Doctor Who: The Bright Asylum

Ghost Ship

The screen seems to float in the upper left corner.

It’s flickering again.

Rassilon grabs his smiling chin, tapping the fingers of his free hand on the console dash of the Master’s secret comm. room.

Tap tap tap.

Tap tap tap.

The taps come naturally to a rhythm of five- he will not restrict himself to the little trick he played on the Lord President’s young, impressionable brain; no, his thoughts reside elsewhere, with other people. Other matters.

His mind encases the locket, reaches for it, imagines opening it again. But for now, it will stay where it is- closed, dull against his chest, buried beneath his robes. The weight of a child’s body never held. Never scented in the morning before those eyes of hers could wake him.

He could say his mind was absent, but that would be a lie. He merely considers what she might have thought. “Tzipporah…” he murmurs, tasting the name as though his daughter’s moniker is a pale breeze off some alien sea, “… I wonder how you would have handled the Doctor’s nervous little primate?”

Too soon, and he leaves her for an arc of weather across a viewing screen.

Intuition has never failed him; it has definitely not now, he decides as he feels a pulling desire in his gut to reach for the snow-packed relay, as if to wipe it clean with the cool warmth of his hand. Hindbrain mechanics. How irritating and one-dimensional. He snuffs that out, as it is nothing more than the blade of a candle between his fingers. And he makes note. If the little rats he ruled once ever allow him into the genetics bay again, he will suggest…

The snow of interference crawls louder over the upper left. It is not gushing, but just... lingering there, blipping like bits of fluffy seeds scattered by a sudden breeze.

The seeds are few now, but maybe with the Other’s help, they can live again?

What idiot ideas. Perhaps he is just too old to relate. No, he should stop thinking. It got him into this mess. But he won’t. To stop is to die. The Other knew that long ago. But, which one of them has forgot it now?

He laughs out loud. The sound mutates in his throat, burning somehow, becoming a scream that never quite reaches his lips when he remembers the screen again.

The fragments of mosaic flashing across like…

Yes. Like those little seeds again.

There seems to be a…

Fleck of leg in one fragment of visual. A leg in dark grey trousers…

The fragments begin to pull together in his mind, suddenly; if he was not a Time Lord, if he was the monkey instead of the cat, he would not be now connecting these puzzle parts in his mind. If he had not suggested to Omega to enhance their own natural kaleidoscopic sense of Time, their interpretive powers…

Another fragment of visual from the screen shows the sculpted stick of a firmly fixed leg and a well-trimmed hand, reaching down. The owner of the leg and hand is pulling a rabbit head into waiting arms. As from a newly-taken game bird, there is blood flowing over the sentimental biceps, as ribboned elbows wrap round encompassing forearms. The fingers fit like gloves around slack shoulders full of weight. They lift.

What has been altered, Rassilon wonders, from such earlier malice? Perhaps the monkey changed his mind.

Still, no Time Lord likes being carried.

Rassilon clutches his locket with one hand, grasping the silvery metal through his robes. His other hand reaches for the ground to ship locator… a little hexagonal button inset into a shallow square recess. Nice to know where the Master places importance.

He’ll save that for later.


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