There's a Doctor at the Gate - Part 4

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Clique Headquarters, a birds eye view

Chapter 4

Rodney threw down his pen.

'That went well,' he remarked. Elizabeth sighed.

'I imagine she's seen more than a girl her age should have, judging by what just happened,' she said. Teyla and Ronan entered the room.

'Was she one of the intruders?' asked Teyla. Weir nodded.

'She looked upset — what happened?' asked Ronan. Rodney smirked.

'Ask Lieutenant Colonel Tact here,' he said smugly. Sheppard glared at him.

'All I did was ask her why she didn't want us to interrogate the Doctor about his home planet. Under the circumstances I can see why — destroying your home planet must carry a lot of guilt,' he replied. Ronan's head jerked up.

'He destroyed his own planet? Why?' he asked.

'We never got that far, but his enemies sounded... mean. Evil machines that destroy Earth some time in the future,' said Zelenka. Rodney groaned.

'You don't really believe they can travel in time, do you?' he sneered.

'The Ancients could do it, SG-1 managed it, just because you can't work it out doesn't mean it can't be done. Now, please excuse me; I have work to do,' replied Zelenka as he got up and left.

'Guess that told you,' said Sheppard. Rodney, not being able to think of a smart comeback, folded his arms and clamped his lips together. Elizabeth groaned silently. Sometimes these meetings were more like days in a kindergarten. She wondered if General Landry would approve a request for a nanny to supervise the senior officers' meeting.

'Are we sure we should be letting them roam around the base?' asked Ronan. Teyla smiled.

'I did not see you trying to stop her when she pushed you out of the way,' she remarked.

'I know better than to stand in the way of an angry woman,' he said with a grin. The men in the room silently agreed with him.

'I don't think they're a threat to us,' said Sheppard, 'and I doubt we could stop them leaving if they wanted too. See what the Doctor's got to say for himself after Beckett's finished with him.' Elizabeth nodded.

'I agree, I really don't think they're going to cause us any trouble — not on the base, anyway,' said Weir. Sheppard nodded, but remembering the looks Rose had got from the members of his team, he couldn't agree about them not causing trouble. 'Teyla, in 30 minutes or so could you find Rose and escort her to the medical bay so Dr Beckett can check her over?' Teyla nodded in agreement; she understood: a little female company and the girl might talk a bit more.

Dr Carson Beckett had finished his examination of the Doctor. All he could tell was that the Doctor wasn't carrying anything contagious; the two hearts would take a lot more studying to understand.

'So Doc, am I fit enough for you?' asked the Doctor. Carson sighed.

'Aye, I can't pretend to know anything about your physiology, but you seem ok to me,' he admitted. The Doctor grinned and jumped off the bed.

'Can I go, then?' he asked. Carson nodded — something had been bugging him since Zelenka and Rodney had mentioned time travel.

'Sure, but before you do can I ask if you really travel in time?' he inquired.

'Of course, I am a Timelord — why?' The Doctor had a feeling that he knew what was coming.

'Well, years ago I traced my family tree and we are related to the McLaren clan. There are stories in that family about a Doctor helping the Laird after he was wounded at the Battle of Culloden. The same Doctor helped some of the men who escaped to France. Do you know anything about it?' asked Beckett. The Doctor smiled kindly.

'Yes, that was me, only I looked a lot different then' — he counted on his fingers — 'wow, eight regenerations ago.' He noticed Beckett's look. 'We Timelords have a little clause in our lives, a kind of immortality clause. We can regenerate instead of dying. The insides are there, but the outside changes — believe it or not, I used to be an old man with white hair.'

Beckett seemed confused. 'I'll take your word for it,' he said. 'There have been stories about a blue box on the fields of Culloden, handed down from the Clans that were there. That's why I talked myself into the meeting, to see if it was you.'

'It wasn't pleasant. We were there at the end, the smell of death.' The Doctor shivered. 'I couldn't wait to leave, but it did give me the chance to meet Jamie. I missed his pipes around the Tardis when he was sent back to his place in history. I wonder what happened to him.'

'What clan was he from?' asked Carson.

McCrimmon — Jamie was the McLarens' young piper.'

Carson smiled. 'There was a girl called Zoë McCrimmon at university with me. She said Zo¨ had been a popular name in her family since Culloden, though she was never quite sure why as it's not a Scottish name.' The Doctor smiled: a little of Zo¨ and Jamie still lived on.

Rose was lost — all corridors in this stupid city looked the same. In front of her was a door that led to a balcony. She headed for it, giving herself a telling-off for being a total girl in the interrogation. She hadn't meant to rant at all those doctors; she thought she was over what had happened on the Game Station. She'd cried over Jack and her Doctor in a dark corner of the Tardis. Her mum had always said a good cry made everything ok — not this time, though. She though back to the first meeting with the Lieutenant-Colonel in charge of the military — Sheppard, was it? He reminded her so much of Jack: the accent, the cocky attitude, bandying words with the Doctor... her emotions had tripped and it had all got to be too much. She strode towards the door, which opened before she could put her hand out. There was a seat under some kind of tree or big plant. As she sat down, she could feel the tears starting. Great, just what she needed, a reputation as a crybaby.

Radek Zelenka was hurrying down the same corridor. She was just in sight; he didn't want to catch her straight away. She'd tugged on his heartstrings back in the interrogation room — the way she'd tried to be brave and not let them see she was close to tears reminded him of his sister when she was younger, the way she'd try to convince him that yet another failed romance was no big deal. He wanted to make sure she was ok and tell her that not everyone in Atlantis was as thoughtless as Sheppard and the others.

Rose was wiping her eyes when a tissue appeared in front of her. She looked up to see a slightly scruffy man with glasses holding it out to her.

'Here,' he said.

'Thanks,' she replied. She wiped her eyes and her nose and put the tissue in her pocket. What was his name? He was one of the doctors, the one who asked about them speaking Czech. 'I'm sorry, I've forgotten your name,' she said apologetically.

'Radek Zelenka, from the Czech Republic,' he replied, holding out his hand. She took it.

'Rose Tyler, from London,' she said with a grin.

'I'm sorry about earlier. They have no idea about tact.'

'Oh, don't worry. It's been tough out there for me,' Rose replied. Radek sat down beside her.

'So where have you been?' he asked.

'Loads of places — last time I ended up in a harem somewhere in Turkey, I'm not sure when.' Zelenka decided to say nothing. 'We were here having a bit of a holiday when the Doctor spotted your city and decided to investigate. That's usually when the trouble starts,' she sighed.

'Why did you join him?' he asked. He knew Rodney well enough to know this would be the first question he'd ask.

'He rescued me from a bunch of shop dummies that had come to life, then he blew up the shop I was working in. I rescued him from a blob of plastic called the Nestene Consciousness and after that he asked me to join him, so I did. It was that or sign on the dole,' Rose replied, grinning. Radek smiled back.

'I guess that's a good enough reason to go exploring space,' he said.

'Is that why you're here?' she asked. Radek smiled.

'Yes, I volunteered as soon as we'd found the city. Since then, I've been getting the Ancient technology to work. This is what I studied so long for,' he said.

'Maybe you could get the Tardis working properly, the bloody thing hasn't worked for years, I think.' She smiled at him flirtatiously. 'Talking of which, can you show me where the Tardis is? I want to change — I don't think shorts and T-shirt are ideal for wandering around an alien city.' Zelenka looked a little worried; Rose saw it. 'Don't worry, I can't fly it, you'll be quite safe.'

'Pity,' he said under his breath. 'Come on, I'll show you.' Rose put her arm through his and smiled.

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