Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

To the Lighthouse, Bagman

“So that’s what happened… hrm,” Rassilon says softly, to the hologram of the bitey mad lady in faded not entirely appropriate blue.

“And this shape, this… shuttle shape? Did you choose it? Or did he?”

A tremor echoes over and through and under and between the bowels of her before she can answer, rocking her ensorcelled molecules as a giant crib, rocked by an unseen, shifting hand.

The shuttle, who is the TARDIS, who is the shuttle, breaks apart at the rhythm of the sudden words, like flour dust. She comes together again, a shadow. Herself. Alone. Without her Thief, but together with the man called Dallyrasse who became Rassilon, of the Triumvirate.

The message that Rose has spoken, will speak, is speaking now.

The TARDIS relays the message to the man called Dallyrasse, stroking the ears of his always-working brain with soft sounds that approximate speech, clicks and whirs and buzzing bits of light and noise.

Just a few letters, really; not even a whole missive. Just four little words with which the man ought to be familiar.

A shadow at Pharos.

That is the message she has received. And now they both have heard it.

“Are we the only ones who still believe that Gallifrey was the light of the universe?” he asks her, not expecting a response.

At his choice of was, she chooses to pitch a bit, causing the man Dallyrasse to nod his head at her and smile as he clings to post and crash couch and edge of slim window, pausing to catch his breath against the fickle wind that is this special ship. He is appreciative.

“My apologies, madam. I meant to say is. Even so, Gallifrey is but one lamp in a sea of tossing lanterns, next to his steady light. The Doctor might be the true-star of us all, if he is not careful. Indeed as both of us well know, if his steps do not carry him out of the sun, he will burn before he can walk. And what can I do? I cannot save him from himself. What too, is left to me now? What can I yet do for this land I find myself still wandering? Do you have an answer for me, Ship? I have said I have no more wax for him, nor he for me. Bah. I am an old fool, and this is a day evocative of old poetry. Are we still on course, My Lady Blue?”

A clear-buttoned sensor bleeps a soft square of blue at him, cancelling that idle doubt.

“To Gallifrey, then…” he says aloud, raising a metaphorical glass to the Ship, which the interface with a small cinnamon bun tower of topsy brown hair in slightly stringy curls returns in earnest agreement by pretending to bite him.

The shuttle rocks again.

But this time, the Interface is looking in the same direction as her passenger.

They look at each other now, wondering at the thing they have just felt.

“My thief,” she murmurs matter of factly, “… is my thief. We stole each other. And he’s always bringing home strays for me to look after, although I usually like most of them. He has an exquisite eye.”

“I am sure he does. My dear, do you agree with me that in that last shiver of your timbers we seem to have had an ultimatum from the universe to shift ourselves?” the Time Lord says. At her nod of yes, he grabs the controls once again and turns her, veering off the plotted course- steering for Gallifrey.

“Now, let me guess,” he adds, patting the shuttle’s console as the holographic image of the TARDIS avatar pours them both a holographic cup of tea and settles into the very real command chair across from his, “… whatever is affecting Gallifrey and therefore your temporal-shift functions must be chronon-related, otherwise he would never ask for my help, because he needs my knowledge of the laws of Anti-Time reactions. Correct me if I’m wrong… but I believe I can shift your temporal signature into the Anti-Time dimension long enough to hide you from problem eyes. Care to join me in another cup?”

He holds up a real cup of tea, and in a shimmer of gold, her real hand takes it from his grasp.

It feels warm.

A third throbbing wave of colorless, odorless, all natural chronotic displacement hits the shuttle then, but this time, a hatch above his head opens up, plopping a golden clamshell clutch purse into his teapot.

There is a plastic baggie sticking out of it…

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