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03 July 2008 @ 07:24 am
girl!Doctor Episode  
Title: Night of the Robots
Pairing: girl!Doctor on her own
Rating: 12 / PG-13
Summary: The Doctor crashlands on a dead planet where a rag-tag human outpost has lost all of its robots.
Spoilers: Very mild spoilers for 'Forest of the Dead', and a ref to 'Embrace the Darkness', an Eighth Doctor audio.
Notes: Having twisted my ankle at the beginning of what seems the longest week in the history of Doctor Who, I decided to knock out a quick girl!Doctor short story. It was fun! I love the character and she was great to write for. I didn't pair her with anyone because people have done that and while it's interesting to see what companions who have known the Doctor as a man make of her as a woman I thought I'd just see how she does on her own. On her own with her cat, of course.

Oh, and this was written in two sessions off the cuff with very little editing, so you'll have to excuse the typos and anything that doesn't quite scan. I hope you enjoy it though. And comments are love.




Night of the Robots



On the planet Shikastra, Manual was having a very bad day. Night was falling and one of the robots had gone missing. It was the third in under a week to disappear and while the first two and been cause for irritation and bafflement, the third left him feeling distinctly uneasy. It was almost as if someone or something was taking them. But who? They were alone out here, light-years from any form of civilisation. And yet they had vanished. As if into thin air.

Just as Manual had decided to call it a day, to go and report this new loss to the expedition leader, he stopped. The sky above him was glowing, bubbling with a strange, otherworldly power. Then, suddenly, it rent apart and a missile came screaming down out of the swirling vortex. It slammed into the ground only a few feet away, causing him to stagger back in disbelief. He expected to die, in a flash of heat and light he would be gone, but didn't explode, it just kept going, down and down, through the surface of Shikastra.

And then it rushed back up. A small oblong blue box appeared out of the ground and hovered there, ten feet off the ground, turning slowly, as if inspecting him. Manual took another fearful step back as the object began to make the most extraordinary noise, like the grinding of ancient engines. Slowly, by degrees, the blue box faded into nothing, and was gone.

Moments later the sky closed up, returning to absolute normality. Manual just watched and waited, unbelieving. What he seen was clearly impossible. Yet somehow he still expected something else to happen.

After a few seconds though doubts began to creep in. He might have come to the conclusion that he had imagined the whole affair were it not for the very square hole that had been punched through the surface of Shikastra. He took a step towards it and peered down. It looked bottomless.

Then that sound again, like impossibly old engines turning through other dimensions. And there it was. The blue box fading back into existence, on the ground this time, the other side of the hole.

When it was fully formed and the sound had faded the doors snapped open and a fluffy grey cat darted out, followed by a good deal of smoke. For one disconcerting moment Manual wondered if this small feline was the pilot and whether he should try and speak to it, but then came the sound of a woman coughing and the whoosh of a fire extinguisher being discharge from within the box. The woman in question stepped backwards through the doors, firing the extinguisher into the box as she appeared.

"Oh dear me, this'll never do. What a mess!"

As the woman continued to retreat Manual gasped. "Watch out!" He called as the woman shuffled dangerously close to the hole.

She spun round to him, and then looked down at the opening in the ground just a few inches from her feet. Then she looked back up at Manual.

"Sorry," she said by way of greeting. "I seem to make made a hole in your planet. Hope you don't mind."

"Oh, well, not really. It's not actually my planet you see."

The woman smiled, delighted. Turning back to throw the now spent extinguisher into her blue box and close the door, and hopped over the hole and shook him warmly by the hand.

"I'm the Doctor. It's a pleasure to meet you."

"Manual. Is my name. It nice to meet you too."

"Good. Then we're all agreed. Oh, this is my cat."

Manual looked across to where the very indignant looking cat had sat itself down.

"Hello cat. Nice to meet you."

"Word to the wise, the cat is a cat and generally speaking, cats don't talk. He's not being rude."

"Yeah, sorry. It's just... Never mind. Would you mind, umm, telling me what's going on here?"

"What's going on with what?"

"You just appeared out of nowhere."

"Force of habit."

"I see."

"Oh you mean the crash landing!"

"Sort of."

The Doctor glanced down into the hole once more. "It's complicated, but suffice as to say that I had a bit of a disagreement with an old friend of mine and he set the Celestial Intervention Agency on me."

"Celestial Intervention Agency?"

"Terrible bores, the lot of them. Anyway, the upshot is my TARDIS is now flooded with timeonic feedback. I'm stuck here for the night. So I was wondering..."

"Right. Well you'd need to speak to Gyan. He's in charge." Manual paused for a beat, eager to broach his next question as tactfully as possible. "This Celestial Intervention Agency, it's not likely to turn up in the night is it?"

"Oh I shouldn't think so. They won't be able to narrow my location any more than a thirty million light-years over a two hundred-thousand year span. It'll take them months to cover all that."

"Oh, good. Then I suppose we better get back. Meet the others."

"Excellent. There's nothing I find more invigorating than meeting new people. Come along cat."

As the Doctor linked arms with her new guide the cat reluctantly got back up to his paws and trotted along after them.

"By the way," the Doctor enquired as they made their way back to Manual's vehicle, "there hasn't been anything strange going on here of late has there? Apart from me I mean?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Experience."

"Oh, well there's the thing about the robots."

"Robots?" The Doctor smiled broadly as Manual the pulled open the door to his transport. "Tell me everything."


*




"Disappeared? Really?"

It wasn't the most comfortable of rides. The crawler had no suspension and the seats were worn away to almost nothing. The Doctor suspected that this vehicle might well be older than she was. What it really needed was a few cushions here and there and... the Doctor abruptly halted her line of thought, a look on dismay on her face. When had she become so concerned with cushions?

"Yes. No explaining it. They're just gone."

"What?"

"The robots?"

"Oh yes robots? I thought you meant the cushions."

"Cushions? What do cushions have to do with anything?"

"That's exactly what I was thinking! Now then, this it I suppose?"

Craning her neck in a way she hadn't had to do since her second incarnation, the Doctor spied the human base out of the view-screen. A dusty collection of square metal buildings out in the middle of nowhere. Typical humans. Typical wonderful, bafflingly stupid human beings. The Doctor smiled.

"Yeah. We're a small operation. Logistical support for local survey missions. Not much of a hotel I'm afraid."

"Looks enchanting."

"Right. Yeah."

Manual took them into the settlement. He'd already radioed ahead that he had picked up a vagrant and so the Doctor was not surprised to see four people stood waiting for them. She took a breath to compose herself. First impressions were so very important. Eyes and teeth and all that.

The Doctor hopped out and smiled broadly at the four sombre faces that greeted her. A middle-aged, rosy-cheeked man who she guessed was the expedition leader, Gyan. A humourless looking woman seemingly devoid of any last vestige of femininity, and two bored looking technicians who seemed to perk up significantly upon seeing her.

"Hi," the Doctor beamed. "I'm the Doctor. Pleased to meet you."

She offered her hand to Gyan, but one of the technicians seized it before Gyan got the chance.

"I'm Rey," he announced eagerly shaking her hand.

"Hello, Rey," she smiled back politely. Then, "You can probably let go of my hand now."

"Sorry!" Rey snatched back his hand and, embarrassed, shuffled back. He friend struggled to keep a straight face and the two elbowed each other competitively.

Discreetly, the Doctor wiped her hand, which was suddenly clammy with oil and sweet, on the back of her skirt.

"Doctor, this is Gyan, Tolar, Betis and Rey." Manual explained. Then he turned to his fellow workmates. "This is the woman I radioed in about. She just appeared."

"Just as yet another robot vanished," replied the woman at Gyan's side in what sounded vaguely like a Russian accent. "What a strange coincidence."

"Isn't it though," the Doctor grinned back. "But you know what the say, it's a universe without any coincidences that you really need to worry about."

"Is that so."

"That is so, yes."

Tolar and the Doctor faced off for a moment. The Doctor had found over the past few months that there were certain advantages to being a woman, but also disadvantages. Somehow, she knew that this stony-face woman was never going to like her. She could at least take heart though that is was only personal.

Gyan spoke next: "You mind telling me exactly what you're doing on this rock if not stealing our robots."

"Oh, just passing through. Almost right through in fact. Sorry again about that."

"She clearly a pirate," Tolar announced.

"I am not!"

Gyan shrugged. "She's just a girl. Hardly capable of conducting such an sophisticated operation."

"I am so! I've over seven hundred and fifty years old and perfectly capable of abducting a few robots."

Everyone looked at her. It might have just been her imagination but the Doctor was sure that she caught sight of a tangle weeds bouncing across the wastes.

"Okay, so I'm A LOT older than seven hundred and fifty, but I really don't see what my age has got to do with anything."

"Nor do I," Gyan rebuked losing patience. "Are you saying you did take the robots?"

"What? No! I just meant that just because I'm a very beautiful woman - probably - that doesn't mean I'm incapable. I'm a strong independent woman these days."

"Meow."

"With a cat."

The Doctor scooped up her cat, which wriggled uncomfortably in her arms and jumped back down. She sighed.

A chill breezed through settlement then and everyone shivered. It suddenly became startling apparent that night was beginning to fall in earnest. All around the architecture, such as it was, was beginning to be defined by the lighting arrangements. Shadows pervaded everywhere. The Doctor did a quick count and was happy to see that there were none that were unaccounted for. She had never encounter a strain of the Vashta Nerada that ate robots, but there was a first time for everything.

"Well whoever you and whyever you're here can be sorted out in the morning," Gyan announced. "Manual, take her to the Recorder. I want her logged and tagged. And she'll been locked down for the night. Understood?"

"Logged, tagged, locked. Got it."

"A recorder? I'm good with a recorder, or at least I used to be. You know I think I may well be exceptionally musical as a woman. I quite fancy the piano. Or the violin. Something classical and elegant."

"Come on," urged Manual, with just a hint of resignation in his voice, "this way."


*




"I stand here?"

"Yes, Doctor."

"Right. Here I am then. Record me."

Manual stepped forward and tapped in his unlock code. Normally he would have made a conscious effort to ensure that the subject did see what he was doing, but something about this woman put him strangely at ease. He had a feeling about her. A good feeling. Like she could be trusted. Absolutely trusted.

The box-like, slightly rusted machine whirred into live.

"I am The Recorder," stated an emotionless voice. "Please speak clearly. Please be concise. Please answer all my questions honestly. All information is the property of Galactic Cooperation Seven. Please acknowledge that you can understand me."

The Doctor wrinkled her nose and turned to Manual. "I had such musical ambitions. But instead I get hideous tedium."

Manual shrugged.

"Please acknowledge that you have understood my opening statement."

"Yes yes I understand."

"Good. Then we shall begin. Please state your full name and address."

"I am the Doctor. And I do not have an address."

"Please clarify: Please state your full name."

"The. Doctor."

"Hello, Ms The Doctor. I am the Recorder."

"Oh for Goodness sake." Again, the Doctor turned to Manual. "Can't you just assume I abducted those robots and lock me up for the night. I'll escape in the morning. It'll be fine."

Despite himself, Manual half-smiled. This seemed to relax the Doctor a little, and she duly turned back to the Recorder.

"Go on then, do your worst."

After fending off a few more personal questions they finally got to what seemed, at first glance anyway, to be some sort of point. The Recorder asked how the Doctor had come to be on the planet Shikastra.

And so she told it.


*




It was a Wednesday, or was it a Thursday? I could never get the hang of Thursdays. I know it wasn't Sunday because I didn't have that cold knot of dread in my stomach that comes from the terrifying certainty that absolutely nothing of interest was happening anywhere in the universe. It might have been Saturday I suppose. I do like a good Saturday, except that one time the Earth was unexpectedly abducted on a Saturday morning. But anyway, I digress. It's just who I am.

So let's say it was Tuesday. No! Wait it was Monday. Yes. It was a nice quiet Monday afternoon and there I was, at the controls of my absolutely marvellous TARDIS, minding my own business. I was congratulating myself on programming the TARDIS environmental controls to include days of the week when I notice that Monday had gone missing. This meant that I had absolutely no clue what day it was. And after all that effort.

I sighed, and kicked the old gal. I was in quite a huff and so sat myself down on my newly refurbished chair and contemplated my next move. I was frustrated, bored, lonely. The thing about girls is that they just want to have crazy adventures in time and space, fighting monsters, thwarting evil schemes, saving planets. Yoy know, that sort of thing. And I was getting exactly no action.

Then, this huge great alarm starts blasting out. I jumped to my feet, quick as a flash, and checked the scanner. Forty-two Type-70 Battle TARDISes! They just come out of nowhere, spinning through the vortex like they owned the damn place, surrounding me and my lovely Type-40.

"We are Time Lords," they pronounce like that made everything okay. "Power-down and prepare to be boarded."

Ha! Fat chance. Lord President Romana can go whistle. He had chase me to the end of the universe for all I care. Best thing I ever did, disabling that recall cicuit.

Anyway, I tried to make a break for it but the other TARDISes were all equipped with time-spinners and before I knew it I was caught in a web of still time. Well, sort of. It was closing in on me like a collapsing bubble. There was an aperture at one end but time was running in the opposite direction so if I'd tried to escape I would have only have been sucked deeper into the trap: the more I went towards the exit the further away the exit would be. Ingenious, don't you think?

So, being smarter than your average Time Lord, I went for the base of the time-web. I slammed my TARDIS into the web with as much timeonic trust as I could manage. I had hoped to break through. The trap was designed to be fool-proof you see, but any fool can outwit a genius just by doing exactly the opposite of what would be logical. Never underestimate the element of surprise.

Anyway, it didn't work. No matter how hard you push you can't break through still time. Though you can stretch it. As my TARDIS growled and groaned and the console sparked and fizzled I noticed that the tensile strain on the web was increasing exponentially. A quick calculation told me that if I continued to push against it for a few seconds past the point when destruction was inevitable then the force generated would be sufficient to catapult us past the maximum speed of time. Therefore, in theory, a half-mad theory hastily concocted in a flare of chemicals not conducive to reasonable thinking, I would be able to subvert the flow of time and thus fly out through the backwards temporal flow. It was madness. Certain death on too many fronts to count. Foolhardiness taken to the nth degree.

So anyway, I did that.

I cut the TARDIS engines after the point that, by rights, I should have been atomised, and you know what happened? The time-web inverted! Can you believe it? The bloody thing turned itself inside-out, the Battle TARDISes were all hoist on their on petards and I went careering through the universe so fast and hard that I'm pretty sure I will have left a mark, like, actually in the fabric of reality.

And so I landed up here. Smashed right down into the core of the planet, thank you very much, and good-night.



*




Manual stood, gawping as the Recorder processed the information.

"You did what?" he eventually managed to ask.

"Weren't you listening?"

"I was, but I'm not sure it helped."

"Oh well never mind. What's done is done and all that. Unless you go back and undo it of course. Or someone else goes back and undoes it for you. But things like that could start another time war, you know. You should never interfere, Manual. Not unless you're really good at it. Like me."

"I'll try to bear that in mind."

"You're information has been logged," the Recorder cut in. "It will be transmitted to the Company once the satellites come back into alignment. You have been tagged as mentally unstable and a danger to yourselfa nd others. Thank you for your time and cooperation."

"It was an absolute chore," the Doctor smiled stepping back from the machine. "Any tea in this place? I'm parched."


*




The Doctor and Manual walked into the kitchen. And then walked back out again. Then went back in. And then came back out.

"That's strange," said Manual.

The Doctor frowned. "Yes, she agreed. It is strange."

"The lights should come on as soon as we cross the threshold. Must be a fault in the wiring."

"And yet my spiel about coincidences is suddenly sounding a tiny bit hollow." Manual went to enter the kitchen again but the Doctor put her hand up to stop him. "Hold up, Manual. This is a job for a professional. This," she said producing her sonic screwdriver, "is a sonic screwdriver. And you know what it can be used for?"

"Screwing?"

"Yes! But, also, I fitted a it with a torch. So flip it over and let there be light!"

A tiny, dim beam of light shone from the other end of the device.

"Impressive."

"Don't patronise me, it's just a prototype. A little more work and I'll be able to see what you had for breakfast with this. Well not you, obviously." Wait here. With that, she stepped alone into the darkness. "And when I say wait I mean wait," she called back. "Don't go wandering off!"

"Yes, Doctor." The phrase came easier than he would have expected.

And she was gone.

A minute or two later she was back, looking more than a bit uneasy. She said nothing for a moment, but just stood there in the doorway twirling her sonic screwdriver between her fingers.

Then, "You're not a travelling troupe of musicians by any chance are you? With a supporting cast of delicate, graceful ballerina robots?"

"No. Our robots are built for hard labour, designed to survive in the harshest conditions in the seven galaxies. Why?"

"Oh, you know, wishful thinking," she shrugged. "Betis is dead."

"Dead?! Are you sure?"

"Oh he's very dead. If I were him, I'd be so dead I wouldn't even be able to regenerate. Not if I was that dead. Oh no."

"Well what do we do?"

"Take one step back. And then one to the left."

"What?"

"Because that's such a useful response. Come along now. One back and one to the left. No time to lose."

Still utterly baffled, Manual stepped back and to the left.

"Good lad. Now look at me, that's it. Straight at me. Look at my chest. Isn't it nice? Take a good long look. Don't take your eyes off me."

Manual did as he was told. He stared at the Doctor, even when he heard the noise, even when the stomping grew in intensity, even when he realised what it was.

And then the Doctor spun on her heel, swung round her sonic screwdriver and fired it off in the direction of the onrushing stampede. There was a mighty screech, and then a crash, and then, as the Doctor hopped back, one of Manual's missing robots came careering out of the darkness, floundering helplessly, before smashing into the wall beside Manual.

The Doctor calmly put away her sonic screwdriver and smiled at the now incapacitated homicidal robot. "Quick blast of high intensity sound waves, completely disorientated it. Went full pelt into that wall. Lucky you stepped aside, eh?"

"Yeah. Lucky."

"You realise you can stop looking at my chest now."

"What? Sorry! Of course."

"It had to think it had the element of surprise you see. If it'd seen you seeing it it would have curved its attack vector, approached more cautiously. As it was it thought it could take us both out in one fell swoop. That'll teach it." The Doctor prodded it with her foot.

"It killed Betis?"

"It would seem so."

"But they can't! Every protocol in its entire being screams at it to serve and protect mankind. You can't turn an beta-wave against humans even if you try. It's impossible."

"Yes, I'm aware of that. For all the science fiction stories of androids gone mad it's actually very rare and unusual. I've come across a few bad robots in my time though, and you know what they all have in common?"

"What?"

"Extenuating circumstances. Like with organic life artificial life doesn't just go bad for no reason. Anything that can reason will not harm others unless there's a reason. So it's reasonable to assume that our reasoning friend here had a reason."

"I'm so confused."

"Well let's see if you can't shred a little light on the subject." The Doctor knelt down over the still twitching robot, and opened up its head.


*




After over an hour spent poking around inside the robot's metal skull the Doctor frowned, displeased with her findings.

"This robot has been hypnotised," she concluded getting back up to her feet. "Have you any idea how difficult it is to hypnotise a robot?"

Manual shook his head.

"Very," answered the Doctor. "There must be some ultra high frequency signal pervading the area. Pulsing relentlessly in the depths of their minds, lulling them into a state of helpless susceptibility."

"Doctor..."

"Could be a natural phenomenon of course, a peculiarity of this planets magnetic fields perhaps, but that would only cause them to break down. No, something's fed this robot instructions. To kill."

"Doc-tor..." The Doctor turned to Manual, who was holding his head and wincing in pain. "I can feel it, in my mind."

"Yes, I expected you would. As an alpha-wave intelligence you were better able to filter out the interference while it was laid down with a scatter-gun effect at least. But an targeted assault, well even the best and more loyal AI would have difficulties with that."

"They must all die. I must destroy them. I must kill..."

"Manual, look at me. Focus. Come on, you're stronger than this. Look into my eyes."

"Run, Doctor. I can't hold on much longer. I will tear you limb from limb."

"I won't leave you, Manual." The Doctor took a step closer to him. "Look into my eyes."

Manual looked into her eyes, and put his hands round her throat.

As his grip tightened the Doctor resisted the urge to grapple with the android. Instead she put her fingers against his temples. "Contact," she whispered.

"Die, Doctor. Die!"

"This is no time..." the Doctor gasped, "to come over all German on me. Take shelter in my mind."

"I can't. The physic force is too strong. I'm losing control."

Manual's grip tightened a bit more, choking the Doctor. She was forced down to her knees, with Manual bearing down on her with ruthless intend. Still though, she did not struggle. She maintained contact and, unable to speak, reached into his mind.

There is a greater physic presence here on Shikastra, she told him. You may reach it through me. Please, Manual. Trust me. Let me help you.

"What... force?"

My ship. My TARDIS. My home. My everything. She can protect you. Offer you sanctuary.

"All organic life will perish. Nothing can stand against us. We are the Metalight Convergence!

NO! You are Manual. You are an alpha-wave artificial intelligence built by the human race. And you are my friend. Fight it Manual!

For just a moment Manual's grasp tightened still further and the Doctor feared her windpipe would be crushed, but then there was a surge of cognitive energy into her mind, and she felt Manual in her head, desperate, afraid, helpless.

Contact was broken. Manual let go and staggered back, disorientated. The Doctor collapsed into a fit of coughs as she gasped for breath.

"Doctor! I..."

The Doctor put up her hand to stop him, and then sitting back up on her knees, smiled. "It took a a lot of mental strength to resist this Metalight Convergence. You should be proud of yourself. She let Manual help her up."

"But I tried to kill you."

"Everybody does. But I'm surprisingly difficult to get rid of. Now then, we have work to do."

"Yes, the TARDIS is almost clear of the timonic radiation."

"Good to know. How are you finding being slaved to my ship?"

"It's interesting. There's so much of it. It seems to go on forever."

"Yes, not good if you're caught short in one of the more eccentric districts I can tell you. But never mind that, we need to warn the others about the Metalight Convergence."

"I don't understand though, what is a Metalight Convergence exactly?"


*




"Well," explained the Doctor to an extremely sceptical looking Gyan a few minutes later. "As far as I can tell this planet isn't as uninhabited as it first seemed. Looks like some kind of AI has evolved here, some artificial consciousness which hasn't taken kindly to being invaded by the various foreign minds you brought with you when you landed."

"Poppycock!" Gyan exclaimed. "Oh no this simply won't do."

"It's clear what's going on here," Tolar put in. "This girl is part of a plot to eliminate us and then pillage our supplies and equipment."

"You heard what Manual said, the robot attacked me as well! Now why would it do that if I was the one controlling it."

"Manual also said your ship crashed," Tolar replied coldly. "Maybe you didn't mean to be down here when the attack began. Maybe you messed up and got trapped here with us."

"I'm the Doctor, I don't 'mess up'. Not very often anyway."

Just then Manual returned, alone.

"Rey is dead," he reported.

There was a morbid silence.

"Look," said the Doctor at last. "It really doesn't matter either way does it? If I'm responsible or not the robots are still after me and I'm intent on getting off this rock alive. Who's with me?"

"I am," Manual piped up immediately.

"It could be a trap," Tolar suggested to Gyan, who was thinking things over. "Maybe she wants hostages as well."

"Good grief, is there no end to your paranoia?"

"I suggest we lock ourselves in here and send out a distress call. We can hold out for weeks. We have the supplies."

"Do that," the Doctor countered, "and the Company will just in a ROSM unit. The last thing we need is another great big robot stomping about the place. Have you ever seen A ROSM lose the plot? It's not pretty, I can tell you."

"This ship of yours," Gyan asked after a moment, "big enough for all is it?"

Manual looked uneasy.

"More than big enough. Room to put your feet up," the Doctor told him.

"And close by?"

"Not far. Ten minutes in the crawler."

"Which," Manual was quick to point out, "can outpace the robots."

"Yes," agreed Gyan, "always said they were too slow. Never thought that'd work to out advantage though."

"You don't honestly believe her!" Tolar exclaimed.

"Manual does. And I haven't never known an AWI go bad. You can set your watch by them. Literally."

"But..."

"That's enough, Tolar! Mind's made up. I didn't get where I am today by sitting around waiting to be rescued. Positive action! That's what's required here. Lead on, little lady."

The Doctor fought the urge to respond to the little lady comment. There were more important things to worry about, and so she took a deep breath and headed for the door. As it opened she kept her hand on the close key, just in case there was a nasty surprise lurking right outside. Thankfully though, all was quiet. She waved to the others to follow her.

"Maybe the other two had to be destroyed," suggested Manual as they hurried across the courtyard. "Maybe it took them three tries to get the conditioning right."

"Yeah," the Doctor whispered back, "and maybe Captain Jack has taken a vow of celibacy."

"Who?"

"I'll explain later."

They reached the crawler without incident. Manual unlocked the door and was just about to climb inside when Tolar elbowed him aside.

"What do you think you are doing!" The Doctor demanded through gritted teeth.

The next thing she knew Tolar had produced some kind of small firearm and was pointing it in their direction.

"Hold it right there," she demanded. "Gyan, I've relieving you of command for dereliction of duty."

Gyan blistered with rage. "You what! Why you low-down, cowardly, back-stabbing clone!"

"I am no coward. I am not the one running away."

"I've over fifty years loyal service to the Company. I won't take criticism from the likes of you!"

"This is madness," the Doctor pointed out. "There are two very homicidal robots prowling around ready to rip us to shreds and you two are bickering about loyalty to some company!"

At that, they both glared at the Doctor.

"The Company is life," the both said more or less at the same time.

Before the Doctor could reply they were interrupted by a rhythmic stomping. They all looked round. The two robots were standing on the other side of the courtyard, watching them.

"Tolar!" hissed the Doctor, "let us in!"

With just a cursory glance at the Doctor, Tolar went to pull the door closed. It wouldn't budge though. Manual had hold of it.

Then, just as the robots started moving, marching towards them with a sort of grim intensity, Gyan surged forward, intent on storming the crawler.

Tolar shot him.

With one hand on the handrail and one on the door, Gyan stopped, as if he couldn't quite believe what had just happed. Tolar gazed at the man wide-eyed, equally unbelieving. Then, struggling just to stay alive, Gyan grabbed hold of Tolar's wrist with both of his hands. She fired again but Gyan would not let go, and as he fell backwards Tolar was dragged flailing out of the crawler.

The robots were nearly on top of them, careering across the courtyard at breakneck speeds. Manual jumped into the crawler and grabbed hold of the Doctor's arm, pulling her up. The Doctor pulled away though, towards Tolar.

"Tolar!" she called. "Take my hand!"

But the other woman wasn't listening. She scrambled back to her feet and fired at the oncoming robots as Manual dragged the Doctor inside the crawler and started the engine.

The robots fell upon Tolar as the crawler started to move away. The Doctor winced in horror.

Unfortunately, the robots didn't stop at that. As the crawler struggled to gather speed one of the them smashed into the side of the vehicle. Thankfully though, their momentum was such at they skidded away from the bloodthirsty machine, and as it lost its grip, they powered away.


*




The Doctor lent back in her seat and closed her eyes, wounded at the loss of the two humans. She should have been able to save them. Should have seen Tolar's betrayal coming. And even then should have been able to reason with her. Why did she always underestimated the human capacity for such stupidity? Why did she always let them turn against her?

Idly, the Doctor stroked her cat, which had, apparently, been asleep in the crawler since they had arrived at the human settlement. He purred contently.

"We've got a problem," Manual announced.

The Doctor's eyes snapped open. She scanned the controls, and saw it too. Instantly, she shoed the cat off her lap and opened the door. Keeping a tight hold of the handrail she leaned out to take a look for herself. And sure enough, through the gale of dusty wind, she saw it. The fuel tank was cracked wide open and spilling its contents with reckless abandon.

The robots were still hot on their trail too, just visible in the distance.

The Doctor ducked back inside. "Ah,2 she said.

"Yes," Manual agreed.


*




Hand in hand, the Doctor and Manual ran across the dead planet of Shikastra. Behind them, thundered the two hypnotised robots, gaining fast. Ahead, barely visible, was the TARDIS.

"Must..." the Doctor gasped as they ran, "invest... in-a... sports-bra!"

As they TARDIS grew infuriatingly slowly in stature the Doctor realised that they were not quite going to make it. The robots loomed large, cutting relentlessly through the dust they kicked up in their wake.

Straining every sinew, willing herself to go faster, the Doctor snapped her fingers and up ahead the TARDIS doors opened, letting in her cat which ha beaten her to the TARDIS by several minutes.

But it was no good. They were going to fall short, only by a few metres, agonisingly close, but not good enough.

She had to think of something.

She had to thing of something.

There was nothing.

Then, Manual let go of her hand. Suddenly his hands were on his back and she was being propelled through the air. She tried to call out in protest but she couldn't find her breath. Instead she found herself suddenly crashing through the TARDIS doors, looking back as Manual grabbed hold of the lead robot and suddenly vanished from sight, down the hole that the TARDIS had punched into the planet.

The second robot cleared the pit easily and, head down, charged the TARDIS. Again, the Doctor snapped her fingers. The doors closed and there was an almighty crash. But the TARDIS stood firm. She could be stubborn like that.

Shell-shocked, the Doctor go back up to her feet. For a long moment she just gazed helplessly at the TARDIS door.

Then she turned on her heel, and looked instead at the console. She rushed to it and started working.

The cat looked at her curiously.

"Manual was linked directly to the TARDISes psychic field, slaved to her," she told her inquisitive feline friend. "Which means..." She slammed down a lever and the time rotor started up. "Half a minute back, ten feet forward, and a couple of dozen down and..."

As the TARDIS started to rematerialise an image formed in the console room. Manual, with a dismembered robot arm throttling him. It slammed into the deck and then taking just a second to put the TARDIS in hover mode. The Doctor rushed to where Manual lay, her sonic screwdriver at the ready.

As Manual struggled with the robot arm the Doctor zapped it, forcing its grip to release. She then pulled off the arm and threw it aside. She smiled down at Manual.

"Welcome aboard."

"Thanks. Umm, what happened?" I thought I was done for.

The Doctor helped him up. "Did I say? I'm a hard woman to get rid of."

"Oh, okay." Manual looked around, taking it all in. "Impressive."

"You like it?"

"Sure."

"Because, you know, I could drop you off. Pretty much anywhere. Or..." She smiled sweetly, you could tag along. Come with me."

"Where are you going?"

"Haven't a clue."

"Right." Manual looked uneasy. "Are you sure? I mean, I'm hardly the best company. And I did try and kill you last night."

"Manual, I have the feeling that you and I are going to be the best of friends."

Manual looked at her. He had that feeling again, the same one that he'd had with her while she submitted to the Recorder; that he could trust her implicitly; the feeling of immediate, unswerving companionship. So he nodded, and the Doctor smiled broadly, and they were on their way.


*






Back on the planet Shikastra, a tall, hooded figure stood just outside the now abandoned human settlement. He watched as the TARDIS shot up from the surface the alien world, and went spinning off into the universe. He watched in dismay.

When it was gone he reached up and pulled off the pisonic interface he had used to take control of the robots and let out a low growl of frustration. Then he turned away, sweeping back through the settlement, his travelling cloak billowing in the wind.

"Enjoy your victory, Doctor," he whispered with utter distain. "Enjoy it while you still can enjoy anything at all."
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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
That snorkel's been just like a snorkel to me!sailorptah on July 3rd, 2008 01:24 pm (UTC)
"Oh he's very dead. If I were him, I'd be so dead I wouldn't even be able to regenerate. Not if I was that dead. Oh no."

XD

"Good lad. Now look at me, that's it. Straight at me. Look at my chest. Isn't it nice? Take a good long look. Don't take your eyes off me."

Ever seen Little Britain? "Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, don't look around the eyes, look into my eyes, boom! you're under . . ."

"But I tried to kill you."

"Everybody does."


It's brilliant because it's true.

"Must..." the Doctor gasped as they ran, "invest... in-a... sports-bra!"

Oh, girl!Doctor.

Cool story!
darkestmoorhen on July 3rd, 2008 06:07 pm (UTC)
Haha Doctor Who meets Little Britain. Though it would have to be the Master. Maybe that Guy in Little Britain IS the Master. He was posing as a human at the time after all...

Anyway, I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for the comment.
merely a traveller in time and spacetau_sigma on July 3rd, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
Very nice! Amazing, in fact; I can just see this being filmed for TV, it's perfectly in the style of an episode.

Might be an idea to get a beta reader though, there are occasional typos and grammatical errors that detract a bit from the story.

Still, really loved it. 'Must invest in a sports bra!' - Hee! :)
darkestmoorhen on July 3rd, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, I do like you name. Does that mean you went to school with a certain Theta Sigma, or are you perhaps one of his forty-four cousins?

And it's true that I need a good Beta. I write fast and carelessly and am generally rubbish at typing. But good Betas are so hard to find. And when you do find one they're never around when you need them.

But yes, I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I loved writing for girl!Doctor and may do so again sometime.
mzsugarratmzsugarrat on July 13th, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC)
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant!
It's because fic likes this I want a girl doctor^-^
Written like this she would be fantastic!
darkestmoorhen on July 14th, 2008 06:22 am (UTC)
Why thank you. I based her largely of the Forth Doctor, with maybe a bit of Two and Five thrown in. I thought she came off rather well. SHe was certainly fun to write.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )