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PART THREE
 
t was like looking in a mirror. She remembered when she’d been inside her own mind, looking at fractured versions of herself, splinters of her one true form. Yet this was reality, solidity. She could prod the flesh and it would respond just as she herself would. She walked all around it, this doppelganger, studying it, trying to ascertain if it was indeed her.

For a split second she was confused, unsure which of them was the genuine article. She dismissed the thought from her mind – that way lay madness.

Outside of the room, the scientists observed this interaction, congratulating themselves on their own ingenuity. The enemy would have no idea what had hit them, wouldn’t understand the true nature of the duplication. While they still held the original they could ensure the cooperation of the man who had made all of these endeavours possible.

The man who would win them the war.

The man known only as the Doctor.

~~~

ne week earlier.

The TARDIS was in flight, adjusting itself once more after its recent invasion and seeming destruction at the hands of the creature it had now left to live out its days on the planet Kolkokron.

The Doctor peered studiously through his half-moon spectacles at the console, trying to fathom exactly what had happened to the old girl. He shook his head, removed his glasses and turned to Tegan who was – as more often than not – sighing.

'Tegan, would it help to share the problem?' He raised his eyebrows in her direction, opening himself up for a barrage of abuse and/or questions.

'I never thought I’d say this, but shouldn’t we be getting back to Turlough?' Her arms were crossed, so the Doctor knew that she meant business.

'Not having fun, just the two of us?' He seemed slightly offended by Tegan’s desire to go back for their travelling companion.

'Oh come on Doctor, you know it’s been fun, but we’ve been away for over a month now.'

The Doctor looked up at her. 'Has it really been that long? Still, it’s all relative as far as a time machine is concerned. We can be back for Turlough before we’ve even left...or at least just after. We don’t need to confuse him with temporal anomalies.' The Doctor’s hand hovered over the controls. 'You’re sure? I can’t tempt you with one last trip first?'

Tegan looked at him. There was a playful boyishness in his eyes, an almost puppy-dog look. She knew she’d regret it but...'Alright! But just one. No more delays after that. Promise?'

The Doctor gave a weak smile. 'Scout’s honour. I was hoping you’d agree. You see, we’ve just landed!'

~~

The door opened and rifle muzzles were pointed directly at the pair of them.

'Great! A welcoming committee! Can’t you ever land anywhere where the locals are pleased to see us?'

The Doctor looked directly into the face of the man who stood at the front of the group. He was sure he recognised the face. Had he been here before? Certainly not in this body, but perhaps in a previous incarnation. It suddenly hit him, where he’d seen this man before.

'Ah good, General Munro isn’t it? We’re expected I assume?'

The general looked him over with a suspicious air, not entirely sure who or what this stranger was. He eyed the box warily. Something that could appear from thin air was most impressive, but something that transcended time as well...

'Take them to Novik. I’m sure she’d like a little chat with them.' He motioned a couple of the others forward and the Doctor put out his wrists, expecting them to be bound. Under duress Tegan did the same, but no bonds were forthcoming. 'We have no need of restraint. Though we will of course impound your craft.'

The Doctor sighed. 'Is that really necessary? We’re not in a hurry to go anywhere are we Tegan?'

'Of course not,' she replied with heavy sarcasm. 'We’ve got all the time in the world!'               

~~~

he machine was like a primitive X-Ray scanner from Earth, thought Steven, as it took pictures of his internal structure. He watched as they appeared on a screen, Novik manipulating them and studying them carefully.

'So you appear out of nowhere, with traces of chronon radiation, and you say you’re not Voltrani?' She peered at him over glasses. If Steven didn’t know better he’d swear she was flirting with him.

'No, I’m from Earth. Originally. I fought in the Dalek wars, was captured, and then met the Doctor. Why do you keep insisting I’m one of these Voltrani?'

She turned the scanner back on, checking the readings once again. 'It’s the chronon fluctuation. No Selafan has anywhere near that amount of time energy surrounding them. The Voltrani’s experiments are more advanced than our own, and from the little we’ve found out, the chronon energy imbalance has not been rectified.'

Steven looked her in the eye. 'I swear to you, I’m not one of these Voltrani. Like I said, I arrived here in a craft with the Doctor, and he left without me.'

She moved over to undo the straps that had held him securely to the machine. 'Well, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. For now. You’ve got to prove your usefulness and honesty somehow though.'

Steven stretched as he got off of the scanner. 'I’ll do my best,' he smiled. What other choice have I got?
 
~~~
 
 
         

artwork by ANDY LAMBERT
used with permission
 
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