspiracy theories, even ghost stories. No first name, no last name, just The Doctor. 

Always The Doctor. 

And the title seems to have been passed down from Father to Son. 

It appears to be an inheritance.... "

- Clive Finch, 2005

Not-Shakespeare :
Perhaps it's time I wrote about Fathers and Sons
in memory of my boy, my precious Hamnet. 


Not-Shakespeare :
That's him. 


Not-Shakespeare :
What's wrong with that? 

Old Grandfather

The Cosmic Hobo

The Established Dandy

The Exception That is The Rule

The Chorister

The Colourful Jester

Time's Champion

Life's Champion


"You were The Doctor on The Day it Was Impossible to Be The Doctor"

The Designated Survivor

( The Life So Nice, I Lived it Twice )

The Chin

Dr. Disco - The Wait of The Whirled

(Davros is crying.)

Dr. Disco :
Okay, don't ever tell anyone that I did this...

(He waves his hand around until a golden glow forms.)

Dr. Disco :
A little bit of regeneration energy.

Probably cost me an arm or a leg somewhere down the line.

Or, I'll just be really little....

The Wait of The Whirled: 
Sontarans! Perverting the Course of Human History! 

I Don't Want to Go. 

When The Doctor, When The Doctor Was Me. 

When The Doctor Was Me. 

It's starting. 
I'm regenerating. 

No! No! No! No! No! No! 

(The Regeneration stops, and The TARDIS has materialised.

The Wait of The Whirled: 
Where have you taken me? 
If you're trying to make a point, I'm not listening. 

I Don't Want to Change Again. 

Never Again! 

I Can't Keep on Being Somebody Else. 

Wherever it is, I'm staying. 

( He runs outside and the Cloister Bell sounds. )


The Wait of The Whirled: 

( He plunges his hands into the snow with a sizzle - )


( The Regeneration stops again. ) 

The Wait of The Whirled: 
I Will Not Change. 

Old Grandfather: 
I Will Not Change.
I Will Not!
No, no, no, no. 
The Whole Thing's ridiculous. 

The Wait of The Whirled: 
Hello? Is someone there? 

Old Grandfather: 
Who is that? 

The Wait of The Whirled: 
I'm The Doctor. 

(The elderly figure in checked trousers, cape, scarf and astrakhan hat comes into view.

Old Grandfather : 
The Doctor...? 
Oh, I don't think so. 
No, dear me, no. 

Old Grandfather : 
You may be a doctor, 
but I am The Doctor
The Original, you might say!

The Woman.

"The Old Man must die * ;
and The Woman Will Discover,
to Her inexpressible joy,
that She has never existed...!

...and so She says :

'Oh, brilliant...!' indeed, matey!

" To Sherlock Holmes she is always The Woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. 

It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer—excellent for drawing the veil from men’s motives and actions. 

But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. 

And yet there was but One Woman to him.

I had seen little of Holmes lately. My marriage had drifted us away from each other. My own complete happiness, and the home-centred interests which rise up around the man who first finds himself master of his own establishment, were sufficient to absorb all my attention, while Holmes, who loathed every form of society with his whole Bohemian soul, remained in our lodgings in Baker Street, buried among his old books, and alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambition...


"What a Woman—oh, what a Woman!” cried the King of Bohemia, when we had all three read this epistle.
"Did I not tell you how quick and resolute she was? Would she not have made an admirable queen? Is it not a pity that she was not on my level?”

“From what I have seen of The Lady, she seems, indeed, to be on a very different level to your Majesty,” said Holmes coldly.

[ He ain't kidding... ]

“I am sorry that I have not been able to bring your Majesty’s business to a more successful conclusion.”

On the contrary, my dear sir,” cried the King; “nothing could be more successful. I know that her word is inviolate. The photograph is now as safe as if it were in the fire.

“I am glad to hear your Majesty say so.  Because I failed - She beat me.  And She knows that She did. And then didn't rub my nose in it by gloating over having humiliated and emasculated me (and The King) in front of my client and employer - who is The King. And a Fool. ]

“I am immensely indebted to you. Pray tell me in what way I can reward you. This ring—” He slipped an emerald snake ring from his finger and held it out upon the palm of his hand.

[ What a Tool... ]

“Your Majesty has something which I should value even more highly,” said Holmes.

“You have but to name it.”

“This photograph!”

The King stared at him in amazement.
Irene’s photograph!” he cried. “Certainly, if you wish it.”

“I thank your Majesty. Then there is no more to be done in the matter. I have the honour to wish you a very good morning.” He bowed, and, turning away without observing the hand which the King had stretched out to him, he set off in my company for his chambers. 

And that was how a great scandal threatened to affect the kingdom of Bohemia, and how the best plans of Mr. Sherlock Holmes were beaten by a woman’s wit. He used to make merry over the cleverness of women, but I have not heard him do it of late. And when he speaks of Irene Adler, or when he refers to her photograph, it is always under the honourable title of The Woman.

[ * Letting go, as He does so, to thelast  physical renmant of the mourning of The Memory of Prof. River Song ]

The Woman

Our Lady

Wednesday, 3 January 2018




We must move on to the main problem. 
How to persuade Kroagnon to leave his safety and come to a place of our choosing where we can trap and defeat him. 

He'll never leave there until we're all wiped out. 
We'll never manage to break in. 
I should know that. 

Well, there is a way that might just work. 

What's that, Doctor? 

Well, you see, Kroagnon is undoubtedly a very clever and very proud being, and like many clever and proud beings likes to be appreciated by his equals. 
Now, I think if he had the chance to meet such a person, he would leave his lair to do so. 

Doctor, you're not going to go and 

I've no choice, Mel. I mean, in all honesty, I am the only obvious candidate. 

You'll go out there and show yourself and be killed. 

Oh no, no, no. That would be extremely futile. 
I will allow myself to be seen, and then somebody will go to Kroagnon and offer to lead him to me. 
Right into our little trap. 
Now, that person has a far more difficult and dangerous mission than I. 


I will go to Kroagnon. I am Pex and I am the 

Cowardly cutlet. 

Well you all have tasks to do. Caretakers, Residents, Kangs, why should only Pex be left out? 
Pex the trained fighting machine. Pex the only... 

Scaredy cat. 

Pex, are you sure you want to do this? 

Yes, I am.

So be it.

What if an ancient gospel was rediscovered that offered a radically different perspective on a man that history has painted as the ultimate villain? 

What if this account turned Jesus' betrayal on its head, and in it the villain became a hero? 

National Geographic provides exclusive access to the documents and evidence that traces the incredible story of what has happened to the Gospel of Judas since it was found. Combining dramatic recreations and insightful analysis by the world's foremost experts, they ask and answer the question: 

Is the Gospel of Judas real? 

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Leave The Girl. It’s The Man I want.

Bernice ran into Mel in the corridor and saw that she had been crying. She stepped in front of her and spoke before Mel could.

‘Look, I’m sorry I was funny with you. It’s just that you get so used to the Doctor’s ways — it’s hard to remember how strange they once seemed.’

Mel shrugged. ‘So he’s talked you round to his way of thinking. You’re still guilty by association.’

‘It’s not that simple.’

‘Oh, it never is!’

‘No,’ said Benny firmly, ‘it’s not. He’s doing the right thing on Detrios, I can see that.”

“What about your Seven Planets?’

Benny nodded morosely. ‘I try not to think about it. And I gave him hell at the time, believe me. He’s made things easier since — and he does do good, he’s risked his life on countless occasions. I can’t doubt that he does what he thinks is right.”

“And you?’

‘I have to trust in him.’

Mel nodded. Bernice could see from her body language that she wasn’t completely consoled. But she did appreciate that Benny was human. She smiled in what she hoped was a reassuring way. 

‘Tell me one thing.’ 

Mel looked willing enough. 

‘As I said, the Doctor keeps risking his life. 

Since I’ve known him, he’s been shot through the heart, had his mind ripped open by mechanical insects . . . 

I thought his head had been lopped off once.’

‘Nasty,’ agreed Mel.

‘I’ve come to think of him as invulnerable. Yet you saw him dieone of him, at least. How did it happen?’

Mel pursed her lips. ‘I didn’t actually see it. I was unconscious at the time. But I think . . .’



He fell over and banged his head on the TARDIS console.

Benny laughed until her sides ached.

“ Mel helped the Doctor to his feet.

She was sure he was different, certainly less heavy. Indeed, he seemed small in stature, his hair was lank, and his pallor greying.

‘You look like death,’ she said helpfully.

‘Thank you for those kind words of encouragement. I’ve just stopped the end of creation, and all you can do is tell me I don’t look so good.’

Mel laughed and they slowly, very slowly in fact, bearing in mind how tired and drawn the Doctor was, crawled out of the destroyed inverted cone, out of the chamber itself and into the Library.

‘Where now?’ Mel asked once they were in the corridor.
‘I need a bit of a sleep. Let’s get to the TARDIS and away from here.’

‘But Rummas?’

‘Can look after things here. The Lamprey is gone. I can feel it in my bones.’ He squeezed his arm and winced. ‘Painfully so, in fact.’

Mel looked around, then closed her eyes, trying to bring up in her mind a plan of the Library. Then she smiled, opened her eyes and pointed towards a corridor to the left. 

“TARDIS. 7 minutes that way.’

The Doctor let Mel take his weight. ‘7 minutes, eh? What would I do without you?’

‘What would the universe do without you?’ she countered.

‘Let’s hope... let’s hope we don’t find out..’

The TARDIS control room had never seemed so bright, so warm. So inviting.

Mel was all but dragging the Doctor inside as she looked around her. As if by magic, part of the far wall opened up and a long bed emerged – perhaps the TARDIS could tell its pilot was desperately ill, Mel decided.

The Doctor waved a hand almost irritably towards the bed and it was absorbed by the wall once again. ‘I’m fine, Mel.’ He glanced up to the ceiling as Mel closed the doors behind them.

‘No, really, I am.’ He then smiled at Mel. ‘We didn’t do too badly, did we?’

‘We?’ laughed Mel. ‘“We” did nothing. You, on the other hand, just saved the multiverse. Literally for once.’

‘For once? Mel, we save the multiverse once a week! Don’t we?”

“Not usually, no. You’re usually satisfied with a race, or a planet. A galaxy at the most.’ She could tell he was masking his pain behind his bonhomie, of course.

‘But seriously, Doctor, I think you need to rest. The Lamprey really took it out of you. Again, literally!’

The Doctor took a deep breath and stood proudly by his precious TARDIS console. ‘Nonsense, Mel, what harm could possibly befall one such as I?’

At which point he began coughing and spluttering. Mel ran to his side instantly, trying to pat him on the back. Being considerably shorter than he, this merely resulted in a few ineffectual thumps to a couple of middle vertebrae. He gently eased her hand back. ‘You know, I think some rest might be in order after all.’

‘Doctor’s orders?’ suggested Mel cheekily.

He nodded and smiled back at her.

And Mel’s heart went cold.

She’d been travelling with him long enough to be able to read the Doctor well by now. This avuncular man who she trusted with her life. A man whose moods and quirks she could pretty much predict these days. A Time Lord – so much power contained in such a frail body, despite its appearance of... well, pretty solidness anyway.

But who really knew what made Time Lords tick? Even these days, Mel was aware that she couldn’t entirely be sure of how well the Doctor might be.

‘Having witnessed that final struggle as the Lamprey was extinguished, she was forced to question whether the Doctor should have accepted that constant absorption of energy and light. Could his form really have just taken that punishment and then shrugged it off as easily as he made out?

‘Doctor, listen to me. Rummas warned you what it might take to stop it.’

The Doctor was leaning on the TARDIS console, gripping it tightly enough that his knuckles were white with the strain.

‘So what? Okay, I might not be able to regenerate twelve times. Eleven, ten maybe. Who cares?’

‘You should.’

‘Why? Look at the scanner Mel, look at that. All those stars and worlds and races and civilisations. They could all have gone the way of poor Professor Tungard if I’d not stopped it. As sacrifices go, I could afford it and I truly believe it was worth it.’

Mel was at his side. She placed a hand on his and drew it away quickly.

‘Doctor, you’re ice cold. I mean, absolutely frozen.

“Really? Can’t feel it myself.’ His gaze was still on the scanner.
‘Mel, can you press that blue switch please.’


‘Because I asked nicely?’

Mel did as she was told and instantly the TARDIS roared into life, the central column rising and falling as they left Carsus for what she hoped would be the last time.

A few seconds later, it stopped and the scanner just showed space again. Mel frowned but the Doctor smiled, albeit weakly.

‘Hover mode. I just want to look one last time at the local cosmos.

“One... last... what d’you mean, one last time?’

The Doctor finally pried his hands away from the console, trying to work the fingers but to no avail. He stared straight at Mel and she suddenly realised she was facing not a man in his mid-forties as he normally appeared, but a tired, drained man, who just this once she could believe was 900-plus years. His blue eyes were grey, the crow’s feet more pronounced and his hair had a few grey roots and curls, especially at the temples.

‘We did good, Mel. I’m honoured to have had you at my side one last time.’

And he fell to the floor with a loud crump.

“Mel was at his side in a second, resting his head on her lap, massaging his temples.’C’mon Doctor, no time to be sleeping.’

She looked up at the scanner.
All those stars, still twinkling.
All the planets still revolving.
All the life that owed its continued existence to a man, a wonderful, brave man it had never known.
Might never know.

She realised she was crying and a tear dropped onto the Doctor’s face. His skin was very grey now. His eyes flickered open and he smiled tightly.

“Don’t cry Mel. It was my time. Well, maybe not, but it was my time to give. To donate. I’ve had a good innings you know, seen and done a lot. Can’t complain this time. Don’t feel cheated.’

Mel couldn’t understand what he was saying. He couldn’t be...
couldn’t be dying.

Had letting his chronon energy be absorbed to that degree really destroyed him. Finally?

‘No...’ she whispered. It’s not fair!’

‘Yes. Yes it is...’ she heard him say, but the words seemed to be in her head rather than coming from his closed mouth.

She suddenly found herself remembering their initial meeting in Brighton. An initial enmity that had given way to respect, admiration and finally a great enough affection that she had given it all up to join him aboard the TARDIS. To travel the universe.

The TARDIS lights seemed to have dimmed a fraction, as if it... as if she knew. Understood.

Mel wished she did.

Then the TARDIS lurched violently, once, twice, three times.
The Doctor was rocked out of her hands and he curled up, facing the bottom of the console.

‘Local... tractor beam...’ he said aloud this time, trying to raise his hand. Trying to reach up, grab the console and haul himself upright.
Mel watched for a second, convinced that he’d succeed. Of course he would, if they were under some sort of attack, the Doctor would leap into action and save the day again. He had to.

‘Doctor!’ she whispered as, instead, his arm drooped and he was still once more.

His skin was the colour of granite now and Mel was sure it was blurring slightly.

Had to be her own tears, distorting her vision.

The force of the tractor beams –another one rocked the TARDIS again – had sent her a couple of feet away from the Doctor and the floor seemed to be at a severe angle.

She tried to crawl towards him, but another blow, then another and Mel suddenly wondered if this was what it felt like to be a deep-sea diver, going down too rapidly. Getting the bends. She felt, somehow, that the TARDIS was indeed going down, being dragged through space, like a rollercoaster car in freefall.

And then it was all over. The TARDIS landed with an enormous juddering thump, but in her ears, in her mind, it seemed as if the noise was still going on and she knew then, that she had failed the Doctor.

He was dying in front of her eyes and her own brain was closing down, trying to block off the effects of the crash-landing, or whatever it was, by making her sleep.

She would fight unconsciousness. She’d been knocked out before, she knew that she could catch it, stop it...
She knew she could...
She knew...

No... no it wasn’t fair...


The TARDIS door was opening. How? No one had operated the door controls. They must have been forced.

Mel could barely keep her eyes open, the darkness that wanted to consume her was winning, and she was losing the battle.

Let it go, she heard her inner voice say. Sleep.

With a final effort, Mel rolled onto her back, facing the doorway.
As unconsciousness took a hold, she was sure there were people there.

They moved towards her and as she finally succumbed to complete sensory deprivation, she heard a strident female voice barking out an order.

‘Leave The Girl. It’s The Man I want.'

Excerpt From Spiral Scratch, by Gary Russell

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Time's Champion

No. No Mel. 

You must go. 


Before I go I'd like to say... 


There's no point, Mel. 

No point hanging around wasting Time. 

I haven't even met you yet. 

Nyah! That was a nice nap. Now, down to business. 

I'm a bit worried about the temporal flicker in Sector-13. 
There's a bicentennial refit of the TARDIS to book in. 
I must just pop over to Centauri-7; 
and then perhaps a quick holiday. 
Right, that all seems quite clear. 
Just 3 small points :-
Where am I?
Who am I? 
And Who are You...?

Bernice ran into Mel in the corridor and saw that she had been crying. She stepped in front of her and spoke before Mel could.

‘Look, I’m sorry I was funny with you. It’s just that you get so used to the Doctor’s ways — it’s hard to remember how strange they once seemed.’

Mel shrugged. ‘So he’s talked you round to his way of thinking. You’re still guilty by association.’

‘It’s not that simple.’

‘Oh, it never is!’

‘No,’ said Benny firmly, ‘it’s not. He’s doing the right thing on Detrios, I can see that.”

“What about your Seven Planets?’

Benny nodded morosely. ‘I try not to think about it. And I gave him hell at the time, believe me. He’s made things easier since — and he does do good, he’s risked his life on countless occasions. I can’t doubt that he does what he thinks is right.”

“And you?’

‘I have to trust in him.’

Mel nodded. Bernice could see from her body language that she wasn’t completely consoled. But she did appreciate that Benny was human. She smiled in what she hoped was a reassuring way. 

‘Tell me one thing.’ 

Mel looked willing enough. 

‘As I said, the Doctor keeps risking his life. 

Since I’ve known him, he’s been shot through the heart, had his mind ripped open by mechanical insects . . . 

I thought his head had been lopped off once.’

‘Nasty,’ agreed Mel.

‘I’ve come to think of him as invulnerable. Yet you saw him die — one of him, at least. How did it happen?’

Mel pursed her lips. ‘I didn’t actually see it. I was unconscious at the time. But I think . . .’


‘Well, he fell over and banged his head on the TARDIS console.’

Benny laughed until her sides ached.

Ah, Mister Warmsly. 
If you'd join Mister Rawlinson in the vehicle, we'll evacuate you from the area. 

Excuse me, there are a few questions I want answered. 

And I have absolutely no intention of being evacuated. 
This area is where I live

You're very angry. 

Of course we're angry. 

And you want to leave. 

No, we do not want to leave. 

(The Doctor gives Pat a Look.

Of course you want to leave. 

Of course we do. 

I wouldn't stand for any nonsense, if I were you. 

Look, Doctor, the situation is perfectly simple.  
We are very angry and we -

(Warmsly gets the Look.

Want to leave, isn't that right, Pat...? 

Don't get in our way. 

I wouldn't dream of it. 

There's just no reasoning with these people...
(Pat and Warmsly go to the truck.

You must go. 


Before I go I'd like to say... 


There's no point, Mel. 
No point hanging around wasting Time. 


No, I'm not going until I've said my piece. 
I just want to say that...


There's no time, Mel. 


Oh, all right, you win. 


I do? I usually do. 


I'm going now. 


That's right, yes, you're going. 
Been gone for ages. 
Already gone, still here, just arrived, haven't even met you yet. 
It all depends on who you are and how you look at it.
Strange business, Time. 


Goodbye, Doctor. 


 I'm sorry, Mel. 
Think about me when you're living your life one day after another, all in a neat pattern. 
Think about the homeless traveller and his old Police Box -  his days like crazy paving.

“ A man stepped out of the darkness before him and barred his path. The Doctor’s hearts sank.

‘I’ve been wanting to talk to you.’ The tone was threatening.

‘I deny you!’ the Doctor spat. ‘You can’t keep me here.’

The newcomer laughed, and the laugh was rich and malevolent. ‘You’re too late. I already have.’ 

The blackness was metamorphosing, taking on form around him. 

Brick walls formed into a perfect square. 

A Room with No Doors. 

‘A barrier, like the one you’ve kept me behind all these years.’

‘You should have stayed there,’ the Doctor growled.

‘Why? Are you so afraid of me? Of what I might say?’

The facade crumbled. The Doctor’s shoulders slumped. There was no point in denying it. ‘I am.'

The other man’s face darkened and a scowl wrinkled his brow. 

‘You killed me!’ the Sixth Doctor spat. 

‘You were so desperate to exist yourself that you ended my life. I accuse you,“Doctor”, of murder. 

Of suicide in the first degree!”

The Doctor’s predecessor was just as he remembered him. That catlike arrogance and the childish naivete in his handsome features; that costume, the jacket of clashing patchwork, the supreme evidence of an unbalanced nature. 

He hated him. 

But no, what he really hated was his own past. 

And, perhaps, his future. He had spent so many years avoiding both.

He wanted to keep on avoiding them.

‘I refuse to listen to you.’ 

He turned away, but the Sixth Doctor reached for his shoulder, spun him round and pressed him up against the wall. His eyes were insane, his smile one of hatred.

'You don’t have a choice. You can’t hide from my opinions 
by closing your mind to them. The energies in this crystal have brought me out of your subconscious, given me form. I won’t surrender my existence again.’

‘What do you intend to do?’

‘I want my life back.’

‘You can’t have it.’

‘You owe it to me!’

‘I had to take it!’

His past self pulled away. The Doctor stumbled from the wall, recovered his composure and confronted him, eyes glittering with determination. 

‘You were unstable. You were travelling the road that leads to the Valeyard.’

‘I was trying to avoid it!’

‘But you still met Melanie, you still destroyed the Vervoids.

You might have delayed our future but you couldn’t avert it.

You almost killed Mel on Earth in 1999, when you were so close to becoming the Valeyard yourself. That was when I had to act. I had to come out and stop you.’

‘And kill me!’

‘And terminate your regeneration.’

‘So that you could live!”

“So that you couldn’t make any more mistakes!’

His sixth self released a scream of frustration and sprang for him with shocking speed. The Doctor brought his umbrella up and drove himself forward with the implement straining against his attacker’s throat. 

The sixth Doctor’s head hit the brickwork and they remained locked, jaws set, eyes staring mutual loathing into each other’s.

His previous self had never been so unhinged. His enforced captivity, the perceived injustice of his demise, had done this to him. 

The duties of Time’s Champion were responsible.

The Doctor’s doubts lent strength to his earlier form. He threw his successor and the Doctor skittered back, bringing up his brolly and preparing for a second deadly thrust.

The sixth Doctor fell silent, choosing not to press his advantage for now. They stared at each other and the sixth Doctor clenched his fists, his breathing deep and tightly
controlled. They circled warily.

‘I had to exist,’ the seventh Doctor claimed, almost in desperation. 

‘You know that. No manifestation before me could consider the consequences of what we must do. 

We were too young when we left Gallifrey. We created paradoxes, set time on one course but undermined that too. 

Somebody had to tie the loose ends up. 

Somebody had to unwind the threads. 

Somebody had to become the Ka Faraq Gatri. 

I had to take responsibility.’

‘To become the great manipulator,’ the sixth Doctor sneered.

‘To use your companions and condemn whole races. To satisfy some ungraspable concept of what you deem to be the Universal Good.’

‘That’s not how it is.’

‘How many people did you endanger on Earth, playing games with the Daleks? Manoeuvring them into destroying Skaro so that you wouldn’t have to do it yourself? Keeping blood of your hands! Like when you persuaded Benny and Chris to destroy Detrios from afar.

What makes you think your version of right is better than mine? What makes you think that you won’t become the Valeyard?’

‘I have to be right!’

‘I knew what good was. I travelled. I found injustice, I sided with right and I beat back darkness. 

But I respected my travelling partners too. I practised decency and morality. 

You lie to them and trick them. 
You killed Ace on the moon. 
You left Kadiatu to her fate. 
You use them time and time again and never even tell them why. 

Doesn’t that make you feel guilty?’

‘Of course it does!’ the seventh Doctor howled. ‘Of course I do! That’s why you got free. Don’t you understand that? Of course I feel guilty. Each one I use, each one I sacrifice, is a piece out of my own soul. 

But I have my responsibilities too. To life, to justice.’

‘And the “Universal Good”?’

‘I can’t — I won’t — treat things as simplistically as you did.
The cosmos can’t afford for us to act like that any more.’

‘And the ones you’ve killed — the people that you’ve decided shouldn’t live on in the universe that you’re creating what about them? What about Gabriel and Tanith?’

The seventh Doctor averted his gaze. ‘I do what I have to. I do what I think is right.’

The sixth Doctor took advantage of his distraction to attack.

The seventh Doctor was down and the sixth Doctor’s hands were about his throat, thumbs pressing down hard, mouth drooling saliva as his eyes flashed with the insanity that comes from long-denied retribution.

‘You’ll . . . kill us both,’ Time’s Champion choked. ‘This crystal is melting. You’ll kill me and you’ll kill my companions.’

‘Then give in to me!’ the sixth snarled. ‘Return what’s mine.

Surrender your life so that I may live again.’

‘Can’t . . . do that.’

‘Oh no, because you’re so important, aren’t you? Clinging on to existence even when the odds are against it; when you should have given in to Number Eight. Or me.”

“Or . . . Valeyard?’

The Sixth Doctor reacted as if stung. His eyes flashed and he drew back his fist to punch the usurper across his face. 

‘I am not him!’ He pulled back again, levered himself to his feet and staggered momentarily, a hand to his forehead. 

He seemed dizzy, unsteady; weakened by his foe’s resolve.

The seventh Doctor took his chance. He left himself exposed and concentrated, willing the walls to fall and release him. He was unsuccessful. 

The sixth Doctor laughed. ‘You’re keeping yourself blocked in, because you know my cause is just.’

‘I won’t let you do this.'

'You don’t have a choice. If you give in, I can save our
friends. To leave, you will have to find a way through me.’

The seventh Doctor glowered at him and tried to remember that this was but a fictional creation: a representation of what was inside his own mind. He needed to keep that thought clear if he was to do what needed doing.

The construct was awaiting his move. The Doctor shifted his grip on the umbrella and squared up to him; took a deep breath and tried to forget that he was battling a part of his own self.

‘So be it,’ he said in a hushed tone. ‘Let’s end it'

“What the hell kept you?’

Ace practically fell into the TARDIS and gulped in deep breaths of its sweet, rich air. The Doctor was silent. He remained at the console and reset the coordinates.

“Don’t tell me you had problems?’ Ace mocked. She grinned, looking over to him for some form of rejoinder. The expression froze as she saw him properly for the first time. 

‘Bloody hell.
What happened to you?’

‘It doesn’t matter. It’s over now.’

‘All except for the cleaning bill. Who did you murder?’ He looked at her sharply, but chose not to answer. He returned to his work, but Ace’s eyes were captivated by the stains on his jacket and his skin. There was even a splash of blood on his face. 

‘You must have some pretty wild dreams,’ she said.

She was obviously not going to get an explanation. She found herself wondering what sort of dreams he did have. She wondered to what lengths he had gone to triumph over his own mind.

As the fictional blood began to evaporate from the Doctor’s hands, Ace wondered if the metaphorical stains could ever fade.

And They All Lived

Excerpt From Head Games, by Steve Lyons