21 Jul 2013

Lockdown: Chapter 7 (Donald)

The Doctor opened the TARDIS doors and Sophie stepped inside. She smiled at the 15 year old Caroline and then crossed over to the Doctor. She looked all around her, her eyes full of wonder. She couldn’t help but smile to herself.

She soon realised that the Doctor was ignoring her wonderment, simply hunched over the console.

‘This is amazing,’ said Sophie. ‘Much, much more than I expected.’

‘Have you come to take me home?’ asked Caroline.

Sophie looked at her sadly. ‘Hopefully,’ she said. She crossed over to the Doctor. ‘I thought the idea was that she wouldn’t wake up.’

‘I couldn’t stop her. I tried to sedate her, but it didn’t work.’

‘Then surely this is changing her future,’ she said in a hushed voice. ‘She’ll remembering meeting you now.’

‘I know,’ hissed the Doctor, a dark look in his eyes. ‘That’s why I’ve called you here. She needs to be taken home, and not by me.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I need to wipe her memory,’ he said as quietly as possible, and she needs as little contact with me as possible.

‘So everything’s okay then?’

‘No,’ snapped the Doctor. ‘Everything is not okay.’

‘Okay, okay,’ said Sophie, frowning, ‘I was only asking.’

He turned to her and his expression softened a little. ‘I’m sorry, Sophie. It’s just that this process is incredibly dangerous. I have to carefully draw out the memories and dump them into the TARDIS telepathic circuits. But it’s like pulling away a block of wood from the Jenga game. If you’re not careful you’ll end up pulling everything. I could cause her entire memory to collapse, leaving her like a vegetable.’

Sophie shook her head. ‘Surely it’s too dangerous.’

‘I can’t change what’s happened to Caroline - my Caroline. It’s not fair. I need to remove her memory and you need to take her home. And her mother needs to keep it a secret as well. That shouldn’t be hard though considering the lies she’s told to her all of these years. How is she by the way?’

‘Happy knowing that I’m collecting her daughter,’ said Sophie. ‘So we better do this quickly.’

‘Is anybody going to explain this to me?’ came Caroline’s voice. ‘All you’ve told me is that we’re in some hi-tech hospital because of the fit I had.’

The Doctor turned and smiled. He crossed over to Caroline and put a hand on her shoulder. She shrugged him off her.

‘I’m going to make you better. And then this lady’s going to take you home.’

‘Don’t talk to me like I’m a kid,’ said Caroline, arms folded.

‘Of course not,’ smiled the Doctor, guiding her towards the console.

He opened a small panel amongst the controls on the console.

‘Place your hand on here. It will clear your head and make you feel better.’

‘Never heard of medicine that works like that,’ said Caroline.

‘Trust me.’

‘I don’t even know you.’

‘You will do,’ said the Doctor, grabbing her hand and placing it on the white panel.

Caroline was about to protest when she suddenly went stiff and stood there with her eyes wide-open and in a trance.

‘Is she okay?’ asked Sophie.

‘Just be prepared to catch her if she falls,’ said the Doctor. ‘And keep your fingers and toes crossed that this works.’

Don surveyed the room and then turned to Danny. He crossed over to the young man and tapped him on the top of his head. Danny’s eyes snapped open.

‘Are you okay, lad?’ asked Don

‘Are we free?’ asked Danny.

‘Not yet,’ said Don. ‘Soon, hopefully.’

A tear fell from the corner of Danny’s eye and he looked like he was fighting back the emotion.

‘What are you doing to him?’ asked Caroline.

‘Ah, Miss Parker,’ smiled Don.

‘It’s Mrs Fieldgate,’ said Caroline.

Don burst out laughing, his big, booming voice filling the room. ‘Parker. Fieldgate. Farrington. None of those names really matter.’

‘What do you mean?’ asked Caroline.

‘You really have no idea, do you? You’re as much in the dark as these fools in here,’ he said, indicating Lee, Gaz and Phil.

‘Hey!’ said Lee. ‘I’ve helped you and your alien friends out.’

‘They’re not aliens,’ said Don, crossing over to the mixing desk and flicking a few switches. ‘They’re Human beings.’

‘What?’ asked Caroline. ‘Humans?’

Don turned to her and smiled. ‘Have you ever heard of the Ancestor’s, my dear?’ he asked.

Caroline thought back. She had heard of them. April Nivere, who they met on Theen, was one of them. The Doctor had been trying to find out more information but hadn’t been successful.

‘Who are they?’ asked Caroline.

‘The people I used to belong to,’ said Don. ‘We were responsible for what happened to the ones trapped on the other side. Except the others weren’t interested in helping them to come through. They were only interested in stopping them.’

‘And you felt differently?’ said Caroline.

‘I felt that we should be doing more to help them. So I left them.’

‘And killed people?’ suggested Phil.

‘I don’t like killing people, but the only way they are going to come through is by inhabiting other bodies. The person dies when the body rejects the being.’

‘And this doesn’t bother you?’

Don got up from the chair and crossed over to Caroline. ‘Those people are lost and alone and are frightened. They simply want to come home. It’s not their fault for what happened to them.’

‘Then who’s fault is it?’ asked Caroline.

‘Jayne. And her idiot brother who shouldn’t have even been there.’

Lee had had enough and stepped between Caroline and Don. ‘We are doing all we can. You have to give us more time.’

‘I can’t,’ said Don. ‘I need to bring them through now.’

‘No way,’ said Caroline, ‘they can’t come through now.’

Don laughed. ‘Let me guess, they try and make an attempt in the future?’

‘How do you know?’ asked Caroline.

He tapped the side of his head. ‘There’s a lot more you don’t know about me and the Ancestors.’

‘We can’t do it,’ said Lee.

‘We need to broaden the band-width. Transmit the signal to everyone listening to Town FM.’

‘But there are hundreds all over the town listening,’ said Gaz, worriedly. ‘You’ll kill them all.’

‘But a few out of those hundred may accept my dimensional friends. Surely that’s worth it? To save them? We can’t afford to refine it anymore. I need to get them out.’

‘Why? Why are you so desperate?’ asked Caroline.

‘Because my wife is over there,’ said Don. He looked like he was about to break down, and then suddenly composed himself. ‘We need to help them all.’

The Doctor picked up the younger Caroline, who had collapsed into Sophie’s arms, and took her over to the sofa.

‘Is she alright?’ asked Sophie.

‘She will be,’ said the Doctor, rubbing the back of his head thoughtfully. ‘I’ve managed to erase the last hour or so. She’ll hopefully wake up, slightly groggy, but her mother will help to convince her that it’s just her sickness.’

‘Do you think she will?’ asked Sophie, sitting down next to the youngster and looking at her thoughtfully.

‘I’m sure she will. Her mother’s determined to protect her, even if that means Caroline hating her.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Caroline told me that she eventually fell out with her parents. They tried to protect her even when she’d gotten older, but she wouldn’t have it. They were overbearing and they managed to drive her away.’

‘Then if Caroline knew now-’

‘She can’t know now.’

‘Then are you going to tell her the truth at last?’

‘How can I?’ asked the Doctor, leaning against the TARDIS console. ‘The woman’s been through enough pain and heartache to last a lifetime. She spent an entire year in the early 20th century. She was meant to marry the man she fell in love with and I had to pull her away from all of that. No matter how hard I try, I always seem to end up destroying somebody’s life.’

‘You haven’t destroyed mine,’ said Sophie, giving him a sad smile.

‘But I will do,’ said the Doctor.

‘What do you mean by that?’ asked Sophie, frowning.

‘What are you running from?’

Sophie looked uncomfortable and straightened herself up, unable to make eye contact with the Doctor. ‘What do you mean?’

‘I can’t help but notice the indentation on your finger.’

Sophie instinctively touched her finger and tried to hide it.

‘You were married, weren’t you?’

She looked down and nodded.

‘You told me that you weren’t. What happened?’

‘I became too wrapped up in my job,’ she said sadly. ‘He ended up leaving. He took my daughter away from me.’

‘And so you came looking for me?’

She nodded.

‘To escape?’

She nodded again.

The Doctor crossed over to her and crouched on the floor, bringing his face level with hers. ‘Sophie, this life is dangerous. It’s wonderful and amazing, but it’s unpredictable. You never know what’s around the corner. As much as I try, you could end up dead.’

‘I was scared,’ said Sophie. ‘I was scared to settle down with him and Abby.’

‘Settling down doesn’t mean you stop having an exciting life. You should never think like that.’

‘I know, I know,’ said Sophie, drying her eyes. ‘I’ve let her down.’

‘It’s not the end though, is it?’

‘I don’t know.’

‘There’s always a chance. You can go back to Seattle and repair things.’

‘But the article-’

‘I’m always around,’ said the Doctor. ‘I’ll drop in on you one day.’

‘I don’t know.’

‘Think about it,’ said the Doctor. ‘Surely your daughter is more important than me and a silly old article.’

Sophie nodded. Putting it like that made things seem much more clearer.

‘Now, come on,’ said the Doctor, getting to his feet. ‘I need to get this young lady back to her mother.’

‘Will you tell her then?’ asked Sophie again.

The Doctor sighed. ‘I have a plan.’

Don had hooked Danny back up to the machine and had activated the console. He was busy checking readings and information. Daniel looked as white as a ghost, his eyes blank, but his mouth was quivering. It looked like he was trying to say something, but the words wouldn’t come out.

‘You need to stop this,’ said Caroline.

‘Yeah,’ said Lee, ‘the stations been playing dead air for the last few minutes.’

‘I’ve got a CD on loop,’ said Don, putting on the headphones. ‘Your listeners are still out there.’

Phil shook his head. ‘What do we do?’

Caroline crossed over to Danny, but Don quickly turned around. He had a gun trained on her.

‘You’re insane!’ said Caroline, feeling completely helpless.

‘Not insane. I just know my path.’ Don looked back at the readouts and then closed his eyes. ‘We’re ready.’

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