Hi all! Sorry for the wait for new material, but I've got two new stories to make up for the delay. The first is with the 9th Doctor, Rose, and...Davros. This idea came about when I considered that besides the Master and the Brigadier, every Doctor has encountered Davros since his debut with the 4th in Genesis of the Daleks. All except the 9th, that is. When Davros returned to face the 10th Doctor and many friends in Journey's End, quite a few details were revealed concerning him and the Time War, mainly that he had almost nothing to do with it; he had been presumed dead (and possibly was) before the first year of the War was over. So this meant Davros had more than likely only met up with the 8th Doctor before his loss, and a 9th Doctor encounter was near impossible before Series 4. But, as it always should be when you want creativity, it was only "near" impossible...
The Jaws of Flame
A 9th Doctor/Rose story, also featuring Davros, and set in the TARDIS while overlooking The Gates of Elysium, which takes place sometime between The Long Game and Father’s Day
By Chris McKeon
Since encountering the Dalek, things had changed. Before they had heard its distress signal and landed in Van Statten’s vault to respond, whenever Rose had broached the subject of the Time War, the Doctor –always chipper, bouncing with excitement and eager simply to talk- would harden beneath the surface and close up, bending near the console and letting its bright lights swallow his concentration, or carrying himself off into the branching corridors of his ship. He would return soon, of course, happy, cheery and talkative as ever, but that inner silence had lingered, like a shadow behind his eyes.
But then came the Dalek, the last survivor of the enemy race of the Doctor’s people, the Time Lords, and with it, not only the memory of that terrible war, but the inescapable fact that both sides were gone forever, leaving only the Doctor to remember them. But if memories only existed in telling them, the Doctor was now bringing them to life. Since destroying the Editor and his master, the Jaggrafess, on Satellite Five, and kicking Adam out of the TARDIS, the Doctor had no sooner closed the doors of the Ship when he had turned to Rose and, with an enormous grin, cried, “Right, now that we’ve got that bit sorted out; let’s take a trip down memory lane!”
“Which one?” Rose had asked, pulling the pins from her hair as the blond strands fell loose around her head.
“Mine! Who else has the best scenic route?”
And with a giddy laugh the Time Lord had rushed up the metal ramp from the doors to the console, pulling levers and punching buttons as the TARDIS launched back into the vortex.
“And I know just the place!”
* * *
And what a place it had been, but Rose had traveled long enough with the Doctor by that point to know that where there was one, there would be countless, and very quickly the Doctor’s trip down memory lane had become an extensive tour through the metropolis of his life: They had visited the Great Wall of China during its construction, the sound extravaganzas of Nocturne, the labyrinth passages of The Library of St. John the Beheaded, the Pacifist Age of Varos, the Co-habited Era of Magnus, the dazzling society of Solos, the edge of the First Earth Empire, the industrial might of Dulcis, the culinary prestige of The Crystal Bucephalus, the volcanic deserts of Sarn, the Third Morestran Theocracy of Zeta Major and the misty forests of Kursall. As the days and weeks and spectacles rushed by, Rose would sometimes stop and stare in wonder at the man whose life she was sharing, whose incredible existence she was experiencing, first hand. And yet, even with each wonder of the Universe visited and each unique spectacle beheld, Rose still felt that although she was getting to know the Doctor, she still was nowhere near the point of understanding him, his tastes, his opinions, and above all, his anger.
She had seen it, in his eyes, as she had stood between the Dalek mutant, a broken creature yearning for freedom as it sat in its open casing and felt the warm sunlight and fresh air caress its twisted flesh; the Doctor, a wounded man torn open from the sorrows and horrors of a past war so terrible, so agonizing, that it had twisted his happy countenance in a hard mask of a rage ready to release its feelings through the barrel of a gun. Thankfully, he had been unable to fire, and as the Dalek had destroyed itself, only an expression of confused sorrow had remained on the Doctor’s face. Rose watched that face once more as she sat on the leather couch in the Console Room while the Doctor guided the TARDIS away from their most recent destination, the planet Vortis. As she studied his bright blue eyes she knew one thing: he would never have pulled the trigger to kill the Dalek, even if she had not stood in his way. The Doctor was too strong in his convictions, too constant, too good, to become like his enemies. But she needed to know what could have damaged him so deeply; she needed to know what had happened. So she decided to ask.
“Doctor, tell me about the Time War.”
The Doctor’s hands froze in mid-pump. Only for a moment. He continued his rhythmic guidance of the TARDIS’ flight.
“Not much to tell, really. The Daleks fought the Time Lords. Both sides died, both sides lost, and I was the only survivor. Well, now I am. End of story.”
“But that Dalek survived, made it all the way to Earth. What if others escaped too?”
The Doctor’s brow furrowed as a frown creased his face. His hand tightened on the vortex primer. The green-blue light from the central column washed over him, darkening his skin with a sickly-hued pallor.
“The Dalek’s search systems couldn’t find any other of its kind alive, and its range wasn’t limited just to space. Believe me, Rose, if there were any other survivors, I’d know about it. I’d want to know about it.”
Rose stared at her friend, saw the haunted look on his face and the quiet anguish in his voice, and suddenly felt ashamed for bringing up the subject.
“Well, forget I mentioned it then.”
The Doctor remained hunched over the console, the lights from the console and its various instruments flashing across his face. After a few moments, he sprang straight and threw his arms wide and towards Rose.
“Rose Tyler, you’re brilliant! And I don’t often say that about other people. And now I’ve got a brilliantly dangerous idea!”
Despite his ebullient compliment, Rose blinked in shock at the Doctor’s sudden turn of mood. There was a near-mania in his eyes she could quite trust to be a good thing.
“You don’t have to go running around just because of me. I mean, you already said it: the Dalek couldn’t find any other survivors; it really was alone.”
“I know, and it was. But you’ve given me a thought, a real scary one too.”
“That there was someone else who could have survived, someone that wasn’t a Dalek!”
The Doctor leaned toward to the Console and rushed around it, spinning curves and tugging protrusions upon its panels Rose had never noticed him use before. The TARDIS began to shake as its engines propelled the Ship through the vortex.
“What are you mucking about for, Doctor?” Rose cried out as she fell back upon the couch. The Time Lord, a swift-moving blur of green and dark brown dashing around the console, replied loudly, “I’m taking a detour from memory lane! I’m going back to the Time War! And I hope I make the trip for nothing!”
The Ship spiraled through the vortex, quaking and spinning with increasing ferocity. Suddenly, the shuddering in the room began to subside, but instead of relaxing into the calm that signaled a landing, the interior seemed to shift, as if the TARDIS were pulling away from itself, leaving ghostly echoes in its wake, splintering apart, and just as everything burst into light there was the screaming, a voice like a Dalek only…
“It’s over,” the Doctor said. Rose looked around, blinking. Everything seemed normal; the constant background hum in the room was soft and consistent.
“What just happened?” Rose asked, rising from the couch to join the Doctor at the console.
“We’ve materialized at the Gates of Elysium, overlooking one of the earliest battles of the Time War. Well, as close as possible.”
“‘As close as possible?’ What’s that mean?”
“I mean as close as possible. This was a clash of titans, Rose, strong and massive enough to melt your reality like paper in a fire. So, to protect all the little unsuspecting worlds around, the Time Lords set up a Time Lock, that’s a sort of wall, around each and every battle in time and space we fought against the Daleks. We fought so much and so long, I’m amazed there’s anything left not locked up. But we nudged up against that lock just now. We’ve only got a few moments before it pushes us away.”
“And this time lock, it keeps you from getting inside?”
“Yeah, or anything from getting outside. And that’s what I need to find out.”
The Doctor activated the scanner and pulled the screen in front of him and Rose. She leaned towards the image and her eyes widened in horror at what she saw: Flames. Flames tearing through space like teeth ripping through raw flesh. The jagged fire emerged from the open maw of…something, something gigantic, like an enormous cloud of smoke and glass, blossoming in the surrounding scarred space.
“What…what is that?”
“That, Rose Tyler, is The Nightmare Child, a living craft of mutated space-time, formed from the Gallifreyian anti-matter foundries of Maladoom. It was an abomination fit only for a war like this.”
Rose stared at the flames spewing from the Nightmare Child, and realized the fire was frozen in place.
“It’s not moving, the fire. It’s all stuck in place.”
“Yeah. Good reason for that too. The Nightmare Child was dying- you see the large bit of fire, right at the front? That’s the command ship, The Glory of Skaro, flying straight into the jaws. If the anti-matter had exploded the local space-time would have ruptured, killing everyone in range. So we froze time just before the explosion; it’s been like that since. But you know what the stupidest thing is? The command ship was just trying to run away, but the pilot just couldn’t resist going out in style, one last glorious show of force.”
The Doctor stood back from the scanner. Rose watched his face, and was struck by the raw rush of emotions coursing across his face: anger, sorrow, hopelessness, rushing so fast and thick they could burst forth at any moment…In a moment they were gone. He opened his mouth and spoke, his voice calm but tired.
“But it didn’t matter then and still doesn’t now. It’s all just as it was. No one’s left alive. Everything’s safe and buried. We might as well go.”
Rose nodded, not wanting to keep the Doctor near the grave of his memories any longer. As he moved past her to re-set the guidance systems, she asked one last question.
“This pilot, did you know him?”
“Oh, yes. More than you…” The Doctor’s head snapped to the side towards Rose. “How did you know it was a he?”
“I didn’t, I don’t. It’s just…as we were coming here, I heard this screaming; it sounded like a man, only different, metallic…”
“So it wasn’t just me!” The Doctor cried, as he scrambled to the opposite edge of the console and peered into a flashing row of symbols. He stepped back and his eyes widened.
“It can’t be…”
The Doctor returned to the scanner and toggled a control. An image appeared on the monitor, zooming in upon the jaw-clenched flames embracing the broken edges of a white-hulled hexagon-studded craft, then past the hull and into the ship itself. The scanner showed only fire, of all colours, frozen in its coruscating destruction. But at the centre of the flames, surrounded by their consuming inferno, was a figure, sitting in a chair that looked just like…Rose inhaled in fear: it looked like a Dalek.
“You wanted to know about the Time War, Rose. Well, now you can meet one of its founders. This is Davros, the creator of the Daleks.”
“Their creator? You mean someone actually made them? Why?”
“Long story. Let’s just say, he was the undisputed ruler of a people at war, and he offered them the perfect weapon to end the fighting. But peace wasn’t part of the Daleks’ programming.”
Rose studied the image of Davros with both horror and fascination. Although his upper body was clearly humanoid, his lower half –if he even had one- was hidden within a chair exactly like the base of the Dalek she had faced in Utah. Except where the Dalek’s metal had been a tarnished bronze, Davros’ chair was black with silver knobs lining its metal slats.
“Why’s he sitting in that thing?”
“He was crippled in a radioactive attack before I met him. It scarred him, body and soul.”
Rose gazed upon the part of Davros that still resembled a body. He was dressed in a black leather tunic which reflected the surrounding fire sharply upon its surface. His left arm hung limp at his side, while his right arm was raised in defensive agony above his head. Rose blinked as she saw his hand.
“It’s metal; his hand is all metal.”
“Another long story, well, a couple of stories. He lost more and more of himself to violence and conquest.”
Finally, Rose gazed upon the face of Davros; a hairless covering of melted gray flesh crowned with a silver wire injected into several places around the skull. His eyes were hollow, only dead useless lids sealed his eyes. They had been replaced by a single, brilliant blue mechanical eye shining in the centre of his forehead. But the most haunting feature of the face was the mouth, twisted forever into a wide scream…
The Doctor stepped close to Rose and spoke, soft and resigned.
“The Time War was a terrible, complicated event. Old friends were lost forever, old enemies returned for final battles, and some people were just caught in the crossfire. Davros may have created the Daleks, but they never thanked him for it. In fact they tried to kill him for the rest of his life. In the end, he wasn’t just running from us, he was running from them.”
“But…but he’s still there, still alive. We heard him, his screaming…”
“No, that’s just an echo from the past, no more, no less. I think the only reason we can even see him now is because of a slight temporal delay of the Time Lock. All it comes down to is he’s gone, gone long before we ever arrived.”
A harsh chime from the console attracted the Doctor’s attention and he glanced at the signaling instrument.
“The lock’s pushing us back. Hold tight now!”
As the TARDIS began to shudder and white light filled the Console Room, the echo of Davros’ screams broke into the ship once more. With a look of anguish, the Doctor glanced at the image of his old enemy of the scanner, blurring with static.
“I tried to save him, Rose. I tried so hard to make peace. And now it’s too late.”
“But if you had another chance, you’d save him now, wouldn’t you?”
The Doctor looked at Davros once more, then back to Rose.
“Yes, I would do it! Why not?”
The TARDIS shifted…
…and then they were in flight once more, cruising through the currents of the Time Vortex. The Doctor sighed and leaned upon the console, his breathing deep, his face white and his eyes wide, but without steel underneath. What lay within was stripped bare. Rose approached the Doctor and placed a hand on his arm.
“Are you all right?”
The Doctor looked up at with his hollow eyes, and for a moment he looked as if he were about to crumple. Then his face flashed a wide smile.
“Course I am, what else would I be?”
He then hurried around the console and began to re-calibrate the flight path director. Rose watched him for a moment.
“I’m sorry I asked you, Doctor. I’m sorry I made you go back. I can’t imagine how it was.”
“Well, a little memory isn’t a bad thing, you know, to remember why it happened, and what we fought for. But it’s in the past now. And you know what? It makes the present and future look so much better.”
The Doctor grinned. Rose returned the smile.
“So, Rose, where are we off to next?”
“How about somewhere new? Someplace off memory lane?”
The Doctor grinned even wider.
“Your wish is my coordinates!”
And they spun off in the TARDIS to places new.
* * *
In the silence of time unremembered, behind the Time Lock of a race long deceased, The Glory of Skaro died continually in the jaws of The Nightmare Child during the battle at The Gates of Elysium, fought in the first year of The Last Time War. Within the Nightmare Child’s jaws of flame, Davros, creator of the Daleks, cowered in frozen fear in the last moments of his life, stilled for all eternity just before the moment of his death, the sound of his own screaming resounding in his synthetic ears. For a long time, all remained this way. And then, long after the Doctor and Rose had come and gone, another scream approached…