Doctor Who: Amy, Captured Ch. 10byKurokami©
Author's note: Hey folks. Sorry about the wait; that'll teach me to make promises I can't keep, eh?
Anyway, praise be to Isabel and Allyourbase once more for their help in making this thing readable. And chapter eleven will be up and about in a couple of days time, which is something I intend to stick to this time. You just wait and see.
Comments, feedback and votes are intensely appreciated. Enjoy!
The Doctor re-entered the TARDIS looking ashen faced, and strode silently to the control panel to input co-ordinates. Rory followed, eyes shifting nervously about the control room.
'What was that thing?'
The Doctor shrugged, but didn't look up. He didn't like not knowing things, but in cases like Viral's he was only too happy to remain in the dark. Some things weren't worth knowing.
'Alright, fine; what did it take from you? There was that weird light, and-'
'Five years, Rory,' The Doctor said flatly. 'Five years of my life to find Amy. Five years, only to find out that we'd already been where we needed to go!' He slammed a fist down on the controls hard enough to make things vibrate.
Rory's eyes widened. The Doctor had given up part of his own life, just for a chance at finding Amy? Once again, that hollow, conflicted feeling; the Doctor was his best chance at ever finding his wife again, but he felt terribly useless, terribly jealous, that he wasn't able to lift a finger to help.
'But aren't Time Lords supposed to be immortal, or something?' He ventured, some strange green-eyed part of himself demanding that he attempt to lessen the Doctor's sacrifice for its own benefit.
The Doctor waved a hand vaguely, 'It's not the time itself that I'm worried about, Rory. You're right, we live for a very, very long time. Five years is nothing on that scale,' He shot the human a sidelong glance. 'But five years of a Time Lord's life is a very powerful thing for anyone else to have. Every moment of it is packed full of time energy, Artron energy... all sorts of things that the rest of the universe finds hard to come by. And Viral seems to be collecting time from me, every time I need to see it. Can you see why I might not want something like Viral to accumulate something like that?'
'Yeah...' Rory said indistinctly. This wasn't helping his jealousy any.
The Doctor threw one final lever, and the time machine lurched forward, 'Come on, let's go. We're catching up.'
'72- Simple Vector, this is Sierra Complex Control requesting identification. Also, please lower your approach velocity to within practical limits.'
'Negative... Sierra Complex. There's w-wounded on board. Don't have much time.'
'Simple Vector, if you attempt auto-docking at that speed you'll crack your hull, not to mention the damage you'll do here. We're a commercial facility; we don't have the hull plating to handle an impact like that. Lower your speed or switch to manual and await a go-round. Second request for identification, over.'
'No time, Sierra Complex! I'm on the edge here... Posting priority Level Zero code to you now. Ugh... Fuck!'
'... Level Zero priority granted, pending identification, Simple Vector. Who are you?'
'Not... Not important, Sierra Complex. I've got a shoulder blasted to shit, severe burns, shattered hand, left eye's fucked beyond repair and I'm pretty sure I'm bleeding out. You've got my clearance, now post a docking solution before I die and this thing turns into a floating missile!'
'You're alone, Simple Vector?'
'Fuckin' A! And I'm dipping in and out of consciousness, so I need to lock in a goddamn flight path now rather than later! If you can't figure out who I am when you see me, then your administrator can. Now open the door!'
'... Posting solution to you now, Simple Vector. Please be advised that upon entering the Sierra Complex Medical Station you will be a guest of Hackett Industries, and no longer subject to Terran law. Any violations will be met with lethal force, over.'
'Yeah... Believe me, I know...'
Sander awoke with a groan. He hadn't realized that he was that tired, but here he was.
He smiled grimly as his shoulders shook; from the moment he had shared a part of his escape from Vesperia with Mara, he knew he would be reliving the rest of those memories in the hours to come. It wasn't pleasant, but it was the price he paid for that moment on the deck of Nirvana...
Of course, Mara hadn't got the whole truth. Large parts of his ordeal he had kept under wraps, mostly because it was just meaningless, abject darkness. Partly because the full extent of the damage he had incurred on Vesperia was rather disturbing, and he hadn't wanted to ruin the moment. Mara should never, ever know that.
He looked around his ship with a wistful smile; he had stolen a random shuttle from a Vesperian spaceport to get to the Sierra Complex, and he'd kept it running to this day. 72-Simple Vector had been one of the only stable elements in his life for the past thirteen years. The old crate had served him well.
The viewing screen displayed an unchanging view of the stars. Sander had always thought that looking up at the stars was a slightly lonely pursuit, but right now he couldn't deny a certain pleasant symmetry; between vast expanses of utter, existential nothingness, the universe was exploding.
In the hold behind him, Mara and Amy slept. Sander looked over his shoulder and smiled. After Nirvana, Mara looked completely different to him. Where before he had only seen a vaguely frightening force of nature wrapped up in a thick layer of sarcasm, now he saw an actual person. A woman betrayed, and so, so angry. Suddenly, the terrifying, burning Mara that had surfaced the night before and taken merciless control of Amy's punishment made a lot of sense. He liked Mara generally, but he found himself particularly intrigued by that dark other that had taken her place that night. Dark Mara. Huh.
She had taken control; not just of Amy, not just of the situation, but of him too. And it had felt good. On an intellectual level, it had been pleasant to cede control to someone else, to just get caught up in the flow and allow another to plan for him. But Mara's vicious mentality, her dark confidence... Something in that had called to something deep within him. He hoped that it had answered correctly.
He found himself hoping, in the core of his being, that the dark Mara would return sometime soon. She was spectacular. As bizarre as it had been, Sander found himself longing for a repeat performance. He had never felt pleasure quite like that before...
The console buzzed. Sander turned in his seat; the shuttle's automated proximity warning had activated. Another ship was within range of the rather limited communications array. Strange; space was large, and the odds were against ever seeing another craft in deep space, even with the prevalence of faster than light travel.
Sander pressed a button, causing the registry information to spill out across the screen. His eyes lit up, and he gasped.
'No way!' He laughed, swivelling in his seat. 'Mara! Mara, wake up!'
'What?' Mara said roughly, squinting at Sander.
'Mara, it's the Oviroa!' Sander clapped excitedly. 'We've found the Oviroa!'
'No, we haven't,' Mara yawned. 'The Oviroa is just an urban legend.'
Sander gestured to the screen and raised an eyebrow, 'Well it's right there, Mara. At least, some ship bearing the name Oviroa on its registry is there...' He conceded.
'If you're that concerned with letting the opportunity slip by you, I say hail them,' Mara shrugged, unbuckling herself from her seat to join him. She slipped into the co-pilot's chair, 'What's the worst that could happen?'
Sander shrugged. Grinning at her, he keyed in the hailing frequency of the passing ship. He noted with a hint of apprehension that the Oviroa, whether it was the real deal or not, was a Frigate-class starship, and easily capable of reducing his shuttle to motes of steel dust in seconds. Not the best ship to be next to when completely alone in deep space, then.
'Oviroa, this is 72- Simple Vector, broadcasting on an open channel. Please respond,' Sander did his best to sound official. At this early juncture, being himself would probably lead to... well, motes in deep space.
Seconds later, the reply came, 'Simple Vector, this is the Oviroa. Requesting identification, over.'
Mara shot Sander a questioning look. It was a little early to be requesting a passenger manifest, and given the size disparity between the two vessels, it was impossible that the Oviroa wouldn't know what this would look like to the smaller ship.
'Are we going to get jacked?' Mara half-joked. Sander held a finger to his lips.
'Oviroa, I need a little clarification; are you guys the Oviroa, or just an Oviroa?' He said.
There was a chuckle from the other end of the line, 'We're the Oviroa, Simple Vector. The one and only. Transmitting identification now. Second request for identification, over.'
Sander looked over the Oviroa's registry. Everything seemed to be above board; the ship had been registered with the Terran Fleetcom and everything. However...
'It's a New Earth ship?' Sander said quizzically. 'I didn't think they built anything there anymore.'
'It is an older model, Sander,' Mara pointed out. 'Perfectly likely it was built before the Terran expansion.'
'I guess so. Well, do you want to try getting invited in?' Sander grinned at Mara. 'It's a once in a lifetime chance, Mara.' He whooped with childlike laughter, 'It's the motherfucking Oviroa, dude!'
Mara high-fived him, the two of them laughing together. It was good.
'Oviroa, this is Simple Vector, providing identification. You're speaking with the pilot; name's Sander Hackett.' Sander winced as he said his own name; if anything was going to get him denied access to the other ship, it would be his name. But it wasn't like he could just lie; they would find out pretty quickly, and then he'd be in real trouble.
There was a pause, and Sander thought he could hear furious typing on the other end of the line, 'Are you the Sander Hackett, or a Sander Hackett?'
Mara squeezed Sander's shoulder sympathetically as his eyes went dark and downcast. He frowned apologetically; it looked as though they weren't going to board the Oviroa after all, and he felt bad for ruining this chance for Mara.
'The Sander Hackett,' He said grimly. 'The one and only.'
There was another pause, and then, 'Huh. Come aboard, Sander Hackett. Since you know what the Oviroa is, I doubt I need to explain why.'
'Thank you, Oviroa...' Sander said haltingly. This was... unexpected.
'Oh, well hell yeah, then!' Mara crowed. 'Looks like there's a person in the universe who doesn't care about your reputation, Sander! Good for you!'
'Remain in the docking bay, Simple Vector,' the familiar voice from the radio buzzed out of a number of speakers inset above the door. 'I'm sending someone to greet you now.'
'Well, this place is... Way better than the shuttle,' Mara deadpanned. 'Sander, I thought you were loaded. Why not something like this?'
'Because I don't care about all that,' Sander shrugged. 'Shuttle gets me planetside, shuttle's worth keeping. Although now that you mention it, this is pretty lush.'
The Oviroa was an older ship, but it had been well maintained. It wasn't terribly rare to see ships this old, in spaceports or the orbital fleets of smaller commercial worlds, but never this polished. The airlock behind them opened onto the rear hull of the ship; if direction had meant anything in the weightless environment of space, Sander had needed to reverse the shuttle in to dock. The second one crossed that threshold, the disparity between the two craft became apparent. Put simply, the Oviroa was way, way nicer.
All gleaming chrome and polished white polymer surfaces, the Oviroa had that classic science-fiction look that, at least in Sander's mind, would never go out of style. Every surface looked slick, as though one could simply glide along them without ever worrying about friction. Amy glanced around with a hounded look in her eyes; whenever Sander and Mara decided to play tourist, she always ended up losing out.
'So, what is this place?' She said finally, tired of speculating.
'The Oviroa,' Sander said absently, gazing around the docking bay. Something in this seemed awfully familiar...
'Where we come from, this ship is legendary, Amy,' Mara clapped her on the shoulder. 'Nobody knows who captains the thing, and those who do are sworn to secrecy, or something. But for twenty years or so, the Oviroa's been cruising occupied space, picking up travellers at random and basically having fun. It's supposedly one long party that travels the galaxy non-stop.'
'And nobody's ever so much as gotten a picture of the thing. So of course we had to join in when we got the chance,' Sander gave a half-hearted grin and tried to get in the spirit of the thing, but found it impossible. Some small part of his brain was nagging at him, trying to prod his memory into action. Shit, what was it...
At the other end of the docking bay, a mechanical door slid open soundlessly. Everyone turned to the figure standing in the doorway. All at once, Sander let out a wordless sound of surprise and strode forward towards the figure. The crewman, a tall, languid individual with intelligent, lively eyes, smiled as Sander approached, recognition filling his features.
Sander punched him.
'Where the fuck have you been?' He snarled, cracking his knuckles. The impact had thrown the crewman to the floor, where he laid swearing and trying to regain his position.
'Sander, that's not the way we greet people,' Mara chided him. 'It's an open hand, not a closed fist. Also, a wave, I guess. Not a... Y'know,' She trailed off as Sander's penetrating gaze swung to her.
With one hand, Sander lifted the crewman to his feet and held him at arm's length, his jaw set in anger, 'Mara, Amy; I'd like to introduce you to Cohen Hackett. My dear older brother.'
'Hey there, babes,' Cohen grinned and tried to wave, causing Sander to tighten his grip and growl wordlessly. 'Okay, okay. Calm down, Sandy...' He said appealingly.
'Go fuck yourself, Coco,' Sander muttered, throwing his brother aside and stomping through the open door. 'You got a place to sit down on this thing? Because you have some fucking explaining to do, brother mine. Or some getting beaten to a bloody pulp. I don't really mind which.'
The Time Lord's feet rang out on the wood floor of Nirvana. Some small part of Rory hoped that someday he too could make such an everyday action as walking that dramatic.
Seemingly having found his target, the Doctor kicked out at the nearest door, barely slowing down at all as he stormed through the opening. Inside... Something was happening. Something alien. Rory couldn't be sure, but it was fairly likely there were two aliens in that singular, shuddering mass on the bed that sat in the centre of the floor. He couldn't be sure, he wasn't a xenophile.
'Right, get out!' The Doctor roared, pointing his sonic screwdriver at the alien mass as menacingly as possible. 'Now!'
'Excuse me, you can't just burst in here!' A familiar pink-haired alien said archly, stepping out from her position in the corner. 'This is a private facility!'
'You want to try and stop me?!' The Doctor growled, projecting pure menace in every word. The sonic device swung from alien to alien; it was actually quite impressive, for a bluff.
Rory skidded to a stop just inside the room, his vision blurring and his stomach heaving. He leaned heavily against the nearest wall, 'Ugh... Doctor, what-'
'Neurological Amplification Field, Rory,' The Doctor cut him off. 'You'll be a little sick for a while.'
'But not you, huh?'
The time traveller shot him a strange glance, 'Of course not. Why would I get sick?' He shook his head, 'Anyway, it's nice to meet you, Lysithea! We're wondering if you wouldn't mind helping us to locate a friend.'
The Trine-form's eyes widened, 'Oh, I see. You're him. And the other one,' Her eyes shifted to Rory.
'The other one?' Rory exclaimed, recovering from the effects of the Field.
'So you're here for Amy,' Lysithea said flatly. 'I'd tell you that as an employee of the Nirvana corporation I cannot divulge the private information of our clients, but I don't think you really care.'
'That's exactly right,' The Doctor nodded.
'You're going to cost me my job, you know,' Lysithea snapped. 'Aside from that, do you know how frightening you are to Sander? He's not going to just let you sweep in again.'
'So you know where he is?' Rory yelled. 'Please, we need to know!'
Lysithea shrugged, 'Such a moral quandary. Do I resist you to help Sander, a man that I actually like quite a bit? Or do I help you right away, even though you'll probably destroy his life again? This is the decision I have to make; Sander's life, or Amy's? Which is more valuable?'
Rory stormed forward, eyes burning, and grabbed Lysithea's collar, drawing his face close to hers, 'Amy! The answer is Amy!' He snarled.
Lysithea's hand clasped Rory's forearm, fingers gripping him with surprising strength. She peeled his fingers from her shirt with very little effort, and held him there, her bright grin never fading for even a second. Her eyes narrowed, and a chaotic storm of noise and light burst through Rory's head. He stumbled away.
'You are connected,' Lysithea smiled. 'If you want to find her, you're going to have to follow what remains of their psychic trail. Since you'll just force your way in anyway, I'll help you, though I want it noted that I'm doing so under duress. But you'll both have to interface with me, and that'll be... interesting. Are you sure you still want to do this?'
'I have to,' The Doctor said gravely. 'I won't abandon her.' He reached out and took Lysithea's hand.
The Trine-form hunched her shoulders and closed her eyes. In her tenure at Nirvana she had connected with any number of alien life forms, but none quite as old or... immense, as the Doctor. He was a legendary figure in many galactic circles, but even discounting that, he was a Time Lord. She wasn't entirely sure she could adequately prepare for taking him into her mind.
'Okay, we're up and running,' The Doctor said quietly. Then Lysithea smirked, focused her mind in a particular way- taking care to avoid too much contact with the Doctor's immense consciousness- and...
Both men doubled over, swaying from side to side. Their minds burned, Rory's probably worse than the Time Lord. Lysithea stood over them, her light, sunny smile returning.
'Sander is not a bad person, Doctor. Not necessarily a good one either, but not exactly evil. He's just been pushed too far,' She said. 'At least, that's what I believe. I've seen his mind, and he cares. Maybe too much for what he's doing. But we all do terrible things for love. You know that better than most, Time Lord Victorious,' She turned her back, eyes closing in concentration.
'You'll get the information you need. Just don't expect me to make it pleasant for you. Maybe this way you'll learn some interesting things too.'
'Sander, what's going on?' Mara said quietly. The three of them had been seated in what seemed to be the central area of the Oviroa, just off of the main freight passage. The long, stretching hallway outside the door rotated constantly as a way of generating enough centrifugal force to provide gravity, making travelling along it a fun little exercise.