Friday, April 12, 2013

"Who Are You, Doctor?"

The Doctor attempted to rub his head, but was distracted by the strangely familiar tugging sensation on his other wrist when he reached up. He spent a moment or two moving each hand in turn, noticing the way that the other was forced to follow. As his vision cleared, he was finally able to place it--of course. His hands were cuffed together. That would explain it. And likewise, the pain in his head and foggy vision would imply being knocked unconscious. He smiled. For the first time since he'd come to Babylon 5, the Doctor felt like he was finally on familiar ground.

"You didn't answer the question," the voice rang out in strident, arrogant tones. "Who are you?"

The Doctor rolled onto his back and looked up at the man in Victorian dress. "I'm the Doctor. And you are...?"

"Unacceptable!" the man shouted. He cracked his cane against the ground and pain flared up through the cuffs, into the Doctor's arms, and across his entire body.

"Ah," the Doctor said mournfully, half to himself. "It's one of those sorts of conversations, then. Yes, you look the sort. Always a bit too excited about the wrong answers, always a bit too eager to crack the whip. No, don't bother responding, I've heard it all before. You couldn't have 'sadist' written all over you more obviously if you were at a BDSM convention full of graffiti artists." With a bit of effort, he sat up. "Now I'm sorry, you had a question for me?"

"Yes, Doctor," the man said, making a visible effort to control his petulant fury. "My masters wish to know more about you. If lives are to be entrusted into your care, if the future is to depend on you, then they must be sure that you are doing the right things for the right reasons. And so I will ask, as many times as I have to until they are satisfied or you are dead. Who are you?"

"I'm sorry," the Doctor said, slowly and delicately rising to his feet. "Is it a curriculum vitae that they're looking for? My monster-fighting résumé? Let me see, I'm a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey--actually, I'm the last Time Lord from the former planet Gallifrey, it's rather a long story and you don't strike me as the patient sort. I've fought the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Sontarans, the Slitheen, the Adipose, well I say I fought them but they were actually babies, so it was really more sort of giving their governess a stern talking to, I've died ten times, well, call it nine and a half, and I travel through time and space in a box that's bigger on the inside than the outside. And if you believe even half of that, you're far more open-minded than I'm giving you credit for, so why don't we just skip to the bit where you say..." The Doctor smiled grimly, gesturing in expectation.

"Unacceptable!" The cane cracked against the floor again. The Doctor staggered but did not fall. "Listen to yourself, Doctor! That's not who you are, merely what you've done! Where you're from! You're so filled with blinkered, arrogant pride over your history that you haven't even thought about the question! How can you come here, set yourself up as savior, ask people to follow you into death--"

The Doctor raised himself up to his full height. "I have never asked them to follow me!" he roared. His eyes were filled with ageless sorrow. For the first time in three centuries, the inquisitor flinched. "I have  traveled this universe for eleven hundred years, and I have seen agony beyond your capacity to understand. And where I go, I try to help. Because, well..." he shrugged. "What else am I supposed to do? Cluck my tongue and step back into the TARDIS? I've seen where that path leads, I have seen what happens to people who decide that not everyone is worth helping, and I cannot follow it. I would die first. I have died first.

"And so where I travel, when I see pain...I help. A little. Have I succeeded? I like to think so. I know there are a few worlds...well, a few galaxies...well, a few universes, no false modesty here...that wouldn't be around if not for me. But I have never...I have NEVER...told anyone that I am their savior. I've never been anything other than what I am. I'm just a traveler who's sometimes in the right place at the right time to do something good. I'm just a clever old Doctor who tries to fix things when they're broken. I might save people, but I'm no savior. I'm a madman with a box. No more, no less."

He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a slim wand. He touched a button, and with a high-pitched whirr, the cuffs sprang free. He caught them before they reached the floor and handed them to the inquisitor. "And if that answer doesn't satisfy your masters, then I suggest they come and ask me themselves. Because unlike them, I'm not hiding from anything."

3 comments:

Eric TF Bat said...

Very nice. You got a lot of Eleven's voice just right (except the BDSM comment, though it was amusing regardless). And a very solid answer to the question. Well done!

magidin said...

Will you also be doing Lorien's question? ("Where are you going?")

Jon Gad said...

Nicely done. Still want Galen's questions too, though. ("Who do you serve, and who do you trust?")