elisi: (Stepping Sideways)
[personal profile] elisi
And more. :)

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.


Chapter 2

Waking up, it took the Seeker a few moments to get his bearings.

His head was groggy (whatever tranquilliser those drones carried, they had to be strong stuff to knock him out so thoroughly), and he took a moment to check that he had not been injured or hurt.

Satisfied that there were no broken bones or wounds, he sat up and began to take in his surroundings, which led to a few moments of déjà vu mixed with confusion.

He could see Roda slowly come to, but ignored her in order to focus on the room they were in. It was, unless the drugs were still affecting his brain, a spaceship. Except they were not in space.

Tapping the wall, there was no doubt about it. He recalled being abducted age 16, but the similarities were negligible, and he swiftly dismissed that memory. This room was old, and dirty. It had not seen the stars in a long, long time.

Trying to get comfortable (the vines had been swapped for metal handcuffs, for which he was grateful), he studied Roda, waiting for her to regain consciousness before he spoke.

«So, any ideas where we are, and who our captors might be?»

«Oh, like you don’t know,» she muttered, and he very nearly lost his temper.

«Look, we are locked in what is basically a dungeon. It’s dirty and disgusting, my wrists are stinging, my face is aching and my head is still pounding. Don't you think I would have revealed my master plan by now if I had one?»

She eyed him coldly.

«Unless this was all part of your master plan. Throw us both in a difficult situation so we can bond, make me trust you. It'd only make your betrayal even sweeter.»

«I am beginning to see why dad finds you so infuriating!» he snapped.

Hesitating for a second before he continuing, he then figured what the hell.

She wasn’t his Roda (as his time with Jack had so admirably proved, certain relationships could not be replicated), and right now, being cruel to be kind seemed the best option. Besides he was reaching the end of his tether:

«I realise that he’s an evil psychotic megalomaniac, but it takes two to tango and you are so bloody prejudiced that it’s bordering on the ridiculous. Now I hate to break it to you, but my father does not hate you enough to go through something like this. I am by now rapidly losing my patience – and I genuinely like you – my father would have throttled you hours ago!»

«You could try

«Don’t bloody tempt me…»

He took a deep breath, clamped down firmly on his irritation and then continued, voice once more under control even if the urgency still shone through.

«I don’t care if you believe me, but unless you are particularly enamoured of being locked up like this, please just tell me where the hell we are, what exactly is going on on this planet, and which species is likely to come through the door. I have no weapons and no plan and I need information.»

His tirade seemed to leave her speechless, so he added: «Last time I was in a situation like this I ended up dying in order to save the day, and all because of the Doctor’s bloody principles. I swore then that it’d never let that happen again, and I am not about to break that promise. So for the love of your outsized morals, just give me some facts to work with.»

There was a sizeable pause, then she spoke. Not enthusiastically, but he didn’t care. He felt more lost without facts, than without the laser or his TARDIS.

Although as he began to take the situation on board, his hearts started sinking. This was what his old colleagues at NASA would have called ‘a doozy’.

The planet itself was a straight-forward enough deal. A single dominant, sentient species, the Crinitus, bipeds with head-to-toe fur (to protect against the mostly noxious plant life) and mostly subsisting on nuts and shellfish, which they had opened with their beaks until they invented simple tools.

Approximately equivalent to Bronze Age humans, he reckoned. Basic metal works, lived in huts, cultivated food products, had domesticated a few of the animals.

The other half of the equation was where the problem lay…

During the Time War, Roda’s unit had at one point been fighting the Daleks in a human populated part of a galaxy. The Daleks had ruthlessly destroyed planets as they went along, and the humans had frantically tried to find ways of escape. The Time Lords had done their best to halt the Daleks’ progress, but only one planet managed to cobble together enough evacuation crafts in time.

As they set off, however, the Daleks showed up, destroying most of the vessels and severely damaging the rest. At the time there had been no time to help them, but their plight had stuck with Roda and finding herself rootless and mission-less after the loss of Gallifrey she had made a point of trying to discover what had happened to the refugees.

She eventually tracked them to the planet they were currently on. The ships had been too damaged to make it to whichever destination they had originally intended, and had quite simply landed on the first planet they came across when their fuel ran out.

It had not been a success.

Roda’s voice had slowed down, and she seemed to have forgotten whom she was talking to.

«Almost everything on this planet's toxic to humans. When they first arrived, they just... died. They survived the Daleks, then they landed in a place where everything's trying to kill them… And then of course the Crinitus,” she paused, “the locals, see these strangers fall out of the sky in flames with weird beakless faces and no fur and they're terrified. They tried to make them go away, but with the weapons they had…» Roda trailed off, letting the Seeker fill in the gaps. The Crinitus clearly had no technology broaching that of space-faring humans. «But then the humans in their turn, desperate to survive, fought back. In their eyes, at least.»

Her voice trailed off again, and he waited. It was clear the story was affecting her, and he could guess where it was heading. Humans were depressingly predictable.

«They enslaved the Crinitus. Forced them to grow food that they could eat, at the expense of their own. Enforced labour, and mining, too. That's where the drones and the death squads come in; the humans see the ‘furries’ - as they call them – like work animals. Spare the whip, spoil the workforce.»

«And the spaceships?»

«They turned them into housing. Fortresses, really, to keep the freaks,” she glared at the Seeker, “and the plant life out and make themselves Kings.»

A sigh.

«I… mistimed my landing. I wanted to help them build. But it’s been around seventy years now since they arrived, and the situation is…»

She spread her hands helplessly, and if she’d been his Roda, he’d have offered whatever comfort or support he could. But she’d probably just view even the suggestion as emotional manipulation, so there was no point.

The situation she was describing wasn’t particularly shocking, but certainly complicated. Why hadn’t they called for help?

The answer was immediate. In the aftermath of the Time War, ‘We landed on the wrong planet’ would have been roundly ignored in favour of more immediate and desperate emergencies, the whole universe probably crying out.

And now - goodness knew how many rules and directives they were in violation of, but the Shadow Proclamation would not take kindly to their actions, and were not known for the lenience of their justice. Yes, they were well and truly stuck, with no hope of reprieve.

«I’ve been here for the best part a month, and it’s like Skaro. I guess - I guess I was almost relieved to see you. The Master I can deal with.» Beat. «But this…»

Ignoring the possible acknowledgement that she believed he was who he said he was, he focussed on the situation.

«A month you say – have you made any contact with the Crinitus?»

She shook her head.

«I thought about it, but…» she gestured down her body wordlessly.

«Ah, of course.»

She looked human, and the problems were multiple – it wouldn’t do to teach them that some humans could be trusted. Or risk life and limb if they decided to exact some vengeance. And Roda was unlikely to be comfortable leading an armed insurrection…

He sank into silence as he turned the situation over in his head.

Sure he had wanted something complex, but this didn’t really fall within his remit. Back home - if he realised his dreams, or enacted his plans, rather - he could sweep in with an army of Toclafane and quite simply apply the most prudent solution.

Although he supposed this was a good moment to reflect on his instinctive approach. More subtlety was not a bad lesson…

But that was all for later. What to do about the current situation?

He was so lost in thought that Roda had to kick him twice to catch his attention.


«Well, do you have any ideas?»

«What, you’ve had a month and I get half an hour? It’s a complicated situation!»

«I meant for getting out of here.»

«Oh.» He tried to scratch his head, which reminded him of the handcuffs and the general discomfort he was currently subjected to. «I guess someone will come and talk to us at some point, we’ll take it from there. Do you know what they might be like? Should we pretend to be human?»

The idea amused him, and he couldn’t help but smiling, especially at how cumbersome Gallifreyan made the simple word ‘human’ - ‘Species originating from Sol3’ didn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But Gallifreyan was the only safe language right now, so they didn’t have much of a choice…

And Roda was looking at him with confusion.

«What exactly have you been thinking about for the past half hour, if not how to get out?»

He studied her nonplussed.

«What to do about the situation here. The optimal solution would obviously be to relocate the humans elsewhere-»

«Relocate them?»

He raised a caustic eyebrow.

«If you want to play Doctor and brook some kind of peace deal where everyone learns to live in perfect harmony, be my guest, but if the situation truly is like the one you have described, I don’t believe it can be done.»

«And relocating the humans is the better alternative?»


She looked at him for a long moment, as if trying to make his words fit, but failing.

«Right so - nevermind the logistics, what if they won’t go?»

He tapped his fingers on the floor, speculative.

«That’s the snag of course - it would have been a lot better if we could have appeared like saving angels. Too late for that though.»

His voice was only mildly scathing, but even so he saw her brow draw together, anger sparking in her eyes once more:

«Oh you would have loved that, wouldn’t you? Get them all to worship you-»

«If that’s what it’d take for a peaceful resolution, then hell yes!»

«Are you for real? You keep saying you’re not - not him, but I can’t see much of a difference! What’s your excuse - you care so much, you want to kill them with kindness?»

She seemed more frustrated than angry, but before he could reply, the door abruptly swung open.

A human guard, in a crudely fashioned uniform but carrying a very effective-looking weapon, motioned for them to get up.

"The Captain will see you now."

The Seeker glared, got to his feet and then - taking the guard by surprise - reached out and laid fingertips to the guard’s temple, holding his eyes.

"Wait," he said simply, then turned to Roda who was staring at him open mouthed.

«Are you kidding me?»

«Ah. Yes I realise how that must have come across, but I thought we should probably make sure we’re on the same page before we talk to their Captain. You see, I have a plan-»

«A plan? Since when?»

«I’m very good at multi-tasking. Look, if I promise you that this chap here will be no worse for wear - I just paused him a bit - will you listen? I genuinely think it could work.»

Roda didn’t look convinced.

«Undo it. Then talk.»

He wanted to argue, but knew that look on her face far too well.

«As you wish,» he said - aware that she probably wouldn’t get the reference, yet appreciating it nonetheless. He felt very much like Westley at that moment.

Chapter 3

(no subject)

Date: 1 August 2017 02:33 am (UTC)
enevarim: (hourglass)
From: [personal profile] enevarim
«I realise that he’s an evil psychotic megalomaniac, but it takes two to tango and you are so bloody prejudiced that it’s bordering on the ridiculous.
– Given the torture during the Year that Never Was, this seems not entirely fair, but the Seeker is, as you say, towards the end of his tether…

The answer was immediate. In the aftermath of the Time War, ‘We landed on the wrong planet’ would have been roundly ignored in favour of more immediate and desperate emergencies, the whole universe probably crying out.
– So, so imaginable. Let alone the question of whether there was anyone to answer even the more desperate cries, and the likelihood that there wasn’t.

This is brilliant. I don’t remember before there being bits where you show us the Seeker learning to do this. We see him learn he can stop being deathly afraid of it in A Good Day, and in the post-epilogue chapter to Dating he has it already figured out and has been doing it for centuries, but seeing him learning how to get from A to B, and presumably making mistakes along the way, feels like a quite important missing piece, now you start filling it in.


elisi: (Default)elisi
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