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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 Notes: 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.

Please note that Chapter 1 was updated. I found some things that needed changing as I went through the following chapters, and one reviewer's comments made me realize I needed to add a bit to Eight and Donna's talk before they found the Ood. Do go back and read for the changes before continuing.


Chapter One


Echos on Oodsphere

Started April 24, 2017
Still Unfinished as of Posting


Chapter Two: Crashing Into the Future

March 4, 2004
East London, England

“I said to land outside at street level. Why are you insisting on setting down inside and near the roof of the building?!”

The TARDIS gave no answer other than a whine through her normal noises.

The Doctor sighed and leaned forward. “You detect Nestene energy, and then park rather close to it? Shouldn't that put us in danger?” He paused a moment, and then shrugged. “I suppose it might make things easier. Although I've never dealt with them all alone before. Well, a first time for everything.”

He had lost track of how long he had been alone since he finally put the long series of adventures and disasters after his battle with the Moment behind him. Or rather, he hoped the latter series of events were behind him; he sensed someone with a time signature that made his skin crawl was following him on some of those adventures. Not that he wished to think about it, especially with a new danger. He focused instead on the readings as he indulged his bad habit of thinking aloud to himself.

“Since the Nestene home was damaged by the beginnings of the skirmishes that could have been the Time War and there are still time pockets of trouble, but why would they be all the way out here right now? Is there any connection with the rather Humanized ones who thought they were in Thorington? I thought they were more than ready to just live their lives.”

His eyes darkened with shadows. “Unless those military types decided to make them work for them. I wouldn't put it past that commander. But with the Cold War over and Uzbekistan independent again, how would they be here in London four years before those events? And more to the point, where in London am I?”

The readings gave him a general idea. “East London, but very little about exactly where I am.” He shrugged. “This is going to be just like most adventures; not enough information at the start. And occasionally not much more at the end, either. Very well. Time to go and stop as much destruction as possible.”

He put on his satchel, checked the readings for any life-signs or indications of active Nestene beings, and then exited the ship when the coast seemed clear. Once he closed the doors he looked around. No sign of anyone – Human or otherwise. He walked slowly through, listening intently and scanning with eyes and sonic.

In the next room he stopped still. “This can't be that easy. Is that a Nestene relay?”

The rectangular object with flashing lights and a familiar sound was right in the open. Like it was daring anyone to touch it.

“Will luck be with me?” the Doctor pondered aloud. “Or is it a trap? Okay, here goes.” He ran the sonic over it, checking for how it worked.

Several seconds later he was frowning. “No signal. No sign of the Nestene itself. So they're not here, but this is being prepared for something. And this won't respond to the sonic at all. Oh, dear. And I have no explosives on me. Wish I'd kept some of Ace's Nitro-9 in the TARDIS after all. Better go and see what else they have in here.”

With that he also drew out an additional scanner to look for any signs of animation or other life. He moved as quickly as he dared.

“Okay, this is a warehouse of some sort,” he mused quietly after an over two-hour investigation that led him to the basement. “But for what purpose? This isn't secure enough to be a weapons facility, or any military installation. So why are the Nestene here? They need plastic to animate.”

“It has mannequins.”

How did he miss another person being there?! The rough male voice behind him made him whip around and then he stilled as a familiar scent hit him. His eyes went huge. “Oh, hello.”

Not that he knew the man by sight. The taller man, with stern blue eyes, stood in his dark trousers and green jumper covered by a dark coat. The leather look and short hair felt like a continuation of the look that the Doctor chose after his ordeal on Gallifrey and was still, although it looked different on the other man. (Never mind that the Doctor had grown back his hair, albeit much shorter than before.) But the sight of what had to be a sonic device in the other man's hand would have suggested who he was.

The man gave a tight grin, with a hint of amusement. “Hello, Me. I see you missed the stacks and rails of clothing to see this is a shop. Although these places were never our thing, were they?”

It confirmed what his nose and time senses told him. Although he wasn't sure what he thought of the attitude. And the accent made him force thoughts of Lucie away; while not identical any Northern accent was enough to make his hearts clench. “Which regeneration are you?”

“Ten,” the other him answered, after a brief pause – as if considering how much to say. “The one after the one who was supposed to end the War. Had it gone through as... a certain being wanted, I would've claimed to be the Ninth Doctor and denied the previous me's existence.”

“Given the visions I've had about what would have happened I'm not surprised. So why are there two of us here? Since you have my memories, you must know.”

Ten rolled his eyes. “Can't say. You know how Time Crashes mess with our memories,” he declared as he walked deeper into the warehouse, forcing Eight to follow if he wanted to keep talking. “Remembering something too soon creates dangerous paradoxes and other fantastic problems. You know that. It's why we sometimes choose to forget things until the memories are needed.”

Eight grimaced as he proceeded cautiously. “So I become more charming with age. Brilliant.”

“Nothing like some good old insults from a previous incarnation,” Ten tossed over his shoulder with a manic grin. “Although our first regeneration was the best at it. The next two regenerations certainly gave him plenty to mock.”

Echoes of the words 'clown' and 'dandy' rang through Eight's mind, and a tiny smile briefly cracked through his dark mood. Not the least because there could be some dispute over which name applied to Two and Three, respectively. “I can only imagine what that version would have made of our Fourth or Sixth regenerations' clothes.” After all, Four had barely been present during the Time Crash involving the first five of them. Their Sixth regeneration would have earned any (and every) insult the First had cared to toss his way, despite being the only one of them who could have carried off that look. Eight refused to think about the other reasons Six would have earned One's scorn; it was too soon to go there even in thought. “So... what is going on? Why are the Nestene here this time? And why are we both here?”

“I have my suspicions. Must be some meddling that was supposed to match what was to be. You being here is the change; it was originally just this me. Although I do remember enough from your earlier scans that I was able to check in from another side of the building. Means I'm better prepared to finish the job. What brought you here?”

“I detected Nestene energy on Earth. Tracking it brought me here. If you landed on the outside is that why I couldn't land outside like I tried to?”

“Probably. The TARDIS hates being too near another version of her, and you know it.”

It was Eight's turn to roll his eyes. “And how does that help us send the Nestene off, and figure out why two of us are needed?”

“Hello?”

The single word echoed from a distance inside a nearby room. A young, east London female accent, tinged with nervousness.

But to the Doctors it was like a gunshot. Ten dropped his sonic as his head whipped towards the sound.

Eight's face went pale, almost drowned by his eyes as he stumbled over some boxes. It drowned the noise the sonics and the scanner made from falling, although he felt Ten's hands grab him before he could cause any other noise by crashing into more items. “How can she be here?” he whispered. “She's in the TARDIS. How could she have got out?!”

Once he was sure Eight was stable enough to stand, Ten leaned over with his own scanner for a look into the open doorway. He kept one eye on the target in question as he checked the readings. “Scanner says it's a Human girl, close to 17 years old,” he whispered. “And although the accent is different and the hair calmer... she has the same face.”

As he spoke, the girl's voice filtered over, obscured by his words.

“You think she wouldn't be capable of changing things to fool us?” Eight snapped, the whisper carrying a sharp bite.

“Just reminding you to act with caution,” Ten shot back.

Eight's shoulders went rigid as his face tightened. “Pot, meet Kettle.”

“Is there someone mucking about?!” the girl's voice yelled, like a whip snapping.

The scanner picked up something else. Both Doctors looked around and realized they had something more pressing than the possibility that the Moment had somehow reformed her body. The mannequins inside the glass displays in the hallway began twitching and they could see some moving more freely inside the room.

“Nestene,” Eight breathed. “They've started the process.”

“Which means we need to move fast,” Ten noted as they listened to the sounds of the girl fleeing the mannequins and stumbling over items. “And it's better that a teenager's body isn't found here. They've already killed one person.”

“What if it's a chance to rid-”

“It's too soon in the timeline.”

“What?!”

Ten glared at him. “Our chance will come, but it's not today. Now, get ready to help me fend them off in case it takes longer than I expect. And my being here might disarm her if it is her since I'm the one she expects. As soon as I tell her to run, head for the lift directly down that corridor,” he added, pointing to the west side. “You get it ready to move as soon as we join you.”

With that he slipped inside the room.

“I hope you're right,” Eight muttered as he checked behind them. He did not trust that the display cases were enough to hold the Nestene inside and had his sonic at ready.

A few tense seconds later he heard the girl suck in a breath, and Ten say, “Run!”

Eight burst into a sprint. He could hear two sets of footsteps follow him promptly, but he did not look behind him. The sight of the mannequins inside the containers trying to get out was enough. Shame the energy source was too far away to be deactivated from here.

The lift came into view, but not soon enough for Eight's taste. He aimed the sonic at the controls to make the doors open, which they did just as he arrived. He slipped right through and readied for closing them. “Come on!” he bellowed, holding them open with the sonic's steady pulse.

He saw Ten leading a terrified blonde girl at a run, and the mannequins were closing in. As they got close enough Eight prepared the doors to close, and he released his thumb off the sonic the instant Ten shoved the girl inside.

Naturally one mannequin got close enough to shove an arm into the closing doorway. The girl screamed, but Ten blithely grabbed the arm and, with a few seconds' effort, tugged it off. The doors closed promptly and the lift finally moved.

“At last,” Eight muttered under his breath. “Hope that was enough to make it breathe its last.”

Although whether a Nestene truly breathed was a good question. And from which part of the body? The arm? Or a place where the sun did not shine, to use a crude phrase?

“You tore his arm off!” the girl cried in shock.

“Yep,” Ten answered, scanning the arm with his eyes for any traps. “Plastic.” He tossed it to her.

With the destination already set for the street level, Eight risked a direct look at the girl who made his arm hairs stand on end and his skin crawl. She had the same face and eyes as the Moment, but the hair was not quite as wild and the expression was terror turning into indignation. Very like the teenager she physically appeared. And the accent wasn't the same; the Moment spoke with a tiny lisp that this girl did not have. Was that a good sign or were they being lulled into a false sense of security?

“Very clever,” the girl said, looking at the arm. “Who was that? Was it students?”

“Why would they be students?” the Doctors asked simultaneously.

Eight glanced at Ten in surprise, but the latter just motioned with his eyes to let him handle this.

The girl only then seemed to noticed Eight, and she blinked in confusion. Although she only hesitated to answer for a few seconds. “Because... to get that many people dressed all silly, got to be students.”

“Obviously you've never been part of one of those charity fundraisers that seem all the rage. So those were students with plastic faces and an arm that can be torn off?” Eight asked witheringly, finding little comfort in the lack of recognition in her eyes. “How would they breathe?”

Ten hid a smirk from the girl, but not from his earlier self. “Creative guess, but they're not students. As my friend here noted.”

“Well, whoever they are, Wilson will call the police on them,” the girl declared.

“Who's Wilson?” asked Eight.

“The chief electrician.”

“Wilson's dead,” Ten said as the lift stopped and opened. He stepped out.

Oh, Eight thought. That explained the earlier comment. He promptly followed, wanting some distance between himself and the girl.

“That's not funny! That's sick!” the girl cried, following them out.

“Mind your eyes,” Ten said as he used his sonic to ensure they couldn't be followed. He only stopped when sparks flew, signaling he'd jammed the equipment.

Eight noted through his own sonic that the lift would no longer go down, but was ready to go to the roof. At speed.

“My friend and I will finish this. You need to leave,” Ten added, walking towards a door he found earlier.

“Wait! Who were those people?!” the girl hollered as she followed right behind Ten.

“They're made of plastic,” Ten answered without looking at her. “Living plastic creatures. They're being controlled by a relay device in the roof. Which would be a great big problem if I didn't have this,” he added, showing a device he whipped out of his pocket.

Eight knew immediately what it was, and that they only had so long to use it. But he had to know one thing. While Ten spoke, he tugged the Seal out of his pocket and held it very near her for a split second.

“Ow!” she squealed, looking his way.

But he had already put it away, frowning the whole while. Static shock, that was what her reaction looked like. Not exactly what he was expecting. Why would she react that way?

“So!” Ten exclaimed, opening a door marked 'fire exit'. He saw what Eight did and immediately captured the girl's attention. “We're going to go up there and blow them up, and we might well die in the process. But don't worry about us, no. Go home, go on! Go and have your lovely beans on toast,” he chivied her out onto the street, not wincing visibly at any time. “And don't tell anyone about this, because if you do, you'll get them killed.”

He closed the door on her, and Eight breathed easier. “Come on, let's finish this.”

Ten paused as he fiddled with the explosive device. “Wait. Something's missing. Ah!” He suddenly opened the door again. “I'm the Doctor. You are?”

“Rose,” came the soft answer.

“Lovely to meet you, Rose. Run for your life!” he declared, waving the device a little before slamming the door and sonic-locking it.

“Why did you do that?!” Eight hissed at him.

“This way,” Ten said as he led them on a run back to the lift. “Because like it or not, we're going to meet her again. Best to let her think we think she's a mere Human teenager, whether she is one or not.”

“You mean you don't know if she is or isn't-?”

“Timelines, Doctor,” Ten interrupted as they rushed inside the lift. “Help me out here.”

As their sonics teamed up to force the lift to the top level faster than the engineers would ever have planned, Ten continued explaining. “Something important is settling into place and I don't dare mess with it. My past – that's your future – could be destroyed if I do. That girl was part of our time line from the start, back before Time was changed by you, and she has a role to play.”

Eight's eyes widened in horror. “And you're the poor sod who has to deal with her.” He winced. “How lovely to know that's all coming my way.”

“Less worrying about her, more getting rid of Nestene. Come on! Two sonics will work faster than one when we get to the roof!”

“Is the unit I found earlier what we need to stop?”

The doors opened. “Thankfully, yes!” Ten rushed in and attached the device to the main power source on the box. “No way to avoid the damage to the building. Only way to destroy this relay. Attempt to move it and we risk turning on the entire signal at full strength.”

“And we're not ready for it, not even knowing where they are.”

Ten avoided answered directly. “Help me here. Setting two-twenty-two!”

“About five seconds,” Eight added as they both aimed.

The timer set and beeped.

“Time to leave!” Ten boomed.

“My TARDIS is close. Come on!”

The Doctors bolted to the side room where Eight landed. He had his key out and opened the doors faster than ever before, practically flying inside.

Ten scowled as he closed the doors behind him without looking. “Ah. I remember this. Gave the word 'Gothic' a bad reputation.”

“You should remember that the repairs and changes remained a low priority since the near Time War,” Eight snapped as he began the dematerization sequence. “You going to help?”

“Yes.” Ten said no more as he helped smooth the escape from the first explosions outside. “And I need to guide you closer to my ship whilst avoiding Rose. Given where I made her exit she might pass by it. Give it a few minutes in Earth time.”

“Or I could materialise around or inside yours.”

“Let's not. Time is in enough flux.”

Eight glared at his future self. “Still?!”

“Key times in your future and my past are far too unsteady for my tastes. So we need to avoid making things worse. Besides, I remember your offer and my refusal. I just understand my grounds for it now.”

“Ah. Well, did we send the Nestene off?”

Ten shook his head slowly. “I don't think so. The main source is yet to be found, so we need to keep looking.”

“And you're going to see this... Rose again soon?”

Ten scowled. “Tomorrow, I think. And don't think your part in this is done yet. If we're both here then we're both needed.”

“But if only one was needed before, why two of us now?”

“Those changes because you stopped the Time War,” Ten said as they landed near his TARDIS. “There are some people who now need a little extra help, and they won't get it if there's only me. Now, keep an eye on the Internet for any searches about us.”

“The internet?! How did we make it onto there?!”

“Evidently Humans are more diligent and stubborn than we thought,” Ten answered, frustration dripping like drops off a soaked St Bernard. “Like it or not, we're becoming less of a legend and more common knowledge. Fortunately most still think we're nothing more than stories passed down through the ages. But soon enough... it'll be more challenging to hide. We have to learn to blend in even more, which means being wiser about our companions.”

Eight scoffed. “I hope you don't mean that we have to accept-”

“You don't,” Ten snapped, grimacing. “And best you know as little about that as possible. I already feel like I know more than I should, but at least I have hope waiting for me back home. See ya!” he waved as he exited on a run.

“Wait!”

But the doors were closed before he could move.

The Doctor groaned. “So I become a dark grouch, but at least I can run faster. And I won't be pushed around so easily. Good to know I'll get some height and muscle.”

A chime told him that the other TARDIS had departed safely.

“Good. Good, good. So... back to hiding... and waiting. Who or what could I possibly be looking for?”

The rest of his thoughts he chose to keep silent.

And what does a girl that stupid have to do with us? What is the Moment playing at? Given how she's become debilitated when I show the Seal to her I was expecting her to collapse out there. If she were really Human it ought to have had no effect on her even with direct contact. And it's not made of materials that produce static electricity. So why did that happen?!

“I probably won't like the answers when I find them,” he mused aloud after several seconds' silence.


Chapter Three: Going For Answers

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
bas_math_girl
Jul. 13th, 2018 07:16 am (UTC)
That "at least I have hope waiting for me back home" gives me a chance to imagine Donna waiting faithfully for him in the TARDIS, and that the Doctor gets the long happiness he deserves. Otherwise, I just want him to taser Rose, if I'm honest...
tkel_paris
Jul. 28th, 2018 07:48 am (UTC)
You know I can't answer anything about that yet. I'm teasing the readers at this point. ;)

Oh, I'm sure you'll want to do that again and again. Don't give me ideas, please. They don't have a place here in this series. Well... not likely.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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