Part 13 – The Final Act of Critidan the Shadow Jailor
The TARDIS materialised in one of the larger cargo holds of the station
“And what is an orbital port?” Martha asked, stepping out
“Does exactly what it says on the tin” the Doctor said, kicking a large vertical girder as if to test its strength, even though he knew it was holding up at least two hundred and fifty tones of the port’s weight. They began to walk briskly down a dimly light hallway, from all sides of them they could hear shouting and booming music that echoed from deeper within the station “The orbital port was once a part of a huge network of stations which liaised between each other as ships came into the trade with Shantist VII and its moon. They’d supply safe routes to the surface or fuel or other things, a bit like a service station on the motorway… only with more space ships”
“What happened to the other stations?”
“A great civil war among the Netrikai, the orbital ports became battle stations which not only fired upon military targets on the ground but would also exchange fire with each other as they crossed paths on their orbital cycles, this is the last one left – the only one to survive the massacre. The planet below was ruined by the war and is pretty much a wasteland, there’s just the Capitol city and even that is pretty empty. The Netrikai are almost extinct now, once the greatest trade civilisation in the universe – now a ruined people.” the Doctor paused for a moment, remembering the similarities with his own kind “Now the orbital port is just a place for pirates to trade knock off goods or travelers to drown their sorrows in a sea of Net Ale. There are a lot of dangerous people on this station Martha, better not let them know we’re here” Martha nodded back in humble agreement.
They were in the personal cabin areas now; endless doorways with round windows lined the walls which lead to small rooms which were once accommodation for customers, then barracks for soldiers and now they were private lockers for people to keep supplies in. One room had a glow of white light inside but the Doctor ignored it, knowing that time to find Critidan was slipping away
A young female voice echoed down the hallway “Marthaaaa…” she turned back and noticed the light shining from the door they had just passed. It was as if the room was calling out to her, she couldn’t help but approach the big circular window and peer within. Inside was a room lit from all sides by bright white lights that could not be seen, it was as if the walls were made of light. The chamber was only a few feet square and had only one piece of rather odd cargo within; in the far left corner was a small blonde girl in a white dress, no older than 8 years old by Martha’s estimation, crouching down and hiding her face against the wall as if she was somehow afraid of the very person she had been calling
“Hello?” Martha asked “Are you alright?”
“Hello? Are you alright?” the soft voice said, repeating Martha word for word, rhythm for rhythm
Martha stuttered a little “Can…do you need help?” the voice copied her again. The Doctor, who was now far down the corridor noticed Martha’s absence and turned to look where she was. Upon noticing her trailing, he ran back for her, calling out her name. The girl in the room was now talking back to Martha
“Martha Jones… I can see you!” then she turned her head to display her face; eyeless and smiling. This terrifying little girl seemed horrifically misleading now and Martha feared a new threat, perhaps this was why she was locked away “Sweet kind Martha Jones… the one who will walk the path of salvation, the one who shall see so much that never existed, the girl of many faces, the great soldier!”
Martha was upset by the words the little girl had said “I don’t know what you mean…”
The Doctor caught up and slid sideways on his baseball shoes and peered into the window at what the hubub was about. The girl in the corner of the cell sprung up, staring at him with her absent eyes. To him, she looked like a child of the pantheon but within her shining smiling mouth her teeth were different and her whole face was not that of evil, for he had seen evil so many times before. She took a few steps closer and then stopped, through the thick door her muffled voice spoke
“Doctor…” it was soft and heavenly “you have come so far and yet your war is not won” he stared at her, it felt as though she could see right through him, his soul was naked and he could do nothing to cover himself
“Who are you?” he enquired
The girl pressed her hand against the small area of glass “I am Launda Fox, daughter of Jestix the Inquisitor”
“A Time Watcher…” he whispered, utterly dumbfounded just to acknowledge the impossible once again “but you can’t exist, that’s impossible!”
"And yet, I do.” her tone lowered to one of despair “I have seen so much, Doctor, and yet I know there is so much more to come”
He rummaged in his Jacket pocket for the sonic screwdriver “I have to get you out of here”
“No Doctor, there is no time, we shall meet again at the coming… of the end” she said softly
“What do you mean? What end?”
“Soon you shall see, as I have, the closing of everything – when time ends and every world dreams no more, the culmination of every timeline into one spot – I have seen this forever ending Doctor, and you will be…”
“What will I be? What do you mean?!” he shouted
“I cannot see…” she said, bowing her head in confusion “a Time Watcher’s vision is never clouded, what have you done?!” she snapped
“I don’t know, I haven’t done it yet!!” he said slightly confused “Look, whatever it is, we’ll get through it together”
“No Doctor, I will not be there to make this journey with you”
“Because you killed me” the Doctor’s hearts stopped stone dead for just a moment as she told him the future that he no longer wanted “Fear not,” she smiled “now go”
As they continued down the the corridor the Doctor was weeping inside for another one lost, another helpless angel left in the heart of danger with only a forbidding prophecy to keep the faith in her salvation. Still, he and his companion had to keep moving, Critidan was somewhere ahead.
A trail of blood was the key to finding the traitorous jailor, spatters and droplets lead the two travelers across the quiet outer edges of the orbital port to a large open space with the limping Critidan on the far side, lumbering his way through a huge arch.
“Too late Time Lord!” he muttered and slammed his hand on the door release, bringing the bulkhead doors to a close within the frame of the arch. As per usual, the Doctor withdrew his sonic screwdriver and began zapping and whirring at the controls to the side. It took a few minutes to access the ship beyond but Critidan had only made it a few metres down the dim green hall when the doors opened. They followed him hurriedly and around a left turn they found him, laying on his back with the wound Reelog had administered with his horn on the Hybrid Locker not long ago
“My masters will give me life” he squinted
The Doctor peered around the ship he was in. He had not taken any notice up to now for he was too fixed upon catching the jailor “No…” he whispered “We’ve got to leave!” – they made their way swiftly out as they heard Critidan speak again in the control room
“I pledge myself…to the family…” and with that, a mass of green gasses and energies floated down from the interface on the wall, seeping into his body and jerking him upright; Critidan was back to life, but he was not himself “this body is dying” he said in a bold, deeper voice “the mind is corrupted…I cannot see him”
Another younger voice swept in from somewhere else on the vast wall console, it was a girl “Go, brother of mine! Find the Time Lord!” Grabbing a blaster rifle he pulled his new body out of the ship.
Limping and lurching, the fatally wounded body of Critidan was hard to maneuver for the son of the family. The Doctor and his companion were now in the far distance of the corridor which would lead them down to the TARDIS. They disappeared around a corner and by the time he had reached it he could see them lumbering into the blue box. He took one shot through the door and then collapsed, the body was useless now and he would return to his family in his natural state for the hunt; wherever and whenever the family would have to go, for the Doctor’s capture would mean they could live forever.
THE DOCTOR WILL RETURN IN MY NEXT STORY – ‘TIME RUPTURE’ COMING SOON!!