Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Is This Your Final Fantasy?


“Oh come now, Koschei,” The Doctor says says softly, cupping the white substance of the newly-reformed Benjamin Pond Avatar and pressing into the belly, disappearing the unoccupied material into himself until there is no sign of swell. “It isn’t that bad!” his skin begins to glow, turning grey then pinkish, then finally the fair peach of his normal tone. “Has River got into hers yet?”

“Yes I have, sweetie!” comes the call-out from a darkened crèche across the room. “You should check on Borusa!”

“Why? Is Bimbo Smurf too old to dress herself? And how come you can do that to your Flesh’s morphic structure? We can’t control ours like that!” the Master yelps from the youngest Avatar model’s boyish lips, smacking the Doctor across the back of the Doctor’s leg, near the knee. As he touches the body, the flesh-like substance undulates slightly.

“Because this one…” with a snap of his fingers, the Doctor’s usual suit grows around his Avatar like a trick tablecloth, peeling backward over his bony frame. “…is double-routed.”

“And I’m supposing, my love, that this double-routing has to do with how many complicated biomechanical substructures allow or inhibit the energetic connections between the ions in the artificial substance of which the Flesh is composed? Yours, therefore, has twice as many bioelectrical microbridges, for some unknown reason that you will probably never share. Is that it?” River smirks, coming up behind him and applying her fingers to his bum, the better to pinch him with.

As always, he squirms like an eel in the hand, only… his reaction ranges –into- her touch.

Taken aback, River Song cups his bottom once, then drifts back like a giant fey statue of bounding Artemis. She must be mistaken. There can’t be a virus in the response-timing feedback mechanisms of these Flesh, the Doctor made them himself! It must be a stray aberration due to the extra programming he’s activated- she’ll mention it later. In the meantime, she distracts herself with the odd tinge of his bowtie.

It’s patterned this time, with a print of Escher’s famous stair. Quite painful to look at, after a while. She turns away.

“Oh god stop it please; I’ll lose my breakfast.” the Master pleads, grabbing his stomach, one wrist dangling a striped purple tie.

“Yes, dear; now stop fussing. And Koschei- that body hasn’t eaten anything; they don’t need to.” The Doctor’s reply issues across their minds, rather than through their ears, as he is busy now in another room, checking, one assumes, on the shuttle consoles.

“We’re dressing as we go, kiddies! The bird is in flight! Remember the shuttle was set to fly as soon as we woke up; our bodies are still safe on Gallifrey!” Again the Flesh to Flesh contact.

So subdued.

“Is this how you are going to debrief us for the entire expedition, Doctor? Through Avatar to Avatar contact? It is a bit unnerving, especially when I have yet to discover how to access the higher motor control functions…” Borusa quips, one ivory hand sailing out to grab the corner of a storage door.

“Here, let me help with that. I’ll resonate with you so you can pick up the skill more quickly.” River says, reaching out to clutch Borusa’s slender white shoulder, now well-toned and adult. The space of a blue spark erupts between their respective skins, and soon Borusa is standing upright and walking.

“I am gratified, Lady Song, that at least one of you has the manners you were born with.” Borusa snaps, her yellow crystal-point pate spinning rapidly in disgust. “Again, my gratitude. Perhaps between us we can teach these boys some grace whilst on this fact-finding trip, yes?”

“No!” says River, her golden-haired head a forest of silent coins as she shakes it slowly back and forth, a small, tenuous smile rising on her lips, “… I think that timeship has sailed.”

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