Doctor Who: Life with Theta

Chia Pest

“Lao-Tsen! You just attempted to murder one of my friends!” the Time Lord said softly, twirling his sonic like a handgun as he skirted around to the other side of the freezer unit to face the polymorph, “... are you happy? I was going to request a stay for you, but now... I think I’ll prolong the hostility and claim self defense! En garde!”

Lao-Tsen cocked its heads at him, squirming and writhing within itself like a living oil spill as it careened toward his location, coalescing into a vaguely humanoid shape once more as it moved. It leaped into the air, one black tentacle sharpening to a point until it resembled a rough murasame, the other taking the shape of a smaller kodachi for defense.

“Is that supposed to frighten me, you thick little amoeba? Read my lips!” the Time Lord taunted, his face contorting into a dark, calculating grin.

“What must your poor mother have looked like? I’m guessing... putrid combat pseudopods, malformed Golgi bodies, couple of flesh-eating viruses making a meal of her vacuoles, terminal H2O deficiency centralized in the cellular membrane, irreversible advanced cilial necrosis, excess lipid buildup on the outer shell of the nucleic stem bundle... ah, that’s right!” he prodded acidly as the polymorph swelled bigger with outrage at his every word, “... oh yes! Strike a chord, did I?”

He pursed his lips in mockery as the black mass with feet and sharp limbs circled closer, rounding on him like a feral beast.

“Well, now! An emotional response! Doesn’t take much to occupy a goober, does it?”

He tossed a quick glance at Jack, who was busy burping little Jamie.

The man favored his lover with a sullen glare, then switched tots with Martha, who just smiled and reached for the baby to cover her snicker.

“Did he just call that thing’s mother a senile old bag?”

Jack nearly choked when Martha nodded.

“Well, Doctor Jones, it seems that this regeneration’s quite the tease. That intel’s going to be useful when I try for a daughter in bed tonight... ”

“Yes, well, depending on what does and does not irk Maternus puerulus here, I may just be too tired to play bottom!” the Time Lord cried merrily, dancing away from another of the polymorph’s increasingly wild thrusts.

Martha shook her head and just sighed.

“Have a care, you two! Jack Harkness you are not to engage in intercourse with the Doctor for at least a week! He’s just given birth to twins, and prematurely no less!”

She called out to them, but neither one seemed interested in being reprimanded. Jack was too busy admiring the Doctor’s footwork, and the Doctor was having too much fun driving the polymorph into a mad rage and showing off. As she watched the ancient, ginger haired alien dive sideways onto a sheet of unmelted ice, the polymorph watched her, and it was ready.

Like a streak of night it melted toward her, forming a thousand little lances with its darkening mass as it thrust itself in her direction. She was the only one with no protection, it reasoned, and she had the Time Lord’s squirming spawn to protect. To use a quaint little human phrase, this Martha Jones was easy pickings. It chuckled to itself as it reached for her, growing out and out and out in countless needle shapes, aiming for her feeble human heart and the hearts of the child she was tending. Yes. Once Doctor Jones was removed, Lao-Tsen would tend to the man who held the other child to his chest, Jack Harkness, the father of the Time Lord’s twin offspring. Once they all were dead, then... then it would be just The Doctor. Oh, the look on that pretty face when Lao-Tsen shoved his dripping stinger, full of fertilizing venom, into The Doctor’s naked stomach. Sword Dancer would conceive, and in less than an hour, give birth to a new race of polymorphs... omnipotent and strong, free of the stresses and strains of previous generations! Oh, how Lao-Tsen would relish plunging his sting into that sweet flesh, then watching as that flesh grew hot and swollen with life, burning with the unborn masses of his brethren.

“Come out, Sword Dancer! Come out so I may prick your belly with my poisonous thorn and fill your loins with the seed of my people! You, who move between moments, who imprisoned my kind in the Void! Soon you will birth my revenge unto this dirty little world.”

But where was the Time Lord? Lao-Tsen molded an eye out of himself and twisted it up, looking in every direction. But the alien had vanished from view. Rage hardened the black spikes of his body into dark, icy lances at his failure, and he reached for Martha with them, straining toward her destruction with everything he was, goading the Time Lord into saving his beloved companion, and his children.

Suddenly Martha felt herself shoved back by a strong arm, and her body struck the floor as hot red spray fell across her face.

“Sir!” someone screamed aloud, and then the sound of the ice guns rampaged overhead.

Flash frozen in its elastic state, the polymorph struck the ground and shattered into pieces. He was gone, perhaps for good.

But the Doctor was writhing where he’d fallen, holding his lower body and murmuring to himself in a soft, lilting speech. Jack was near him at once, and Martha came soon after. Each of them held one of his children. He could have laughed with joy, if not for the burning in his belly. Already the polymorph grubs had taken root and were growing at a fatal rate in his stomach. He had known what would happen, known this would be the only way to insure their defeat.

“Martha. Not much time. The saline, a needle. Inject... all of it... my womb. The salt should... burn them out... please! Quick... ly! Can’t... hold them back... much longer.”

His eyes were round, black as jewels in the brightness of the icy bomb shelter intersection. Jack held him then, rocking him. His face was white with strain, drawn, taut; full of anxious fear.

“Oh, Jack! I’m always such a coward! Always... so frightened. I can’t... ” the Time Lord gasped faintly as Martha stuck a large hypo into the bag, filled the cavity, tapped the air out, and then rammed the needle down straight into his sweat slick abdomen. He had already begun to show, but as the salt seared into him, he screamed and scrabbled and jerked against the ice beneath his back, each breath a wave of anguished cries and shrieks as briny fire cauterized him from within. When he finally stilled, his stomach had long since stopped swelling, and the last of the dead grubs poured from the rent in streams of ashy, clotted blood. Reaching for some water, Martha flushed out the wound until it was free of foreign material and toweled it, watching in silence as the flesh then knitted itself back into place and stretched muscles shrank in sluggish unison, reclaiming their former tautness. The Doctor was sleeping, only sleeping... she reminded herself. But, she wished he would wake up. Jack was there, holding him, brushing his hair from his face, rocking him gently as he had before.

“I think I’ll have the TARDIS take us back to the flat. Then I’ll put him and the babies to bed. You want to come?” Jack whispered, squeezing Martha’s shoulder.

“God! I wish I could, but I’ve got people to care for here... and that Reptiliform child dozing in the freezer crate... who’s going to look after it till he’s better? I mean, the TARDIS may have a Tundra room but, how are we supposed to get Little Lizzie in through those narrow blue doors without his help? At the very least, he’d have to be awake to rig the Chameleon Circuit. Besides,” she said, bouncing a twin on either hip as she looked down at the Time Lord sleeping at their feet. “I’ve never seen him crash like this... might do him some good.”


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