The Doctor regenerates.
He throws back his arms and head, the yellow regeneration energy already swirling around them, and his form changes. His features becomes youthful, his hair a bright, brassy blonde. His figure becomes young, almost like a teenager in his father’s clothing.
The regeneration concludes, and he slumps for a moment, panting from exertion, his hands planted on his knees. Then he stands upright, his head cocked, and glances about the empty interior of the TARDIS control room.
A smile crosses his face.
His smile immediately vanishes, replaced by an expression of disgust.
“Is that my voice? But it’s hideous!”
After a couple of seconds, however, the smile returns.
“Nevermind, I like it. It sounds slightly pseudo-british but it’s acceptable. Am I talking to myself?”
He begins to walk about the TARDIS, disrobing and hurling clothes as he does so, and exits the control room, stepping down a flight of stairs.
“Yes. Yes I am. Don’t judge. Can’t keep these clothes. Already done ’em.”
He steps into another room, now in one shoe and one sock, pants, and an undershirt.
“Besides, they were disgusting. I haven’t the foggiest clue what I was thinking.”
He begins browsing racks of clothing.
He passes up a black leather coat.
“Gross. Why do I even have this?”
A few feet down the rack, he’s observing a brown trench coat.
“Oh, the shame that ever I wore this…”
A half a dozen outfits further, he shoves a scarf, looped three or four times around the hanger, out of his way. It brings him to his next flashback.
“For crying… Was I having a midlife crisis?”
A cream suit with red trim is shoved aside. A few moments later, he reaches the last hanger on the rack.
A bow tie and a gold ascot scarf both hang off it. He quickly passes them and turns onto the next aisle of hanging clothes. He grimaces and shoves aside a long black coat with red lining.
Then, once again, a grin alights on his lips.
He pulls a hanger with an all white suit off the rack, followed by a black dress shirt with a matching pocket square and white necktie.
He hurls the second shoe and pants out of the aisle.
((Doctor Who theme plays, intro, etc.))
The Doctor exits the aisle, now wearing the suit. On his way out the door to return to the control room, he grabs a pair of black cowboy boots to complete the look.
He stalks around the console once or twice.
“Well, sexy, how do I look?”
As per usual, the TARDIS doesn’t appear to respond.
“I thought you’d like this one. Anyways, where should we go?”
He begins throwing levers, as if at random. Then, after a few seconds, the TARDIS sets down.
He looks towards the door, an expression of excitement on his face.
“Come on, give me a clue!”
Still, there’s no response.
He advances towards the door, ever so slowly. Then he pushes it gently and pokes his head out.
Delight crosses his face.
“Modern day Britain! Well, I guess they’re all modern to whoever lives there… So, um 2015? 16?”
He gets out and paces around the TARDIS, looking around and tasting the air.
“Definitely 2016, then…”
He pats the side of the TARDIS gently and says, “That landing was a little more heavy than you’re used to, I know, but at least we weren’t bouncing off of buildings that time, right? Alright, I’m glad you forgive me, I‘ll see you soon, then! Bye!”
At strange looks from a few passersby, he cuts his conversation short.
He stalks off, gasping in delight at every little thing, then rapidly standing and readjusting the lapels of his coat. The bright white of the sidewalk and the shopping outlets lend the air a happy feeling, and he stops to smell the roses.
Literally, every single one in the formation of a dog’s head out front of a florist’s shop.
As he reaches the last few, a young man barrels down the street, crashing into the Doctor with enough force to push them both off balance. The young man springs to his feet quickly and offers the Doctor his hand. The Doctor takes it, spitting out rose petals.
The boy is wearing a long khaki military style trench coat and cargo pants of a matching color. The color of a light blue dress shirt pokes out the top. His hair is dark and cut short.
“Sorry, sir, didn’t see you there. You’re suit’s very much the color of the sidewalk.”
His accent is as thickly American as they come.
“You must be mad, you got dirt on the arms when you fell. I’ll pay for it to be dry cleaned.”
The Doctor finishes extricating the last of the rose petals from his mouth and replies.
“Sorry?” the boy asks.
“I never get my suits dry cleaned. That always seemed more of a suggestion to me anyways.”
The boy seems slightly taken aback.
“Are you alright, then, sir?”
“Yes. And stop calling me ‘sir.’ ‘Doctor’ will do.”
“Alright, then, Doctor. Are you having a nice day?”
The Doctor smiles in pleasant surprise.
“Yes, indeed I am. What’s your name?”
“Uriel Rohmer, sir.”
“I said stop calling me ‘sir.’”
“Where were you off to in such a hurry?”
Uriel looks past the Doctor, uneasily.
“Um… Away… Listen, you wouldn’t happen to be able to get me away from here, would you? Like, far, and fast.”
The Doctor’s expression becomes one slightly more concerned.
“Well, they’re sure to have re-”
Suddenly Uriel fades out of existence.
The Doctor’s eyes arch and he rapidly wrenches his Sonic Screwdriver from his pocket. He scans the immediate vicinity and then extends it, examining it closely.
“Got you. I’m coming, Uriel.”
He takes off in the direction from which the boy had come, following a buzzing Screwdriver held at arm’s length. It’s pitch gradually increases to a high whine, and then it suddenly cuts out in the middle of a warehousing district.
“Oh come on!”
He smacks the Screwdriver against his palm a few times, but to no avail. The tip refuses to light.
Uriel is standing in a wide field of almost transparent blue grass. There’s nothing visible for miles around – not a house, not a tree, not even a hill breaking up the monotonous horizon, where the glassy blue field runs up against a starkly different neon yellow sky.
He’s wearing a suit of wargear – armour not terribly different from a Cyberman’s exoskeleton. A helmet with a wide facemask is discarded at his feet, glowing tactical displays on the Heads Up Display illuminating his metal boots.
An assault rifle hangs loosely in his right hand, and two different pistol designs, one clearly alien and not dissimilar from a squareness gun, the other a standard magnum, break his silhouette at the hips.
His face is pale and his breathing quick, as if he’s been running for some time, but there’s clearly nowhere to have run from or to run to.
He turns on the spot, three full rotations, as if there’s something there that he only barely cannot see. The rifle slips from his grasp and clatters to the ground, bouncing off the helmet, and he stoops to retrieve it.
His head bounces off of some sort of field, and he nearly falls on his rear, except that a second field keeps him upright. Warily he returns to a full standing position, before crouching down again, only this time maintaining a vertical axis on his center of gravity. He grasps the helmet and swings it onto his head, before reaching out to grab the rifle.
Again, his hand is repelled by the invisible wall, and he realizes that he’s not going to be able to retrieve the rifle. He returns to his feet and begins to explore his prison.
Carefully feeling with his hands at first, and then banging with them, he is able to generate ripples on the surface, revealing that it is a cylindrical column, about a foot and eight inches wide, with the center just between his feet.
Suddenly, he looks off to the left, where the TARDIS can be seen materializing.
The Ninth Doctor steps out, Rose in tow, and she marvels at the gorgeous grass as he laughs.
Uriel tries desperately to get their attention, banging his cell, but to no avail.
Suddenly, he flies up and disintegrates as a teleport locks onto him, and his target, so near and yet so far, is wrenched from his grasp.
He lands in a white spaceliner control room, where a number of crew members are going about standard duties, but their faces all blur together until they’re all but indistinguishable. He tries to stand but can’t.
Finally a man in a commander’s uniform comes and stands over him.
“Well, you’ve failed again, Agent Ha-”
And all fades to black.
The Doctor’s gaze whips back and forth, then back to his Sonic. He tries again to get it to lock onto Uriel’s trace, but the device fails. He growls in frustration and rubs his face with both hands as if trying to think. Suddenly his face brightens, as if he’s got an idea – which he does. He takes a pace back, aims the device at the ground, and, lo and behold, the Sonic locks on.
After several moments, a grating sound emanates from behind him, and someone in heavy body armour emerges from the loading dock of one of the warehouses.
The Doctor collapses the Sonic Screwdriver and slides it into the interior chest pocket of his coat. He watches the figure for several tense moments, a look of apprehension on his face, before turning and beginning to walk away.
The voice sounds like something out of a dubstep track, low and not quite right, as though fed through a machine one too many times.
The Doctor freezes and draws a deep breath, his eyes shut as though he’s trying to calm himself. Then he turns toward the figure in a crisp, marching band style about face.
“You are trespassing on U.N.I.T. grounds. Do not attempt to escape. You will be detained and mind wiped. The process will not be painful.”
Suddenly, the Doctor is grinning.
“Ah, U.N.I.T.! The Unified National Intelligence Taskforce! I love you guys. You know, I’m on the payroll, never got myself officially taken off, you know how it is…”
The armored figure cuts him off.
“Place your weapon on the ground.”
The Doctor’s eyebrows come together, his expression stormy.
“Nonsense! I don’t carry weapons! I’m the Doctor, not carrying weapons is my shtick!”
“You concealed a weapon in your coat. Place it on the ground. You will be detained.”
The Doctor stares at the figure for several tense moments.
“You mean my Screwdriver…?” he asks slowly, like a girlfriend giving her boyfriend a chance to take back something stupid he’d said.
The Doctor grits his teeth. There’s obviously no reasoning with this thing, whatever it is.
“Fine. Fine fine fine.”
He draws the Screwdriver and swiftly tosses it to the ground, his manner that of a peeved teenager.
In an equally swift motion, the armored figure draws a blocky pistol and blasts it to smithereens.
The Doctor is briefly shocked.
“I told you it wasn’t a weapon! You didn’t have to go and blow it up! It’s a tool!”
“You are being detained. Weapons are not allowed.”
In the first indication that it wasn’t a robot, it’s monotone voice fluctuates as it adds, “Technologically advanced tools probably aren’t allowed either.”
The Doctor sighs.
“Alrighty then, detain me.”
Uriel glances around him. He’s in a laboratory, an operating table on a hinge, so that its occupant can be stood up, is to his immediate left, vial and jars of countless substances spread across tables, counters, shelves, carts, and every other surface to his right and front. He turns on the spot and sees that he’s in the mere corner of a massive room, surgical implements directly behind the operating table and the tools of every branch of science spread from hither to yon.
The room is roughly the size of an aircraft hangar, and looks like a mix between a warehouse, a weapons expo, and a comic convention.
“Deja vu…” he mutters. “Either this is the set of ‘Iron Man’ or I’ve been here before…”
He steps off of a small pedestal in the center of a hemicylindrical tube and carefully maneuvers around the various chemicals and test fluids.
After several dozen yards, however, Uriel stops in his tracks as a few images flash back across his mind – clear blue grass. A neon yellow sky. A blue box. A bright white room.
A name that isn’t all there.
He takes a deep breath and continues.
A few moments later he reaches an apparent boundary between the medical area he had been in and a physicist’s workbench. Floor-to-ceiling chalkboards, of the like found in college lecture halls, form four walls that don’t quite touch at the corners in a pentagonal shape around a similarly shaped table covered in papers. Both the papers and chalkboards are covered in complicated equations, comprised of as many letters as numbers, and Uriel observes them only briefly before reaching up to a recently edited section. He erases a series of operators with his palm and writes in the correct ones. When he finishes, he suddenly realizes what he did and stares at the chalk in his hand for a moment, concern on his brow, before gingerly replacing it on the table and moving on.
Slipping through a crack between two of the chalkboard walls, he’s suddenly in a mechanic’s workshop. Numerous computer monitors sit on the tables that surround a central workbench, displaying 3d renderings of military vehicle, weapons, and mechanical arms. Shards of metal are scattered everywhere, from screws, nuts and bolts across the benches around the “room” to multiple rocket-like devices arranged carefully in a pentagonal shape on the circular workbench the area is oriented around. One is slightly off of where it should be, and he scoots it into place.
Without warning, the computer monitor directly behind him whirs to life, the CAD model of a space shuttle thereon cross dissolving to a rotating, three dimensional video feed of a helmeted head.
“Quite impressive, you nearly got away that time. We’ve had to take away your hologram suit.”
Uriel starts, knocking over one the miniature rocket he had been repositioning. However, he manages to catch and replace it before it rolls off the table.
Then, he breathlessly turns to the monitor, but by the time his gaze lands on it, the shuttle is all that is displayed. The head is now on the monitor catercorner across the workbench.
“We were quite worried that, in spite of all that you’ve done for us, you would fail in this most important task.”
Uriel spins again, clearly beginning to panic.
Again, the face vanishes, and he’s staring at an exploded view of a futuristic rifle.
“You remember none of this, of course. We wiped your memory as soon as the return teleport got a lock on you.”
He draws a deep breath and slowly turns just his head. He can just glimpse the floating helmet from the corner of his eye.
“Who are you?”
“Who we are does not matter. What matters is that you cooperate this time. The Legionnaire is growing impatient with your little stunts.”
Uriel swallows hard.
“What am I supposed to cooperate with?”
“Return to your projects. Your last report stated that you were close to the goal. The memories are being returned to you now.”
Uriel immediately staggers, clutching his hands to his head. Images flash past, not like his vision of a strange planet, but rather watching his own hands create, from an empty space, the room he now stands in. The mental barrage forces him into the foetal position.
It isn’t clear if it lasts moments or months, but eventually the pain subsides.
Suddenly the physics equation clicks.
“Y- y- you changed, the equation, t- to provide a j- j- j- jog f- for m- m- my mem- memo- memory, d- didn’t you!”
“Yes. It worked.”
“How l- long have I been h- h- here?”
Uriel begins to push his way to a sitting position, hugging his knees to his chest.
“Fifteen and a half years.”
“B- but I’m s- seventeen! I c- c- c- can’t have been doing physics th- that long!”
“You’ve been seventeen as long as you’ve been here. Now get back to work, or we’ll have to hurt the innocent.”
A face flashes in his mind. A girl. Slightly older than he was. Except maybe not, if he’d been seventeen years old for fifteen and a half years. Pretty, with long, elegant, full, curly dark hair, a petite structure, and gorgeous eyes. Pale skin. Slender physique. Wearing a red hoodie, jeans, and boots up to her mid thigh.
Eating well. With a gun to her head.
“I dunno her…” he mutters. “She doesn’t matter.”
Then he grits his teeth as though angry with himself.
“No. The hero saves the girl.. The hero always saves the girl,” he chants like a mantra for several seconds.
The voice interrupts his reprieve roughly.
“You had better hurry.”
Uriel shoves his way to his feet roughly.
There are dark circles under his eyes.
“What’s the goal?” he inquires dryly of the helm just visible over his shoulder.
“We may have an alternate solution, but for now you are to keep working.”
His teeth are clenched and his impatience is clear.
The Doctor is escorted through the warehouse from which his new jailer had emerged and into a rat’s nest of tunnels. For near three minutes he walks in silence, taking in all the different things they pass – all sorts of technologies and alien artifacts that belong elsewhere, punctuated by numerous aesthetic elements.
After the fifth floor-to-ceiling fish tank, however, he pauses and comments.
“Would it really be a crime to dilly-dally a little bit and admire the fish? Fish are amazing. Love fish. Fun to watch. Fun to eat too. Fish and chip, aw yes. Or fish and custard, I think. Maybe. Once. No, that’s a terrible idea. Never mind.”
The clunky suit of armour turns to him, its posture clearly indicating confusion and possibly judgement.
“Take all the time you want. You aren’t escaping from here.”
The Doctor draws a breath, as if to respond, but instead just turns back to the seven foot tall tank and stares, folding his arms across his chest.
After several seconds, he does speak.
“This isn’t like U.N.I.T. They’re too utilitarian.”
“This is a new branch. Created to begin a project.”
“I see. What project is that?”
The man or woman in the suit only grunts a response.
“Alright, I’ve had enough of the fish. Is it much further to wherever you’re taking me?”
“Not too far.”
“Good. I was worried we were going to have to sleep at a hotel.”
The suited agent groans in a manner that implies that they’re rolling their eyes.
Uriel looks around the laboratory, anxious eyes scanning everything. As he does, he mutters under his breath, necessary memories flooding back into their places.
“Physics lounge, biological tests, basic teleports, wardrobe, propulsion, chemistry lab, memory effects, photon manipulation…”
His voice trails off and becomes even more hushed.
“Time vortex window.”
He pulls off his coat and hangs it on a hook above the mechanic computer area. He then vaults over an empty space on one of the tables and advances towards a device that looks like a steampunk mirror connected to a handful of car engines and wired through a Samsung phone.
His gait is slow, almost reverent, and he pauses as he reaches it, as if afraid of what it might do. He gently pulls the phone from it’s holster on the side of the mirror and keys it open. Instantly diagnostics and controls display to the screen.
He turns the device on.
Suddenly, where blackness had been only moments earlier, blue and red lights, like bend lasers, play out across the mirror, across a storm of clouds not unlike the eye of a hurricane.
“I should be insane…” he mutters, somewhat out of nowhere. He reaches out to touch the surface and it ripples slightly, as though he was dipping his hand into a bowl of water.
He flinches back, crying out quietly in pain.
He paces around it for a few moments before an idea hits him. He turns around and hurries towards the workbench and grabs a nut, then spins and tosses it at the storm.
Before it has even left his hand, five fingertips – his five fingertips – emerge for hardly a second. Then, as it sails through the air, an identical nut falls out of the device and onto the floor.
He stares, astounded, the nut is sucked into the device with hardly a sound.
He carefully advances towards the viewer. How had he never noticed this before?
He picks up the nut and drops it quickly. It’s burning hot.
“Um, big man upstairs? Hurter of innocent girls?”
The response is near instant.
“I don’t know how I failed to notice before… But the- The Time Vortex viewer enables uncontrolled time travel. I can’t tell how or why but I sent my fingers into the future and a small mechanical nut into the past.”
“Good… Good… Now make it controlled.”
He can hear the radio white noise cut out, and growls. He collapses to his knees and rubs his face, as if trying to wash off a particularly bad dream. He then runs his hands through his hair, breathing heavily, a single tear leaking down his cheek.
The Doctor and his escort step through yet another doorway into a massive control room. At the center is a massive circular tactical display, a cylindrical glass column maybe ten feet in diameter, displaying all sorts of information. It is not unlike the TARDIS control console, except simultaneously more industrial and yet covered in more science fiction style technology.
Radiating outward like the spokes of a bicycle tire are five long tables, stretching the fifty foot diameter of the room, covered in computers. There are breaks wide enough for a person to pass through at regular intervals. U.N.I.T. agents and personnel bustle busily about these tables and the central control unit.
At the far side of the room is a smaller glass tube, roughly six feet tall. In it is the same girl who flashed through Uriel’s mind – the innocent. She is upright, her forehead pressed lightly against the glass. Her breathing is shallow, barely fogging the glass. She is flanked by two guards with pulse rifles.
As they enter the room, a middle aged woman looks up from her position bent over the central panel, doing a double take before her eyes fasten on the Doctor’s. She stands upright and advances towards them.
“Colonel Elaine Voss, this is the trespasser?”
The Doctor glances up at the armored figure hulking over him.
“Elaine, eh? Pretty name. I wonder why you were so loathe to share that with me yourself.” He turns his gaze on the commander. “Anyways. I presume you’re in charge? Yes. I’m the Doctor.” He offers his hand to shake.
“The Doctor huh? We were told to use you if you materialized. Thank you for coming.”
The Doctor withdraws his hand.
“Yes. Take him to the boy. Someone else alert the Legionnaire. We have the Lord of Time himself. He should prove useful.”
“Now wait just a minute!”
The Doctor attempts to surge into the room, but is promptly restrained by Colonel Voss. The commander turns, a swift military about face, and raises her clunky bolt pistol in the Doctor’s face.
“The initial instructions were to kill you. Shall we?”
The two guards on either side of the girl snap their weapons up, aiming them at either side of her head.
Down in the lab below, a whirring sound is heard, and Uriel turns to see an automated turret descend from the ceiling, aiming square at him.
At a gesture from the Commander, Uriel’s plight is displayed on the central screen.
“We believe you met this one, Doctor. Will you cooperate, or will you see yourself and two others dead for stubbornness? Choose wisely.”
The Doctor draws a deep breath and then swallows, glancing around.
Cut to credits.