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Altered History: Echos on Oodsphere (1/?)

Title: Altered History: Echos on Oodsphere
Genre: Doctor Who
Rating: T (violence, angst-ridden Doctor)
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: On another major journey the Doctor and Donna land on a planet of beings aware of him, but he doesn't know them. The danger compels him to reveal more about the past he is still fighting against, how he fears the Moment is still haunting him. And Donna sees reason to share his worries.
Disclaimer: Imagine what might have been had the Movie turned into a series as originally intended. What else could have been? So... still not mine by a long shot.
Dedication: cassikat, who kept pressing me to write more of this series. Thanks to Camp NaNoWriMo, I got started on this story when the others stalled hard.
Author's Note: Now the series starts providing more answers about the differences the Eighth Doctor's still being alive has caused, and the effects on events from other Doctors' eras. And it's clearly leading toward more. Please, go back and read the first two stories, The Runaway Bride and Prophecies and Pompeii, before reading this one.

And cassikat? Sorry the rest isn't ready. Life and getting sick didn't help things. Thankfully, tardis_mole was kind enough to make the time to ensure this first part was.

Also posting in honor of all of my December-born friends, including dtstrainers and serenityslady. Hope y'all enjoy this, and I look forward to seeing you both at Gallifrey One. (It's been too long.)

Oh, there are references to Eight audios in here. So far we're talking “Horror of Glam Rock” and “Max Warp”. A few more might make their way in here before I finish. :)



Altered History: Echos on Oodsphere

Started April 24, 2017
Story Unfinished as of Start of Posting
Finished January (?), 2018



Chapter One: Signs of a Bumpy Ride

The Vortex

“Are all random journeys this insane?! It's like an out of control roller coaster or tilt-a-whirl!”

The Doctor was not unused to hearing his companions react wildly to time eddies creating a difficult journey. Yet Donna was the first to make that comparison. And he was having as much trouble holding on to the controls as she was.

“We're nearly through!” he promised. “It's a little time eddy.”

She let out a loud squawk of disgust. “You better not be understating, Spaceman! Someone could get sick from this!”

He winced. “I've seen everything from excitement on some companions' faces to becoming space-sick. Lucie nearly gave a spectacular demonstration of that once.”

Suddenly they landed. It was not a hard landing, but enough of a jolt that they stumbled with the effort to keep on their feet.

Still, it was a relief that he could stand without holding on to something. “Okay, I set the controls to random before we started. So we're on the start of our mystery tour. Outside that door could be any planet, anywhere, anywhen in the whole wide…. Donna, are you alright?” he added, his excitement draining instantly in reaction to her pale and wild-eyed fright.

“Terrified,” she admitted, turning to look at him. “I mean history’s one thing, but an unknown alien planet?!”

“You're not thinking of going home, are you?” he asked, a bit uneasy at the thought. “Not after all those promises that you'd be there?”

She scoffed, pointing at him in warning. “Don't. If I couldn't be scared off after you put the fear of God in my mum and then I nearly got buried alive in Pompeii after nearly being stabbed to death by twisted soothsayers, then this won't.”

He smiled gently as he walked over to her side. “Donna, I know what it’s like. Everything you’re feeling right now. The fear, the joy, the wonder, and all those other feelings that pop up. I get all of that!”

Her mouth slackened. “Seriously?! After all this time? You're not taking the mickey of me, even after all those promises that you would avoid lying to me?”

He grinned impishly. “Why do you think I keep travelling the universe and time like I do? And lying to you? That's asking for another slap, isn't it?”

She squealed. “Oh! All right then, you and me both!” She hurried to the door, and paused to turn around to look at him. “This is barmy! I was born in Chiswick. I've only ever done package holidays. And now I’m here.”

He laughed as he put his satchel over his shoulder. “And how would you describe it, Donna?” he asked, a hint of delighted laughter in his tone as he ran a last check of the outside.

“This is so… I mean it’s…. I don’t know, it’s all sort of, I don’t know what the word is!” With that she opened the door and exited.

And promptly stopped still as her body registered the snowy surroundings. “I’ve got the word. Freezing!”

“Donna!” the Doctor cried as he rushed out after her. “It's quite cold out. You should-”

She shoved him further out. “Just for not checking on the temperature you can wait out here while I get my coat!”

He opened his mouth to protest, but Donna had closed the door.

“Come on, Old Girl,” he groaned aloud. “You couldn't tell me the temperature before and save me the embarrassment of looking like I don't care in front of the one companion who would have no compunction over slapping me if I make a huge mistake?”

The TARDIS chimed.

He sighed and turned to look out over the surroundings. “You pick now to be temperamental?”

The door opened. “Who is temperamental?” Donna asked.

The Doctor turned and stopped. He knew he had hardly seen any of her clothing collection and rarely noted what his companions chose for themselves unless it was absolutely unsuitable for the historical period, but he blinked at the sight of Donna's coat. He could not figure her sense of style out. Or any Earth woman's style out, for that matter. Or was that women of any species? “Well, Donna Noble, citizen of the Earth, are you better now for standing on a different planet?”

“Lovely, thanks.”

“Comfortable?”

“Yep.”

“Can you hear anything inside that?”

“Pardon?” she answered, holding her hand up near her ear with a hint of a smile.

He burst into laughter, unable to keep up the pretense. “May I assume that I'm forgiven?”

She grinned. “This time, Spaceman.”

“All right, as I was saying, citizen of the Earth-”

He cut himself off as they heard a rocket. Then a large spaceship loomed overhead, moving past them.

Once it was far enough that they did not need to yell to be heard, Donna grinned at him. “A rocket! Blimey, a real, proper rocket! You've got a blue box, he's got a flipping Ferarri! Come on, let's go and see where it's going!” she cried as she hurried after it.

“A Ferrari?!” he exclaimed, hearing echoes of Lucie's teasing when they landed during a space exhibition. “What's that supposed to mean?”

Donna giggled at his tone as he caught up with her. “Oh, Doctor! You really are too easy to wind up! I merely mean that his looks impressive whereas the TARDIS could be easily underrated.”

He scoffed, hands in his pockets and not quite letting go of the sting he felt. “You do realize that many people who have ships that big are compensating for something?”

If Lucie could hear him now. She would be laughing herself sick over him saying something she was far more likely to say.

Donna snorted. “Seen it with blokes with their sports cars. So some things don't change even across time and space, eh?”

He thought back to that space exhibition with Lucie, and sighed. “Well, more of them might be about mid-life crises, as Lucie once said.”

Donna looked at him as they walked through the snow. “Given how you last spoke of Lucie without the distraction of something else happening at the same time, the memory must be a good one.”

He chuckled. “Well, she did accuse me of being a rubbish date when I landed us amongst 'boys with toys', as she put it. Took almost every chance to prod me about my interest in boosters or my saying that we were looking at the latest and greatest in space-ship designs.”

“I wonder what you'd be like at a car show,” Donna mused. “I can see you wanting to be like those early car drivers, wearing piloting goggles as you tried breaking the speed record-”

She cut herself off when the Doctor suddenly stopped and looked around with big eyes. He seemed unfocused, like he was placing something that hit him right then.

“Do you hear that?” he asked, quiet yet urgent. “Donna, take your hood down!”

Donna drew up next to him and lowered her hood. “What? I don't hear anything.”

“An erie music, like a song. It's coming from that way,” he said, leading her.

She followed him until he sped up. “Here!” he cried, kneeling before an alien unlike anything Donna ever imagined. The head looked almost like a pale, pink-like version of the characterizations of Martians in movies, except for where the mouth ought to be. She saw little tentacles instead, and an opaque ball was attached by a wire to the grey suit covering the partly snow-buried being.

“What is that?” Donna blurted out, holding back in disgusted shock.

“Donna, he's dying,” he scolded her as he ran the medical probe over the being. “Although I don't know what he is. I've never met his species before.”

“Sorry,” she said, kneeling next to the being. “Can you help him?”

“I'm trying! I don't know where the heart is. I don't know if he's got a heart. Talk to him, keep him going.”

“Doctor.”

They both started as they noticed the globe in his hand glow as he spoke, but the Doctor was the one who spoke. “Yes, I'm a doctor of sorts.”

“Yes, just what you need, a doctor. Couldn't be better, hey?” Donna said.

The being moved the hand holding the globe. “No. You are the Doctor.”

“You know who I am?” he asked, eyes widening. “Who are you? What is your species?”

“I am an Ood. Designated Ood Delta 50.”

Donna picked up the globe, talking into it like a microphone. “My name's Donna.”

“I don't think you need to do that, Donna,” the Doctor said absently, trying to solve the new mystery while placing what he had heard about the Ood. “You've been shot.”

“Doctor, the circle...”

“No, don't try to talk,” Donna urged.

“The circle must be broken,” Delta 50 said, insistent.

The Doctor was baffled. “Circle? What do you mean? Delta 50, what circle?”

There was no answer. The Ood just looked right right him, blinking slowly.

“Delta 50? What circle?”

The Ood suddenly sat up, roaring as his eyes glowed red.

“Get back!” the Doctor shouted, dragging Donna away and getting between her and the Ood. But then Delta Ood 50 collapsed, the red leaving his eyes completely as he stilled.

“He's gone,” Donna breathed. She gently pushed her way in front of the Doctor.

“Careful, Donna. I don't know what caused that, but what just happened cannot be good,” the Doctor insisted.

But Donna just knelt beside the Ood, stroking his head. “There you are, sweetheart. We were too late.”

He watched in awe as she posed the Ood's hands in a more formal gesture. Her practiced manner was enough to make him wonder how recent her other grandparents' deaths had been, or if she had lost siblings. This was a woman almost as practiced in losing people as he was, if he wasn't exaggerating in his mind.

Donna looked up at him. “What do we do, do we bury him?”

“The snow will take care of that,” he gently told her, trying to not be moved by the sorrow in her eyes. Was that a hint of shame over her earlier reaction? “Perhaps we'll locate his people and they can come for him.”

She had to accept that. Donna paused a few extra seconds for a silent prayer for the Ood before standing.

“Come on,” he whispered, holding out his hand. He was not surprised that she took it readily. It was rather cold for someone of her body temperature and he expected she would pull it free to remain warm inside her coat pocket, like the other was doing.

She held his hand for at least two minutes more than he expected, her feet not moving from her vigil over the Ood. Yet she was absolutely silent, something he could only name one or two times she was like that around him.

He sighed when she finally retreated her hand for the warmth of her coat. Even his hands sought refuge from the cold. “It doesn't seem natural for you to be this quiet,” he reflected aloud.

Donna looked up at him. “Why did his eyes go all red? And who could have done that, shot him?”

He might have finally found a companion who could change the subject as readily as he could, and yet wouldn't let him push aside their own concerns. Aloud, all he said was, “I suppose we've found why the TARDIS chose here as our random destination.”

“If she chose it, then how is it random?”

“Random until we discovered what trouble has found us,” he rephrased.

She was too drained to roll her eyes at him, although her quick look still conveyed the urge. “So what are these Ood when they're at home? Or is this one species you know little about?”

“I've heard references to them, but I suspect the sources were biased. Mildly telepathic species. That was the song. His mind was calling out for help.”

“I couldn't hear anything. So he sang as he was dying. How do the Ood and Humans cross paths?”

“I don't remember. Even if I did, I'm not sure I would have interpreted the sources correctly. History is written through two biases, the writer and the writer's culture, and interpreted through two more, your culture and your own.”

“Given how different you are from your people, to hear you tell it, I imagine yours would be a bit unusual.”

“You might be giving me more credit than I deserve. As you've noticed I can miss the details that make up the big picture.”

“But you see the big picture and potential consequences. So... what consequences are we facing today?”

He shrugged. “I don't know. And I suppose we're here to find out. Usually when you see something like that red eyed reaction, there's some outside force acting, like a stronger mind powerful enough to take them over.”

“Then we're keeping toward where that rocket went?”

“Yes. Maybe then we'll find out why he seemed possessed at the end there. I hope this isn't another time I have to worry about something influencing things in my path.”

“You mean... that weapon you defeated? But how could she still cause trouble?”

“Very easily. She already has.”

“What?!”


Chapter Two: Crashing Into the Future

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
acciochocolate
Dec. 26th, 2017 09:09 pm (UTC)
I went back and read this series from the beginning, as you suggested. Very interesting so far!
tkel_paris
Dec. 26th, 2017 11:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It's been hard-going, but amazing in how much I'm growing as a writer. Being able to write more than two Doctors is useful.
acciochocolate
Dec. 27th, 2017 01:23 am (UTC)
I do like yr Eight! Sadly, the BFAs are a bit too pricey, but now that I have almost all of the DW DVDs/Blu-rays, perhaps I can look at the range.
tkel_paris
Dec. 27th, 2017 01:34 am (UTC)
Follow Big Finish and keep your eyes open. Earlier this year there was a big Eight adventures sale. I got everything I didn't have from the Lucie Miller years, and into Dark Eyes. I drew the line at Doom Coalition as I'm not fond of River Song. Maybe one day...

I listened to a few to figure out how he would respond to Donna appearing in his TARDIS, aware that this wasn't the first time something like it had happened to him. At some point, it dawned on me that Lucie and Donna had a lot in common. Which will likely make for some interesting moments later on in the series.

I'm curious to know what you liked about Eight here, and what you liked best about the two earlier stories. :)
bas_math_girl
Jan. 2nd, 2018 01:01 am (UTC)
At least the Doctor didn't dismiss the plight of the Ood like he originally did. That's a pleasant difference for a start. The friendly intimacy between the Eighth Doctor and Donna feels a lot different now too - there is a subtle distance between them that hadnt been there before. And I'm wondering whether Donna is sympathetic, miffed or just zoning out all the references to Lucie that he makes.
tkel_paris
Jan. 2nd, 2018 01:46 am (UTC)
Not knowing, or at least my having no reason to think that Eight would have met the Ood before, helps. And it also helps that he knows full well that the wrong thing said would earn him a deserved slap.

Donna doesn't have that 15 months or so of regretting saying no here, nor does the Doctor have the awkwardness of a Martha in his life. Also, he's dealing with a fresh and difficult case of PTSD, and Donna knows it. Never mind they've come from Gallifrey and that mess.

Hmm. Good question. I think he's got a better sense of self-preservation than Ten did, and so he's more responsive to her words. So far. Donna also knows that he lost Lucie at the same time he lost a great-grandson, and so for now she's more sympathetic than anything. If he started on the path that Ten took with mentioning Rose then she would call him on an unhealthy habit. Unless she senses that he'll call her on one of her own and she's not wanting to deal with it. Also, the references here I couldn't resist making. Lucie almost throwing up, and the chance to reference "Max Warp"? How could I not? Never mind that I got to make a tiny joke about PM's excitement in the documentary "The Petrol Age". :D
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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