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CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

FULL CIRCLE

‘This can’t be happening!’ The Manager thundered as the body of the Twelfth Dr. rose off
the floor, enveloped in an ethereal purple and black glow.
The Manager angrily turned his attention on Raljex. ‘You lied to me!’
‘I did nothing of the kind,’ Raljex replied simply. ‘It was amusing, Nigel that you
thought so much of yourself that you entertained the notion that I, The Supreme
Being would chose you as a host. Thirteen lifetimes worth of failure is the only
legacy you would leave if it weren’t about to be erased from history.’
There came a muffled scream from the Twelfth Dr. as the glow began to form into
a towering form, much like that of Raljex.
‘He will need time to adjust, but he will become aware of himself very quickly,’
Raljex said as he once again snapped his fingers. The purple mass disappeared in a wink
of white light. ‘He will travel to the time before the Universe to gestate and grow. He
will become Raljex and then go on to do all of the deeds that I have thus-far done.
He will make all of my successes and all of my mistakes in the exact same way that
I have done. So on and so on throughout all eternity, of which there is precious
little in the end.’
‘This can’t be true!’ The Dr. said, now on his knees as he pounded a fist into the floor. ‘I
can’t be you!’
‘And it is for that very reason that I chose you, Dr.’ Raljex replied.
‘THIS IS LIES!’ The Manager screamed. ‘I AM SUPERIOR! I AM THE MANAGER!’
‘You are a constant failure wrapped in a cocoon of superiority that you yourself
have created. You have done nothing to deserve any kind of respect or mercy, Nigel
Martin. Or, should I say, Orlando Seraphim Holmes? Oh yes,’ Raljex nodded. ‘I know
your true name, Manager. And it is through the use of your Real Name that I can
control your destiny in the manner that I must do now. You have lost the contest
and the memory of you and all your evil deeds will be wiped from the history of the
universe.’
‘NO!’ The Manager shouted, pushing past the Allucians and racing across the chess
boards towards the entrance they had come from at the very start of the Chess match.
He reached the far wall and banged his fists on it in a desperate attempt to force an exit
open.
‘It is no use, Manager,’ Raljex hummed. ‘You will be destroyed.’
‘WAIT!’ The crowd turned around to see who had spoken. To everyone’s surprise, it was
The Dr.
‘Wait?’ Will-ko frowned. ‘What do you mean? This is what you wanted wasn’t it?’
‘I wanted to escape him,’ The Dr. sighed. ‘I didn’t want him to be destroyed. Even less
now I find out he’s my brother!’ The Dr. ran a hand through his hair. ‘Is there nothing
that can be done. Can he not be spared?’
Raljex chuckled. ‘You, Dr. are your own worst enemy. Your adversaries would
gladly see you atomized in a moment and yet you would do them no harm … I am
so pleased it is a trait that I subdue within you. Being a galactic overlord is far
trickier when you have morals.’
Raljex raised a finger at the Manager who screamed as a sickly purple light
enveloped him, disintegrating him before their eyes.
‘But no,’ Raljex said as the last fragments of the Manager vanished. ‘He lost The
Contest and had to die.’
The Dr. sagged but otherwise made no comment. He sat down wearily and held
his head in his hands. ‘I can’t become you,’ he said. ‘It’s not possible.’
‘It is possible for you to become your Fifth Incarnation, is it not?’ Raljex hummed.
‘A man so seated in hatred and scorn that he will do far more damage in his albeit
brief lifetime than a score of your most dreadful foes put together. I think I like
him the best. He, like I has no thought or concern for others. He does not weigh
himself down with worry over consequences. It is the closest being in all of
existence who mirrors my mentality. Imagine what he would do with my power to
back him up. Well, you don’t have to imagine, Dr. You will live it! All of my
triumphs! All of my works done through your own hands.’
‘I think I’d rather kill myself,’ The Dr. frowned harshly.
‘And yet, you won’t,’ Raljex shrugged. ‘What good would that do anyway? You know
that in your Twelfth Incarnation you will try to assassinate me, and in doing so you
will bring about events that will make you my vessel through which all my “evil” as
you put it, will be done. It is the most delicious irony in the history of the
Universe.’
Raljex floated over to where Skelifish was and sighed. ‘But all things must come
to an end, as you most painfully know, Dr. Even I am not immune. I have known
since my birth why the Reaper is left until last. I have known for the billenia that I
have existed what must be done now.’ Raljex looked up at them. ‘You will all find
yourselves back where you should be, and since you seem so insistent on it, Dr. I
will spare The Manager’s legacy and allow you to remember his actions. But
nothing of this contest will remain, spare perhaps a few tid-bits of information that
will serve you well. You will know that your missing colleagues are safe, happy and
well, maybe even a few hints at your lineage but that will be all. And for all you will
know, The Manager will still be as you left him. Entombed within his own
RETARDIS for all eternity. Of that I can promise you. As for his machine itself, I
will transport it to where it can do no harm. Some old home in the countryside of
England perhaps where it will exist as a wardrobe and nothing more.’
‘That’s got to be one of the stupidest things he’s ever done,’ Freaka-chu commented
quietly to nobody in particular.
‘But now, Dr. You have seen my life of toil that came to nothing. A cycle that will
repeat again and again with no way to break it and no way to differ the outcome.
Not at the beginning, not in the middle and unfortunately, not at the end either.’
Raljex snapped his fingers and Skelifish blinked back into consciousness, gripping his
scythe tightly as his eyes refocused and Raljex came into his view.
‘Skeli!’ Will-ko smiled warmly. ‘We won mate!’
Skelifish didn’t seem to have heard. His black, cold eyes were fixed solely upon
The Supreme Being.
‘Your life, until now, has been building up to this moment, Shepard Requiem,’
Raljex said. ‘All things have aligned and in this moment, you will do what thousands
have failed to do. Your Father included.’
‘He was a good man,’ Skelifish said, his face flush with anger and hate.
‘But it was not his destiny. My time had not yet come.’
‘And now?’ Skelifish growled hatefully.
Raljex bowed his head and held out his arms wide. ‘All things come to an end,’
he said, with what could almost be sorrow in his voice. ‘That end has come for me,’ he
snapped his fingers once more and immediately, the edges of reality around them began
to dissolve. ‘Fare thee well,’ Raljex chuckled at the Allucians before turning back to
Skelifish. ‘Strike fast and strike true, young Reaper. For there is not much time
left.’
‘You killed my father,’ Skelifish growled, raising his scythe. ‘You destroyed my life!’
‘And so we come full circle,’ Raljex said as Skelifish brought down the blade in the
centre of Raljex’s chest. There was a terrible cry of galactic distress as the purple and
black energy of Raljex was blown apart by a golden mass of light from within. Skelifish
was blown back by the shockwave that was unleashed from within, scattering the energy
that had been Raljex into nothingness. The cry soon turned to a distorted scream that
was soon that of a man in great pain. As the golden energy ebbed away, and as the final
parts of the chess board and Raljex’s domain faded away to nothing, all that was left of
The Supreme Being was a shivering and naked Thirteenth incarnation of The Dr.
Then everything went white.

*
‘I TELL YOU SOMETHING ELSE!’ Mooney hiccupped as he drunkenly held onto the bar.
‘WE SHOUL-SHOULDN’T HAVE ANOTHER ONE OF THESE FOR A LO-LOOOOOONG
TIME.’
‘A year at the most,’ Elion agreed, holding out an arm to stop Mooney falling off his
barstool.
‘I FOR ONE THOUGHT THE AWARDS CEREMONY WAS A GREAT SUCCESS,’ Krizzo
intoned from a communication panel on the wall. The Admins could only sustain their
link with the dimension of The Mercury Rooms for so long before having to return.
‘WE SHOULD DEFFINITELY DO SOMETHING A BIT MORE AMBITIOUS NEXT TIME,’
Fink suggested, patting his lip.
‘HOW ABOUT AN ALLUC OLYMPICS?’ Mooney burped in suggestion. ‘WE COULD HAVE
LIKE … STAY-AWAKES AND LINK HUNTER MARATHONS AND … ALL K-KINDS OF …
… … WHAT THE HELL WAS I TALKING ABOUT?’
‘DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT MOONEY,’ Vatex smiled. ‘WE’LL TELL YOU IN THE
MORNING.’
‘YES, WELL, WE HAVE QUITE A LOT OF WORK TO DO HERE,’ Fink replied. ‘THERE’S
A MATCHBOX I NEED TO CONFUSE AND THEN WE NEED TO VISIT THE PLACE TO
CONVERSE WITH OUR PEOPLE. ITS BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE WEVE HAD
CONTACT WITH OUR OWN RACE. DON’T PARTY TOO HARD, WE STILL NEED
MODERATORS THERE IN THE MORNING.’
‘WE CAN HANDLE IT,’ Danny smiled brightly, unable to keep the smile from his face at
testing out his new voice as the Admin’s screen faded away.
‘Still can’t believe they gave you Admin powers,’ Elion huffed. ‘I was the first ever
Moderator here!’
‘TRUE,’ Danny replied smugly. ‘BUT YOU’RE BETTER OUT IN THE FIELD, YOU’RE A
LINK HUNTER. WHEREAS I ACTUALLY LIVE HERE PERMANENTLY. I KNOW THE
SYSTEMS INSIDE OUT ALREADY! JASON’S A GOOD TEACHER.’
‘And when you blow something up, we’ll have four other Admins to pick up the pieces,’
Manhunter smirked.
‘YEAH,’ Danny nodded, not sure what to make of the comment.
‘Well, its been a bit of a weird day,’ Elion said, holding his head. ‘We’ve lost a hell of a lot
of members and I can’t figure out where the hell they went or why.’
‘I know, it’s a little weird,’ Will-ko puffed, still unable to stop smiling after being allowed
into the Command Centre despite the fact he was no longer a Moderator. ‘Vash quit to
focus on his PR work elsewhere.’
‘His work around here was pretty much done though,’ Elion surmised. ‘We’re the biggest
community on the Internet these days.’
‘Yeah, but then there’s Red, Beakedbard, Skelifish, Roxy, Jeebus. It’s like they just
disappeared.’
‘Well, I’m not complaining,’ Jaymz, one of the newer Moderators who had been elected in
the wake of the others leaving.
‘We can handle it,’ Aries nodded as she downed another beer. ‘I’ve been cleaning up
messes around here since the get-go. It’s time I had some actual authority. Most
members treat my Infirmary like a Hostel.’
‘And we’ll just see who dares to try and take on this place with me as a Moderator!’ Arina
smiled, flourishing her Katana.
‘Well, don’t let it go to your heads,’ Elion warned. ‘I’d hate to see a Mod go power-mad.’
‘We won’t,’ Steffman grinned, playing with a ball of flame in his hands.
‘Promise,’ Jimzac added.

‘I wondered where you’d got to,’ Manhunter said as he strode out onto the balcony where
The Dr. was leaning against the rail looking pale and harried.
‘Just needed some air,’ The Dr. replied without looking around. ‘Something’s not right,
Chris. Something is very wrong.’
‘Yeah,’ Manhunter puffed. ‘They gave Danny Administrator powers.’
‘I don’t mean that,’ The Dr. replied quickly. ‘There’s something wrong. Something has
changed and I don’t know what. Time’s been changed somehow and I know that we’ve
just been through something monumental. But I can’t think what it is. I really can’t put
my finger on it. Whatever it is, it’s left everything different and our memories have been
adjusted to counteract it.’
‘You think so?’ Manhunter frowned.
‘I know so,’ The Dr. sighed.
There was a short pause where the sound of music and celebration from don in
the Mercury Rooms below them filled the air.
‘Is there anything you can do about it?’ Manhunter asked quite seriously.
‘Probably not,’ The Dr. huffed. ‘But … I don’t know … The Universe just seems to be … …
… right.’
‘And that’s a bad thing?’
‘Ever since I was charged with protecting the Universe, I’ve had this horrible feeling of
unease and dread. It’s followed me like a shadow. Now … it’s gone. Hopefully forever. For
the first time in a long time, Chris. I feel good. I feel … happy.’
Manhunter observed the Video Lord quizzically. ‘For the love of god, you’ve been
drinking, haven’t you?’
‘Don’t spoil a very deep and profound moment,’ The Dr. frowned. ‘I’m serious. Things just
feel … right. Things are going well. There are new Video Makers. The Mercury Rooms get
more and more members by the hour. CooCooKaJoo even remembered how to use his
Psychic powers.’
‘About time,’ Manhunter chuckled.
‘And for once, I have nowhere to be. No pressing matters, no Universal destruction that
needs to be stopped. I literally have nothing to do. I might even go and watch a movie.’
‘You’re wrong there,’ Manhunter interrupted. ‘You do have something to do.’
‘Really?’ The Dr. raised an eyebrow.
‘Indeed,’ Manhunter said, steering The Fourth Dr. back towards the Command Centre.
‘Mooney’s setting up Jagerbombs.’

‘Everything seems normal,’ Jacobson said as she read a control panel. ‘The clones of
L96A1 are almost ready to be released.’
‘Then we can finally get rid of The Mercury Rooms and all the people our employer wants
eliminating,’ General Anderson sighed. ‘It’s taken far too long. ‘I’ve had the Colonel on my
back all week. When will they be fully ready?’
‘Less than an hour sir,’ Peterson said, looking over at the clock. ‘All they need is for the
programming to be fully downloaded into their Cerebral Cortexes and we’ll have an army
of Anti-Allucians on our hands.’
‘Just don’t open the chamber,’ Stevenson warned as he saw The General getting close to
the door. ‘It’s pressurised, you’ll have all their heads exploding.’
The General stepped back from the door. ‘Good to know,’ he nodded and turned
back to his desk.
‘So, if this works, will The Colonel look at recalling the other experiments?’ Jacobson
pondered. ‘The Wizard boy? Project Sponge?’
‘Fred Kelly?’ Somebody suggested.
‘Yes, him too,’ Jacobson stopped and gulped. ‘The voice hadn’t come from any one of her
team. Jacobson turned, just as the others were doing to see a terribly scarred man
standing in the doorway. Jacobson saw the burns, she looked over the scars and the few
strands of hair that had begun to re-grow on the man’s head. If she didn’t recognize the
face, she certainly recognized the eyes. Those cold, soulless green eyes that she herself
had helped to augment and adjust. Those portals to oblivion through which so many had
met their end.
‘Fred?’ She whispered fearfully as the man slammed the door closed and looked around
at the assembled science team that had turned so many unsuspecting and undeserving
innocents into freaks of nature.
‘I thought I’d pop by for a chat,’ Fred said with an angry smile as he tugged on the door
handle of the incubation chamber where the clones were kept and wrenched the door
open, creating some of the most horrific squeals and bangs from inside the room. Fred
didn’t even turn to look. ‘You all made me into a monster. And a monster can do so many
things that they can never truly atone for. But there’s always room for improvement.’
‘Kelly!’ General Anderson boomed. ‘Do you realize what you’ve just done?’
‘I do,’ Fred said slowly as his eyes began to glow. ‘I’m cutting off the worst loose end
there’s ever been.’

***

THE MERCURY ROOM


CHRONICLES

THE FINAL FRONTIER

“God and the doctor we like adore


But only when in danger, not before” – John Owen

The Dr. was about to die. He’d known it for a long time. This wasn’t a perilous
adventure he was on where the outcome was decidedly for or against him. This was
something he couldn’t fight. This was not a creature or malevolent entity that he could
avoid with words, actions or rude hand gestures. He was dying of old age.
The Thirteenth Dr. stepped carefully around the hexagonal control panel of his
RETARDIS and he sighed. This time, he would close his eyes and that would be that. No
coming back when you died the thirteenth time. Not for Video Lords. He’d had more than
borrowed his fair share of time, and now that time was up.
‘It’s not right,’ Freaka-chu muttered to his long-time friend. ‘He shouldn’t be curling up
in an armchair and slipping away like some old codger! He should be out there battling
the forces of evil. Gritting his teeth and rushing in like he always does to save the day.’
‘I rather think that’s the point,’ Manhunter shrugged from next to him. ‘He’s earned the
right to die peacefully. Don’t talk about denying him that.’
The Dr. looked up at his two associates. The final companions he would ever have.
Freaka-chu had been riding along with him for years and had saved his life on countless
occasions. He looked the same as he did nearly forty-thousand years previously. The
cursed Venchamon truly wasn’t going to age until the end of time, and probably would
not after that either.
Manhunter had lasted a lot longer than The Dr. had expected. Even for a Martian
he too was wearing well considering. He wasn’t as old as The Dr. or Freaka-chu,
obviously and they had only recently reaffirmed their travelling arrangement together.
But never the less, the Martian was getting on too.
The Dr. sighed and sank into a large leather armchair in front of the console. He
was now well over five-thousand years old in this incarnation. In total, he guessed that
he was something close to fifty thousand, maybe more, maybe less. The little numbers
didn’t seem to matter anymore.
‘Okay,’ he said, raising his old eyes to the pair of onlookers who solemnly returned the
knowing look. ‘Here’s what’s going to happen,’ he smiled as K-Y rolled out from under the
control panel and placed his metal head in his lap. The Dr. petted his faithful robotic
companion on the head. They’d long-since worked out their differences as their time
came to a close. Neither of them really wanted to end on a sour note. ‘You’re a good dog,
K-Y,’ The Dr. whispered and raised his head to Freaka-chu and The Martian. ‘I haven’t
got long,’ The Dr. said stiffly. ‘When it’s done, the RETARDIS and everything inside it will
shut down. K-Y will switch off and even the Bionic Screwdriver will run out of battery
soon without the RETARDIS to recharge it. It’s probably good for a few simpler parlour
tricks. Nothing fancy.’
There were nods of sage understanding from the onlookers.
‘Just let yourselves out and lock the door,’ The Dr. croaked. ‘Post the key back through
the letter box and that’ll be that. The RETARDIS will sit here on this street corner and
will never move again. Let it be forgotten. An ancient relic of a forgotten time. A curiosity
that nobody knows what to do with.’
‘Sounds like somebody I know,’ Freaka-chu smiled. The Dr. returned it and nodded.
‘We’ve had some good times, haven’t we?’ the old Video Lord said, looking up at his two
companions.
‘We’ve had some fucking mint times,’ Freaka-chu said, placing his hand on the old man’s
shoulder.
‘I can’t say that all the time spent together has been completely terrible,’ The Manhunter
said sternly before breaking into a warm smile. ‘I’ll probably miss you, y’know. Even after
all the crap you put me through.’
‘Life would be a boring thing if nothing interesting ever happened to you,’ The Dr.
beamed.
‘I guess it would,’ Manhunter nodded as The Dr. lay his head back in the chair and
sighed deeply.
‘I think its time,’ he said, almost sadly. He had no regrets at this point. He’d done pretty
much everything he could find contained on lists that concerned things to do before you
die. He hadn’t gotten around to doing most of the ones in other Universes, but he
considered that what he had thus-far accomplished pretty much spoke for itself.
He closed his eyes and allowed the reminiscence of himself and his former lives to
fill him with fond remembrance.

He was his First incarnation, panicky and unsure. Constantly making mistakes in
a situation for which he was unprepared. Second-guessing himself at every turn and
wondering what The Professor, the very First Dr., the man who he would later know to be
his father, would have done if he were still alive to teach him the things he needed to
know. He was there, watching, managing to grow to a good age, and meeting humans,
taking them along on his missions to set right the wrongs. He was taking to his sentence
with as much enthusiasm as he could spare. He would make the Universes safe.
He was dying for the first time.
Using himself as a conductor to short out the master computer on the Darlin’
Mothership. He was being electrocuted. It was not one of his more favourite deaths.

He was his Second Incarnation. Cocky and headstrong. He was sure that by now
he had seen it all and could be more relaxed about it. He wielded alcohol and cigarettes
like they were extensions of his limbs. He formed a band with his fellows and came
across a dangerous adversary in his old teacher, The Manager.
He was watching his first assistants Craig and Fiona drop to their deaths at the
hands of The Manager. At the hands of his brother. He would not take passengers for
another two thousand years. His confidence shattered.
He was meeting Watson and Dodge, and then on to meting the creature called
Freaka-chu. He bonded with the two humans more than he knew he should. He grew
attached once again. He neglected to care though. He was discovering what it was in
humanity that he liked so much. He was enjoying himself again.
He was dying for the second time. Ambushed by a fellow Video Lord who was
seeking revenge for a crime The Dr. had not committed. He was being bludgeoned and
mutilated while Watson looked on. His head was being stamped into the floor by the
large and unfriendly boot of Fallon.
He was his Third Incarnation. He was determined and sure of himself. He was
tired of talking. Talking got you nowhere that a loaded gun would not. He was trying to
be a good person, if not for himself then for those who cared for him. He did not
understand the difference. He was killing his former enemies to ensure the safety of the
Universes. He was losing touch with a side of himself he had allowed humanity into. He
was sorry that it had to come to that. That had not been his intention. This time around,
things weren’t as fun as they used to be.
He was being called away to fight in a war he did not agree with. He was activating
a device that would destroy what remained of The Darlin’s and The Video Lords in one
fell swoop. He was screaming as the radiation exploded around him.

He was his Fourth Incarnation, waking up amidst the Allucian members of The
Mercury Rooms. He was deeply embroiled in their dealings and all the more thankful for
it. He was forging more friendships than he ever had before, or would again. He was
erratic and eccentric, he was a mediator. A firm believer that anything could be fixed
with the right attitude and the right words. He was a Moderator.
He was facing The Manager in a contest that would decide the fate of himself and
his newfound friends. He was triumphant and moved on from place to place, savouring
the newfound freedom that came from being the very last of his kind. There were those
that came and went, but he alone remained constant.
He was old. He was angry. He was holding the dead body of his friend and cursing
himself for becoming so old and feeble. He was staring into the eyes of his adversary and
promising bloody revenge. He was not strong enough to fight such a foe. He would
summon up a demon of such hatred and violent retribution that the stars themselves
would quake at his coming. For the last time until his Thirteenth life, The Dr. chose to
Degenerate of his own accord.

He was his Fifth Incarnation. He was violent and angry. Summoned up to right a
wrong his previous form could not. He was callous and resentful of the position that he
himself had forced upon his new persona. He was turning away his former associates.
They less people around him, the fewer he could lose as once again the Darlin’ threat
reared its head and war once more came to the Universes.
He was in love. A strange emotion for somebody who supposedly had locked away
all feelings to experience. He was not comfortable with his feelings. But he knew they
were real.
He was mourning her loss at the hands of the Sultanas. He was once again
summoning up the devil of destruction within himself. He was loosing the hellhound and
taking his foes with him. He was dying in fire and chaos. This time, he did not care. With
her passing, he was once again the very last of The Video Lords.

He was his Sixth Incarnation, saddened and mournful for the loss that hit him so
hard. He shied away, hiding in his RETARDIS with his books and his projects, claiming
that he deserved a break from adventuring. Inventing lies so that the worlds outside
would not intrude upon his solitude. He was throwing himself into his work that he tried
to convince himself of being important. He was taking a break.
He was throwing things around his RETARDIS. He’d had enough of cowering in
the darkness, he was going to go out and do what he did best. He was going to put the
past behind him and start afresh. He would fight evil again.
He was fighting his way into an unwinnable conflict, he was surrounded by an
army of Darlin’s that had gone rogue and turned against Madross. They were chanting
their chorus of doom. The last thing he heard in his Sixth life was a hundred monotone
voices scream “SEXTERMINATE!”

He was his Seventh Incarnation and he did not know where he was. The amount
of Darlin’ firepower had interfered with his Degeneration energy and his mental patterns
had not carried over correctly. He was lost and things no longer made sense. He did not
know how to find his way home. He did not know how long he remained like that. People
came and went around him but nothing made sense anymore.
He was in pain, the part below his chest hurt. The darkness was coming again.

He was his Eighth Incarnation. He was determined to make up for the complete
failure of his last life. He was sure of himself and most always got it wrong. He
overlooked the obvious in favour of the more interesting and absurd. He had companions
again. He had not had companions in a very long time. It was refreshing in the same way
that it was a challenge. To once again be required to save the day in a heroic fashion. He
was having a harder time of keeping up appearances than he used to. He was bumbling
and clumsy but braver than he could ever remember being.
He was drowning. Not the best way to go again, but in his haste to take down a foe
he had been tricked. He was watching his enemy through the thick glass of the porthole
as the airlock filled with water. He was pulling at the unyielding lock. Nobody was
coming to save him.

He was his Ninth Incarnation, breaking the surface of the water with an explosion
of energy before diving back down to finish the job he had begun. He was in a
reminiscently similar mindset to his Third and Fifth Incarnations. He was a happy
medium between the two. He was regulated and controlled in his exploits. He knew
where the line was, mostly as he crossed over it. He was sitting in an Earth lecture
theatre, appealing to the moronic scientists not to activate their dangerous machine. He
was failing.
He was throwing insults in thousands of languages. He didn’t know why. To
impress his companions with his knowledge or simply to remind himself of it and all of
the wonderful places he had been, he was unsure. But he carried on. He was a man of
actions rather than words.
He was chasing a man he hardly knew through a large alien construction site. He
did not know the man’s real name but he did know that he had seen the agent planting
an incendiary device. Far below them the streets teemed with activity, chaos and panic
as large explosions from planted devices detonated throughout the metropolis. The
foundations of the girders shook and The Dr. lost his footing. He did not plummet to the
ground far below. He did not fall far at all. But he fell far enough so that his momentum
saw him impaled upon a broken girder.
He was hauling himself off the tangled metal and falling to the support platform
where he lay bleeding. His Ninth Incarnation would not stand up again.

He was his Tenth Incarnation and he was thirsty. Filled with an insatiable
unquenchable thirst that none of his health drinks or fruit juice his Ninth Incarnation
had became so fond of could sate. He knew what he needed. The Universes were filled
with so much anger and pain that The Dr. found he could only deal with things if he
looked at them through the bottom of a bottle. So he drank. He drank more than he
could remember ever drinking before. But he found that this was acceptable. The Dr.
was an excellent drunk.
He found that as long as he managed to function with something approaching his
normal demeanour, nobody commented too heavily upon the development. He found that
his reactions were slowed a little and his mind wasn’t up to the normal standards of
comprehension that he was used to, but he didn’t mind that. Things just seemed to go
down better when they were mixed with some form of intoxication. His enemies somehow
seemed to be a lot less threatening to him. Some of them he found himself laughing at.
There was a bright flash as the reactor exploded. That was all he remembered of
that particular Degeneration. He had been sure that he had more time to fix things than
that. So much for being carefree.
He was falling again. Falling through space. The explosion had taken out the
forward view window of the space liner he had been trying to protect from The Shetlurian
Invaders. They were all dead now, hopefully that was the last he would see of them. It
was not long before he was pulled in by the gravitational field of the planet below. The
burning sensation as he exploded through the upper atmosphere almost destroyed him
completely.

He was his Eleventh Incarnation. He was a lot shorter than he had ever been
before. He had lost a lot of atoms in the accident. A problem that would no-doubt correct
itself in his next Degeneration. He didn’t concern himself with worrying. He was carefree
and jovial. He was in the mood to have fun in copious amounts.
He was treating life like it was meant to be treated. As an experience rather than a
chore. He was going to make sure that he would have a whole lot of good times. Even if it
killed him. He had assistants that he treated to the most interesting and exiting things
the Universes had to offer and delighted in their reaction to each new splendour that he
displayed before them.
He was falling again. Falling through space. The explosion had taken out the
forward view window of the space liner he had been trying to protect from The Shetlurian
Invaders. They were all dead now, hopefully that was the last he would see of them. It
was not long before he was pulled in by the gravitational field of the planet below. The
burning sensation as he exploded through the upper atmosphere almost destroyed him
completely.

He was his Twelfth Incarnation, waking up in a crater screaming as the


aftershocks of the explosion echoed all around him. He alone was left to amend all the
wrongs in the Universes. He was running out of time. No more half-measures. He was all
that was left to protect the innocent from the unjust and the evil. He tore through the
galaxies, eradicating all those who would stand against goodness and decency.
He was confronting Raljex, the epitome of evil. He had expected to die during this
confrontation. He was so very wrong. He was in pain, blinding pain as the symbiotic that
was Raljex slowly enveloped him and took control of his body. He wanted to die more
than anything, but the thing that had control would not let him. He could not see what
Raljex saw, nor could he interfere with the business of the Supreme Being. He was a
puppet, a slave to the ultimate evil mastermind.
He saw the blade coming, and he relished in it.

He was his Thirteenth Incarnation, finally free of the influence of Raljex. He looked
upon all the good he had done and nodded with appreciation at a job well done. It was
time to finally live a life without all the normal complications, though that kind of
thinking only worked in theory, in practice it was infinitely more complicated than that.
It was his time though, time he would use to his advantage to finally live for
himself. Some might deem that kind of thinking to be selfish, but The Dr. decided that he
had dutifully earned some quality time to go about his own business. The evil that
remained was petty and insignificant compared to that he had faced in his previous
forms. His Twelfth incarnation had seen to their destruction. The path was clear for him
to settle his affairs.
He had no regrets now as he felt the life ebbing away. He had no last wishes and
absolutely no fitting last words. He knew he would probably end up being misquoted.
He’d said all he’d needed to say already.
He was gone.

The light from the RETARDIS central column dimmed significantly, plunging
Freaka-chu and The Martian Manhunter into semi-darkness.
‘Is he?’ Freaka-chu started.
‘Yes,’ Manhunter said as he assumed his John Jones disguise with the same wiry hair as
usual. He hadn’t amended the persona to look as old as he felt. Youth was wasted on the
young and he still had plenty of centuries left in him. Probably more.
‘Should we, y’know, say something?’ Freaka-chu pondered.
‘I don’t think he’d like that,’ Manhunter replied flatly. ‘He always gave the speeches. You
don’t want to steal his thunder now.’
‘I guess not,’ Freaka-chu said, giving the RETARDIS console a loving pat. It would be the
last time that he would stand in this room. It would be the last time that he was bathed
in the sickly green glow of the axis that ebbed and flowed within the glass column before
him.
He inhaled deeply though his nose and savoured the scent of the time machine.
He glanced over at the last of the Video Lords and felt a sudden twinge of regret that he
hadn’t said something more comforting to the old man on his dying day. The old man
that had given him so much. Sitting there in his leather chair in his old suit with his old
metal dog. What remained of his hair clung desperately to the sides of his wrinkled head
that lulled forwards slightly. For all the world it looked like he was dozing in his favourite
chair.
He looked so calm and peaceful as Freaka-chu and Manhunter turned to leave for
the very last time. Then The Dr. stood up and screamed.
Waves of golden energy rippled out from the old man’s body lifting him out of the
chair as his body contorted and reshaped itself. The cascade of power beat against the
two onlookers who stood and gawped at the site as the body fell back into the chair and
looked up at them, panting.
His unwrinkled brow furrowed beneath a head of long, dark hair. His youthful
expression knotted into one of puzzled contemplation as he looked up at them and
patted his lip. ‘Ah,’ The Dr. said somewhat hesitantly in a croaky American voice. ‘I was
afraid of this,’ he muttered, running a finger across his thin beard and planting his
hands deep into his pockets.
‘When did you? How did you? Where? Who?!’ Freaka-chu exclaimed.
‘I didn’t think it would still apply,’ The Dr. coughed, patting the breast of his smoking
jacket.
‘But you can’t Degenerate!’ Freaka-chu exclaimed. ‘You’ve had all your lives! … Haven’t
you?’
‘I knew you wouldn’t just curl up and die,’ Manhunter said, his smile betraying the
sarcastic tones of his remarks. ‘You’re like a cockroach.’
‘A very lucky cockroach,’ the Dr. said, scratching his head. ‘It was Raljex. It’s all his
doing. He absorbed so much Degeneration energy through the Eye of Harassment that
I’ve got surplus lives now. I was almost hoping it wouldn’t come to that. A man’s got to
have his mortality, you know.’
‘So,’ Freaka-chu said, mouth agape. ‘How many lives have you got now?’
The Dr. puffed and patted his chin. He scratched his cheek and clucked several
time before nodding furiously and looking up at them. ‘Dammed if I know,’ he shrugged.
‘Could be one, could be a million. Its pot-luck from here on in.’
There was an eerie shudder from the RETARDIS as the central column glowed
brightly. ‘That’s my girl,’ The Dr. beamed. ‘You weren’t really ready to quit just yet, were
you now?’
‘Looks like we’re going to be stuck with you for a long time,’ Manhunter said, leaning
against the security rail and grinning broadly.
‘You can count on it,’ The Dr. beamed.
‘So, what do we do now?’ Freaka-chu asked, looking between the two of them.
The Fourteenth Incarnation of The Dr. shrugged nonchalantly and wrinkled his
nose at the pair. He mulled the thought over for a few moments before coming to a
conclusion he deemed acceptable. ‘Pub?’ He offered.
THE VERY END

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