Doctor Who: Red Right Hand – Episode Nine

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This is the last episode, minus the epilogue which will follow tomorrow probably. There is a link at the end of this page that takes you to the beginning of this tale, plus the prequel series that begins this epic adventure, and you can read it all in order fairly easily now.

9. The Red Right Hand

The Doctor ran his hand roughly down over his face, and then back up again, and then vigorously up and down as if he were trying to clean something unpleasant off of his face.

“This is getting ridiculous,” he mumbled mostly to himself. “So, which one of you daleks is the Priest?”

The Daleks rolled back and forth, turning their eyestalks to look at each other. Heems’s smile faded quickly, and it did not go unnoticed by either the Doctor or Captain Light.

“Well, it’s certainly not Heems, otherwise you wouldn’t have a need for that Speak & Spell,” the Doctor explained with a smirk. “One of these daleks is not like the other,” the Time Lord sang lightly. He had noticed several things in the small span of time that they had been in Curator Heem’s office. Captain Light’s Mulligan circuit was especially interesting to him.

“It is useless to resist–” Heems began.

“Shut up,” the Doctor snapped, raising a hand.

“You will listen to–” the daleks began in unison.

“I said shut up!” the Doctor bellowed. The Time Lord’s eyes narrowed, looking at the supposed villains before him. “It’s time for a history lesson, and no rolling your eyes, Amy and Rory.”

Amy and Rory had been in mid-roll when both quickly looked down at their feet.

“Priests of Paradox,” the Doctor began. He paused, and then began to pace. “You know, both the Priests and the Time Lords would have the rest of the universes believe that they were once adversaries, equal in knowledge and determination, both bent upon mastering time and space and playing the ultimate game of judging the multiverse against whatever standards they deemed would put either of them in a supposed position of transcendence over the rest of existence. In reality, there is no difference between us. Every universe has its benevolent temporal defenders, and likewise has its despots with only a desire to conquer and control and destroy. Sometimes one becomes the other, and vice versa.”

The Doctor began subtly moving towards the middle dalek of the five, still pacing in a somewhat random manner, but inching ever so slightly towards it.

“History plays funny tricks on time-faring races, and the Time Lords are no exception,” the Doctor continued, but the middle dalek moved forward slightly and interrupted him.

“And where are the Time Lords now, Doctor?” the dalek teased. “We escaped the Time War unscathed, but the Time Lords all perished. They perished by your hand, Doctor!”

“Fake news,” the Doctor quipped. “But that’s beside the point, at the moment. True, my brethren are indisposed at present, and that one fact is the reason there are so many new players vying for dominance in the time game. I could brag to you that we Time Lords were so powerful that no one even dared challenge us in the days before the Last Great Time War, but that’s not entirely true either.”

The Doctor strode brazenly up to the middle dalek of the bunch and stared into its eyestalk.

“Where have the Priests of Paradox been all this time?” he asked the room. “We didn’t defeat them. We replaced them. Just as reason replaces barbarism. When Omega looked into the future of his experiments, he saw the Eye of Harmony before it even existed, not knowing what it was, not seeing the past looking back at him through the eyes of the Priests. When Rassilon tamed the Eye of Harmony and placed it below Gallifrey, he also saw a face looking forward at him through time, and it wasn’t Omega’s.”

The Doctor paused, staring directly at the dalek before him.

“It was yours,” the Doctor concluded.

The dalek before him shimmered, purple energies arcing out from it and destroying the four other daleks flanking it. All the persons standing in the room, save the Doctor, flinched and cowered at the destruction.

“Now, I despise daleks as much as the next person, but that charade seemed a bit of a waste,” the Doctor said, standing his ground. “You managed to round up four of them, and convince them that this was all some dalek master plan, just to destroy them when the ruse ran its course?”

The purple energies coalesced into a female form in black robes. The blank mask  that indicated the entity was indeed a Priest of Paradox, cocked slightly to the side.

“You can pretend you have solved the mystery of our return, Time Lord, but you and I both know better.” The Priest’s voice was intoxicating and most definitely female. “You are afraid.”

“Rather …” the Doctor replied, stumbling over a proper dignified response. “I so am not.”

“We must admit that your actions on Fallox have been an impediment to the forward motion of our plans,” the Priest explained. “But in the end, things will turn in our favor. Fallox will be destroyed, and your reputation as a benevolent Time Lord will be besmirched.”

Captain Light rose from his seat suddenly, “You told me I would have a chance to stop him.”

The Priest turned its blank mask to the Captain. “I told you no such thing. You assume this is a tale where the hero wins, the planet is saved, and the sacrifices he makes are worth destroying friendships for. You’ve altered our plan only slightly, the both of you. And now, you will helplessly watch as it unfolds before you.”

Holding her hand to her blank mask, the Priest began to glow. The glow intensified and began to radiate out in bands of purple light, which then narrowed into a beam. The beam met what seemed like resistance some distance in front of the Priest, and then a projection appeared. The projection was of space, and in the middle of that blackness floated the planet Fallox.

“Fallox could have been saved,” the Priest said, its voice echoing through the room as it projected the events as they unfolded before the assembled.

Just then, in the space beyond the planet, a massive black ship thwomped into view.

“Doctor, that’s the same ship we saw over Earth,” Rory exclaimed.

“I know it is, Rory,” the Doctor answered. While only a few moments earlier, the Doctor had been sure he understood exactly where he and his friends stood in the state of the universe at that moment, he suddenly began to feel very peculiar. He had only felt the sensation a few times in his very long lifespan: once when falling a great distance off of a telescope, and a few other times when riding rollercoasters back on Earth.

“Citizens of Fallox,” boomed a voice in the projection. The voice was intensely familiar to the Doctor, though he couldn’t quite place it. Presumably it was coming from the ship as the voice explained, “We are the Time Lords, masters of Time and Space, custodians of the Eye of Harmony, saviors of the multiverse. The vessel you see in orbit belongs to our invincible temporal navy.”

“What is this?” the Doctor demanded to know. “What are you doing?”

“By the wisdom eternally vested in our race as protectors of all dimensions of time and space, we have determined that, for the more efficient and logical evolution of this galaxy as it relates to the mutual benefit to the rest of the universe, the planet Fallox must be erased from existence.”

The Doctor’s recognition of the voice preceded the appearance of the speaker’s countenance by only a fraction of a second. There, projected for them all to see, was a previous regeneration of the Doctor himself standing on the bridge of the massive black ship. This particular version was older than the one recognized by Amy and Rory. Heems himself, having known a few different versions of the Doctor, did not know this particular one. His hair was white, and curled back gracefully just behind his ears. His face was stern and unforgiving. As he spoke, he held the lapels of his coat, and his withering gaze demanded obedience. It was the face the Doctor wore when he first stole the TARDIS so long ago.

“The grace period for a rebuttal will conclude in two minutes. Within that period of time, you have the right to file a counter-suit against our decision. If, at the expiration of the grace period,  the Jury of Doctors does not find sufficient reason to alter our prescribed course of action against your planet, Fallox will be vaporized along with all of its inhabitants. Good day.”

“Was that you?” the Captain asked evenly.

“Absolutely not,” the Doctor explained quickly. “Did it look like me?”

“You’re a Time Lord, Doctor,” Captain Light countered. “You can regenerate into a different form. He said ‘Jury of Doctors’. What is that?”

“A farce, Captain. An idiotic attempt to make it look like my people, or just, me, er, I, maybe perhaps might be about to possibly destroy Fallox. It’s a lie.”

“That was you,” Amy said slowly, her face crumpled in confusion. “I know that face from a dream, I think, and that was you, a long time ago.”

“That was absolutely not me!” the Doctor explained desperately. “I would remember if I destroyed a planet I was just on in its future, right?”

Neither the companions nor Captain Light appeared to understand his explanation.

“Look, this is all some dodge, some ridiculously evil and juvenile dodge to try and discredit me,” the Doctor went on. “Are you too ignorant to see it? Of course, you are.”

The Doctor began to rub his face vigorously again. “That was not me!”

The Doctor himself, just as he was appearing there in the Curator’s office, then appeared in the projection. Flanking him on either side were other previous versions of him, all of which the Doctor recognized, except one with a grizzled beard.

The real Doctor lowered his head in defeat, not seeing but feeling the stares of his two companions and the Captain.

“The grace period has ended and no rebuttal has been voiced,” the projected Doctor declared. “We hope that you find peace in your last moments knowing that your existence will not have negatively affected the rest of eternity.”

The projection cut to a shot of the ship hanging in space. A massive ray of energy emitted from the front of the massive black ship connected with the planet and in a flash of white light, it disappeared.

“You son of a bitch!” the Captain screamed, diving over the desk. One of his boots connected with the Speak & Spell and knocked it clattering to the ground.

The Priest suddenly jumped back away from the toy and its concentration broke, ending the projection. The Doctor had time to notice this interesting reaction just before the Captain tackled him.

Captain Light landed two heavy blows before Rory dove in to stop him. Casting the youth aside with ease, he went back to punching the Time Lord.

“Stop it!” Amy screamed, joining in the fight to free the Doctor from the Captain’s violence. She grabbed a vase sitting on a nearby table and shattered it over the Captain’s head.

The Captain teetered on his knees briefly before falling unconscious over the Doctor who blearily bemoaned, “Oh Amy, that vase. Oh my giddy aunt, that vase was infinitely priceless, Amy.”

Quickly, Amy and Rory pulled the Captain’s body off the Time Lord whose face was bloody and already turning an angry dark red.

Rising to his feet with his companion’s help, the Doctor spat blood on the floor, “There was absolutely no reason for that. There was no reason for any of this! What’s the point, Priest? Tell me! Tell me, because I want to know, I must know, what nefarious evil rests at the center of what you are and what you do. Never before have I–”

Losing his balance, the Doctor collapsed. Both Amy and Rory moved forward to help him, but he waved them away. He heaved deep breaths, and held his broken face momentarily as he knelt there before the Priest.

“What do you want?” the Doctor asked, shrugging his shoulders. “To turn my friends against me? To turn the universe against me? Do you think I don’t fight that every day of my life? I’m not even a proper Time Lord! Every day of my life I spend alone in the vastness of time. I pass through people’s lives as easily as walking through a sunbeam illuminating motes of dust. You can’t create a pain to outweigh the pain I feel every second of every eon.”

The Doctor inched forward on his knees, moving closer to the Priest, but also to the Speak & Spell, the paradox key that was the connecting point between the Priest and the Reliquary.

“You’ve beaten me this time, alright? This game, yes, it’s been won by you. Bravo. Good for you,” the Doctor continued, his form slumping. “You have my TARDIS, my friends, my reputation. Checkmate. Alright?”

“You will deliver to us the other Time Lords,” the Priest commanded.

“Well, I’m sorry but you’re too late,” the Doctor responded, holding hands out. “They’re gone, all of them. I am the last one, forever and ever.”

“We have detected others,” the Priest replied.

“False positives. Clones. Replications. Memories. Last messages. Vestiges. Hybrids. No real Time Lords, not anymore.”

“You will deliver to us the rest of your race! Every ounce of Gallifreyan substance! You will be erased, just as you erased us!” the Priest demanded, stepping menacingly toward the Doctor. Purple lightning began to arc from its shoulders, arms, and hands.

“Gallifrey is destroyed! I destroyed it!” the Doctor cried.

“You lie! We detect its presence. You will reveal its location to us or we will tear it from you!” the Priest advanced further.

Doctor let his chin fall to his chest in defeat, and then suddenly rolled forward in a somersault. Grabbing the Speak & Spell mid roll, he righted himself and threw the toy at the Priest. As it flew through the air, it made four distinct synthesized musical tones.

The Priests’ reaction was immediate. It screeched in horror and tried to direct its energies toward the device, but the Speak & Spell was moving too fast. As soon as the toy struck the Priest, an explosion of light erupted that momentarily blinded all those gathered in Heems’s office. The light flickered and then collapsed into a point of light which then exploded with such force as to cast all of them outward from the epicenter.

For several moments, silence reigned. Slowly, the Doctor and his companions began to move.

Rory was the first to speak. “What happened?”

The Doctor sat up and immediately laid back down with a groan.

Rory moved to help Amy up. Captain Light was still unconscious. Curator Heems began to stir, and Rory began to move to help him before stopping short.

“It’s alright,” the Doctor said. “He was bound to the paradox key.”

Rory quickly moved to help the Curator get to his feet before eventually moving to the Captain.

“Doctor, that ship was over Earth when we left,” Amy stated quickly, suddenly remembering how they got there.

“I know,” the Doctor moaned, struggling to sit up.

“But without the TARDIS, we can’t get there in time,” Amy pressed anxiously.

“It’s fine, the TARDIS is fine.” Finally sitting up, the Doctor smiled, blood caking his lips. “I faked it.”

“Faked what, exactly?” Rory asked, trying to rouse the Captain.

“Before returning to Earth, I gave the TARDIS a vaccine,” the Doctor explained, rising to his feet. “There was an artificial intelligence that the Priests were using on Fallox to subjugate the populace. I commandeered it and plugged it into the TARDIS. It contained technology similar to that which the Priests had hoped to use to take over the TARDIS, but using it I was able to create defenses against it. And then I just waited for Rory to pass on the infection through the implant, which is also Priest technology.”

“You knew I was going to touch the TARDIS?” Rory asked.

“Do you really need me to answer that?”

Rory opened his mouth to speak, but then closed it, furrowing his brow.

“And the Priest?” Amy asked.

“Negated by its own weapons,” the Doctor explained. “One of the first things we Time Lords sussed out was how to avoid entangling ourselves in paradox, something the Priests never learned. That paradox key was like the flame that consumed its maker–its energy is dependent on paradox, and the Priest is steeped in paradox. They burned each other out.”

“But the ship,” Amy reminded him.

“Right, right” the Doctor said, brushing himself off. “Get the Captain into the TARDIS.” Looking around him, the Doctor realized the TARDIS wasn’t there. “Oh, Goddess!” he called out.

Instantly, the familiar grinding wheeze of the TARDIS vibrated the room and the vessel promptly materialized before them. The door opened and a small girl stepped out.

“We’re ready to go,” the diminutive female informed the Doctor.

“Everyone inside,” the Doctor directed. “I’ll have to explain to the Captain on the way.”

“What are we going to do? What about Curator Heems?” Rory asked as he was ushered roughly inside the police box.

“Heems is fine. He’s used to me rushing of without explanation. We’re going to save Earth from the Time Lords.”

*

Colonel Gregory Tillman of the Unified Intelligence Taskforce hung up the hotline receiver that connected directly to his office from 10 Downing Street.

He sat behind his desk for a moment, sucking his teeth in thought, before methodically placing his pen and pad back to their proper positions on the desktop. Standing, he straightened his uniform and moved to the door of his office. With his red right hand on the doorknob, he stopped and turned back to the desk. Briskly returning to it, he readjusted the pen’s position by a millimeter, and then nodded his satisfaction.

As he exited his office, he was saluted by the two guards stationed outside. Returning the salutes, he made his way down the hallway of the headquarters for his division. Various personnel saluted him as he passed, and he acknowledged a few higher ranking officers with brief greetings instead of returning their salutes. All of his division had red right hands.

Reaching an exit door, he pulled a key card from his breast pocket, and swiped it across the panel next to the door. The door chimed before unlocking and opening to the outside.

Colonel Tillman opened the door wide and stepped through, greeting the breeze on his face with a smile. Turning back to the door, he ensured it latched and locked before leaving it.

At a brisk pace, he made his way across the drill field to where one of his subordinates was waiting, her gaze directed toward a massive black ship hanging in space above the Earth.

“Good morning, Price,” Tillman greeted her.

Price immediately turned and saluted the Colonel, who then returned the salute with a smile.

“The Prime Minister wishes us to wait for contact,” Tillman explained. “I’ve assured the governments that we’re not going to have a repeat of the Sycorax incident. Though Torchwood has been out of commission since then, they are still somewhat wary.”

“All UNIT bases have checked in and it has been confirmed that there is only one ship. It appears to have been positioned in space so as to appear over Great Britain most completely,” Captain Price reported.

“It’s always us,” the Colonel mused. “I wish the Chinese would get a couple of alien invasions every once and a while. I bet the Japanese would love it.”

“Do you think this has something to do with the Doctor?” Captain Price asked hopefully.

“We’ll see. I’ve got a man attempting to contact him right now.”

*

“Doctor! Your … thingy … is ringing!” Rory called out from the console.

“Let it go to voicemail!” the Doctor replied. Turning back to the Captain, he grimaced and averted his eyes. “I’m truly very sorry, Captain. I was powerless to stop them. As you saw, that event took place millions of years before when we were.”

“But we were there!” Captain Light replied. “We were on that planet in its future! I had already saved it. We had already saved it!”

“The Priests of Paradox are exactly what they sound like. They worship the paradox above all else. They opened a window into time and saw its chaos and were seduced by it, just as my people might have been. Fallox is a paradox now. It still exists, in a way, because there are still people that knew of its existence and had been affected by events that took place there. But if we were to go there…” the Doctor hesitated.

“Yes?” the Captain pressed. “Why can’t we go there?”

“It’s out of phase. It’s unstuck in time. Consumed by the void between universes, it’s an undead world, and that attracts some rather unpleasant things from the void. Scavengers. You don’t want to go there. Besides, we can’t go back to a time before the Priests destroyed it. That event is now permanently locked in time through paradox.”

Captain Light’s head and shoulders slumped.

“I’m sorry,” the Doctor said softly to him. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s ringing again!” Rory called from the console.

“Leave it!” the Doctor bellowed, turning towards Rory. “Nothing could possibly be that important if they won’t leave a message. I’m trying to comfort the Captain here, alright?”

When he turned back to the Captain, he noticed the Mulligan circuit in the Captain’s hand.

“Captain, put that down, right now,” the Doctor stated gravely. “You absolutely mustn’t use that device.”

“I can go back. I set it before you arrived. Before the ship’s collided,” the Captain explained excitedly. “I can go back and move the ship, and then jump to the past.”

“And be stuck with a useless ship for five minutes after you jump? Captain, get that thought out of your mind. You don’t realize what that device does. You don’t ever want to use it, trust me.”

“I’ve used it dozens of times, Doctor. It’s gotten me out of more than one impossible situation,” the Captain explained, standing.

“I– I didn’t–” the Doctor was stunned at what the Captain had said. He stammered for a moment, and then looked away, unable to meet the Captain’s eyes.  “I didn’t realize you had used it before.”

The Captain frowned. “What is it? What’s wrong with it?”

The Doctor swallowed heavily. “That device doesn’t do what you think it does. I don’t know where you found it, but it–”

“Ulysses,” the Captain answered. “They gave it to me once I began taking jobs for them.”

“The same Ulysses that sent you to secure the paradox key that was stolen and given to Heems?”

“Yes, but–”

“Ulysses is controlled by the Priests, obviously,” the Doctor realized aloud. “These Priests are master gamers. Everything is a dodge, a front. It’s always the long game with them. We thought they wanted Fallox for fuel, but they knew they’d be destroying it anyway. That fuel will still exist, but locked in paradox. Suddenly, they’ve got a lot more power, an entire planet’s worth of paradox. We have to assume that everything, absolutely everything, is a part of their plan.”

“And this?” the Captain asked, indicating the Mulligan circuit held in his hand.

The Doctor inhaled very slowly before letting the air out. Again, he turned away from the Captain.

“God dammit, man! Tell me!” the Captain barked, grabbing the Doctor by his coat.

“Alright!” the Doctor responded, pushing him away.

“It’s a transposition circuit. I’ve not seen one in … well, I’ve never seen one except in the archives of Gallifrey. They’re from a time when multiversal travel was not forbidden. This universe is mirrored an infinite number of times, and there are an infinite number of Captain Lights out there, probably having this same conversation with an infinite number of me.”

Amy and Rory casually moved to the side of the console closest to the Doctor, listening to him. The thingy was still ringing, but Rory kept his mouth shut.

“The Priests could travel easily between the universes, and in fact, that is how they became corrupt. Imagine losing a battle in one universe, but then taking the knowledge of how you lost that battle to another universe where the same battle was about to take place. You could give yourself a second chance. A mulligan. A different universe that may only have one tiny detail different than the one you were in, except that, you would also be in that different universe.

“The Priests learned quickly what paradox can do to them if they were to come in contact with themselves from a different universe, and they came up with a solution. When they jump, they use a transposition circuit very similar to the one you hold in your hand. It locks onto their duplicate in the universe they wish to jump to, and then destroys the duplicate just as the Priest jumps in to take their place. In legend, it was stated that to become true Priests, they must eliminate all versions of themselves but one.”

The Captain began to see where this was going. “So I’m not so much traveling through time as traveling to another universe each time I set it.”

“Let me see it,” the Doctor said. “I won’t destroy it, I want to scan it.”

Somewhat reluctantly, the Captain handed it over. The Doctor pulled out his Sonic Screwdriver and activated it, waving it over the device as it whirred and whistled. When he stopped, he handed the device back.

“Just as I thought, that device has never left this universe,” the Doctor explained.

“Of course it has, I’ve used it before,” the Captain replied.

The Doctor shook his head sadly. “When you travel between universes, you pass through the void, and you bring some of that with you. It sticks to you forever. The Priests have done it so much that they are mostly void matter. This device has none.’

“So what is it?” Amy asked. “Why can’t he use it anymore? What does it do?”

“The Priests worship paradox. They revel in using it to destroy their enemies. They’ve obviously identified Captain Light as an enemy, if they were to give him this.”

“What is it!?” Amy, Rory, and the Captain cried in unison.

It was the Goddess that spoke. The platform had remained silent since it had picked them up from the Reliquary.

“This one works in reverse.” it said to them. “Every time the Captain uses it, he dies, and another version of him is pulled from a parallel universe to take his place here.”

“You can rest assured that an almost infinite number of you has that device across the multiverse. And you’re likely all using it, slowly destroying yourself across infinity,” the Doctor concluded with a sigh.

“But I’ve used it to go back in time. It works, I’ve saved myself dozens of times,” the Captain said.

“It does do that. It’s not much different than a vortex manipulator. When is it set for?” the Doctor asked.

“Just before I jumped to the Kelvaxan Reliquary.”

“Well then,” the Doctor said, appearing to relent. “By all means, push that button, and you’ll most certainly jump to that moment in our past, but you’ll die, and the next version of you will do exactly what you’ve done after you set the device, and you’ll end up right back here, thinking about using it.”

“But that doesn’t make any sense,” the Captain scoffed.

“Exactly,” the Goddess replied. “Paradox. The Priests feed on it.”

“Push that button, and you’ll be trapping your other selves in an endless loop, and no one, not us or you, will ever realize it or be able to stop it.” The Doctor looked away again. He seemed to struggle with something, and then sighed. “The truth is, you’ll push that button eventually, no matter what. Once you activate it the first time, the paradox is set infinitely. It may not seem like it to those surrounding you, those that know you in all the universes, but you’re already gone.”

*

“People of Earth,” the figure stated. It’s countenance was visible on every television, computer, and smart phone across the world. Where those things weren’t available, the voice boomed through the atmosphere so that the entire planet could hear it. “We are the Time Lords, masters of Time and Space, custodians of the Eye of Harmony, saviors of the multiverse. The vessel you see in orbit belongs to our invincible temporal navy.”

In his control room, Colonel Tillman leaned over the shoulder of one of his men and watched the broadcast on a radar screen. The person on the screen was wearing a red velvet smoking jacket with a cape lined in purple. His curly white hair stood out, along with a prominent nose. He definitely looked familiar to Tillman, but his memory wasn’t what it used to be. “Run that face against archives, it certainly appears to be the Doctor, but not one we’ve seen in some time. I don’t trust it. We rarely see previous versions like this.”

“By the wisdom eternally vested in our race as protectors of all dimensions of time and space,” the Doctor continued, “we have determined that, for the more efficient and logical evolution of this galaxy as it relates to the mutual benefit to the rest of the universe, the planet Earth and its satellite, must be erased from existence.”

“Get me an answer now!” the Colonel demanded. “This isn’t the 1970’s for God’s sake, I could do it faster myself.”

“The grace period for a rebuttal will conclude in two minutes. Within that period of time, you have the right to file a counter-suit against our decision. If, at the expiration of the grace period,  the Jury of Doctors does not find sufficient reason to alter our prescribed course of action against your planet, Earth will be vaporized along with all of its inhabitants. Good day.”

The screens went blank and UNIT was silent as everyone who had heard the broadcast took in what they had just heard. Finally, one of the men spoke up.

“Confirmed,” the sergeant reported. “It’s been decades since we’ve seen that version, but it is definitely him.”

Another UNIT soldier ran into the control room and reported. “Both the United States and United Kingdom governments are demanding to know why the Doctor has turned on us. They are threatening to respond with force if we do not respond immediately.”

The Colonel was about to reply when his red right hand began to glow. His eyes glazed over and without a word he turned and left the control room. Likewise, the rest of the men rose from their seats, red hands glowing, and followed him. As they moved through the base, other joined them, until the entire division of UNIT soldiers were walking outside to the drill field.

They stopped in roughly the center of the field and in unison they raised their red right hands, palms facing the black ship in the sky.

Across the planet, every man, woman, and child with a red right hand–all sixty million that had been infected by the implants they had accepted–were doing exactly the same thing.

*

Rory absently scratched at his red palm, not really noticing that it had begun to itch.

“I just won’t use it. Take it.” The Captain handed the Mulligan circuit to the Doctor.

Obligingly, the Doctor took the device, tossed it to the ground and stomped on it. The entire group, minus the Doctor, jumped when the device flashed underneath the Doctor’s heel.

“Check your pocket,” the Doctor said to the Captain.

Chuckling, Captain Light reached into his pocket, and immediately his face turned white. From the pocket he pulled the Mulligan device, completely unharmed. At the same time, the Doctor moved his shoe to reveal nothing was there.

“Entanglement,” the Doctor explained. “You can’t break it.”

The Captain didn’t reply, and only stared forward blankly.

The TARDIS thumped to a stop.

“We’re here, Doctor,” Amy informed him. “And it looks like the ship is–”

Amy’s eyes glazed over and her red right hand began to glow. Moving from the console, she made her way silently to the TARDIS doors.

“Amy?” the Doctor asked. “What’s wrong? Where are you going?”

Rory fell in place behind her. Dashing over to them, the Doctor whipped out his Sonic Screwdriver and scanned them as they walked. “Blast it all, they’ve activated the technology.”

The Captain seemed not to notice what was happening.

The Doctor followed his companions outside, and stopped short when he realized they were in a wide open space, and hundreds of other humans were crowding together.

“What is this?” the Doctor asked himself. He quickly scanned several of the other people before running back over to his friends. “Amy, Rory, snap out of it!” Uselessly, he activated his Sonic Screwdriver and waved it over them. Even as he did so, the pair raised their arms in the air, pointing their red right hands at the black ship hanging in space.

As he looked around, his eyes stopped on the TARDIS. The Goddess was smiling and waving in the doorway. She winked at him and slowly closed the door. As it closed, the Doctor could see Captain Light lying on the floor covered in blood, dying. The Mulligan circuit was in his hand.

The Doctor was about to run back to the TARDIS when he heard his own voice, a voice from a previous regeneration, boom across the planet.

“The grace period has ended and no rebuttal has been voiced,” the Doctor’s voice declared.

The Doctor picked up a cell phone that someone had dropped, and the face from his past–unruly hair, a ridiculous smile, googly eyes–stared back at him from it.”We hope that you find peace in your last moments knowing that your existence will not have negatively affected the rest of eternity.”

“That’s not me!” he cried aloud. Running back to the TARDIS, he found the doors locked. Desperately, he banged on the TARDIS, but no one answered to let him in.

He closed his eyes and braced himself for the coming destruction.

Around him, a very different event occurred. From each red right hand, a beam of energy was emitted and rocketed skyward toward the black ship.

The Doctor opened his eyes and gaped at the sight. Across the planet, the same thing was happening. Sixty million or so beams of energy erupting from sixty million red right hands. The energies collided with the ship, and in a blast of white light, the ship was vaporized.

“What?” the Doctor asked incredulously.

In unison, the crowd roared in triumph. Cheering, they congratulated each other, shaking hands and patting backs. Their red right hands were gone. “We did it!” several of them cried in joy. “We defeated the Time Lords!”

“What?!” the Doctor repeated.

Amy and Rory had snapped out of it as well. “Doctor,” Amy began, “what just happened?”

“I don’t know.” Checking the doors to the TARDIS again, he found them unlocked. “Back to the TARDIS! Hurry!”

Just as they reached it, it began to dematerialize, the wheezing groan of its departure spurring them to quickly get inside. Amy gasped at the Captain still dying on the floor. Rory quickly rushed over to check him. After a moment, he looked to the Doctor and Amy and shook his head.

The Doctor looked over his console and slammed his fist on it. “She’s taken control of it. She always had control of it. How could I have been so blind, so stupid!”

“Where are we going?” Rory asked.

“I have no idea,” the Doctor replied as he walked to over to and knelt beside the Captain.

“There’s a chance,” the Captain whispered to him out of blood-flecked lips. The Goddess had used some plasma weapon on him. Though he was still alive, the unraveling of his matter was beginning. He wouldn’t last for long. “I’m going to die anyway, but there’s a chance, right?”

“It’s a paradox,” the Doctor said shaking his head. “It’s a loop. You’ve been able to use it because not every version of you had a device, but the more you use it, the more you sync the rest of your existence elsewhere. Eventually, there will be no you to pull through.”

The Captain drew in a ragged breath. “There’s always a chance, Doctor. Nothing’s impossible. I’ll see you soon.”

Without another word, the Captain activated the Mulligan circuit and disappeared.

“We’ve landed somewhere,” Rory announced. The Doctor hadn’t even noticed. He knelt there quietly looking at the space the Captain had occupied, and he sighed.

“What happened to the Goddess?” Amy asked.

“She’s probably somewhere on this ship, hiding,” the Doctor replied. “I can’t even trust the TARDIS anymore. She’s Priest technology, a bit more archaic than Time Lord fare, but I can’t counter it. I was a fool to let it in.”

“But, you’re a Time Lord, don’t you like have a connection to the TARDIS than can’t be broken or something?” Rory asked hopefully.

“I might as well be using a lighter against a lava flow. We got lucky with the last two Priests we destroyed. They won’t be so cocky next time around.”

“So, what do we do, Doctor?” Amy asked.

The Doctor stood and brushed off his knees. “Well, I suppose we see where she has taken us.”

The Doctor walked back over to the main console and flipped a switch before stalking determinedly toward the doors. “Come along, Ponds.”

The trio stepped outside the TARDIS to a chorus of guns being raised and cocked to fire.

“How many times?” the Doctor asked himself, rolling his eyes. “UNIT this time?”

A rather official looking officer pushed his way through the guns and stood before the Doctor.

“I’m Colonel Tillman, Unified Intelligence Taskforce,” the man said to the Doctor.

“Ah, I don’t believe we’ve had the pleasure of–” the Doctor began.

“Silence!” the Colonel shouted. He drew a revolver from the holster at his hip. “You and your companions have been declared enemies of the planet. Your TARDIS will be seized and your companions will be detained indefinitely for questioning until such time as they are prepared for incarceration at a special facility off planet.”

“You can’t just arrest us,” the Doctor countered. “Enemy of the planet? I’ve saved this planet hundreds of times. You’re UNIT, you know me!”

“I’ve been given my orders,” the Colonel snapped back. His eyes were cold, his face set in stone. “Your companions will be incarcerated, your TARDIS impounded.”

“And me?” the Time Lord asked.

The answer was a bullet in his right heart. The Doctor gasped, completely caught off guard. As he fell backward, he saw the shocked and horrified faces of his companions. The Colonel stared silently from behind the smoking barrel of his gun.

This isn’t real, the Doctor thought to himself.

He collided against the door to the TARDIS, which opened to admit him. He saw the Colonel shout in anger at his men to stop the Time Lord. Soldiers grabbed Amy and Rory, pulling them away.

The door closed as he fell through it, and immediately the TARDIS began to dematerialize.

The Doctor hit the floor and felt the breath knocked out of him. The sound of his TARDIS echoed through his brain as he struggled to roll over onto his stomach. He had to get to the console. There wouldn’t be much time.

Once on his stomach, wincing at the extreme pain he was experiencing, he saw the Goddess standing before him.

“Oh, don’t worry. You’ll regenerate,” she said to him. “You didn’t think we’d end it with your untimely death, did you?”

The Doctor struggled to speak and reached his hand out. It was beginning to glow, indicating the regeneration was about to begin.

“Now begins the long game, Time Lord,” the Goddess said to him. “And it ends when you reveal to us where the rest of the Time Lords are hiding, and we wipe you from existence.”

“I’ll–” the Doctor choked out, spasms wracking his body before the the coming change. “I’ll never–”

“Sweet Doctor,” the Goddess said, kneeling beside him and petting his cheek. “You wont know it. We know the mechanisms of your regenerations and can manipulate them easily. You’ll wake up in a few minutes with a new body, and you won’t remember any of this. You’ll just be the Doctor, alone again with his TARDIS, rambling along in time with no idea that we’re watching your every move. Only this time, the universe will be turned against you. We’ve engineered it so that you are and always will be the universe’s most wanted criminal. No one will trust you, no one will love you. No one will beg for you to save them. You’ll have no choice but to seek out your people for help.”

The glow intensified as the regeneration surged. The Doctor became rigid, his face twisting into a rictus of pain as the change occurred.

“Farewell, Doctor…” the Goddess’s voice echoed.

As the regeneration completed, the Doctor lost consciousness. The TARDIS had no destination entered when it dematerialized, and so it just continued on. The Doctor did not recover as he had so many times before. Instead, he lay there motionless for decades, and then centuries, and then millennia as his TARDIS spun through time, waiting for him to awake.

******

So, there it is. Except for a brief epilogue to come shortly, which will set up the next series, this has been Red Right Hand. I hope you enjoyed it. As you can see, it’s definitely not over. This Doctor’s adventure continues in “Priests of Paradox”, which I’ll begin very soon. This adventure then concludes in the final series, “The Infinite Doctor”, which I really hope to complete sometime in 2018.

Thanks for taking the ride with me. I admit, half of the time I don’t even know what’s going to happen. It’s been extremely challenging to tie up loose ends, but I guess that’s why this has worked so well. To me, it’s exactly the kind of Doctor Who story that I would want to experience.

If you want to read the prequel series to this story, “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Prime Machine”, here are the links:

Episode I

Episode II

Episode III

Episode IV

Episode V

Episode VI

Episode VII

Episode VIII

Episode IX

Epilogue

And in case you missed it, here’s the link to the beginning of this series (each page from then on has a link to the next part because I’m considerate like that):

Red Right Hand – Prologue

Feel free to critique me, whether for continuity, grammar errors, or writing style. I’m sure I flubbed up somewhere.

See you out there.

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