Scarves and Pinstripes
A sound akin to the grind of an ancient motor whirred seemingly from nowhere. The mysterious sound was soon joined by the slow materialization of a large blue police box. All around the police box was a lush forest of pine trees with random, jagged rocks protruding from the planet's surface. The police box, which was actually an alien spacecraft capable of moving through both time and space known as the TARDIS, currently rested on a gravel roadway that cut through the pine forest.
The door to the TARDIS swung open and out stepped a lanky thin man dressed in a long brown coat over a pinstripe suit and wearing red sketcher sneakers. He was wearing a huge grin.
“Well…maybe not Luntracapaltrix exactly…but one of its moons. Well, not the moon, so much as a large asteroid in orbit near the moon.” He was followed by a firecracker tempered woman with red hair. “And not so much as near the moon as exactly 132.5 thousand miles farther from the planet than the moon. A kind of…distant orbit…Well, not an orbit so much as-“
“Listen, Time-Boy!” Exclaimed the easily excitable Donna Noble, “Either tell me where we are in plain and normal Earth English, or don’t tell me!”
The Doctor smiled, always taking pleasure in getting a rise out of Donna. Then, as to make a grand show of it, the Doctor wetted his finger, raised it above his head and into the air, and followed it with a deep sniff.
Donna rolled her eyes.
“If I had to make a guess, I’d say that you, Ms. Donna Noble, are standing on the forest asteroid of,” He bent down and pinched the gravel on the road and rubbed it between his fingers, “Capaltrix 4.” He stood up and brushed his hands together, looking around as if he had misplaced something. “Why…does it feel as though I should remember this place?” He pondered to himself.
Donna shivered, “Wherever we are, a forest is a forest, and since the library, I get the willies whenever we’re in one. Never know when a bloody shadow will eat me.” She turned back towards the TARDIS, about to insist that they choose a new destination, when she noticed that the Doctor had started off down the road, away from the TARDIS.
Donna threw up her hands and stomped after him.
They walked for about a quarter of an hour before seeing a small village down the road a ways. As they approached, the Doctor returned his attention to Donna.
“Usually, I can recall at least general facts of, well, everything.” He waggled his hand towards the village they were approaching,” I’ve been here before though. I remember that I came here, but not much else. Well, other than the general fact that, Capaltrix 4 is home to the galaxy’s largest collection of experimental software engineers.”
Donna looked at the Doctor, “You mean hackers?”
The Doctor smiled, “Oh, yes!”
“So, we’re going to visit ‘Land of the Nerds’ and you wonder why you can’t remember?” She laughed. “Geeky time-boy can’t remember Nerd Camp? This’ll be rich, alright!”
The Doctor feigned hurt. “Oy!” Then he turned serious. “If I can’t remember it, then it probably didn’t happen. Me not remembering could mean a lot of bad things, well, maybe a few good things, but what I’m saying is,” He wiggled his split fingers at his eyes and then all around them, “Keep your eyes open.”
No sooner had the Doctor done this when four humanoid beings leapt from the trees to surround them and, with the bark of an order, opened fire.
When the Doctor woke, he was lying on his back He started rubbing his temples with his eyes closed.
“Static based stun weapon: primitive. Impressive, but primitive.”
A voice from the other side of his eyelids stated. “Indeed.”
The Doctor shot bolt upright and took in his surroundings. As far as prison cells went, his was very standard, all grey with two cots. Instead of bars, the door was a solid piece of metal. Sitting on the bunk opposite the Doctor was the man who had brought him to full alertness.
The man was dressed in a red coat and matching pants with a white shirt on underneath. Covering the shirt was a brown vest and the man’s hair was very curly and long. Most notably about this new man, though, was the multicolored scarf of ridiculous length draped around his neck.
“What?” the Doctor exclaimed.
“I said, ‘Indeed’ I, too, had reached that same conclusion.” The man had a very warm and amiable smile.
The scarfed man reached across and shook the Doctor’s hand very energetically.
“How do you do? I’m the Doctor.”
Donna was holding her head in her hands as she awoke.
“Careful," said a gentle voice. Then a hand braced Donna’s back as she wobbly sat up. “It sometimes scrambles your head.”
“That’s putting it mildly, don’t you think?” Donna opened her eyes and noted the cell she was in as well as the brunette in military fatigue pants and a normal button up top.
“Donna Noble,” Donna said, sticking out her hand and shaking that of her cellmate’s.
“Sarah Jane Smith. I’m going to assume that you didn’t make it all the way to the village either?”
Donna shook her head. “No, my friend and I were jumped when we were almost to it.”
Sarah nodded. “Us, too.”
"You're not from," Donna shook her head, still trying to clear it from its ache as she tried to recall where she was, "Capaltrix?"
Sarah shook her head. "No, I'm traveling. I come from a planet far from here. It's called Earth."
Donna, now almost clear headed, eyed Sarah Jane Smith. "What a small...galaxy? Universe? I don't know. Me too, though. I mean I'm from Earth. What century? How'd you get here?"
Sarah shrugged. "20th century. I travel with a man called the Doctor on board his ship, a machine that travels through space and time."
"Oy? This some sort of joke?"
Sarah looked puzzled as she sat on her cot. "How so?"
"The Doctor? In his TARDIS? The Doctor? Scrawny, cheeky, Time-Boy, talks with big words that don't make sense?" Donna was leaning forward from her cot enough to almost be considered standing up.
"Um, yes. Well, sort of. I wouldn't describe him as scrawny, or 'time-boy,' but he's definitely cheeky, and the rest is on the spot. You know him?"
Donna couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Yes, I know him. I came here with him."
"How is that..." Sarah cut off. "Nevermind, either way we need to worry about getting out."
Donna, at Sarah's prompting, pulled away from her puzzling. "Any suggestions?"
Sarah looked around the cell. "Sadly, no."
Donna stood up and rolled up her sleeves. "Well, we can't wait for the Doctor. Two women, one cell," she sighed. "Our guards must be men. Let's get to work."
"You aren't very articulate are you? How about you relax and have a jelly baby?" The scarfed Doctor offered a paper bag from his pocket to the Doctor.
Forgetting the offered bag, the Doctor finally lifted his dropped jaw. "This isn't possible. I don't remember this. That means that it didn't happen." The Doctor stood and ran his hand through his hair. "Think, think, think..."
"Oh, I get it. The spastic little fellow thinks he's me." The scarfed Doctor stood and examined his counterpart with a large smile. "Well, it would seem to me that if you can't remember any of this than it must get erased from my mind."
The Doctor smiled and turned back towards facing his previous regeneration with a slight smile. "Well, I have to admit, its always rather good getting a chance to meet yourself."
The scarfed Doctor shook his hand again and then walked past the Doctor to the cell door. "Yes, yes, that's all well and good. More importantly though, one of me had a 39% chance of finding a way out of this cell before horrible and inconceivable things happened. Our chances have now doubled, don't you think?"
The Doctor smiled at his old self. "I'd say more than doubled, I've gotten a little wiser over the years."
The old self stepped in closer to the Doctor. "Precisely, so what say you that we get out of here and figure out what we're up against."
The most recent incarnation of the Doctor pulled out his sonic screwdriver and approached the door. After trying two different settings the scarfed Doctor stepped forward. "Its double deadlocked." He started to unwrap his scarf from his neck and folding it upon itself. "I'm fairly sure that my previous plan might be the best course of action."
The Doctor watched as his previous incarnation laid down and used the scarf as a pillow. "Patience. Someone's going to open the door someday."
The Doctor, still standing near the door, pointed a finger at the door. "Ah, my old nemesis: Door. Well, today's the day you lose this old battle of force versus lock. Well, you won't stump me, no sir!"
The prone Doctor looked up at his now ranting companion. "I see that my love of the spoken word has failed to diminish."
The Doctor turned away from the door smiling. "Oh, yes! Talk to much, that's me. Well, us. Straight away though, my old nemesis is doing it again. He's almost got me beat. Not in the whole 'can't open' kind of way either, but in the 'distract us away from the real goal' kind of defeat." He had his counterpart's full attention now.
"Think about it. We're on the planet of hackers. Everything is computers, knowledge, information at the speed of light. Or..." he raised his sonic screwdriver at the ceiling and looked at it as if trying to interpret something from it. Following his new divining rod he went to the back, right ceiling corner of the cell. "Sound..."
He aimed the sonic screwdriver at the corner of the cell and blasted it at full power. A short puff came from the wall and the Doctor shouted "Ha!"
The scarfed Doctor sat up, visibly impressed. "See? My plan worked. I knew that if I just sat back and let you have the stage it'd be short work."
The Doctor eyed his old self, knowing full well the play of words that he himself would have once used.
"Oh, yes! On an asteroid where information is key, we just gave them a blind spot. They'll be here in minutes to open the door and satisfy their uncontrollable curiosity." His face saddened. "I just created a trap that I would easily fall for."
The scarfed Doctor patted himself on the back. "Yes, be grateful for small blessings. They don't know that."
Donna and Sarah were crying.
At least, that's what the nearest Guard, glancing at their monitor, saw. He also saw that Sarah was holding her ankle while being comforted by a distraught Donna. Grabbing his keycard, he made the decision to check out the situation.
"Back away from the door." He yelled into the cell. He was answered with sniffing and then scooting. Waving the keycard over the panel, the lock released with a loud "Beep" and the door slid open. The two inmates had moved to the cot on the right side of the cell. As he was about to ask the nature of the situation, Donna said "Her ankle's broken. She needs a doctor!" When the Guard stepped closer, Donna jumped onto his back and started hitting his head with her hands. As she did so, Sarah kicked the Guard hard between the legs before following through with two right hooks.
Donna got off of the slumped and unconscious Guard and gave Sarah a high-five. "That was bloody brilliant."
Nodding excited agreement, Sarah said, "Quick, we should find the Doctor."
They ran down the corridor, Sarah in the lead. The walls were all a soft yellow while the floor was a very soft blue. Very unlike their cells, and very unlike any prison either of them had ever seen. The first opening in the walls that they came to was a double set of doors and they were propped wide open. Peering in, Sarah and Donna took in the site. The conglomeration of species was broader than any that the two companions had ever seen. Blobs, humanoids, avian, and things that neither could identify. On the far side of the room was a buffet-like area that encouraged the two women to label the room as a cafeteria.
Taking the lead, Donna led them both to the line for food, grabbing trays and trying their best to blend in. Once they were in line they found that they were in the perfect position to eves drop on the two beings ahead of them in line. Both were humanoid, yet neither was human in that they each had bright red skin and were only knee high.
"No, Nebkanaklefax. I mean that they are exactly the same. As in not similar, but they are the exact same blue box." His and his companion's voices were very high pitched.
"How is that possible?"
The first smiled. "Fexel has implemented his computations already. If Fexel's right, then the two blue boxes are proof. Fexel's pulled them from different moments in time."
Sarah, finally seeming to understand, turned away from the conversation and grabbed Donna by the elbow. "There are two Doctors!"
Donna shook her head. "But they don't look the same."
"No," Sarah said knowingly, "He's a Time-Lord. When they die, they heal, but they also receive a new appearance. If there are two TARDIS', then they must be from separate times."
Donna started to get it. "Oy! And if the Doctor could have died between those two times...then two different looking Doctors!" Donna looked annoyed. "Always the last to know. That's Donna Noble. Travels with cheeky alien boys, never knows they don't die, just change."
The two noticed the sudden quiet around them at that point and looked up. Everyone in the cafeteria was looking at them.
"You have any chips?" Donna asked.
"Yes, we love chips." Followed Sarah.
The door to the Doctors' cell opened. Their wait hadn't been too long, and both Doctors were standing side by side in their cell, facing the doorways, hands behind their backs. On the other side of the doorway was two guards with oddly shaped weapons, similar in design to Donna's cellphone.
The more recent regeneration of the two smiled and raised one hand to wave. "Hello."
The scarfed Doctor did the same, "How do you do? We're the Doctor. Are you new to being guards?"
The guards raised their weapons, but looked confused.
The other Doctor took up from here. "He only asks you, because you never really frisked us."
The scarfed Doctor pointed in the direction of his later self, "My other me makes a very valid point. If you'd have done a proper job you'd have found some rather interesting items." Both Doctors brought forward their other, until now, unseen hands. Each holding their own, uniquely different, sonic screwdrivers.
The guards raised their weapons, this time threateningly.
The scarfed Doctor held up both of his slightly, the one still holding the sonic screwdriver. "No need to worry. These are just sonic screwdrivers. I have jelly babies in my other pocket, if you want to see a real weapon."
"Well," Said the more recent Doctor. "I wouldn't say harmless, though. I've seen some nasty things done with Sonic devices." He swung his sonic screwdriver's blue tip towards the red tip of his companion's. "Like this."
Together they activated their screwdrivers. The resonating frequencies of both screwdrivers multiplied to the point of supersonic sound, causing the two guards to drop their weapons and grasp their ears.
"Run!" Yelled the pinstripe suited Doctor. Before taking off to follow, the scarfed Doctor grabbed both guards by the necks and knocked their heads together.
"I've always believed that one head was better than two."
Together the Doctors rounded a corner and came up on a scene that they hadn't expected. It was a large room and a large grouping of different species were all standing and staring at two beings.
"Sarah Jane Smith!" The slimmer Doctor stepped through the crowd, ignoring it altogether. "Aren't you just a sight for sore eyes!" He continued to push his way through until he reached her, at which point he gave the shocked woman a hug that she couldn't fight.
The scarfed Doctor walked forward towards the nearest being. For all intents and purposes, it was a large rabbit in a jogging suit. "You'll have to excuse my friend, he seems to get easily distracted. If you'll excuse me, I should go introduce myself."
He stepped through the crowd in the other Doctor's wake until he was next to him.
He proffered his paper bag towards Donna. "Jelly Baby?"
The other Doctor released Sarah and looked her up and down. "My goodness you look well...and young."
Donna was still staring at the scarfed Doctor. "So, he's you?"
Donna's Doctor turned towards her. "Oh, yes! Back when I loved scarves. Still love scarves, don't get me wrong. They can be quite handy. Although," He grabbed at the scarf a bit. "My tastes in length have changed just a smidge."
The scarfed Doctor yanked his scarf back heatedly and pocketed the jelly babies. "If you don't mind, I happen to be very fond of my scarf currently." He faced Donna again. "Hello. I'm the Doctor, and you are?"
Donna shivered. "This is a wee bit bonkers." She took his hand nervously. "I'm Donna Noble."
"Pleasure to meet you Ms. Donna Noble. Now if you'll excuse us, I believe my future self has forgotten to take note of our surroundings."
"Pshaw," responded his counterpart. "Just wanted to get the fun bits out of the way." He turned towards the crowd who were slowly getting their wits back about them.
"Hello!" he put up his most charming grin. "I'm, I mean we're, the Doctor. You are all the most brilliant minds in the next 100 thousand lightyears. If me and myself weren't in the room, I'd even say genius. That being said, one of you, all of you, small collections of you bored at recess, got together and hacked into the Time Vortex. You've removed yourselves from time, and us with it. Which sounds like fun, (hackers are all about fun, aren't you?) but the vacuum in time that that's created will start destroying the fabric of reality. So if you don't mind, would whoever's done this please wave a hand...or ear...or tentacle thingy...?"
Sarah's Doctor placed a hand on his counterpart's shoulder. "Well said. How'd you piece that all together though?"
Not taking his eyes off of the crowd, the scarfed Doctor's future self lowered his voice. "I'm slowly remembering everything you do as you do it. Nothing after the fact though. Time within this Time Bubble is stitching itself together instantly, but its not doing it in the fabric that we're from. Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey, but all in a really fast-like wibwobtimewime while this reality tries to hold itself together by the laws that it used to know."
The scarfed Doctor smiled. "You know," his voice equally lowered, "if it wasn't going to destroy the entire cosmos, I'd love to study this. Its absolutely brilliant."
The future version of the Doctor glanced away enough to look at his past self and show his face to be in a similar emotion. "Yeah...its bloody brilliant. Let's hope they can undo it."
Donna turned towards Sarah. "We don't even exist do we?"
Sarah shook her head. "When he's alone its hard enough to get his attention, now that he's got himself babble with, it'll be impossible."
"Oh I don't think so." Donna grabbed both Doctors by the shoulders and turned them around. "Oy, alien-boys! Nobody's answering, they're just standing their confused. Why don't you try asking someone who might know a thing or two?"
Both Doctor's spoke in unison. "Who?"
Sarah Jane Smith and Donna Noble both smiled as they pointed at each other.
Sarah's Doctor rolled his eyes. "Well, don't keep me in suspense, Sarah. It isn't as though the whole Universe is waiting on your words or anything."
Donna spoke up. "You want the two red little guys over there!" She pointed.
Sarah followed. "Ask them for Fexel." The scarfed Doctor hugged Sarah.
"Marvelous, my dear."
The Doctor dressed in the pinstripes simply smiled in Donna's direction. "You're absolutely brilliant, Donna Noble."
Everyone still seemingly frozen. The Doctors walked over towards the two small red men. The Sarah's Doctor mumbled to his counterpart. "Allow me to handle this," which was answered with a small nod.
"Hello!" He said with a small wave. "I'm sure you heard what my friend here was saying. We're looking for a being called Fexel. Nothing too bothersome, just trying to save the Universe is all."
The red man on the right spoke first, in his very high pitched voice. "Fexel hasn't been seen in days. Not to mention, we're not inclined to talk to trespassers on our asteroid." He jabbed a finger at the Doctor.
"Trespassers? Us? Well, that hardly seems fair, I mean, we're only offering to save your lives. Lets see, how about you allow my friend and myself to buy your meal?"
The second one looked down at his empty tray. "Its free."
The Doctor threw the end of his scarf around his neck, "Then you certainly won't mind if we cover the tab. See? All nice and friendly now?"
The second one turned towards his friend and whispered something very fast. "How do we know you're on the up and up?"
The pinstripe suited Doctor spoke this time. "Oh, they think we're hackers or authority. They're worried were going to either steal whatever this Fexel is working on or that we're going to turn Fexel in."
"Quite right to be worried, too." Took over the scarfed Doctor. "I mean, why wouldn't you be? You're two very smart individuals, and this Fexel is too," he waved his hand in the air to encompass everything, "look what's been done. Not to mention, that we did come out of nowhere, without invitation on this rather small and well hidden asteroid. You'd be fools to not be worried. And you two are certainly no fools."
He paused. "But...if we're thieves, we walk away with a good piece of data...and everyone lives...if we're authorities, we walk away with Fexel, and yourselves for obstructing justice...and everyone lives...but if we're right, and Fexel has been playing around with forces that no one here probably fully understands, you all die..." He walked to the nearest table and sat in a chair, reclining and pulling out his yo-yo and the bag of jelly babies, tossing the bag to the other Doctor who helped himself.
Everyone started to break the silence. Mumbling and weighing the options. Donna took notice that many of them were quite happy to just give the Doctors Fexel.
After deliberating between themselves, the two small red men turned back towards the Doctors. "Two of you go with us, two of you stay." Before both of the Doctors could raise to follow, the scarfed Doctor and Donna both vanished.
"Oy! Where have you taken them?" the remaining Doctor demanded. Sarah Jane closed the distance between them and was soon by his side. At the same time that the Doctor asked, he also pocketed the bag of Jelly Babies and drew his sonic screwdriver. Immediately, he was trying to determine the location of, what appeared to him to be, the transmat beam.
"They have gone to see Fexel. They are safe." Said the red man on the right.
"Obviously," the Doctor mumbled. "I'm still alive." After receiving no signal on his screwdriver, the Doctor pocketed it and looked around at everyone. "What's to happen to us?"
"You are free, with escort, to move about the asteroid."
The red man who still held his empty tray rolled his eyes. "That means I must be your escort. Very well, lead the way."
Hands in his pockets, walking side by side with his former companion, the Doctor wandered out of the cafeteria and left behind a much confused and bewildered group of computer hackers.
The transmat had obviously been recently developed on the asteroid, as Donna and the Doctor were both very dizzy when they had reached their destination. They both sat for a minute before taking in their surroundings.
They were in a very similarly schemed hallway as to the one outside the cafeteria, all soft blues and yellows. Unlike that hallway though, there were doors every few paces. Each with names on them.
"Its otornonumerical." said the Doctor.
"It's what?" demanded Donna, still whirling from the transmat.
"Otornonumerical. Its the basically accepted 'alphabet' in this galaxy. The TARDIS is translating it into pronounceable names for you, but I can read it, so I know where to go. Fexel is..."He looked both ways very quickly before pointing down to one end of the hall. "That way." He took two steps and then stopped and turned. "I mean that way."
Donna followed behind, smiling to herself. "You are the same Doctor."
"Of course I'm the same Doctor. We aren't that different. Just visibly."
Donna looked at him, very seriously. "You are different. I have no idea how far back you are in his timeline, but he's gone through a lot. You became harder for a while, and you're just now getting back to being, well, your old self."
The Doctor held up a hand. "I appreciate your vagueness, but you need to exercise it even more strictly, keep my future to yourself." He smiled. "Although, I would like to know how many years I have to wait before I have to live through this again."
Donna smiled. "You're an old man now. He told me that he's 903 years old."
The Doctor's mouth dropped. "Great Rassilon! That's almost 200 years."
"Oy? If you're such a youngin' then why do you look so much older?"
They continued down the corridor, the Doctor continued reading names. "You should have seen my last few forms. It varies. Regeneration changes many things, face, height, hair, moods-"
"Like my Doctor not liking scarves anymore."
The Doctor nodded. "Exactly. It also randomizes age."
The Doctor stopped walking and pointed at the door. "Fexel," He bowed to Donna. "Care to make a scene, Ms. Noble?"
She bowed back, smiling. "I don't mind if I do, Doctor." She opened the door.
"Why aren't I still with you?" Sarah Jane Smith asked.
They were walking down more corridors of the same. The
Doctor knew what he was looking for, but as usual, was keeping it to himself.
"Well, that took you long enough to get around to."
She looked down at the floor at this, but kept quiet.
He smiled. "Its not what you think. I won't tell you the spoilers, but you're alive and well and living a great life, Sarah. You're living happily ever after with a very good life."
She smiled. "You're a tough act to follow, Doctor."
"Oh, and I know it. I've only just met me and I'm already my biggest fan." He smiled an ear to ear grin.
Her face took on a slightly harder, sadder look. "Your eyes. They're different. Others might not notice, but I've seen you regenerate, the look in your eyes never changed. Something big happened to you. Something very painful." He moved to speak, but she cut him off. "I don't want to know, I'm not asking. I'm just letting you know that those of us who know you, we see it and I worry for the you that still has to go through it."
He mouth went tight and he nodded.
Their escort had stayed quiet since first following them out of the cafeteria, and remained so during this conversation.
The Doctor's face instantly lost all trace of the previous sternness as he noted a symbol drawn on a door. "Well, look at that!" He yanked his spectacles out of his coat and put them on, getting closer to the door. "If I'm not mistaken, that's the Universal symbol for 'Server Room.'"
Their escort ran forward at this and got between the
Doctor and the door. "This room is off limits to tourists. Please move
"Sarah Jane Smith," the Doctor said, turning to his former companion and seemingly ignoring their escort's warning. "Do you know anything about the species Blogaforensis?"
"No, not a thing. Why?"
He pointed over his shoulder at their escort. "Well, that's what our friend is. About a few thousand of years ago they were mighty warriors, scoured a small system, took control, ruled for hundreds of years, it was very impressive. That is until the Cretorians."
The escort started waving his hands. "That's enough."
The Doctor went on, back to the escort. "The Cretorians went and, after much work, inserted a virus to change the genetic makeup of the Blogaforensis. They made it where any sharp loud noise, any at all, and they'd immediately go into a coma. Much like some sheep. "
Sarah looked enlightened. "You can't fight if every gunshot makes you pass out."
The Doctor touched Sarah's nose. "Right! It worked better than that, though!" He clapped his hands and their escort's eyes rolled up in his head and he fell over, unconscious.
"Kind of sad really." The Doctor tried to hold on to a stoic face, but within seconds he and Sarah were both laughing.
He pulled out his sonic screwdriver and was soon helping Sarah drag their escort into the server room.
Inside, the Doctor ran to a terminal and started alternating between typing and using his sonic screwdriver on the computer.
Sarah was behind him. "What are we looking for?"
"Incase the other me can't persuade Fexel to reverse this, I'd like to at least know what we're up against so that I might have a chance to stop it myself."
"What is 'it?'"
The Doctor tilted his head to the side, never taking his eyes off of the computer terminal. "Fexel's managed to use math and a concentrated beam of neutrenos, I assume, to manipulate the Time Vortex. So far, he's only used to it seclude the asteroid, creating that Universe-ending hole in space."
Sarah rolled her eyes. "Well, judging that I doubt that you could change too much in however many regenerations its been, I assume that 'so far' implies that he could do much worse?"
The Doctor smiled. "I've missed you, Sarah Jane Smith."
"I bet you have. Now get on with this. I'm worried about the Doc-...well, the other you."
The Doctor scrunched up his face, concentrating. "I'm remembering it all as if it happened so long ago, because, to me it has, but I'm also remembering it as it happens." The Doctor smiled. "So far, I'm alive and well."
Donna burst through the door and headed in first. "Hey there," she took in what she saw, "Greeny, lizard girl...?"
The Doctor was through the door right behind her, and he quickly assessed the dormitory. Fexel, standing as high as Donna's waist, wasn't actually a lizard in anyway, the Doctor noted. Instead, Donna's assumption came from Fexel's pointed ears and high brow ridge.
The room itself was wired everywhere. Instead of being a sleeping quarters, it was obvious that Fexel had gone and created this equipment to test her equations. Fexel was wearing a small set of glasses also wired into the walls as well as a similar set of gloves that she was using to manipulate something unseen to the intruders.
"Well, you've been busy." Added the Doctor. "That's a Tranegan Wave Extrapolator. Not cheap, or easy to build, which is what I'm going to bet you did."
Fexel, finally noticing the Doctor and Donna, nodded. "Thank you," she looked off into nothingness for a moment. "Doctor...and Donna Noble."
"How'd you know who we were?" Donna blurted.
"Oh that's clever." The Doctor answered. "And horribly stupid." He turned to Donna and pointed at Fexel and all of the wiring. "She's gone and wired herself directly into the Time Vortex. Those glasses she's wearing allow her to see into the Vortex."
Donna looked concerned and confused. "And what does that mean?"
The Doctor's face went sad. "I've known some Time Lords to go mad. Other beings have almost no chance. To stare into it for days on end...not even a Time Lord can handle that."
"I won't waiver, Doctor." Fexel broke in. She giggled, "I've become a Goddess. I shall control my own Universe." She became less giddy. "If you try to stop me, I will remove you from existence..."
The Doctor held up his hands. "No, no, that won't be necessary. Ms. Noble and myself were just hoping to have a little chat with you. You see, we thought you didn't know what you were doing, but you obviously do." He turned and touched Donna's shoulder, indicating that they should leave. "That is, unless" he turned back to look at Fexel, "you don't fully understand the dynamics of existential spacial edge quite to the effects that we Time Lords do?"
Fexel, for the first time since they had entered the room, looked as though she forgot she were wearing the Vortex glasses and looked directly at the Doctor. Real fear on her face. "Existential spacial what?"
"Nothing, no worries, I'm sure you have it under control. Ms. Noble, would you mind leading me back to the cafeteria?"
"They don't have chips, Doctor."
"No chips? What horrible end of the galaxy are we in?" They turned again to leave.
"Wait!" Fexel yelled, and the door slammed shut on them. Within the blink of a thought, they were facing Fexel without having moved their feet at all. "What's existential spacial edge?"
The Doctor, laughing inwardly, went on to explain. "Yes, I see that your little experiment might be drawing a little too smartly in that direction." He held up his hands as if holding a large ball. "The real Universe has no actual edge, no spot where space stops. In a way, it more or less just fades out, until you're in the void. The space between spaces. Its natural, and poses no problems." The Doctor dropped on hand and pretended to hold a much smaller ball. "The problem with creating an artificial reality lies mostly with the edges you create. You have so many new rules and laws, holding together your own universal physics, you have to create an edge, a place where existence in this artificial universe ends."
Donna looked confused. "Why can't you just let it fade like the real Universe?"
The Doctor put his hands up as if teaching a small class. "Well, that's it isn't it? This isn't real. It's all artificial. If the edges faded, then this little pocket Universe would have a hard time not bumping into the other Universes. You'd tear holes in Universes across the dimensions." He looked closer at Fexel's tired eyes. "You are spending all of your energy just trying to keep this universe's fading edges from touching the others. You're exhausted from keeping this universe from drifting through the Void."
Fexel, tiredly, looked at the Doctor. "Tell me, Time Lord, what do I do?"
The Doctor smiled. "The answer is obvious. You need to return this chunk of existence to the Universe it belongs. That'll solve your problems."
Fexel frowned. "No. It's mine." Through gritted
teeth she said the next. "Solve my problem."
The Doctor's smile was gone. "I just did." His voice was louder. "Time Lords couldn't even dabble in existential spacial edges. If you don't put the Universe back together than you'll soon tire, and then you'll let it drift." The Doctor put his hands in his pockets.
Donna mumbled. "That can't be good."
The Doctor pulled his hands from his pockets and put them behind his back. "No. If it bumps into ours than its amazingly good. If it doesn't, which is much more likely, all of the universes will end." Donna took what the Doctor pressed into her hands.
Fexel thundered. "There must be a way. My universe, mine, mine, mine!"
The room started to shimmer. The Doctor's look was saddened. "You've looked into the Vortex too long."
Donna aimed the sonic screwdriver at the nearest piece of machinery and activated it.
Donna looked at the Doctor expectantly. "Run!"
The Doctor started hitting the terminal. "No, no, no!"
Sarah's attention was quickly returned to the Doctor. "What? What happened?"
"The universe is spiraling out of control." The Doctor quieted tilted his head to the side while still typing into the terminal. "I'm pretty sure I did it. Well, my other me."
Sarah saw the Blogaforensis start to shift and kicked him back into unconsciousness. "What does that mean?"
The Doctor gave up on the terminal and ran his hands through his hair, exasperatedly. "I don't know. I just don't know." He got a smart look in his eye. "Unless...Unless!" He ran, jumping over the Blogaforensis and running past Sarah and leaping out the door. A few seconds later, he poked his head back into the door, smiling. "You coming? We've got all of reality to save."
Sarah ran behind him. "Doctor! Doctor! Where are we going?"
He didn't slow. "To collect some things from your TARDIS!"
"Oy! Doctor! Where are you going?" Donna raced behind the scarfed Doctor.
"She has no more control over the drift of the universes. We need the TARDIS!"
They ran through the building before finally catching up with their dopplegangers outside of the cafeteria. Instead of stopping to talk the Doctors stopped for a few seconds.
Pointing at each other they yelled, "TARDIS!"
The most recent regeneration of the Doctor led the way. "I found where our TARDIS' are in the computer mainframe." They came upon another door, light blue, and both Doctors aimed their screwdrivers at the door, blasting the lock off.
Inside a small room both TARDIS' faced the doorway. The pinstripe suited Doctor ran for the TARDIS on the left, pulling out his key.
"Excuse me," the scarfed Time Lord spoke up. "That's not your TARDIS."
Donna's Doctor smiled at his counterpart. "I know," and he disappeared into the TARDIS.
They all looked at each other. The Doctor looking just as lost as Donna and Sarah Jane.
When the door to the TARDIS opened again, the Doctor walked out and held open the door behind him. He was quickly followed by a little tin dog.
"What do you need, Master?"
Donna laughed. "What in blazes is that little toy?"
The scarfed Doctor poked a finger at her. "Hey now, that's my dog."
"I see that. What do we need it for?"
Her Doctor smiled. "K-9's an old friend of mine, he's great with computers." He patted the robot head. "Aren't you, K-9?"
The scarfed Doctor seemed to make sense of it. "Brilliant, Doctor."
The suited Doctor dropped to his knees and cupped K-9's head. "K-9, I need you to find the Fexel's room and replace the device that Donna destroyed. Keep it from fluctuating and don't let Fexel do anything to stop you. Understand?"
"Affirmative, Master." K-9 left the small room containing the two TARDIS'.
The suited Doctor turned to Donna and Sarah. "This is where you two say goodbye, make it quick, I need to talk to...well...myself."
Sarah Jane and Donna hugged. "Whatever reason that I'm not still with him, I'm glad he found you." Donna let go of the embrace and slapped her Doctor.
"You're damned right stupid for losing this one, Doctor."
The Doctor rubbed his jaw and was soon kissed on the cheek by a appreciative Sarah Jane Smith.
Donna hugged the scarfed Doctor. "I think you should keep the scarf. It's very...you." With that the companions entered their respective TARDIS'.
"I see that you've got it all worked out then." The scarfed Doctor said, pulling his fedora from his pocket and putting it on.
"Well, I've had a good lot of time to figure it out, almost two hundred years." The Doctors shook hands and turned towards their doors. "Oh, right! One more thing that I figured out..."
Donna heard the Doctor yell the last bit with the door to the TARDIS wide open. 'You wouldn't happen to have a..."He caught something. "You sure? Look what I'm saying. Of course, you're sure. You've got bags and bags of them."
He closed the door and ran up the TARDIS' walk and tossed what he had caught from the other Doctor to Donna. "Jelly Baby?"
She caught it and set it aside. "Better things to do, probably. By the way, what are we going to do?"
The Doctor started flipping levers and twisting nobs, running at full gallop around the TARDIS control console. "I've got K-9 steering the bubble universe away from all the others. So they won't implode, explode, plodify, or kaplode. While he's doing that, "he jumped under the console tearing at wires and then suturing them back together with the sonic screwdriver. "we're going to, well, me and my younger self anyways, are going to use the TARDIS to guide it into a collision with our, the correct, universe."
Donna jumped back as the Doctor ran by. "The TARDIS can do that?"
The Doctor stopped at a large lever and smiled deviously. "Two can." He yanked on the lever.
The whir of the TARDIS started up and they started getting thrown around the console.
The display started showing lights and a digital representation of what Donna assumed was the bubble universe they were tugging.
Within a couple of minutes the TARDIS slowed down and the Doctor sat back in the console room chair.
"That's it?" Donna asked, incredulously. "Wink, blink, and blammo, all is well?"
The Doctor yelled, "Oh, yes!"
Donna took his seat as he stood to face her. "What about K-9?"
He pulled out his brainy-specs and put them on the edge of his nose. "Well, I went back and picked him up."
"This is all bonkers," Donna said. "The you from 200 years ago that we just had an adventure with just went back and picked up your tin dog." She smiled. "Makes total sense."
The Doctor responded dizzily for a second. "Woah! Memories are catching up." He straightened. "Which reminds me. One more thing."
He reached forward and touched Donna's temples.
"This is one adventure you can't remember."
Donna jumped up. "Oy! What's that?"
"I'm sorry, Donna. Sarah Jane Smith is still alive in your timeline. If you meet her and start reminiscing, even on accident, she'll remember, and she can't either. She knows too much information that she has to learn on her own."
"So why do I have to forget." Donna had stopped moving and just stood, barely out of arm's reach of the Doctor.
"I've bumped into Sarah Jane multiple times since she was the Sarah Jane that you met. It stands to reason that I might again, and she can't remember, meaning," He reached forward and touched her temples. She resisted slightly, but surrendered. "neither can you."
"Just this adventure?" She said, tearing up.
"Of course. Just this adventure. I'm sorry, so sorry."
She smiled. "I like the man you used to be, this man too, but I liked him too." She smiled. "You should rediscover the scarf."
He smiled sadly. "We'll see," he tilted his head to the side. "Might have to be a new one, I kind of unraveled the other one." He shook his head. "Anyways, memory time."
He touched her temples and closed her eyes.
When she reopened her eyes, Donna was sitting on the console room chair. She looked at the Doctor.
"You were saying the beautifully Terrorizing Fields of Rippled Rainbows?"
The Doctor smiled. "Oh, yes! Rippled Rainbows." He flipped some levers and threw his leg up straight to kick a large lever on the TARDIS console. "Did you know that when the beams hit your eyes, your scared into a blissful feeling? The entire species of Ripplex are made of petals. That's right petals, they ride on the breeze and across the rainbow fields. Its absolutely brilliant."
"Oy, time-boy! Less talking, more...lever pulling. I feel like I need a vacation!"
The Doctor smiled even wider, if that was possible. "Yes, mum!"