elisi: (Stepping Sideways)
[personal profile] elisi
Summary: How do you save people that don't want to be saved?

For notes etc, please see The Prologue, or just follow the tags.

Note: Gallifreyan will be indicated by the use of « and » any other language uses "". It seemed the simplest solution.

(Again, lots of thanks to luckweaver)


SherwoodBanner1


Chapter 7

Evening

The Seeker had been working late, as there were currently seven different versions of the main legal document - the final version still far off and dependant on the eventual outcome of the discussions - when there was a knock on the door to the control room.

Sighing, and wondering if he should quite simply lock the humans in their rooms all night, he asked whoever it was to enter.

The door opened, and then softly closed, but the person didn’t speak. Eventually he glanced up, hand pausing over the pad he was using.

It was a young woman, dressed in something which exposed not only her arms, but also legs and shoulders, and she was smiling. Evenings were cold, even within the old spaceships, and she had to be freezing. The oddness of her smile was so striking that for a moment he could only stare.

“What do you want?” he eventually asked, and her smile deepened as she walked across the floor towards him, eyelashes fluttering.

“The question is - what do you want? You seem… so lonely at night,” she replied, voice like honey, and it slowly dawned on him that she had been sent to seduce him. The clothing was silken, alluring (where had it come from? It had to be old and carefully preserved). Her hair was carefully arranged, her face made up, her feet bare.

For long seconds he merely watched her, incredulous. Were there no depths these people wouldn’t sink to? He could see the tiny tremor in the corner of her mouth, the carefully hidden chill that was more than just the cold; beneath the allure, she was frightened.

He closed his eyes, biting back the fury. She was merely a tool for them, and deserved his pity, not his fury.

“Go,” he said, as gently as he could, then adding, as he saw the rising panic in her eyes: “Let’s say you’re… not my type.”

He hoped that would settle the matter - she was objectively the most attractive creature he had seen so far, and surely rejecting her would mean they’d get the message?

Instead she stepped closer, a knowing look in her eyes:

“I have a brother,” she breathed as she leaned in, conspiratorial. “Only fifteen, even prettier than me…”

At her words, his patience finally snapped.

He could almost feel it, like an elastic band finally stretched beyond endurance.

One month, only one month, and he’d reached the end of his tether. But this was it, he’d had enough, no question about it.

Abruptly capturing her wrist in a vice-like grip, he spoke slowly and deliberately, his anger tightly coiled and focussed like a laser.

“You listen to me very very carefully, and you take this message back to those who sent you: If they think that prostituting children is something could sway me to their side or in any way incur my favour, they have very seriously misjudged what kind of man I am.”

Letting go of her before he did any damage, physical or otherwise, he stepped back, unbidden memories crowding his head.

(His father pinning his mother to the wall; Allison stepping away from him, terrified; Josh and Jamie at his feet, adoring…)

“When I said you are not my type, I meant humans. You are much, much too breakable.”

The implicit warning was more than understood as she turned pale, then fled.

Taking a deep breath, he sank back into the chair, eyes drifting past the legal documents he was working on and out through the windows. The dark skies above the planet were filled with stars, and he wanted nothing more than to just leave.

Well, he wanted to get thoroughly, completely drunk, and then leave.

He’d looked for a challenge? This wasn’t a challenge, it was a nightmare. How was he supposed to help people he despised?

Altruism was clearly a fool’s errand in his case. Too much of his father in him, maybe.

It should probably worry him, but right now he was still too angry.

Instead he sealed the knowledge away for future reference. He’d have to re-consider his approach to Empire. What the hell had this TARDIS thought, bringing him here?

‘Goddess’ Caan had said. It’d take more than a dozen goddesses to fix this mess, that was for sure.

(It was like the Matrix all over again. Somewhere, somehow, he’d made an error. A very serious error, but how? Where? How could he fix it, if he didn’t know what part was wrong? Unless it was just the humans, being… human.)

Right now, however, something seriously alcoholic and then sleep. Tomorrow he’d need a long chat with Roda. Something had to give, and it’d probably be him. It stung his pride, but he was going to have to admit defeat.

Although - where did she go at night? Would it be worth tracking her down now? He paused. That might not be fair though, letting her bear the brunt of his ire… Even if it’d come with an apology.

In any case, Whiskey first.



~~~


Night

Whenever Roda needed to settle her thoughts, she returned to Sherwood Forest.

Of course, though it felt a lot like coming home, it wasn’t as though she could show her face amongst Robin Hood and his men. As far as they were concerned, the Redjay they had known and, she hoped, loved as much as she still loved them had died years ago. But that didn’t stop her from visiting old haunts and familiar places, spots amongst the trees where she could simply turn her mind off and think. She could be home, but much like Gallifrey, she could not be there. Today, she had broken that simple rule.

The whole mess with the Seeker and the Crinitus and the refugees had unnerved her in ways that over a month of hiding out and watching hadn’t done. She had snuck away not long after heading to bed, making the excuse to herself that she was a Time Lord; she could be back before anybody had even noticed she was gone. She had wondered how Robin, and Will Scarlet, and Allan a Dale, and all of the others would react not only to the fact that she was alive but that her face had changed, but they had welcomed her into the glen with open arms and laughter and… everything, to her, that the Seeker’s earthly comforts were to him. She had a bow in her hand, Allan’s arm around her waist, and a pint of ale on a tree stump beside her and for a moment, nothing felt wrong with the world.

They had taken the invaders to their forest in their stride. “T’is nothing but another of the sheriff's attempts to infiltrate our merry band!”, Robin had insisted, and he was right that they had always evaded his patrols before and would continue to do so again. But disaster had followed her across time and space.

The first screams had been Will’s, an ugly, hearts-stopping noise that ended as quickly as it had begun. Wondering if perhaps the sheriff's men had come better armed than usual Roda had sprinted towards his voice, an arrow held between two fingers and ready to notch at a moment’s notice, but she reached the body too late. It wasn’t Will’s, but a man, barely a teenager, rage all over his features and his clothes unlike any she had seen in Sherwood before. Standing over him, numb with shock and confusion, she had almost missed another cry, and then another, more familiar voice that stabbed at hearts and turned them to ice. Allan, his musical voice strangled with pain and he shouted out her name. She had tripped over roots and stones, cutting her feet in her haste to meet him, but when she finally found where his call had come from… it was the Seeker’s body painting the foliage red, his eyes open even as his life bled from him.

“But…” she pressed her hands to the ugly wound in his chest - no weapon from the twelfth century could do something like this? “You can’t be here. Why did you follow me?” But her thoughts were interrupted again.

“Lady Redjay…” Swivelling around her eyes settled on the little girl - Aisha? - she had met the day before. How could the Seeker have been so careless? “What will happen to us?”

“Run!” she swung her arm back into the dark of the forest, “it’s not safe here!”

Before Roda could act again a streak of light, sparking with fractured electricity, thudded into the tree beside them. She fell to her knees, shielding the child’s body with her own, trying frantically to understand how somebody had brought that weapon to Sherwood forest. She would know one anywhere… the Time Lords had distributed them in the last days of the war, futilely trying to equip the universe for the end of existence. What was it doing here…? Glaring up at the monster who had attacked her forest, people she had sworn to protect all of her lives and in the last few months. Something about the Shadow Proclamation was already on her lips - how could she have come so far to escape this madness, only to run back into its arms in her one safe place.

{ Thieves. Child killers. Killed us. Chased us here. Stole our home. }

Surprise choked her words out of her as their attacker discharged its weapon into the bushes and then loomed over them. Still speaking in its language, half telepathically inside her troubled mind, the Crinitus clicked and chirruped with anger as it tried to understand the superior technology it held.

{ Seek revenge. Kill. }

“I’m sorry!” the Time Lady shouted, exhausted, angry, on the brink of frustrated tears. War, war, war, everything was war. “You shouldn’t be here! I should have stopped them!”

As the world began to spin, blurring into Lincoln green and yellow sun and dark grey clouds and blood red, a hundred voices echoed through her mind, the pain and anger of Crinitus and humans alike threatening to overwhelm her.

“Our blood will be on your hands, Time Lady. You have brought ruin upon us.”

She awoke with a start, panting and sweat-soaked, with the horrifying realisation that it might have been a nightmare… but it was all too real. It had been a month, and the mental exhaustion was beginning to get to her.

The Seeker kept assuring her, during their daily meetings, that everything was on track. His plan was in motion, and the Shadow Proclamation was satisfied. And yet the low-level anger was not just palpable but growing wherever she went. The humans and the Crinitus weren’t satisfied, and neither was she.

She’d talk to him in the morning. And he would have to change.



~~~


Morning

Roda was standing by the big windows in what had been the control room, absently tapping a foot, before turning to face him as the Seeker stepped out of his TARDIS.

He could see that the issues that had been brewing had finally reached some sort of tipping point for her also.

Sinking into what had been the Captain’s chair he looked up at her, willing himself into extending his listening mode. He could do this. There was a hangover lurking somewhere at the back of his skull, but he forced it back.

The anger from last night was more difficult to banish, but he tried his best not to let it colour his words.

«Go on, spit it out. What’s bothering you? Me, I’m guessing. As usual. And what I do.»

«It’s not working,» she said bluntly.

«No,» he agreed, which seemed to take her by surprise. «But I’ll be damned if I know what to do about it.»

She shot him her best frustrated look:

«Look, have you actually tried talking to any of them?»

«The humans?” he asked, fighting to keep the distaste out his voice, last night’s encounter still much too fresh in his mind. “I’ve tried to ascertain what they want, as best I can-»

«But have you talked to them? Any of them? Personally?» she interrupted.

«I’m not here to be their friend,» he snapped, defensively. «I’m reorganising their whole society and trying to find a way for them to peacefully co-exist with the species they turned into slaves. I’ve told them that if anyone wants to leave, I’ll make sure they are safely resettled in a human society elsewhere. So far there have been no takers.»

Wrapping her arms around herself, Roda shook her head.

«That’s not what I mean. I hate what they did, but you can’t – can’t discount their viewpoint. And you can’t just lump them all in one group.»

«Sure I can.»

«But it’s not working!» she repeated, and he threw his hands in the air.

«You think I’m not aware of that? Last night-»

He stopped. Something was wrong. Roda looked like she wanted to say something, but he held up a hand as he tried to work out what it was.

It took a little while, but then he realised – he couldn’t sense the Toclafane. The possible implications of this were still sinking in when the door burst open and dozens of lethal weapons were aimed at them.

Clearly the humans were now opting for ‘Plan B’ after last night’s fiasco.

«Seems like the time for talking is over,» he said dryly, as he saw Roda reach for her sonic.




Chapter 8

(no subject)

Date: 26 August 2017 03:32 am (UTC)
enevarim: (hourglass)
From: [personal profile] enevarim
No outrage at the humans? / tbh I blame those who sent her.
– Totally outraged at the humans. But they’re desperate and … you can sort of squint and choose to believe / hope that they asked for volunteers instead of just ordering someone to do it. (They didn’t, obviously, and it’s still wrong even if they did, but…)

Back to the idea of Time Lords seen as vengeful gods, it’s like that line of Malcolm’s in Macbeth IV.iii, isn’t it?

something
You may deserve of him through me, and wisdom
To offer up a weak poor innocent lamb
To appease an angry god.

Yeah. Totally outraged at the humans.

There are multiple lessons. … there are particular issues here (and later) that are important.
– Curious to learn more, and hoping that all will be revealed, eventually.

He just wants to do something specific, and FIX things. But it's a lot more complicated... / «But have you talked to them? Any of them? Personally?» she interrupted.
– Yeah. It’s like, supposedly Aeneas plucks the golden bough just once and it marks him out as a hero for all time. Except the golden bough hesitated in coming to his hand even in that supposedly hero-defining moment and it is a lot more complicated and messy when other people are involved.

They are such a great double act.
– Yes. With world enough and time to learn to trust each other, which presumably is what they’ve run out of at the end of the chapter, they could be really quite amazing.

Plus, in that case it would just have been The Shadow Proclamation taking over wholesale.
– I guess a bit of me imagined the Seeker takes the humans away to another human world and then the Crinitus get their planet back, and does anyone need to tell the Shadow Proclamation? I mean, what are the humans going to say? We had enslaved a population but then we were kidnapped, we’d like you to take us back so we can get back to enslaving them and stealing their planet’s mineral wealth? The Crinitus would take one look at the non-furry bipeds and probably decide not to talk with them on principle – sudden irrelevant memory of Four and Romana II, with Four rooting around below the TARDIS central column and Romana saying “Oh, Doctor, last time you tried that…” followed of course by an explosion and smoke…

Well, he's not killing anyone.
– Sure. It’s an inexact parallel. He… probably isn’t making it worse, at least not yet. The humans and the Crinitus going to war was possibly eventually going to happen anyway. I’m a bit worried about the humans and the Crinitus somehow now hurting each other worse because of the Time Lord interference (like Tybalt stabbing Mercutio under Romeo’s arm while Romeo thought he was making a peace deal, and that may be the first and only Romeo / Seeker comparison that ever happens. :)

the simplest thing in the world for him to create something like the Archangel network
– Though if he were to do that he would end up with Roda determined to kill him for proving that he is the Master after all, essentially if not technically, so, I imagine that not wanting to live down to Roda’s fears of him is hindering him from taking that nearest way. The fact that it’s the wrong thing to do also weighs in, I’m sure.






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