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Srebrna, Skald Arkadii (and thoughts on writing)

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But if you can still dream – 26

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Chapter 13: Yeah, reel me in, my precious girl

Yeah, reel me in, my precious girl,

Come on, take me home.

‘Cause my body’s tired of travelling

And my heart don’t wish to roam.

Yeah, walk with me, my love, my love,

Walk tall, walk proud, walk far,

For you know my love, you are, you are,

You are my shining star.

“Love Don’t Roam”, Murray Gold

Rose, Doctor, Jack

Norway apparently had no proper procedures for dealing with citizens of United Kingdom randomly found on an isolated beach between fjords. She was lucky they had a boat patrol out there at all, and that the boat patrol noticed her moving. And that they spoke English. All right, the last one wasn’t that improbable – most of Norway spoke English anyway. The boat patrol – who picked her up, rolled her in a blanket and stuffed her full of meatpies and tea, the shore office worker, who was very puzzled as to how an English girl managed to find herself alone on a Norwegian beach and the police, who, for lack of better solution, fingerprinted her, gave her a change of clothes and put her in a cell. There was not much of an alternative in Bergen.

At least she was there alone, she had a place to sleep, a pillow and a reasonable chance that someone would feed her. She agreed to stay in the holding of the police station simply because she had no money on herself, could not claim to remember any phone number that would help her and did not even have a scrap of paper that would resemble a document.

For the time being her status was “UK citizen, probable shipwreck” and the authorities were searching for the possible ship that she might have been on.

Wish you luck, my friends, but this will be one long search.

The young uniformed policewoman approached her cell with a breakfast tray. At least, unlike the ‘violents’ from next door, she could have a proper meal with proper cutlery. She did manage to convince the officer on duty that she was quite non-violent, very helpful and answering any question they asked.

“So. Kapitan Linde asks, are you sure you were in a ship?”

The girl put the tray next to Rose on the bed and pulled a stool for herself.

Rose sighed. She could play ‘you’re not speaking good English’ game, but Anja was rather nice and anyway, her English was good enough and clear enough for this not to work.

“Not sure” Rose picked up the fork and prodded the scrambled eggs. They wobbled. “I don’t remember some things. I was in a water, and my things were floating just next to me. And then I was on the beach. I dried my clothes and stayed there, as I was too tired to move.”

Anja nodded and then shook her head.

“There was no ship in this area in the last three weeks” she said. “If you just fell off the side, you must have swum a long, long way.”

Rose shrugged.

“I don’t remember swimming. I remember being in water and then waves throwing me on the sand.”

“And before? Where were you?”

Rose swallowed a piece of egg and some tea.

“I was talking to my parents. In the hospital. We were going somewhere. Maybe to Norway” she sighed. “I don’t remember that very well. I’m trying to, but I just don’t…”

Anja patted her arm comfortingly.

“A psychologist will come, soon. She will help you to work this out. And we’ve sent a message to the British Embassy, so someone from there will be coming this week. Do you need anything? Medicines, cosmetics? I could buy you something, if you want?”

Rose shook her head.

“Thank you, Anja. It is all good. I will wait for that person from Embassy to come and maybe I’ll be able to get them to do shopping for me…” she smirked. “I bet they have better budget than your station.”

Anja snorted.

“I’m sure they have. OK, Rose. You eat, and once done, shout down the corridor, someone will pick this up.”

The eggs were gone, the bread was just a satisfying memory, and Rose lingered over her cup of tea.

She had no idea what to do when the Embassy representative would come. She had been gone for such a long time, and her Mum too, maybe they were ruled dead back home? And what if the person from the Embassy decided she was a smuggler, or an illegal – although how she could have been illegal on a beach and smuggling stuff in just her pants and hoodie, she had no idea, but knowing officials – someone would think along these lines.

She shivered and swallowed the rest of her tea.

We’ll deal with this when it comes.

For the time being she was focusing very hard on not dying.

She fell asleep on the plain bed and came to due to some voices drifting down the corridor.

“My cousin” a male voice explained in slightly Scottish accent. “She got lost. Someone said you have a girl here that matches her description.”

“I believe we may, but can you please confirm her information? Where were you when she ‘got lost’?”

“Ah, very sorry, I wasn’t there. Her parents let me know that she got somehow separated from her friends during a trip and asked me to check here” a slight pause and… A giggle?

“That was very smart of you, sir” the desk officer said in a slightly higher voice. “But please provide all the details you can about your cousin and I will check if that’s the same person.”

Rose was awake by now and standing ramrod straight, holding the cell’s doorframe for support.

The blood pounding in her ears threatened to deafen her, so she made an active effort to calm her breathing and heartbeat.

Then she could only watch the desk officer walking down the corridor, and the mass of the billowing cloak, the uniform cap and the row of decorations behind her.

“Jack!” she squeaked when the door opened and she jumped into his arms. “I couldn’t remember any phone numbers, and I lost my phone, and my documents, and my money, and I was waiting here for the man from the Embassy to come and…”

“Now, now. You didn’t lose your documents, you just left them behind in the hotel” he patted her back. “See, here” he handed her a navy blue folded wallet, full of blank pieces of paper. “Your driving licence is here, the passport I actually left in the car, but this should be enough to confirm it’s her?”

Rose picked one of the blank pieces and handed it to the desk officer, who stared at it for a moment and nodded with a smile.

“You can go now. But please stay in Bergen and contact us tomorrow, as the Embassy representative will be in at 10 AM.”

“Sure will” Jack made a salute-ish wave and deftly steered Rose out of the station. “Now, hurry, before she calls this in in the Embassy and finds out we’re both dead, ok?” he fell back to his normal, American accent. “Also, we need to get you into TARDIS and into Vortex, before something more goes wrong” he added in a nervous manner.

“More than what?”

“Than you jumping through not asleep and Doctor being out for the last three days?”



The TARDIS looked almost the same. The console was slightly rearranged from what she remembered, but the most important part, the comforting hum of the living engine, was the same.

“Finally!” Jack tore off his coat and uniform jacket, throwing them into the coat rack. “Bloody warm in this stuff. Come on, he’s in the medbay.”

Doctor looked sick. Almost as sick as freshly regenerated, with the same pallor and slight thinness to his cheeks.

“What happened to him?”

“He was like this when I found him. Fell asleep on the chair, and I couldn’t wake him. Sometimes he opens his eyes, but like he doesn’t see me. His hands move, too. But not much. I put him on an IV for fluids and sugars, so he’s stable, but I’m not betting this will work in a long run. So. What do you think?” he looked at her hopefully.

Her heart sank.

Oh, my. He’s counting on me. He…

She took the limp hand in her own and squeezed.

Even after an hour of her sitting there Doctor didn’t seem any better, but fortunately, he didn’t seem any worse either. Jack was fretting anyway, and Rose couldn’t look at him tinkering with the console – it didn’t calm his nerves and it was grating on hers.

“Can you put us in the Vortex, Jack? Without dancing around this for the next hour?”

He grinned crookedly.

“That’s one of the things he managed to teach me. Into the Vortex, out of the Vortex, zero in on Earth, track your lifesigns. Also, she’s been really nice to me lately, so she seems to be helping. Most of the time, mind you, not always.”

TARDIS made a noise and something displayed on one of the screens.

“Very funny. You know I can’t read the bloody things. English, or help us to wake him.”

“Pull the blue lever” Rose said absentmindedly. “To the second notch.”

He gazed at her for a moment in surprise, then pulled said lever down to the appointed place.

TARDIS hummed a bit more loudly and then gave a slight shudder.

Rose’s ears popped painfully and suddenly she heard the additional voice in the background.

‘-very nice, finally, the Earth field is way too strong for me to talk properly, now, dear, you go back to medbay and I’ll guide you through it all. don’t just stand around, looking pretty, go there and get him out of it. you knocked him out, you bring him back-‘

“What the hell…” Rose turned in a circle, staring wildly at the walls.

‘-love, if you could just go and help him, all of us could land on some nice, well-energized beach and have a bit of a rest, right? so pick up your pretty tush and go there, I’ll tell you everything-‘


He blinked, hands still on the controls.


“Are you playing some joke on me?”

His attention back to her, he shook his head.

“Nothing at the moment, why?”

“I hear a voice.”

He blinked quickly.


“Yes. Female. Also, she sounds like a cross between my Mum and Sarah Jane and she’s calling me ‘love’, and that feels a tiny bit personal. Who the hell is on board with us?”

Jack’s left eyebrow rose by itself.

“A voice that’s a cross between your Mum and miss Smith? You sure you’re not sleep deprived?”

“Jack, I’ve been mostly sleeping for the last month or so. No. There is someone speaking and I…”

‘-really, darling. the poor boy doesn’t hear me now – he has to be asleep for me to get through to him. could you please just go to the medbay and follow the instructions?-‘

“You don’t hear her?”

“No…” he trailed off. “Ah. Lady” he made a face at the console. “Can’t it wait?”


“It’s the TARDIS. At least, I’m guessing it’s her. Nobody else on board but us three. What is she saying?”

“She’s ordering me about.”

‘-I’m not!-‘

“And she’s arguing. Mostly she wants me to go to medbay, but as I have no idea what to do to help him…”

‘-I’ll tell you everything, just get there. you need to be in physical contact with him. the more the better-‘


‘-darling, I’m assuring you, this is the fastest way. unless you want to starve him into another regeneration?-‘

“So, what am I supposed to do?” Rose crossed her arms in front of her chest. “I can’t wake him up just like this. I held his hand for like an hour and it didn’t change anything.”

‘-we’re in the Vortex now. also, you had time to get in sync with the rest of the energy here, so, point one, you’re no longer dying, no thanks necessary, I stabilised the overflow of the regeneration energy for you and, point two, it will help you to reach him now-‘

“No longer… Energy… What do you mean I knocked him out?” Rose started back towards the medbay. “I didn’t do anything, wasn’t even in the… here!”

‘-your getting through in Norway sent back a rather strong impulse that affected him. now that I’m looking back, I see that every time you crossed over, it was when he was asleep or at least very distracted. the wards set on the universes did not work as effectively then. and now you’ve just snuck through and he got hit with a backlash-‘

“Oh, come on! You’re saying that my getting through with the tank hurt him?”

Jack cringed at the pain in Rose’s voice.

‘-you’re still getting a chance to undo it, though-‘ the TARDIS assured her cheerfully.

“Really. I wonder what I can do now.”

‘-reach for him and bring him back-‘

In medbay the lights were down and the monitoring was reduced to only tiny pings and beeps in the background. He still looked the same. A tiny shadow of a five o’clock beard showed – she had never noticed it before – and he was as still as a wax figure.

“Do you think we can move him?”

‘-I suppose so. where to?-‘

Rose pondered the question.

“The TV room. The couch there is a pull out one and there should be enough space for us to fit there. This chair is atrocious, I lose the feeling in my butt after ten minutes sitting on it.”

Jack wheeled the medbay bed, Rose trailing behind with the IV stand.

“He should get that one that is attached to the bed. Saw it on medical shows. You don’t need the second person then. Good in corridors.”

The TV room was dark and sounded big and hollow. They extended the couch forward and deposited him on the left side, to make it easier to manage the IV. She pulled a blanket over him and sat on the edge.

“Now what?”

‘-take his hand and reach inside him. like this-‘

Rose’s brain suddenly itched and the feeling of reaching became obvious to her.

‘-you’ll have to reach far – he was hurt and I’m afraid he might have gone too far. I can’t reach him myself, but I can help you get there -‘

“And then what?”

‘-you take him home. you have to do it before he’s too tired to actually get back here safely-‘

Rose focused. She recalled the way TARDIS reached into her and sent a reaching inside him.

The moment she closed her eyes, she was lost.

The vortex was spinning around her, sending all kinds of sounds and images her way. She could feel him far, far ahead of her. He felt so small and lost and she reachedeven stronger. She didn’t have the feeling of her physical body being there with her, but she saw her surroundings getting gradually brightereven though that wasn’t the exact description, as there was no dark or light, just the chaos of void particles and mixed signals from all over the time-space continuum.

She could feel her way downand upthe whole thing. Upwas where the TARDIS was, upwas for safety, and reality and Jack. Downwas for more and more entropy and now she knew what the TARDIS meant – if the Doctor went downfar enough, they’d never get him back again.

She reached, moving lower, but still trying to keep high enough for a safe route back to herself. Still, he slipped a but further down, away from her, as if not hearing her scream – she noticed she was crying out, new wordless shout with every reaching– and she stretched, and stretched and for a moment, a tiny moment she had him. Almost had him.

And he was just at the end of her mental fingertips, she felt him, saw him, knew him to be there, the face screwed up in fear and pain, whole body tense, but unable to stop his gradual descent.

She let go of herself and reached for him.

And he saw/felt/knew her, and turned up, swimming against the current/gravity of the place, his eyes/mind intent on her and reaching out towards her.

She threw a hand down towards him, stretching until he caught it and pulled in and up. Towing him, she started back upwards, towards themselves and reality, but froze in place, noticing she couldn’t move. Or rather, she wasn’t sure anymore which way is actually up.

He held on to her and she reached, but not up. She reached towards Jack. And, in a complicated maneuver that she could never explain to them later, she pulled herself to Jack, and not Jack to them. And Jack was there, already reaching for her and she safely fell back on the pillow, Doctor’s head nested in her neck, both of them breathing deeply, gulping the air.

He made a small noise and curled himself into her and she hugged his wiry frame.

Jack moved away from where he was sitting behind her.

She looked at him over her shoulder and touched his sleeve.


Written by Srebrna

2016/06/28 at 22:30

But if you can still dream – 25

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Chapter 12: If a man could pass through Paradise

If a man could pass through Paradise in a dream, and have a flower presented to him as a pledge that his soul had really been there, and if he found that flower in his hand when he awake – Aye, what then?

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Doctor: Sleep paralysis

Jack was inconsolable.

Jack was tearing about the TARDIS, furious at himself, the Doctor, TARDIS and the universe.

Jack was half-dead, judging by how he was constantly walking into walls, furniture and pillars. And tripping over his own feet.

Doctor sat in his chair, staring at the readouts in front of him, somewhat unable to even pick himself up and react to Jack’s plainly destructive actions.

“Doctor” the Captain’s voice rasped with effort.


“I think there may be something wrong with this.”

Jack handed him a perfect, sky-blue glass marble and promptly fell on his face, just in front of the console.

Doctor regarded the tiny sphere for a moment, but finally pocketed it and shrugged. Then he crouched next to Jack’s snoring form and pushed his hands under his friend’s side, slowly turning Jack over. Then he hooked his arms into Jack’s and dragged him down the steps – feet bumping loudly on every step – and to Jack’s room. He managed to get the prone body on the bed, eased his boots off and left, turning towards the medbay.

He really had no plan this time. They had her, she was there, and then, suddenly, she was gone. Again. He rested his forehead against the cold door of medbay. He had to think, but ideas in his head were jumping around like frightened rabbits. There was nothing concrete, nothing coming.


He lowered himself slowly into the chair by the bed. Spreading his fingers wide, he touched the bed’s surface, hunting for the body heat long gone from the plastic coating. She had been there. They had a proof. TARDIS managed to make a quick scan and was now processing the data collected.

They already knew the basics.

Rose was mutating towards something far enough from basic human that her body was not coping with it at all. The drugs that the other side dosed her with had slowed the process down slightly, giving her more time, but at the same time altering her body chemistry so much that the changes might have gone wrong. They would have been able to guess how wrong, had they had any idea what the final form was supposed to be.

Still, it seemed Rose would be better off on TARDIS then in Torchwood, seeing as Torchwood probably had no idea what was going on and how to help her. They had to get her back and preferably fast.

He laid his cheek on the smooth plastic and looked at the room from that angle. He really had no hope, he could see no way to break through. Each time it was her coming to them, not the other way round. And it was obviously something so outside TARDIS’ knowledge that the ship had no suggestions (or even helpful hints) for their next steps.

One of the printers by the far wall started spitting out a long ribbon of some kind of graph. He looked as it gathered on the top of the low table next to it, but had no strength to move – in fact, he could not even lift a finger. He could only blink slowly as the printout ended with a cutting noise and the folds of paper rested quietly on the flat surface. Another machine dinged quietly and something started revolving on the screen, but he could not lift his head, feeling more and more stuck in the position he was sitting there, leaning over the bed.

He blinked, even slower this time.

Machines around were coming to life and he started having problems breathing, feeling as if something was pressing on his back, blocking him from inhaling, and he felt the dizziness coming – which he normally never experienced, due to the respiratory bypass system – and in the corner of his eye he saw another machine opening some images on a big screen, images of Rose looking sullenly at the camera, of Rose lying prone on the bed, of Rose on an operating table, her insides being poked by surgeons, of Rose’s photo with a big stamp “ALIEN, POST MORTEM ANALYSIS” over it…

He squeezed his eyes shut and tried breathing slowly, if shallowly, but the feeling of intense pressure was still there, squeezing air out of his lungs and pushing him into the bed. He heard the blood pounding in his ears and his double-hearted pulse pick up in tempo.

Then he felt himself slip down and he was floating, loose in the Vortex, the waves of space-time-reality contracting and stretching around him, his mouth opened in silent scream.

Written by Srebrna

2016/06/28 at 22:29

But if you can still dream – 24

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Chapter 12: If a man could pass through Paradise

If a man could pass through Paradise in a dream, and have a flower presented to him as a pledge that his soul had really been there, and if he found that flower in his hand when he awake – Aye, what then?

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Rose: Sensory deprivation

They rounded the corner at the top of their middleaged speed and barely avoided crashing into some of the staff, milling in front of Rose’s room. There seemed to be a large volume of equipment crashed into the wall oposite her door, and a trail of plastic debris marked the corridor.

“What happened?” Pete managed to bellow over the noise. “Where is my daughter?!”

“Sir, please calm down. I’ll be with you in a moment” a senior nurse barred them from entering. “Doctor Anderson is trying to ascertain what is the current state of Miss Tyler.”

“Where is doctor Jones? She was assigned to our…” Jackie trailed off as the nurse shot a look further into the corridor. Martha Jones was sitting there with a large dressing covering the side of her face and her hand secured with a cast.

Jackie was at her side in a blink.

“Martha? Doctor Jones, what happened?”

The medic blinked slowly and looked at her, first with her left eye, then with her right one.

“Mrs Tyler” she slurred. “Very sorry. Couldn’t stop it. I was hit by the… Leash. No. Backlash. Huge boooom. I hit the cabby. No, the cabinet. And I think I broke something” she raised her hand, trying to touch the dressing. “I think I broke my hand.”

“Pete, check on Rose and get someone here to have doctor Jones checked out. She should not be here in this state!”

“She what?”

“She disappeared from her bed and then showed up half a corridor away, in the doctors’ lounge. There was a huge gust of air and things got thrown about a bit… And doctor Jones, too.”

Rose was sitting on her bed, legs crossed, blanket over her shoulders, and she was inhaling a pudding.

“Dad” she forced out at the sight of Pete “tell them to listen to me. We don’t have a minute to spare.”

After he threw out most of the staff – leaving only doctor Andrews – a Torchwood employee – and a nurse – the same – and managed to organise someone to take care of Martha, he could finally look at Rose. The sight wasn’t pretty, just like he was afraid it would be.

“I need…” she said between spoonfulls “…a set of soft clothes. Everything chafes. And I need sugar, pudding is ok, but I’d rather have chocolate. And a box of Horlicks, or whatever is available. And a lot of cookies. My body is burning through sugar and fat so quick I can’t replenish it normally. Shortbread, or cookie chips. And milk. I’m serious. I need… Ah. Oxygen mask. High saturation” she coughed and spat out some blood. “Drats. Probably something breaking down.”

“Rose!” Jackie squealed, looking at her gray-skinned, shaky daughter. Gray-skinned and shaky, but definitely alive and awake, which was a lot of improvement over only the day before.

“Mum” she smiled shortly. “I know what is going on and I’m working on a solution” she swallowed and breathed shallowly for a moment, her face contorted with pain. “They will never work it out in time.”

Doctor Andrews chose that moment to approach Rose with the blood pressure cuff. Rose raised her arm obediently and smiled.

“It won’t give you anything more reasonable than the last time. It’s still going to be in the range ‘human’s can’t survive’.”

“Rose…” Jackie sat next to her and hugged her. “What are you talking about?”

Rose exhaled heavily.

“I’m almost sure I won’t survive the next one. Even now, my brain – part of it – knows where I am, and when, but my body is still feeling the effect of being thrown about the two universes like a pingpong ball. It’s trying to decide which timestream I’m in and it’s like a carsickness – the eyes see something, the body feels something else and the balance tells it a completely different story. My body tells me I’m in the vortex, my balance tells me I’m sitting down in a chair and my brain shows me I’m in a hospital. Unless they agree, I’ll be soon having hallucinations, possibly with aural effects and then one of the three will give up. I wouldn’t want for my brain to just shut down” she swallowed and slurped another mouthfull of pudding. “This gives them the energy to work the problem out before I collapse” she explained. “Now, I know what the problem is, I just need to decide which will be the least painful way of resolving it. My brain is, in fact, connected to the TARDIS itself. That’s why I was having hallucinations before. I’m stretched between the locations. The conscious part, the one I’m thinking with, like right now, is not affected. But my long-term memory is somehow hooked to the TARDIS and so it activated whenever I was asleep or unconscious, like a normal dream.”

The nurse finally arrived with a tray of food and Rose started stuffing her face with sweets as quickly as possible.

“Dad” she managed between bites. “I need you to find me a sensory deprivation tank. Also, I’ll need an IV with a feeding solution for full adult with deficiencies. Full daily dose, preferably every six hours” she threw her head back and sat like that, motionless and shivering, for a few seconds. “Sorry” she finally uttered. “Nervous system having a glitch. Not enough processing power. I need that tank to get to the other side. I can’t sustain the move if my body, brain and balance are not in accord as to what is happening to me. So I need to cut off all external input. I saw this in a movie – no, a show – a girl was skipping ‘verses when she was cut off from all contact, in a tank. I’m not sure I’ll be able to manage this if I stay connected.”

Jackie’s face was covered with tears flowing freerly down her cheeks.

“You have to go?”

Rose nodded shakily.

“My brain is connected to TARDIS and I can’t sever that link. And I can’t stay like this much longer. As the time passes, each jump will be more risky and painful. I need to finally get there, possibly today. My heart – it’s an effort to keep it calm – if I fall asleep once more, it may give in. And I’m not very happy with the state of my body in general. I bruise, I have fine motor skills like a toddler and I don’t think my liver is doing its job. I wouldn’t want to add jaundice to the whole set.”

“But, Rose…” Jackie’s lip trembled.

“Mum. Seriously. I can’t live like this. I don’t want to leave you, but you have Pete, and I must get myself in order. And I can’t wait around for my knights in their blue chariot arrive and save me, I have to do something about myself. Can’t just sit and look like a damsel in time-space distress” she smirked. “I have to rescue myself.”

Once the tank was found and obtained, Rose made another request, driving all of the attending staff into a foaming anger.

“Yes, Norway. I need to do it in Norway.”

Pete rolled his eyes and ordered the tank to be loaded into the dirigible.

Doctor Andrews run to the chief for orders to stop Rose from leaving the hospital.

Martha Jones was visited, hugged and thanked, to which she nodded amiably and fell back asleep.

Rose was twitchy. Jackie could barely stand looking at her, as random impulses made her face and hands move in unexpected ways. She also could not take her eyes off her daughter, so she wept quietly as they strapped down for the flight.

“It will be ok, mum” Rose said as she shook out her left hand. “It will pass soon. I’m keeping it mostly contained” she smiled briefly. “At least it’s only shakes, not falling into coma again.”

“How…” Pete couldn’t finish the sentence.

“When I slipped over to them, Jack caught me and took me to medbay. That meant passing me through diagnostic scanner, and it was just the right type of an energy jolt to push my brain into the right state. I can control my body, at least partially, and I managed to dampen the brain processing that was waking me up to that dangerous state. Ugh” she straightened her left leg and flexed it. “Worst case of cramps I’ve ever had. Now, my whole body was trying to compensate for the issue with the brain and it was going haywire. So, now that I know what is happening to it, I can manage it. Mostly.”

Pete slid into his seat next to Rose and checked her IV.

“You good with this amount?”

Rose nodded and flexed her right hand carefully, trying not to dislodge the IV.

“I hope it will last. I must say I’m not exactly sure I can manage everything that’s going on. I just…” she breathed deeply and squeezed her eyes shut. “I need to get there. The barrier is the thinnest there. Cardiff would be good, too, but the rift there could get me into the 1200’s or in some other random time, so I’d rather not.”

Jackie covered her knees with a thick blanket and patted her shoulder. She could find no words.

The tank was filled with warm salty water and Rose was shivering on the beach, stripped to her knickers and a bra. Her clothes were rolled in a waterproof foil and a tether to the package was affixed to her wrist with a soft loop of frotte.

“So, basically, I go in, I get out of contact, I get over there. Don’t open the tank for the next three hours. I should be ok for that long.”

“And what then?” Pete helped her up to the tank hatch.

“Open it and if I’m there, hook me up to the IV and cover warm. If I’m not…” she half-smiled tremoulously. “Then I hope I can find them there.”

The water was warm and smelled a bit funny, but she stuffed soft plugs into her nose and slowly relaxed into the supportive softness of the liquid. The hatch clanked shut. The light was gone and there was only water, all around her, warm and calm. She stretched and waited, counting slowly to ease her own breathing.

She felt the water cooling down slightly and managed to regret for a fleeting second that there was no way to heat it up when a wave of icy, salty water full of debris buffeted her from the right and send her sprawling over the gritty sand of an empty beach.

No Mum. No Pete. No dirigible and no tank. Also, nobody else for miles and miles.

And the universe was just nasty enough to leave her with her clothes but without the foil bag that had been keeping them dry.

Written by Srebrna

2016/06/05 at 00:47

But if you can still dream – 23

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Chapter 11: But only in their dreams…

But only in their dreams can men be truly free. ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.

Tom Schulman, in Dead Poets Society, expressed by the character John Keating

Jack: Sleep deprivation

All the contours were sharp, but blurry at the same time. The colours of everything on TARDIS were slightly shifted and he couldn’t stop shivering.

The stupid circles Doctor was showing him told him nothing. Obviously, they should mean various things, and the simplest set was a kind of a primer, but his brain just didn’t work that way. He tried to draw them from memory and when he compared them later, his crooked ovals didn’t even come close to what he saw printed in the fat book.

Fortunately it seemed the Doctor had also read a few Earth books and so allowed him a moment of respite when he considered the latest flight of fancy.

Then, suddenly, they were mixing the cheese, jello, sugar and lemonjuice in a big bowl and throwing in frozen strawberries. He doubted the logic of this, but followed Doctor’s directions and then witnessed him stuffing his face with the result. Even though everything was already looking like an old movie done with a bad camera, including faint trailing lines left by objects moving, as if his eyes could not notice something was gone for a few seconds after it moved. That made the Doctor’s hand a blur, moving up and down with a spoon.

The spoon itself was becoming its own shiny blur.

Spoon. Spooooooon.

He felt that he could totally have an out of body experience anytime now, no cheesecake required.


Finally his friend was done and they moved to the TV room, as it had the best sofa. Then the Doctor made a valiant attempt at not-falling-asleep-but-almost.

Jack privately thought the strawberries must have interfered with the process, but his brain was still stuck in a slo-mo mode, so before he managed to voice his opinion, the Doctor managed to take a shot at meditating, gymnastics, breathing exercises, some other sit-and-murmur-quietly thing and finally simulating a dervish.

Nevertheless he still looked very awake.

As Jack watched him pant on the sofa, he tried putting his strawberries-related conclusions in words, but before he got to opening his mouth, the screen came alive and the Doctor went off.

‘Ah. That may be it. Thank you, lady.’

‘-No problem, Captain-‘

A girl, in her teens or so, was sitting on the sofa armrest.

Jack was actually surprised at the lack of surprise he felt.

‘And you are?’

She blinked and smiled, a bit too wide for a standard human being.

‘-I’m me-‘ she weaved her hand around. ‘-I’m here-‘

Jack blinked and shook his head slightly. She wasn’t blurring. She was actually the only thing in tha room that had proper colours and shape.

‘You don’t look like a spaceship.’

‘-You don’t look like a crook-‘

‘Point taken. But I’m reformed, you know.’

‘-I’m not-‘

She smirked.

‘-Now, he’s out, I hope the little hypnotisation trick worked correctly. If it did, she should be showing up antime. You will have to pay attention and take her to the medbay immediately. I don’t have the right sensors in this room, and I really need to diagnose what is going on with her. Leave him here, he will wake up in his own time, but get to the medbay before he does-‘

He nodded, a bit sideways.

‘-Make sure you don’t miss her-‘


‘-And, Captain… Take a break after this. You need to sleep. You’re still able to damage yourself if you continue like this, even if you’re im-im-im-imm… Heck. If you’re stuck-‘ she finished unhappily. ‘-your brain can only take that much-‘

He sat there after she disappeared, considering the complicated situation of travelling in a spaceship with a speech impediment. He tried to keep himself upright, rigidly so, to make sure his required sleep didn’t come anytime too soon. Suddenly the warm weight next to him shifted and leaned towards him, her head on his shoulder, blonde hair tickling his nose.

Automatically he put his arm around her and pulled her closer, but her limp body simply slumped across his lap.

Then the jolt of adrenaline woke him up.

He was barelling down the corridor towards the medbay in no time at all. As he straightened her out on the cot, the instruments started coming to life and he saw with a relief the first of the diagnostic lights shining already on Rose.

He started opening the cupboards, looking for something to remove the residue of the tape from her skin and for any medicine he could possibly identify. Suddenly she made a small noise and immediately he was leaning over her, barely stopping himself from toppling over, as he looked at her eyes flutter open.

“Jack?” she whispered in a hoarse voice.

“Rosie” he sighed. “Oh, love, you have us such a scare…!”

“I don’t feel so well” she complained, a shiver going through her.


Then another.

Then her body spasmed on the little cot and suddenly she was gone.

He could only sit there and cry.

Written by Srebrna

2016/05/26 at 02:32

But if you can still dream – 22

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Chapter 11: But only in their dreams…

But only in their dreams can men be truly free. ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.

Tom Schulman, in Dead Poets Society, expressed by the character John Keating

Doctor: Out of body experience

“You will have to teach me.”

They both looked rather worn out.

Even Jack’s innuendo was next to zero, as they pored over the maps, time graphs and descriptions Doctor managed to write down, and Doctor was becoming slightly worried about him. He could cope with next to no sleep for prolonged stretches of time, but Jack – immortal or no – had to sleep in a regular fashion. They already had to experience what happened if Jack was restarted sick and he really didn’t wish to replay that one.

“We can try, but I wouldn’t hold my breath” Doctor grimaced, walking around the table. “Or, I would, but you should not. Gallifreyan writing is somewhat…” he chewed his next word. “Complicated.”

“We eat complicated for breakfast, remember?”

“Not that kind of complicated. It really… What it really does is interfacing with the time sensors in your brain and so transferring the meaning through them. Human beings may learn to catch the general idea, if they start early enough.”

“I have a lot of time to catch up” Jack shrugged. “And every Time Agent had to be a quick learner. Who doesn’t learn, doesn’t get to live long.”

Two days later they were still on tha basic circle combination and Doctor was annoyed.

Nothing was working. Jack could not hold the picture of the circles in his mind long enough for the interpretation to come through.

“…and I’m an idiot, too!”

Jack yawned and turned towards his friend slowly.

“Are you implying that there is” yawn “some other idiot already here?”

Doctor shot him an angry glare.

“You can’t learn Gallifreyan. You just… Can’t. Never, ever.”

“Very nice” yawn “Why?”

“Because of the number that Rose did on you. You have no time sensors active. Or rather, you have – but they are permanently frozen and tracking only one type of information – the one that tells you whether you’re in the right time or not. They can’t be trained to do anything else. This is the other side of why TARDIS and, to a certain degree, me are both slightly allergic to you. You’re like that one thing stuck and unmovable. Even when she’s flying both of us through time and space, she feels you like a tiny speck of a pebble in her mental shoe.”

Jack blinked slowly and slumped over the tabletop, his nose touching the leather binding of a fat book, his eyes drifting slowly closed.

Suddenly, a sharp shout jerked him erect. “I know!” the Doctor shouted and whipped the screwdriver out, flicking it in the air. “I will need to find a few ingredients, but that should work!”

Jack shook his head and followed his host towards the kitchen.

“What the blazes are you blathering about?”

“There is that book” he scrunched his nose in concentration “About a doctor – don’t laugh – who is trying to understand the NDEs. I could tell him something about these, but my NDEs are mostly related to being in pain and turning myself inside out, sometimes in flames, so I suppose that would not fit his model. Anyway, what he does is he uses a drug to put people in a kind of trance and tracks their brain activity and chemistry to find out what NDEs actually are. One of the points they make there is that many people who claim to have had an NDE also had an out of body experience. That gives me an idea” he pulled a drawer open and started rummaging through it.

“You want to fix the same kind of drug?”

“No, that would be silly. It was a made-up drug, and anyway it wouldn’t work. I tried. But I can get myself auto-hypnotised to get an out of body experience. Then I’d be asleep and awake at the same time. If I wait long enough, she has to be asleep again at some point, and then we’ll be in sync but I will also have control over what I’m doing, right?”

Jack shuddered slightly and nodded.

“If you say so. So, what do you need?”

“A cup of sugar, some gelatine, four pounds of good cottage cheese and three big bags of frozen strawberries. And lemons.”

When the rest of the cheesecake was safely stored in the fridge, Doctor arranged himself on the couch.

“I can probably start with the counting, and as full of sugar I am, I should be out in minutes.”

“Sure that is the right way?”

He shrugged.

“It worked the last time.”

Not that time, however.

They went through controlled breathing exercise, meditation, standing on his head, hiperventilation, counting, spinning and other equally weird and equally useless attempts. As they sprawled on the sofa again, the TV screen flickered on and the Doctor blinked. Two small, connected gears spinned there for a moment and he shrugged, turning around and through the sofa armrest, suddenly floating away from the place he was sitting and watching the screen with glazed eyes. Jack leaned forward and poked him slightly.

“Whatever you did, it worked” he said towards the ceiling and started setting up the elaborate alarm system they rigged to time the Doctor’s stay in the non-awake state.

He could not really focus on what was happening in the TV room and slowly drifted through the door, out into the corridor and up one flight of stairs, finding himself in front of her bedroom door. He tested it with his finger, but it went through, so he followed it and passed the solid metal, entering the dimly-lit interior of a dusty, slightly messy and rather… pink room.

“ah” he exhaled “so you kept it?”

“-why shouldn’t I?-“

“well, sometimes we have to jettison this or that… I remember you getting rid of a significant part of the mass once, including the original medbay”

“-we didn’t jettison anything recently, so it’s here-“

“but we did and you got rid of…”

“-Jack’s porn collection, yes-“

“he was rather miffed about that”

“-he doesn’t need it anyway-“

He blinked and turned around.

“how come you’re speaking to me so directly?”

“-you’re much more open now-“


“-he needs your help-“

He twirled in place and floated back towards the TV room, but the sight of Jack coming down the corridor stopped him. The prone body in the Captain’s arms explained the hurry and the big man was having obvious trouble keeping his steps straight, bumping his shoulders on the walls rather painfully.

“I hope he wakes up as soon as possible” Jack murmured, trying to keep her steady. “I have no idea what might be wrong with you, Rosie, but I promise, we’ll make it better. Just stay with me, ok? Stay with me.”

Rose was getting paler with every second, but she was till breathing and warm, so whatever was wrong with her was not – not yet – fatal.

He shouldered the medbay door open and deposited her on the cot.

He floated over to her unresponsive body and surveyed it, biting his lip.

She looked so frail. Her forearms were dotted with injection spots, some sticky tape still left on her skin, probably something they used to secure the IV.

“She’s not waking up, why is she not waking up…” he mumbled, looking through the cupboards “Why am I so thick? I can’t read this stuff… He should have bloody labelled it in English!”

She stirred on the bed. In a flash they were both by her side and the lights in the room flared a bit more to the warm yellow. Then he felt suddenly as if he was falling backwards, and backwards, and through the walls, and then directly down the staircase, missing all the stairs and railings he was trying to grasp and then he jerked awake, gasping for air, and up on his feet that very second.

And he heard Jack’s disappointed cry from the medbay.

Written by Srebrna

2016/05/26 at 02:31

Two for the price of one – 5

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She felt exhausted and small black spots were fluttering in front of her eyes. She stumbled more and more often, even with his support.

He watched her weaver and looked around, searching for the best possible hiding spot. Over Rose’s head he made an expressive face to Romana, who nodded wearily, but soldiered on.

‘Rose’ he finally sighed after watching her trip over her own feet again. ‘We have to stop. You need rest.’

Her eyes shot wide open and she shook her head.

‘You do. I will run ahead, bring TARDIS here and pick you up. I’m the fastest of us three. You stay with Romana and she’ll keep you safe. Please?’

She drew a laboured breath and clung to his sleeve desperately.

‘I don’t want to leave you. I really really don’t want to leave you here, but if we want to get out of here safely, I need you to stay calm and hide with Romana. Please?’

He wasn’t expecting easy acceptance, but finally she sighed let go of his hand.

What he also wasn’t expecting was both of her hands reaching for his head and pulling him down into a fierce kiss.

It was a bit of surprise, so he didn’t respond at the first second, but in a moment he felt his awkwardness melt away – unlike with the other first kiss this body had received – and he kissed her back.

She broke it off, still holding his face in her palms and looked at him angrily. She pursed her lips and gave him a frowny, stern gaze.

‘I will. I will be back. You just hide and wait. Take this’ he pushed his screwdriver into her hands. ‘Activate it every five minutes or anytime when you feel threatened. TARDIS will zero in on it once I’m inside.’


He hurried up, following Romana’s instructions for the shortest route. The multitude of views on all sides of the tower was tempting him on every corner, but he kept repeating her name to make himself scale the stairs at his top speed.

Not all obstacles were as easy to pass.

‘I need some kind of identification from you, my lord.’

The guardsman seemed quite firm, young and completely indifferent to the fact that he was speaking to the Saviour of Gallifrey, ex-Lord President, etc etc etc.

He wanted an official planetary ID card with appropriate authorisation chip, and psychic paper wasn’t working at all.

‘My lord, I need you to remove yourself from this area. We’re handling a delicate situation with a construction collapse. I’m sure you will be able to use the observatorium tomorrow the latest.’

‘Actually, I may be of a help in this’ he grinned, whipping out his… Ah. ‘Well, I mean, I’ve already been there and my TARDIS should be nearby, so I could hover her outside whatever happened and help…’

‘Your TARDIS?’ the boy’s face creased in puzzlement.

‘Yes, my TARDIS. You know, the ship. Travels in time. And space. TARDIS.’

‘Ah! You mean the travel capsule. So it’s yours! Do you know how much damage you’ve made?!’

And suddenly, the lance was up, pointing at Doctor’s middle.

‘It wasn’t exactly a controlled landing, my lad’ the Doctor’s hands went slowly up and towards the tip of the weapon. ‘I was homing in on the beacon affixed on the ball thingy at the top and the landing kind of happened to me when I wasn’t paying attention’ he moved the spear aside. ‘So, would you let me go up there, remove it and let you proceed with whatever it is that needs to be done, or would you rather stand here, point that stick at me and force whoever is working there to deal with my TARDIS as it is, sitting in the middle of the wall and quite unwilling to leave?’


In the end, he had to resort to intimidation, and the young guard resorted to chasing him down with the magnetized spear – it was a painful way of finding out it was not purely ceremonial. Fortunately the guard’s motivation was not as strong as his own, and apparently the youth of Gallifrey were not so well versed in the science of running and hiding in twisty corridors anymore.

As soon as the young man passed his small nook, he darted out and dashed back towards the observatory in hope of reaching his TARDIS before anyone tried to force her open or move her from her parking spot.

The hole in the wall was empty.

Written by Srebrna

2015/10/23 at 00:32

Shortest Fanfiction Story Ever (NCIS, DoctorWho)

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“Bowties are cool” said the Doctor. Doctor next to him cleared his throat.
“Well, I admit, they are an essential accessory of a well-dressed man. Nobody really knows how they evolved from the scarves worn by Croats, but…”
“I do.”

Written by Srebrna

2015/10/21 at 23:33

Posted in Doctor Who, NCIS

Tagged with , ,

But if you can still dream – 21

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Chapter 11: But only in their dreams…

But only in their dreams can men be truly free. ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.
Tom Schulman, in Dead Poets Society, expressed by the character John Keating

Rose: Coma

The sitting room was eerily quiet, only sounds the murmur of cars filtering through the window somewhere in the house and a humming of some household appliance. Rose’s things were still lying around, her tea mug just as she left it on the side table, her purple jacket across a chair. Jackie sat on the sofa, looking through the thick folder of medical documentation without actually reading anything.
“I wish I was a bit smarter” she finally said, breaking the silence.
Theresa’s vacuuming in the next room stopped for a moment and her face appeared in the door.
“You wanted anything, maam?”
Jackie’s smile felt as if it was cracking her skin.
“No, just talking to myself. Sorry, Theresa. Just finish the vacuuming and you can take the rest day off. I’ll order dinner in.”
The housekeeper shook her head and sighed. The house was much too empty without Miss Rose.

Pete read the short report Martha Jones had delivered with a bit more understanding than his wife. Still not much could actually be decided based on “drug coma, no sign of brain damage, significant strain on heart muscle, ventilator required” and the list of drugs required to keep Rose under as her body kept fighting the simple medicines used on normal humans.
“Do you expect any chance of improvement, doctor Jones?”
The young medic sighed, pushing the stray hair back behind her ear.
“I have no idea. With a standard human I’d say douse her with a bunch of appropriate medicines and wake up slowly. Rose however keeps waking up quickly whenever we put even a little less of the sleeping drugs in the drip. Her heart will finally give in at some point, as every time we tried to wake her up it speeds up again to 160 bpm. I’m afraid to keep her under for much longer, but I don’t see any other option. The heart medicines we’ve tried to apply to slow down her heartbeat don’t seem to have any actual effect.”
Pete worried his thumb with his teeth.
“What about some of the alien tech we’ve collected? Any… I don’t know. Criogenics? I’m almost sure we’ve had a stasis pod somewhere around.”
“Now cleared the animal testing stage, I’m afraid. We haven’t managed to wake up anything alive yet.”
“Ouch” he pursed his lips. “So we are out of options.”

They sat on the sofa in front of a black TV screen, her head on his shoulder.
“I visited Rose today” she whispered. “I read to her, they say it’s good to talk to coma patients.”
He felt a half-smirk pulling at his lips.
“What did you read?”
She huffed quietly.
“A few gossip pages, but then I thought she may be getting worse from these, so I went home and brought some of her physics books. I’m not sure I had all the pronunciation right, but at least…” she sniffed. “And then I bought a CD with someone reading Sherlock Holmes stories. Very nice voice, you know, like from the TV. I left the player there for her, the nurse promised she’ll turn it on during the night.”

A cultured, quiet voice was reciting something vaguely familiar as she struggled for air.
Everything was soft and nice, apart from whatever was covering her mouth. She didn’t have enough strength to raise her hand, so she let it be, small tears trickling down her cheek, into her hair.
This was no dream, she was quite sure. This had to be reality, plain and simple.
She was very, very sick.
On this particular evening, Lestrade had spoken of the weather and
the newspapers. Then he had fallen silent, puffing thoughtfully at his
cigar. Holmes looked keenly at him.
“Anything remarkable on hand?” he asked.
“I don’t think so, Doctor” Jack sighed, and a sound of papers being shuffled reached her ears.
She was quite sure the story didn’t have Jack or the Doctor in it. Quite.
“I’m having a vague feeling that we are missing something” Doctor’s fingers raked his hair. “Did she say anything? Anything at all? Your name, at least?”
Jack groaned.
“For once in my life I wish I was dressed. Maybe she wouldn’t have screamed so.”
“Don’t flatter yourself.”
“How do you think she’s doing it? We can safely say it’s only happening when you’re asleep – any ideas why?”
Her heart was beating so slowly, but still she could hear the pulsing blood in her ears as she struggled to get through to them, to tell them she was right here, she heard…
TARDIS made a distressed sound and both men looked up at the console.
“She’s showing something” Doctor’s voice quivered with excitement. “It’s a…” he looked around “a ghost of a vital signal? Does this make any sense?”
Jack jumped to his side and wrangled some display from benath the main console, trailing a bunch of colorful cables behind it.
“Seems it is a radiation of some sort… Whaddyacallit, void stuff?”
Doctor rolled his eyes and turned a few knobs.
Her heart picked up the pace as she watched her two favourite boys work in such an accord.
“Rose!” Jack finally exclaimed. “That’s the same radiation that was on that blanket! Something is coming through!”
“TARDIS is actually… Enhancing it? Why can’t you just…”
:You’re awake:
She felt herself falling back, back into the soft covers, the shock of being back in her own body forcing her to open her eyes. She was still hearing Jack and the Doctor panicking at the console, but around her activity exploded as multitude of medical staff ran to and fro, trying to replace the suddenly vanished drip-bag.

“We had to give her something experimental.”
Martha Jones looked like the most tired doctor in the entire England.
“Nothing standard works for long. Her body is actively fighting the drugs and neutralizing them. Actually, now most of them are getting directly expelled – she’s sweating them out. At least her heart did not reach the same BPM count as the last time she woke up, but it’s still alarming.”
Pete looked down at the piece of paper with some words scribbled on it in a hurry.
“And this is what she managed to say?”
Martha Jones grimaced unhappily.
“I’m afraid it’s not much. I’d wish for something sensible, but…”
“No, no. This is perfectly sensible” Pete Tyler shook his head. “You just have to know how to read it.”

“She thinks she’s actually crossing over to the TARDIS.”
Jackie grimaced and picked up the scrap of prescription used to write down Rose’s first words after coming out of the coma.
Doctor and captain looking for way. Have to sleep a lot a lot. Void stuff detect. TARDIS will pull me.
She looked at her husband, propped against the door frame, his hands in his pockets.
“She wants to go back” she whispered hopelessly. “My baby girl wants to go back and I have no idea how to help her.”
“Who is ‘captain’?”
“Oh, him. He’s supposed to be dead, Rose told me about him. Some kind of galactic con-man who accompanied her and the Doctor for a while. He should be dead, but is she thinks he’s with the Doctor, then he is. She said he was a time traveller, but more of a tradesman kind than a hero one, if you get my meaning.”
“So… An immortal time lord and probably-dead time-travelling scam artist are searching for some way to get her back to your old universe, she’s supposed to sleep a lot even though she keeps waking up, they will detect that void thing we’re all covered with and the police box ship is helping them to get her through?”
Jackie sniffed and nodded, wiping her nose with a hankie.
“I suppose so.”
“Then let’s hope they know what they are doing, because I’m afraid we’re out of options.”

Written by Srebrna

2014/06/10 at 02:53

But if you can still dream – 20

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To die, to sleep;

To die, to sleep;
To sleep! Perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.
Hamlet III, 1

Doctor: Sleeping positions

His bed was messed up to an unusual degree.
Once he accepted the fact that there is, indeed, another live being on his ship when he is sleeping, the easiness of sleep itself came quite quickly. Of course he could go for weeks on weeks without more than a nap now and then. He still could. But he preferred not to, considering what could happen if he drove himself to sleep deprivation. Like his humans for all these years, who liked to sleep in, some even joking that a time-travelling ship lets them sleep millenia in one stretch, he now took his time and relaxed. A deep, proper, full-sized sleep would also come, at some point. This way he could make sure his next regeneration wouldn’t wreck his whole body and mess with his mind. No more of this – if, and it was a big IF, if he had to regenerate again, Jack will be there to oversee it, get him to medbay ASAP and check his vitals. Also, TARDIS will be able to direct Jack to whatever nutritients they would be needing, because after last time with tea (and previous – damn hard to find bananas, when one is floating in freezing water in an evening coat and too-tight suit pants!) he wanted to make sure he’d get exactly what he would need and without delay.
He lied there, looking at the ceiling, trying to understand what was different. He never planned this kind of things before. They just… happened. Companions coped. He managed. OK, not every regeneration was particularily brilliant point in his life – especially the sixth him was nothing to write home about – but he got through, survived and went on.
Now, he was planning and it was, in fact, scaring him a bit. The very fact that he sat down and explained to Jack the mechanics of regeneration, the first signs, the possible causes, risky situations, outcomes, needed materials, protocols and definite no-no’s (“Don’t give me aspirin, ever, even if I beg for it, or someone thinks it may help my heart”, “Never get me to a hospital. EVER. EVEN if you think I finally died – medbay is good enough, but if it really gets weird, or my hearts don’t start, run Protocol 3, it is coded to your voice pattern. TARDIS will lock everything and get us, top-speed, to dr Grace Holloway, San Francisco. It has to be after 1999, and she will know what to do…”, “No glucose IVs or any other nutrients intravenously – they may go the wrong way”).
He was feeling a bit queasy about giving Jack so much information about himself, but every time he thought about keeping something to himself, a small tiny thought popped up in his brain, reminding him that this, like thousand of other things, may be the detail that saves his life or sanity the next time.
Bed was messed up.
Not by him. He slept on his side, on one side of the 7 feet wide and long bed. The other side of the bed was messed and it radiated… body heat? Residue of a living being sleeping there, with him?
“Jack! What the hell!?”
He was suddenly very, very much awake. And very angry.
And then there was a scream.
A girl was screaming, scared out of her mind, but it was like a music for his ears. Even when the scream suddenly stopped and he heard kitchen implements falling with clatter, his crazy smile was widening.
“Jack!” he burst into the kitchen, where the Captain was trying, in vain, to hide his best parts with a pot and a cooking apron and looking madly at the exact spot that the Doctor was now standing on.
“At first, I thought you brought some company on board and they mistook the rooms” Doctor said in a conversational tone, leaning on the door frame. “But now I think you were quite alone today, and it was actually only me that slept… not alone.”
“Wh…? What?”
“Did you, or did you not, in fact, just got caught parading butt-naked around the kitchen and scared Rose Tyler into the next universe?”
“But that’s great!” he smiled maniacally. “That means she actually was here! I mean, look at you – well, maybe not, but still – she saw you. Did you see her? I most certainly heard her, oh yes. And TARDIS felt her existence appear and then shut down again.”
“I saw her” Jack gave up the efforts to cover himself and settled on just not showing the most important bits. Somehow getting caught naked in the kitchen twice didn’t seem as much fun as getting caught naked in his bedroom, by some appropriate person. “She was here, she looked at me, and screamed. May I tell you what it does to my self-esteem, to have girls scream with fear when they see me? May I?”
“You may not. But you may tell me what she looked like” the Doctor scrunched his nose and sat at the table. “Also, you may turn off the gas under that pan, before the eggs burn.”
After a few minutes (and one short trip to Jack’s wardrobe) they were sitting on their usual places and Jack was inhaling his scrambled eggs, trying not to choke when he related the very short story of his encounter with their most beloved friend.
“She walked in. Not appeared here, walked. When I rerun what I heard just before she showed up, I know I noticed steps in the corridor, but thought it was just something in the kitchen. Then she stood by the door, probably slightly stunned by all the beauty…”
“Very well. I turned ’round, feeling eyes on my ass – a bit intrusive. She stared at me for at most two seconds and then screamed. She bent forward, still crying something, and flickered out.”
“Flickered… out?”
“Like a damn Princess Leia on a bad recording.”
“But when she was here, she was material? I mean, not see-through, or flickering?”
“No, solid, totally. And then she blinked out and in once and disappeared.”
Doctor pouted slightly, pondering the new data.
“I think… I… Well. Hm.”
“Very informative, thank you.”
Doctor snatched last half-burnt toast.
“I think I need something to eat. Also, I think – I am very hopeful! – that we can, in fact, pull her through.”

The next ship-evening he laid there, on “his” side of the bed, curled around “her” pillow. Still somewhat smelling of her.
Next morning didn’t bring anything new, but for a few blonde hair, which he collected gleefully and took to the TARDIS lab for identification.
Blonde hair turned out to be emitting – still active – void particles. Their roots, however, gave something even more interesting – the DNA of, well, human origins, but very much mutated. And the mutations were such that the Doctor stared at the readout for several good seconds before comprehending them. Including the fact that the tiny wisp of energy still stuck to these cells was pulsating with the familiar golden glow.

Written by Srebrna

2014/06/05 at 02:50

But if you can still dream – 19

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To die, to sleep;

To die, to sleep;
To sleep! Perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.
Hamlet III, 1

Rose: Benzodiazepines

“We have no idea” the frog-like medic stated. “Your blood results are good, maybe only the iron levels are a bit too low – you could benefit from a change of diet, Miss Tyler. But in the behaviour tests I see overall slowness of response, drop in the general awareness and significant problems with concentration. How do you feel in these areas? I know that the poisoning with whatever it was – hopefully someone will identify it – might have affected your brain processes, but nobody could have predicted that the effects will last that long.”
She pursed her lips.
“I’m afraid I’m not sleeping very well lately” she answered finally. “And then during the day I can’t focus on text, I have to read the same sentence three times… It’s as if I could not take any more knowledge in. I just can’t work like this…”
He nodded, chewing the tip of his pencil.
“Your performance will be, I’m afraid, deteriorating. I’d say you should take at least three weeks of vacation,but you Torchwood freaks wouldn’t recognize vacation if it came up close and spit on your shoe.”
“I already have taken a week. This seizure came on the first day… What should I do, go home and watch TV all the time?”
He scratched back of his head in thought.
“Let me think… I’d suggest you take a dose of this” he scribbled on a notepad “and simply stay at home. Read or listen to music, no watching TV – the blinking pictures may have adverse effect. Stay as long as you need. I’m putting you on a prolonged sick leave.”
She sighed.
“What does it do?”
He looked up at her.
“The medicine. What does it do and what does it contain? I’m allergic to some drugs, so I’d rather not add asthma or spots to the whole mess.”
He recited the ingredients slowly, watching her nod at every name.
“Very well. Here’s your prescription. Pick the stuff up in the hospital apothecary. They will be expecting you.”
Bedside manner from hell. How did he became a doctor?
Dismissed, she stood up and slowly walked to the door.

She fell backwards on her bed and looked at the label. Of course the booklet inside the box was thicker than the capsule holder and she totally disregarded it, only taking a look at the “adverse drug reactions”.
Lots. Aw, hell.

Of course she got at least half of the list of these. Her throat was sore and somehow constricted, her left hand was a bit stiff and she would have sworn someone had wrapped her brain in cotton candy.
She got up quietly, putting the cover back over his sleeping form and sneaked out to the corridor. She more felt her way forward than saw it – her brain still working on low power, eyes not quite catching the details, ears…
Someone was singing.
The voice carried along the corridor with firmness, self-assuredness and openness of a professional singer. It was a rich, strong but surprisingly mellow tenor which reminded her of something, but she couldn’t quite place what.
Before she made a conscious decision, there she was, standing in the door to TARDIS kitchen, the most homey room on the whole ship.
Lights were low, but the stove lamp was lit so she could take in all the peculiarity of the scene – a pan full of scrambled eggs, a stack of half-burned toast on a plate, a butter dish and, in the middle of it, singing “Can you feel the love tonight” into the whisk, dancing and making wild gestures was a dead man. Naked.
She apparently stood there for a bit too long – took some time to analyse her observations – because he turned.
She saw the perfect face, slightly tousled hair, sculpted muscle and the infuriating smile that made women (and some men) swoon at the very sight of him.
His lips moved, eyes widened, he was saying something, walking to her, reaching out, but she didn’t hear, didn’t see, didn’t think. She screamed.

“Seizure!” the nurse cried, as the body on the table tensed up and contorted painfully. The attendants grabbed a flailing limb each and held Rose down on the bed.
“As you see” Martha Jones gestured helplessly. “We have no new ideas. Or, rather, they have no idea, as I have been denied access to Rose’s records.”
Pete Tyler twisted his gloves in desperation as he watched his wife look forlornly at Rose through the thick glass.
“I’ll make sure you get authorised” he uttered finally. “No way they are treating her like a test subject. I won’t be able to be here all the time. Even then they would probably be able to go behind my back. You will make sure they understand that for cutting up Rose they will pay by being cut themselves. Cut away from the employee list at least” He squeezed his eyes shut. “If they cannot come to any reasonable solution, we’ll take her back home. Can I rely on you, doctor Jones?”
She nodded slowly, wondering what she got herself into.
“You will need details that are in Rose’s Torchwood personnel file. When you read it, you will understand why it is of utmost importance not to let these… butchers… find any reason to cut Rose open or try any invasive treatment.”
Jackie turned to them, determination shining in her face.
“Doctor Jones, my daughter is something special. I’m not saying this because she’s my little girl. She may be, when time comes, the only person who can save this whole universe. And I like this one as much as my previous one – even better, considering Pete here – I’d much rather it stayed as it is. Oh, stop it, Pete. She will read Rose’s file, mine too, if she wants, and it’s all there. Doctor Jones” she turned to the astonished medic. “Rose was born to me and Peter Tyler who died before she even walked. We, and one other, were transported to this reality a bit under two years ago, and have replaced two persons who were killed at that time.”
“Cybermen” Martha whispered.
“Jackie Tyler of this world was converted” Pete’s voice was hard and low. “Jackie agreed to stay in her place.”
“Only Rose never existed here, so we had to create a backstory for her. So, of course, parts of her medical history are sham, only put there to explain her visible scars and some changes that might have occurred.”
“But couldn’t you have just given the real explanation? After all, any accidents she might have had couldn’t be so different from what could happen here… Could they?”
“Werewolf scratching across her back, 1800’s stitching. Laser burns. Non-earth colourings in her tattoo. If watched through red-green 3D glasses, she is surrounded by a swarm of shining particles. Enough?”
“She is also mildly telepathic, highly empathic and has slight telekinetic abilities” Jackie added. “Do you feel we could have included any of this in a normal report?”
Martha Jones, MD, just nodded.
A day (and a sleepless night) later a very determined Martha Jones was standing in front of the main desk and repeating her demand. Finally, after the third recitation of her authorisations, the guard gave up and let her in. She noted his name carefully. Pete will want to know.
After an evening of extensive reading and a night talking to Pete and Jackie, she had, finally, knowledge on which she could base her analysis of Rose’s health. And also re-evaluate whatever she herself diagnosed before.
Which was a lot.
“Basing on the blood samples, Rose is no longer human. No human being would have been able to live with these mineral levels, low sugar and, well, several other abnormalities. I will have to cook up results that will give a diagnosis of severe anaemia and some general infection. Giving her supplements and general antibiotics – with reference to her allergy listing, of course – may help her and will give the team something to do. Also, it seems that this situation is a recent development – her last blood test was only five days ago – and based on it, your Torchwood physician prescribed the pills – it was showing slight iron deficiency, nothing more interesting.”
Pete nodded and simply turned his laptop towards her, an application to falsify blood results already running.
“There is, though, another and much graver problem” Martha had his attention immediately. “Her sleep patterns. She doesn’t sleep. No more than an hour per day.
“Although Rose is, as I said, probably non-human, we have never yet met a species that would be able to survive on next to no sleep. Rose’s EEG shows that even when we perceive her as sleeping, her brain is still working at full speed. Only for an hour or so she goes into what would be, for any of us, a light sleep. No deep sleep phase, no REM – only an hour of barely useful nap every twenty-six hours or so.”
“That means brain damage?” Pete has seen people go without sleep for much longer than was healthy for them.
“Not necessarily” Martha bit her lower lip. “The blood results may be an outcome or be linked to the sleeping problems. She may be suffering no damage at all. If her physiology has been altered enough to cope with the blood abnormalities, it may also be coping with no sleep. But I don’t know, frankly, ANY species with such ability.”
Jackie made a strangled noise. The other two looked at her suspiciously as she raked her perfectly coiffed hair with her fingers.
“I know one” she finally uttered.
Pete sat straighter suddenly.
“You think…?”
“I suppose so.”
Martha waited, suddenly no longer the centre of attention. And quite glad about that. She was a physician, not a xenologist, and her knowledge of aliens was limited to the humanoid ones that have been apprehended by Torchwood. Finally, the pair returned their focus to her.
“What are the real risks here, doctor?”
She inhaled slowly.
“Starting from the ‘human’ risks – as you said, brain damage, personality disorders, ataxia, aphasia, anything, basically. Any other? Well, hard to estimate without knowing the physiology of whatever species she is mutating into, but I suppose similar, including additional physical changes, and, if the change in total is too large, organs shutdown. For the time being, she is staying without contact with us, but her brain is working full-speed, as if she was completely conscious. Her heart rate is 160, BP almost 145/110. This means she’s burning down energy in a rate that is hard to equal by the ‘safe’ IV nutrients we can give her. Also, if this goes for much longer, her heart is going to sustain damage. The options we have now is either putting her into deeper sleep – to make her brain and heart slow down – or try to wake her up in order to check what is actually going on with her.”
Jackie’s eyes jumped nervously from the doctor to her husband.
“Do we have any safe drugs that would keep her in deeper state of sleep for long enough?”
“Fortunately, yes. She had no adverse reaction to Thitrax, so we can give her the deep-coma amount safely and work from there” she rubbed her eyes and nose tiredly. “However, there is always a risk that she won’t wake up from this. I have no way of even guessing the state of her brain – what it is supposed to be and how badly it’s screwed up now. I’m sorry. But I’d rather say it now, then surprise you with this when she doesn’t came back.”
“But if you try to wake her up now…?” Jackie’s lips trembled.
“Her heart will probably give in. And I frankly can’t say what we could do about it, as transplant would probably be out of question.”
Pete drew his wife closer.
“Deep coma. At least we will still have options then.”

Written by Srebrna

2014/06/01 at 01:45