Doctor Who: Panic Moon Ch. 16byKurokami©
Author's Note: This is a sequel series to Amy, Captured. To get the full experience, please read through that one first.
Hello everyone, we're back with another chapter! And this one has the canon characters back in the spotlight! Yay!
Seriously though, I'm rather glad the action oriented stuff I've been doing lately is over with. It was fun for a while, but it's time to get back to normal. Though this chapter is a tad... kinkier than usual. Not to mention surreal in places. And that's all down to my sub, LogicalDreamer, who was utterly insistent it play out like this. Good for her for sticking to her guns, I suppose. Also need to thank Isabel and Allyourbase for conceptualizing and editing help. Thanks, guys!
Please comment or vote if you liked, or disliked, or whatevered, the story, and I hope y'all enjoy it!
'I taught you how to do that,' Sera pushed her hair over one shoulder. 'Because you needed to know. Rather, you were observed to have known. Time travel is strange. But I've upheld my end of the paradox, so I'm done for now. Walker is... disabled, and Ren made too much of an impact on the soldiers he brought for them to plan a repeat performance. They should know that you are defended, now.'
'Who are you, really?' Dulcimer sent, trying to pry into the teenager's mind as she did so. It wasn't something she freely admitted to being able to do, and likewise it wasn't something she did very often, since it was a violation. And this girl looked to be only eighteen, so far removed from the solid centuries she herself had lived. Still, her appearance here, and he knowledge of the future was troubling. She needed to know.
'I'm nobody important, just for now,' Sera shrugged, enjoying the feeling of air on her face. Her Chronosuit was good for many things, and it made her job oh so much simpler, but it wasn't exactly comfortable eveningwear. There were air filters and circulators inside her suit that at least made the skintight space livable, but nothing in that matched the simple pleasure of the open air. And Trismestigius had some wonderful breezes.
Part of her wished she could simply stay.
'I'm just a simple Time Agent,' She winked knowingly at the Dullahan. 'And stop trying to read my mind, we've all been trained to resist psychic intrusions. You won't get through, as impressive as your effort is. Now, you need to go and get Mister Hackett to the medical lab before he bleeds out. Nat should already be working to disable the zero-point generators and Em's on getting Jericho back in control, so you should be clear for now. Just try to get everything secured as quickly as possible and don't let Sander Hackett die up there. Oh, and you can keep that Dust trick in mind for the future, if you like. Who knows when it will come in handy again?'
'You do,' Dulsie sent flatly, causing Sera to giggle.
'Well, yes,' She grinned. 'Good luck, alright?'
Her helmet clacked shut as her bodysuit lit up and, with the sound of a groaning TARDIS, she vanished.
Sander awoke to the dazzling sight of the pure white med lab ceiling. He squinted against it, screwing his eyes closed and groaning as his chest pulsed with agony in time with his heartbeat. He knew better than to try sitting up.
'Ah, you are awake,' Jericho said, the blue glow of his hologram bright enough to be visible through Sander's eyelids. 'That is good. I was beginning to get worried.'
'What happened? How is-'
'Let me assuage your concerns: Walker is no longer a problem, I am back in control of the installation, and you are going to be fine,' Jericho said soothingly as Sander opened his eyes. 'Mara, Tsugi and Kanaria are in the next room, just down the hall,' His voice filled with concern at the mention of that last name.
'How is she?' Sander looked down, sighing helplessly at the three blue nanomachine bandages stuck down to his wounds; he'd be perfectly fine in no time at all. The level of injury Kana had sustained... he doubted it would be the same.
'Stable...' Jericho said, a little more softly than usual. 'Though she did lose a lot of blood. We made quite a dent in our artificial transfusion bank to replace it, but she'll live. However, I am still awaiting the last few metrics from the diagnostic software before I can make a proper prediction as to her chances.'
'I'd better go see how she is,' Sander said, wincing in pain as he sat up, heaving his legs off of the bed. He stood, unsteadily at first, gingerly avoiding moving too much and agitating his cuts. 'Yeah, this is going to be fun...'
As he slipped out into the hallway, Sander noted with interest that it was morning now. He wondered precisely how long he had been out, and what the rest of his crew had been doing in that time. He took a moment to take a deep breath and straighten himself up before he entered the next room, mentally preparing himself for what he might see beyond.
It was silent here, grim and austere, as Kanaria lay almost lifeless in the bed at the center of the room. She was connected to a number of machines that monitored her life signs and dripped artificially created blood into her veins. Her throat was wrapped tight in the same blue, nanomachine soaked bandages that adorned Sander's chest; these were perfect for sewing up tears in the flesh, but depending on how much damage had been wrought on her, she would need something far more complex to heal her completely.
And she was in this situation because of him...
'Uh, hey...' He said softly, unwilling to even enter the room until Mara gave him the okay; she sat, completely absorbed in her little sister, so silent and still that Sander felt he was intruding even by speaking up as he had.
'Sander!' She leapt to her feet, threw herself at him.
'Whoa, whoa, still not fully healed over here!' He winced as she slammed into him. 'Be gentle with me.'
'Not if you insist on being a fucking idiot!' Mara snapped, poking him in the chest. 'Literally everything you did out there was stupid!'
'Didn't really have a whole lot of choice,' He felt himself breathe deeply, allowing himself to fully relax for the first time that day. He still didn't know all the facts, about anything that had gone on since he had fought with Walker, but... here she was. Here was Mara, and although he couldn't say she was entirely happy, not with Kana the way she was, at least she was here. She wasn't somewhere else, she wasn't feeling the need to be out there working; at least that said a few things about their overall situation that were positive.
'I know...' She said softly, arms wrapping around him, drawing him closer. 'And look what happened.'
'Hey, I'm fine,' He said, holding onto the only solid thing he had. He sighed, knowing there really wasn't a whole lot of time to be standing here, holding his girl, much as he'd like to, 'But I need to know what's been happening. How's Kana?'
'She'll live, but Walker cut her deep,' Tsugi said flatly, glaring at Sander. 'It looks like he completely severed her vocal chords. I'm no doctor, but I doubt she'll ever speak again. Still, it's good to see some of us made it out of this unscathed. Boss.'
'What, are you blaming me for this?' Sander said. 'Weren't you with her? I dunno, maybe you can see this, but the woman I was with is still perfectly fine!'
'Sander!' Mara gasped, and Sander remembered, just a little too late, that the woman they were fighting about was her sister.
'He was here for you, Sander!' Tsugi stood suddenly. 'You started this, he escalated! Far as I'm concerned, this is your responsibility. I'm out.'
He stalked out of the room, the door sliding closed behind him. Sander closed his eyes for a moment, leaning into Mara, feeling the heat and pressure of her against him and drawing reassurance from that. It hurt, and in more ways than just the physical. If he was being honest with himself, this was a possibility he'd never even considered. And it was his fault. He hadn't needed to go after Walker in the first place, it hadn't been necessary to set this all in motion, but he had.
He had conceived of this place, built Trismestigius up from a simple, uninhabited rock spinning through the darkness, into a refuge for himself and Mara; a place for them to escape the past and strive toward the only objective that mattered to them now. When it had become clear that two would not be enough to run it efficiently, they had found like minded people to help them and, happily, Mara's sisters had been more than willing to come too.
And of course it had occurred to him that nobody just up and leaves everything they had ever known just because a sister, or a friend, or an acquaintance asks. Especially given the stakes involved in the war they would become a part of. Sander had always been prepared for the idea that his entire crew were running, the same as he was. Seeing fragments of their memories when he had been linked to them through Dulcimer had only confirmed that, but...
Why did it have to be his past that had caught up to them all so terribly?
'Tsugi's right,' He whispered. 'This is my responsibility. So I'll have to deal with it. Where's Walker?'
'We stowed him in one of the available cells. You'd better go and see for yourself, but he's... not a threat anymore,' Mara said. 'Which is something Ren is really pissed at you for.'
'Well, at least that'll be something new,' Sander deadpanned. 'Soldiers?'
'Gone. They decided their revenge wasn't worth getting slaughtered over.'
'Okay, good...' He paused, casting around for something, anything to say, before finally settling on: 'Fuck!'
'I know, I know, this situation is severely lacking in the goodness department. But it's not your fault, honey,' Mara persisted, gripping his hand just a little too tightly. In all of this, Sander had found it all too easy to forget that Mara had just as much reason to be terrified of Walker as he himself did, if not more. She had lived with the guy for years, she knew him the best, which was, in its own way, terrifying. 'You didn't cause this, Walker did. And you need to go see him.'
'But what about-'
'You need to go see him, Hackett,' Mara stopped him with a shake of her head. 'Trust me, you'll feel a little better once you do, and besides, Kana's not going anywhere,' There was a slight tremor in her voice as she looked back toward her stricken sister. 'We won't know if there's even anything we can do for her until Jericho's finished with the diagnosis program, so we need to be patient. Hey, for all we know, she might just need the same nanopack treatment you've got going on, sir. Very styling, by the way.'
She offered a weak smile, that he returned hesitantly. It seemed wrong somehow, like joking didn't fit, even to relieve the tension. In truth, he looked forward to seeing Walker again about as much as he looked forward to a root canal, but Mara was right; it had to be done. He wouldn't be able to sleep again until he saw that man completely disabled and unable to even touch one of his crew ever again.
'Okay, I'll go,' He sighed, wincing again as he thoughtlessly rolled his perforated shoulder. As he turned to go, he found himself tugged in the other direction. He gave Mara a questioning look.
'I'm... going with you,' She said tremulously. 'Not... not gonna let you out of my sight for a while, Hackett.'
Silently, he leaned in, planting a soft kiss on her cheek before wrapping her hand fully in his own and leading her out the door. He chanced only the briefest look back at Kanaria's comatose form before it slid closed behind him, frown deepening slightly as a result. It didn't matter what Mara told him, there was simply no way to avoid blaming himself for this one.
Sensibly, the medical labs were but a stone's throw away from the cell hub. Sander had predicted a certain level of danger inherent in his plans when he had designed this place- or set the architectural programs to do so, at any rate. Anything from a captive rebellion or individual escape attempts through to a drastic malfunction in the Eternity Engine had been accounted for, and the conclusion that all involved had come to had been simple: make sure there were bandages real close by.
There was only a short corridor keeping he and Mara from Walker, which in some ways was a small mercy; more time spent in transit meant more time to agonize over the confrontation to come. However, this limited travel time also put them unavoidably in Ren's path.
Mara's older sister was ambling up the hallway sullenly, and Sander found himself remarkably unwilling to be around her at the moment. When he looked at the Half, all he could remember, all he could see, was the image of that monstrous other form, streaking up toward him, eyes glinting with heavy red bloodlust. That screeching mechanical roar, and the pleading, desperate woman within, begging him to find some way, any way, to let her kill Walker.
He wouldn't even know the first thing to say to her.
'Oh, it's you,' She said darkly, as he approached. 'How are things, boss?'
'Better,' Sander answered with an inadvisable degree of venom. He knew this, yet his temper spurred him on; after Tsugi's reaction, the last thing he needed was a second accusatory comrade, 'Especially after taking down that psychotic murderer who carved up your sister, Ren.'
With a barely restrained growl, mismatched eyes flashing angrily, Ren drew back her arms and pushed him, ramming Sander bodily against the wall. Pain blossomed in his chest as his wounds shuddered with the force of the blow, still nowhere near fully healed.
'Ren!' Mara exclaimed, trying unsuccessfully to pull the two of them apart.
'You just shut the fuck up, Sander!' Ren snarled savagely, her face inches from his. 'So what if you beat that slimy son of a bitch? He was MINE!'
'Should I be sorry?' Sander tried not to flinch, but it was hard. His mind kept spinning back to what he had seen of the soldiers left in her wake. How hard would it be for her to repeat that process? He was just one guy, but still... 'Should I apologize? I don't know what idiotic bullshit Walker did to you to make you hate him so much, but I'm not going to feel bad for protecting myself, my home and my friends! And that includes you, by the way! Grow up!'
It truly looked, for a moment, like she was about to hit him. No, it looked like she was about to kill him, as her younger sister tried to pry her away from him. Those red and blue eyes went horribly, dangerously hard, like diamonds forged under intense pressure. That gaze alone would probably kill a lesser man. Her fingers dug into the skin at the base of his neck, coming far too close to his throat for comfort. It seemed to cause her a great deal of pain to tear herself away from him, but eventually she did release him, allowing him to slide breathlessly down the wall, glaring at her the entire way.
'Shall I tell you why I even came here, Sander?' Ren said flatly, distantly. 'Because a person doesn't just surrender whatever she's got going on to come out to the middle of nowhere, even if her beloved little sister asks. When she did ask, I'll admit I was intrigued. Come out and visit me, she said. I've got a new boyfriend with a little business venture that could use a mechanic, and you're the best I know, she said. Come and kill a Time Lord, she said. That bit got my blood flowing, for sure. But it wasn't enough, not to give up everything. It wasn't as important to me as what I was doing.'
She shifted, placing both feet firmly on the ground for the first time since the confrontation had begun, and pointed to Sander, 'But then she told me: this mysterious boyfriend was Sander Hackett. He's dead, I told her. No, he's not, she said. Everyone just thinks so. I can trust you with that information, can't I, Ren? Yeah, she could trust me, even though there are plenty of people who would pay pretty handsomely for that little tidbit. Why? Well, there's a few things everybody knows about Sander Hackett, former governor of Vesperia: genocide, that's an obvious one. Xenocide, which you humans seem to think is so much worse. And CEO of Hackett Industries, which would make him, oh... very, very rich, even if he was dead. Guy like that, apparently real smart to go along with deceitful, he'd have a little cash stashed away here and there. That alone was enough to make me pack up everything I had and come out to this backwater moon.'
Her voice caught in her throat, and she looked away. Through the curtain of her hair, Sander could see the look in her eyes, and it became very apparent to him; here was a woman holding within her a truly incredible expanse of pure pain.
'Because there was one thing, just one favor, that I was going to ask you when we were done with this and you'd won, Sander,' She said finally. 'I was going to ask you to please... find me Walker Ichihara, and get me to him. He's my loose end, guys. His life... it's what I wanted, more than anything else. You'd got me that, I would have been in your debt forever. But you killed him first, and now I'll never... Jae will... damn it...'
She trailed off, freezing on the spot for a moment before shaking her head with a vicious, rattling sigh. Wordlessly, actively avoiding eye contact with Sander or Mara, she walked away, pushing past her sister to head down the hallway, and into Kanaria's room. Sander stared, unable to make out what much of that had truly meant, but aching empathetically with the older woman. One thing was clear; she knew as much about loss as he did, and she was taking it out on the universe in the same way. He didn't know the specifics, but it was crystal clear: Sander Hackett and Ren Syfte were very much alike.
'Honestly, I don't know what she was talking about, there,' Mara said quietly. 'She never talks about herself, especially not what happened after she left Vesperia.'
'Yeah, we all are. Our parents came down with the initial colony drop, way before we were born. Technically, all three of us are more Vesperian than you are, Hackett,' She nudged him.
'Huh,' Sander tilted his head a little. 'So, the upshot is... we've got an angry, apparently amazingly powerful, very twitchy... whatever Ren is hanging around where we live. That's... unsettling.'
'Everything about what we do is unsettling,' Mara said without skipping a beat. 'You really want to start analyzing it now?''
'Okay yeah,' Sander laughed, just a little. 'Good point.'
Even though Walker was entirely motionless, Sander was unwilling to approach him too closely. He hadn't known the man for very long, but he felt safe in assuming he would set a trap like this, just waiting for Sander to lower his guard.
'He's been like this ever since the cliff,' Lysithea said, clearly unwilling to get too close to the murderer herself. Apparently, she had drawn guard duty, which she wasn't entirely crazy about. Whenever she looked at the still man, peering out vacantly from beneath his blond fringe, her eyes burned with silent, tranquil fury. Sander had never seen her like this before.
Not that Sander himself wasn't still furious. With entirely justified caution, he sidled closer, step by step until he stood before Walker. He didn't move, even as Sander lifted his face with one hand, and stared into the glassy eyes that had once housed such malicious, chilling intelligence. Sander's teeth ground together; somehow, this still wasn't enough. He wanted more. His mind swam with images of Kanaria, cut and bleeding out on the floor. Of Mara, forced from her home so many years before to some lawless backwater world, all because of the man in front of him. Of Ren, angered to the point of insanity at a mere glimpse of his face.