Time Lady 2

The Hole in Space

Time Lady 2
Book One
Book Two
The Whitechapel Murders
Book Three
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It hurts to set you free
But you’ll never follow me
 - from 'The End' by The Doors

The Grim Reaper

Their sad, but necessary, parting had been hard on both of them.  Yin didn’t want to go, but he knew that he had to.  The Doctor needed the space to work and since the moment of his departure until right here and now she missed him, terribly.  She missed waking up next to him in their bed, she missed sharing a quick refreshing shower with him, she missed making the breakfast, and she missed him making those little sandwiches for lunch.  She missed sharing a nice cup of coffee with him and just talking, about anything, about everything.  Whatever they could think of, it was always interesting to sped that time with him.  She missed the way he looked when he was happy, the way he smiled, the way his eyes lit up.  She missed the way his nose wrinkled when he had to do the washing up or iron the washing.  She missed him next to her in bed.  She missed him making love to her; she missed the connection they shared, the rightness of their marriage.  Now here she was cut off from him and yet she knew that if he was here she’d hate him for the exact same reasons as why she missed him so much.

 

 

The TARDIS was empty, and yet it was full of memories.  Memories of this life and all the others lives the Doctor had lived.  You could almost hear the soft patter of Susan’s feet as she eagerly explored the TARDIS that first day they’d escaped from Gallifrey together, to become exiles.  Perhaps you could nearly hear the friendly banter between Ben and Jamie as they argued about everything but always supported each other afterwards.  The gasps of amazement as Jo and Mike and John saw inside the TARDIS for the first time was just a whisper outside of earshot.  All this and more haunted the TARDIS like the spectre at the banquet, the Doctor had always been on the outside of their lives, an observer, a brief friend who was here one day and gone the next and yet touched the lives of so very many people.  This rich pageant of life was a measure of the passion and warmth and tenderness in the human heart, yet with the suitable application of terror it would transform a human being in a gibbering shell of insanity.  She pushed it all to one side in her mind though.  She needed the mental space to concentrate on the task at hand.  “No time to play today.”  She muttered to herself.

Solaria was a lie, a false benevolent god.  Instead she was Cthuga, a twisted being of immense antiquity.  It dwelled upon the threshold outside of time and space, at least in these lower dimensions.  Cthuga however did manifest in this reality from time to time and always as the same avatar, a main sequence white dwarf star, called Fomalhaut.  That was the weakness she was going to exploit, somehow.

Cthuga always returned to the same point in space each time she descended from her home in the higher dimensions into this axis of reality.  A companion star, formed in her own image: Fomalhaut.  That ancient red star had lasted longer than it should have.  It was billions of years old, older than this Milky Way galaxy.

Cthuga had placed her beloved companion here many years ago, obviously as an anchor to this part of existence.  The white dwarf star had once been a swollen red giant, but it must be sucking in raw hydrogen from somewhere, to keep it from imploding once it reached the iron point.  Instead of dying it had been given a new unnatural life. Instead of simply dying when it passed the death point.  That was when a sun had burned off all other chemicals in its core up to iron.  Iron did not burn, could not be consumed.  That was the point of death for a star.  Fomalhaut should have shrunk back in upon itself millions of years ago and gone supernova.  Instead it was an undying zombie star, maintained by a god-like creature that planned to consume the universe.

The Doctor suspected that Cthuga was supplying it with all of the gaseous hydrogen and dust it needed to survive the iron death point.  If she could trigger an increase in iron she could cause the star to become unstable.  She could use herself as bait and lure Cthuga into a huge supernova, destroying the ancient malevolent entity once and for all.

The Doctor was working on building a remote stellar manipulator.  It would manipulate the star to do as she wished.  She didn’t wish to be ostentatious so she called it Bob, but that was silly so she changed it to Roberta.  After all it was going to be the biggest bitch-slap this universe would probably ever see.

That was if she could get the device wired up correctly.  It was infuriatingly annoying the way that a system would short out the second she connected another system to it.  Almost as if…as if something was sabotaging the device’s creation!  There was only one thing for it.  The Doctor fumed as she made her way back to the control room.  Her fingers flew over the controls and the TARDIS was shunted outside of its own internal time stream into a temporal orbit.  She returned to begin again, and this time she had real success.  ‘Roberta’ came online.

“hELLO.”  Roberta said to the Doctor.  “hOW aRE yOU tODAY?”

“I’m fine, thanks.”  The Doctor said to Roberta.  “How do you feel?”

“eXCITED.”  Roberta replied.  “i aM eAGER tO gET sTARTED.”

“Do you know what you have to do?”  The Doctor asked.

“yES.”  Roberta giggled.  “tODAY i bLOW uP a sUN.”

“Just the one, mind you.”  The Doctor said sternly.

“tAKE aLL tHE fUN oUT oF mY jOB, wHY dON’T yOU?”  Roberta replied.  “cAN’T i aT lEAST pLAY wITH a cOUPLE oF oTHER sTARS?  pLEASE?”

“We’ll see.”  The Doctor replied.  “Now what do you know about the target star?”

“fOMALHAUT.  17TH bRIGHTEST sTAR aS sEEN fROM tHE pLANET eARTH.  sPECTRAL TYPE A3Va.  oTHER nAMES iNCLUDE: oS pISCIS mERIDIANI; oS pISCIS nOTII; dIFDA and aL aUWEL wHICH mEANS tHE "fIRST fROG"

“Very good.”  The Doctor patted Roberta’s metal casing.  “Perhaps I can work on your speech modulator later.”

“iT wAS hASTORANG iN pERSIA 2582 b.c., aT tHE wINTER sOLSTICE, aND a rOYAL sTAR, oNE oF tHE "fOUR gUARDIANS oF hEAVEN", sENTINELS wATCHING oVER oTHER sTARS; wHILE aBOUT 500 b.c. iT wAS tHE oBJECT oF sUNRISE wORSHIP iN tHE tEMPLE oF dEMETER aT eLEUSIS.”

“I think that’s enough for today’s history lesson.”  The Doctor muttered.  “Now, let’s get you into position and you can show me what you can do.”

“wHAT wILL bECOME oF mE oNCE yOU’VE gOTTEN rID oF yOUR eNEMY?”

“How are you at chess?”  The Doctor wondered, and smiled.

 

 

The cloister room was shaped like a giant Norman cathedral, like the one at Durham.  The Doctor sat on one of the wooden benches in the Nave, just thinking aloud to herself.  “So much suffering, so much cruelty, I thought I’d stopped it all when I redeemed the Daleks.  Was I wrong?  Did I pave the way for another evil to take their place?  If I remove this threat, am I any better, does the means really justify the end anymore?  Can I go through all this again?”  She looked up at the giant stains glass window; it depicted the symbol of Rassilon in reds and golds, surrounded by a field of blues and greens.  “Am I destined never to be happy for the rest of my lives?”

Roberta floated over to where the Doctor was seated.  She rose up to a vertical alignment and hovered next to the Doctor.  “wE cAN oNLY bE wHAT wE’RE pROGRAMMED tO bE.”

“We can be more.”  The Doctor replied.  “You can play chess, sort of.  I can save the universe and have a bloke to come home to at night, to make love to me and protect me from all of my fears and worries.”

“nOTHING lASTS fOREVER.”  Roberta said slowly.

The Doctor stood up.  “Life is change, people change, I can change.  I can be happy and be myself.  I can kick ass while wearing sexy heels and I can have a relationship with a guy I love, a marriage that works.”

“wHAT iS lOVE?”

The Doctor stood up.  “I don’t know Roberta, but I know what it isn’t.  Love is missing the man you want to spend the rest of your lives with.”  She left the cloister room and headed back to the control room.

 

 

The Doctor stopped off at her room to change.  She saw one of Yin’s shirts left on the floor.  She picked it up and smelled it.  It smelled of him, the personal mix of pheromones that indicated who he was.  It was unique and special and could really do with a wash.

She stripped out of her work clothes and turned the shower on.  She stepped under the hot stream of water and let it work its magic as she began to rub her oatmeal body scrub over her skin.  “I never knew guilt was so exhausting she said to herself.”  She let her hair soak through while she attended to her more personal areas.  Personal grooming was an art form she considered.  Something’s needed constant maintenance while others needed a minimal overhaul only when necessary.  She shampooed her hair.  It always took at least ten minutes to make sure it was all done properly.  Once it was washed she conditioned it, which took another ten minutes.  No wonder all the girls she’d travelled with had complained when he asked them why they took so long in the shower to get ready.  They knew how to really get clean.

Her legs and armpits were fine, no stubble yet, so she left them alone.  She turned the water off and stepped out of the stall to find a towel to wrap her hair up in.  Then she wrapped another towel around her midriff, just over the top of her breasts.  She was all alone in the TARDIS, well apart from Roberta, who was skulking about somewhere.

Slowly she rubbed legs and arms dry, then her chest and abdomen and finally her groin.  She then pulled her pink silk gown onto her shoulders and tied it loosely around her waist.  Her hair took longer to dry, and then she had to make sure all the tangles were out of it.  This could be a real fight sometimes, especially if the hairbrushes she used weren’t in a co-operative mood.

Luckily though the tangles must have sensed her mood and behaved themselves and she quickly dried her hair into a simple wavy style that hang loose on her shoulders.  She dressed in some sexy black silk lingerie, with a red lace frilly trim around the waistband and leg cuffs of the knickers and likewise around the trim and straps of the matching bra.  She gently rolled up a fresh pair of 15 denier stockings up onto her legs, they were hold-ups though, she really couldn’t be doing with those garter belts, and she only had one because Yin liked the way little strappy things looked on her.  She thought they were a waste of time, especially when you really needed the loo and they got in the way of her knickers.   On top of this she wore a navy blue cotton blouse, which showed off her cleavage just enough to get her extra attention and black cotton chino trousers and a matching mini-waistcoat that did nothing to hide her breasts but still had material to be considered clothing.  Finally she slid some comfortable one inch heels on her feet, comfy enough to run in, but still elegant enough to make her legs look and feel sexy.  Now that she was dressed she quickly threw her slap on, a touch of foundation cream, some power on the apples of her cheekbones, a little more on her nose and then lipstick, eye shadow, lip-gloss, black eye pencil around the edges of her eyes and then mascara and a final touch up to her eye shadow.  She felt she was finally ready for what could be the last moments of her life.  Roberta was waiting for her outside her room.  “Are you ready?”

“i wAS cREATED rEADY.”  Roberta replied and floated after her creator.

 

 

The Doctor watched as Roberta shot out of the TARDIS and streaked across the empty tract of space into the white heart of Fomalhaut.  Did she imagine a playful laugh?  Within a few seconds the white dwarf star began to turn yellow, then orange and then red.  As it changed colour it expanded.  The Doctor pulled the TARDIS back, away from the approaching stellar body.  The light red turned a darker red and then it was nearly black.

This shall not come to pass!  Solaria’s voice seemed to be everywhere at once.  I shall not have my companion torn asunder by the likes of you.

“Plan B.”  The Doctor said to the microphone in front of her.

“It’s been a blast.”  Roberta’s voice replied.  “Self-destruct initiated.”

The Doctor sighed as Roberta sacrificed herself to initiate Plan B.  “This is the final end.  Solaria, or should I say Cthuga?  I am ending your insanity once and for all!”  The Doctor watched as the red giant star collapsed in on itself, crushing inwards at terrible speeds.  Within seconds it went from red to orange to yellow to white to a terrible blue and then a violet colour that no star ever born had been.  Then even that was gone as all that remained was a hole in space, a black hole.”

What have you done?  Cthuga thundered.

“I’ve ended your little scheme.”  The Doctor replied.

What is happening to me?

You’re trapped by the gravity well of the black hole.  It’s the irresistible force and you’re the immovable object.  My money’s on the black hole.”  The Doctor moved the TARDIS further away.  “Not enough mass.  I need to dig a deeper hole.”  She scratched the side of her jaw in thought.  “I need more mass.  Why is there never a handy cake shop when you need one?”

 

 

The Doctor used the TARDIS to throw comets and asteroids towards the heart of the black hole.  Cthuga tried to stop them, but the black hole was more powerful and it drew them into its crushing singularity, transforming matter and energy into mass and gravity.  Soon a trail of matter was beginning to flow from Cthuga down into the nothingness at the heart of the black hole.  It still wasn’t enough however.

The Doctor threw minor planets, then major ones into the maelstrom of oblivion.  She still needed more mass however.  Cthuga was slowly being torn apart but not fast enough.

I will destroy you!  Cthuga spat with venomous hatred.

The Doctor searched further a field and threw uninhabited solar systems into the black hole.  But still it needed more mass.  Finally she nudged a massive blue giant down into the spiral hurricane of dying matter that was forming around the central event horizon.  Almost there, but there were no more uninhabited worlds left to sacrifice.  The only one was a small inhabited world that had just enough mass.  It was Dang, Yin’s homeworld.  He was waiting there right now for her to return to him.  She had to pick between billions and the rest of the universe.  Her hearts lost and she threw the planet on a terminal vector towards the void.

Cthuga was torn apart by the sudden increase in mass.  My plans.  But it was too late; the great old one was devoured by an even hungrier monster that was more powerful and toxic to all life forms.

 

 

The Doctor tried to travel back in time, just a few minutes, to save Yin.  However the TARDIS refused to dematerialise.  “Damn you!”  She yelled at the machine.  “I have to save my husband.  There’s still time.  I can save him from annihilation before I send the planet to its doom.”  The screens all displayed two words: Timing Malfunction.  “No, oh Rassilon, no!”  She pounded on the console with her fists.  “No!  No!  No!  I have to save him, he’s my husband, and I love him!”  The TARDIS didn’t respond.  She’d been locked out of this time zone by an outside force.  Cthuga’s final revenge.  She glared at the black hole, hating it with a fury not seen since that terrible war in which she’d tried to kill the Daleks, thought she’d killed the Daleks.  “I refuse to be the widow of a man who is still alive.”  She stood up and left the control room.  The secondary room was still off-line.  It wouldn’t be affected.  She could override the override and rescue Yin.  The secondary console room was a simple oval.  At one end there was a mass of oak panels and brass tubes that constituted the control panel.  At the other end was the floating viewing globe.  She set the controls to show her Yin’s world.  She saw him and his family sitting down to a meal.  She turned the globe off, before she saw anymore.  The controls came on line and the ship began to dematerialise.

 

 

Yin was saying a simple prayer of thanks when Li Na rushed into the room.  “Everyone, into the TARDIS.  There is no time.”

Yin looked at his wife.  “You cannot cheat time so easily.”

“What do you mean?”  The Doctor asked.

“If you stay here you will die.  If we go with you we will die.”

“I don’t understand.”

Yin stood up and hugged the Doctor.  “This world was destroyed before you arrived.  We’ve been granted a few last moments to enjoy this simple family meal.  It’s the universe’s way of saying sorry for our deaths.  If you stay here with us, you will join us.  You have to live, my beloved wife.  You have to honour our memories, celebrate who we were when we were alive.”

The Doctor saw the shadowy figure of Death standing in the corner of the room.  “This isn’t fair.”

“Life is not fair.”  Yin replied.  “Now please go, live, for all of us.  We are but phantoms; already you feel the cold, don’t you.  The freezing cold of space.  We should be dead by now anyway.  You have a few moments left, go!  Go now.”  Yin handed a scroll to the Doctor.  “My farewell message, my wife.”

The Doctor was too numb for words.  She clutched the scroll in her hands and went back to the TARDIS.

 

 

Yin and the rest of the family began to dine as the planet disintegrated around them.  They finished their final meal just in time as they reached singularity and even the memory of their lives was crushed out of existence.

 

 

The Doctor had barely made it into the TARDIS in time.  The controls had been activated automatically, the HADS taking them both to safety.  The Doctor patted the secondary controls.  “He’s gone, old girl, he’s gone.”  The TARDIS allowed the cloister bell to chime once, in Yin’s memory.  “We’ve still sot so much work to do though.  We’ve got the remnants of a dangerous cult to stop.  We’ve got some demon spawn to annihilate and finally we’ve got a memorial service to hold.  The Doctor wondered how many more headstones she’d be adding to those already in the TARDIS graveyard.  “Solaria may be dead, but there’s still a lot of people killing in her name.  It has to stop, now.”  The Doctor banged the control panel with her hand.  “Frak it!  I’ve broken a frakking nail!”

 

Doctor Who really doesn't work well without a companion to the Doctor.  That's why I had to make Roberta a speaking character instead of an imanimate object (like the Hand of Omega in Remembrance of the Daleks) because I needed someone to interact with the Doctor so she could verbalise her thoughts.  Also the toggled case was something I've been thinking of using for a couple of years now, originally for the 13th Doctor's companion Webbi, but I let it go then because I didn't think it'd work right for a biological character.  It's more of an industrial looking language so I knew it'd have to go with a suitable mechanoid and Roberta was just the right mechanoid at the right time.
 
Also, how conniving is the 14th Doctor?  Figuring out that if Cthuga could interfere inside the TARDIS then perhaps the original plan would be compomised, so she built a back up plan.  I thought this was a really cool idea and really suits the more cerebral hands-off approach of this Doctor.
 
The death of Cthuga was planned from the very beginning, I wanted to make her into a huge, enemy that would wipe out the whole universe if left unopposed, and by being so close to Cthuga the Doctor was emotionaly vulnerable to being hurt.  Cthuga/Solaria is an antagonist, but the story isn't about her, it's about the Solar Knights.
 
I think it was very necessary to sacrifice Yin.  I felt that if he remained in the TARDIS then the Doctor really would settle down with him and that would be taking things too far.  I personally don't have a problem with the Doctor having a boyfriend, but when he gets in the way and pulls her away from who she is then that's when he needs to go.  The 14th Doctor is more of an ice queen, and when her hearts are defrosted then we see real passion and intensity.  And there's still one more chapter to go...
 
One thing I've always hated about the 8DA's is how half of them always manage to shove the original Hartnell control room into it, when they had a whole new one to play with and explore.  That's why I knew I'd have to get rid of it, by introducing an all-new secondary control room that was different again to anything so far seen.  This is a minimalist set up and inspired in part by the bizarre cover of the Pink Floyd 'Relics' CD.
 

- the home of the 14th Doctor -