Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 3

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Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 3

Postby DukeNukem 2417 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:29 pm

One more step, Doctor,” Dracula hissed, “and she will be mine! Would you allow it? Would you dare to---”

“You take even one drop of blood from her, and neither of us will be leaving this building!” The Doctor pulled his fob watch from his pocket. “Whatever whammy you put on them,” he added, waving his arm at the still-mesmerized officers, all of whom were still aiming their guns at him, “I can probably counter---hell, I could get them all under my control, have them cut us both down in a crossfire if need be.” An uncharacteristically ugly sneer crossed his lips. “I'm pretty sure that a hail of semi-automatic gunfire would do just as much damage to your heart as a wooden stake, just so you know...”

“And you would take the risk of this girl being killed as well?” Dracula countered.

“She's smart,” the Doctor replied. “She'd duck.”

“Then let us test your theory!” Dracula pulled Emma close, forcing her to turn her head and bare a sizable portion of her neck. “Your kind have been known to live their lives in darker shades with the passing of aeons,” he declared. “You have yet to even---”

Let her go, or we both die!”

The interruption did little to throw the Count off. “....so young,” he murmured, “so full of life....yet already, I see a darkness in you. A shadow over your hearts....already, you play your games with the lives of others. Has this one become nothing but a pawn to you? Have you already prepared to sacrifice her, for even a hope of a checkmate against---”

“LET HER GO!” The Doctor raised the fob watch. “Either you let her go, and leave....or we both die.”

“You cannot 'talk me down' from this, Doctor! Even if this is not my final triumph, it shall serve as one of my greatest!” Dracula's eyes blazed with an unholy rage, even as he smiled. “The girl is mine!

From where he stood, Lauden knew that the situation looked completely hopeless. Dracula had Emma, as well as every Armed Response Unit officer under his control---in a single second, he could have them gun down the Doctor in cold blood. For his part, the Doctor was apparently more than willing to die alongside Dracula if it meant stopping him from unleashing his evil across the entire country...and neither of them were willing to surrender. In a few seconds, something horrific would happen.....

….and just as that last thought had crossed his mind, Lauden noticed one of the officers near the entrance of the building, shifting their position ever so slightly. The helmets issued to Armed Response Unit officers hid all but their eyes from view---in this case, the officer near the entrance still had their eyes on the Doctor.....

...even as their weapon turned, ever so slightly, towards Dracula.

None of the other officers seemed to notice---all of them were still prepared to gun down the Time Lord.

Thus, none of them spotted the brief moment when the officer near the entrance glanced, ever so slightly, right at Lauden.....and winked.

What happened next was so unexpected, so completely bizarre, that for the longest time afterwards, Lauden actually thought it had been some kind of mind trick pulled on everyone present by the Doctor himself---even the Time Lord's insistence that he had nothing to do with it did little to dissuade him. Regardless of who was responsible, the fact of the matter was as follows: While the mesmerised officers still had their Styer AUG carbines trained on the Doctor, a door at the other end of the room slammed open to reveal the thoroughly annoyed figure of Lindsay, glaring at everyone for no apparent reason. Without preamble, she trudged through the crowd of officers until she was standing maybe five feet away from the Doctor, Emma and Dracula.

Just as suddenly, she practically shouted at them all: “PEOPLE.......SIT ON [b]CHAIRS![/b]

Dracula had turned his head just the slightest to glance at Lindsay, a frown on his lips, when the officer near the entrance of the building fired. Even from where Lauden was standing, he could tell that the bullet had struck the vampire square in the shoulder. A shocked gasp left his ruddy lips.....

…..and just as quickly, the officers whose weapons had been aimed at the Doctor were now glancing at their guns, at each other and at the red-faced, still-screaming figure of Lindsay, trying to figure out just what the hell was going on. The Doctor had already jumped to move Emma out of the line of fire, shepherding her to an alcove housing a pair of vending machines as the shooter fired again, hitting Dracula just below where the last shot had made contact.

A feral cry split the air, and every officer formerly under Dracula's control was now turning to fire at him.

“.....this cannot be,” the Count muttered, turning to glare at the Doctor; a few feet away, Lindsay was yelling at the officers to “take [her] to Pootylicious”, completely ignoring Dracula. For a brief moment, he turned his attention towards Lindsay, as if he intended to use her as a hostage---but another shot hit the floor directly between his feet. He locked eyes with the shooter near the entrance, as the other officers were discarding their armor and attempting to get Lindsay to quit standing on a counter.

“This round is yours, Doctor,” the Count intoned, “but make no mistake....the victory will be MINE!

Lauden watched, glancing at both the Doctor and Dracula, as the Count folded his arms across his chest, grasping his shoulders as he bowed forward; a hiss left his lips, and seemed to echo through the chamber as his entire figure seemed to melt into a thick, black smoke. The officers around the room were now shouting at Lindsay to get off of the table---those who weren't focusing on her were staring, in various states of awe, at the rolling cloud of smoke moving towards the Doctor before suddenly flowing upwards, towards a vent.

It took a few seconds for Lauden to realize he'd been holding his breath. He exhaled, coughing slightly, as the last of the smoke column disappeared into the vent.

Over by the vending machines, Emma had collapsed into a sobbing heap, clinging to the Doctor. She didn't even look up as Lauden approached. “.....that was your plan?” the Chief Inspector inquired. “Some kind of bloody mind-trick on us all?”

“I had help,” the Doctor replied, nodding at the officer near the entrance. “It was a bit....last minute...”

Lauden glanced at the officer, who was just now removing their helmet to reveal the face of Sergeant Danielle Tomlinson. “Her phone pinged my watch while I was going through that whole 'let her go or we both die' bluff of mine....I couldn't risk looking at her, otherwise Dracula would've known---”

“But how?! You said yourself that he'd 'put the whammy' on everyone in the room---”

“Everyone who was here when he got here,” Danielle corrected, discarding the ARU body armor as she walked up to join Lauden and the Doctor's “chat”. “I was in the toilet when he showed up, everyone was walking out of the armory like a bunch of zombies or something....” She gave a brief chuckle. “One of them's coming to in a stall, right about now.”

“So you just guessed that they were all being mind controlled?” Lauden replied, frowning.

“You didn't hear him over the tannoy?” Danielle asked. “He was telling everyone to 'gather' in the lobby, or something like that.....I had my earbuds in, so I didn't notice at first....maybe the Doctor did something to turn off the Tannoy where you were---”

“We'd just gotten back from the museum!” the Doctor countered. “And I thought you and Emma had left---”

“She'd been in the toilet as well....they kicked the door in and grabbed her.”

“Hence the scream,” Lauden finished, shaking his head. “You're sure you didn't tamper with the tannoy system at all, Doctor?”

“If I did, I'd have mentioned it by now. All I know is that Danielle's phone pinged my watch, and I had a feeling that she'd pull off some kind of trick shot from the back of the crowd to snap these people out of their trances before anyone could get killed....” The Doctor sighed. “He's gone, Emma. Dracula left---”

“Were you really going to let him kill you?” Danielle cut in. “I mean, all that stuff you said.....dying with him....”

The Doctor helped Emma to her feet. “You didn't get hit, did you?”

“....no.....” Emma wiped her nose with an offered handkerchief. “Were you.....were you really going to let them all shoot you?”

“Not if I could help it---I wasn't going to let them shoot you, either, just so you know. And you didn't answer---”

“I didn't get hit, Doctor.....” Emma blew her nose, another sob wracking her figure. “I just....that scared me.”

“Dracula does have that effect on people---”

“Not him, Doctor.....you. I....you were just ordering him around, commanding him like it was nothing....”

A shouted demand from Lindsay, for the nearest officer to “LET GO!”, cut off whatever the Doctor intended to say. Danielle rolled her eyes, and Lauden took the opportunity to assist in restraining Lindsay before she could clout anyone across the head. The Doctor shook his head at the sight, before turning his attention back to Emma. “Trying to reason with Dracula wouldn't have worked at all. And despite what you may have thought, or feared, I was never going to let you get hurt.”

“Could've fooled me,” Emma muttered, glaring (or trying to glare) at the Time Lord. “Never do that again....”

“....no promises.”

“You are so weird, Doctor....” Emma managed a chuckle. “And who let her back in?” She nodded at Lindsay, who was yelling her bizarre “people sit on chairs” koan again. “Or who let her in here at all?”

“Doesn't matter. All we need to focus on is where Dracula's headed next.....” The Doctor paused, frowning.

Danielle groaned. “I know that look....whenever I see Lauden give that look, it means either something bad has happened, or something bad is about to happen, and I end up being the one investigating it.”

“Well, this time, you'll have help.” The Doctor gave her a reassuring smile. “From me, from Emma, and....” He paused, frowning. “Ah, did anyone see Father Wyngarde in here at all during this whole thing?” He glanced over his shoulder, lost in thought. “I could've sworn he was following me when I ran out here....” As suddenly as he'd paused earlier, he glanced in the other direction and yelled: “CHIEF INSPECTOR!”

Lauden, muttering under his breath about Lindsay having left footprints on important paperwork when she'd been standing on the counter, made his way to the Doctor. “Did you find out anything?” he huffed.

“Not as such....though I did notice something. On our way out of the office, was Father Wyngarde---”

“Behind us....he was, wasn't he?” Lauden nodded. “....except....during this whole ordeal....he wasn't here....”

Emma and Danielle exchanged confused glances. “The priest?” Emma mused. “Why was he---”

Lauden turned on his heel and headed back for the office. “OI,” Emma shouted after him. “I WAS JUST---”

“Time enough for questions later,” the Doctor reminded her. “Right now.....” He stopped, noticing the door to the Superintendent's office in an adjoining corridor was slightly ajar. “.....I have to go do a thing. Be back in a minute.” Ignoring Emma's protests, he threaded through the crowd of officers (taking great care to not let Lindsay notice him, lest she unleash a profane tirade in his direction) before reaching the office.

“....Superintendent Blackery?” he called out, knocking twice on the door. “It's the Doctor...Van Richten.....”

The lights in the room were out, but for some reason, a soft glow was emanating under the door of what looked like a closet on the other side of the room. “.....Superintendent?” the Doctor repeated, taking a step into the office. “Ah.....hello? Superintendent---”

“Not really. But I don't fault you for not having figured it out until now.”

The door swung closed, the pull wrenched out of the Doctor's hand seemingly of its own volition as the lights turned on. Superintendent Blackery was seated at his desk---but wearing a tweed jacket (the color of milk chocolate, under the lights), dark trousers, a checked shirt, and an almost sad expression.

“.....you're....not Superintendent Blackery,” the Doctor mused. “And I, ah.....”

“If you're expecting me to say something like 'At last, you've fallen into my trap, Doctor', then I'm afraid you're in for a disappointment. Though I am not the superintendent of this police department, it turns out that I happen to be, as the expression goes, a 'dead-ringer' for the man---he's quite safe, if you're wondering. On vacation in the Andes with his wife. As for me...” The ersatz superintendent sighed. “I'm---”

“Not from around here,” the Doctor finished, his paranoia turning to surprise. “You're a Time Lord---”

Not so loud! Yes, I am a Time Lord....semi-retired, working as a curator at---well, I won't go into details, you'll probably find out eventually.” The man rose from his seat. “And in my own native reality....well....”

The Doctor waited for the man to finish---and in his thoughts, he heard a most unexpected phrase. He couldn't help but gasp. The “curator” nodded. “You see, now, why I had to meet you in person....and why I have to leave, so soon---”

“But you're me?!” the Doctor whispered. “From....your own reality, I mean....you're me!”

“Several regenerations down the line, yes! This face, it's an old favorite of mine, you see....oh, but I shouldn't explain any further, you might run into me again---well, a past incarnation, a younger one....” The “curator” wrung his hands. “The call was sent out through the cosmos, through what you might call the 'multiverse', in regards to a potentially devastating event....because I no longer fit the profile of, well.....”

“Doctor?”

“Precisely. I'd stopped using the name, stopped traveling....but I knew that if any Doctor from my regenerative line tried to help....” Again, the “curator” wrung his hands, as if too afraid to continue. “You've seen them.”

“Other Time Lords, yes.” The Doctor nodded. “A vision of Borusa, in my own TARDIS...another Time Lord I've never met, in a car on the way here.....even the Master, a few hours before that spectacle at the museum...you sensed them as well?”

“Mmm, yes.....and one of them appeared to me.”

The Doctor's eyes widened. “....which one? Romana? Maxil? That self-righteous prig of a Castellan?” He paused, his voice dropping to a low whisper. “.......Susan?”

“......actually, it wasn't any of them, Doctor. It was you.

Before the Doctor could speak, the “curator” continued. “The psychic signature was the same as your own, but his face---your face---was different. Younger, but with older eyes....far down your own regenerative line, I could tell. He didn't say much---actually, he didn't say anything.....” He reached into a pocket of his coat, pulling out a quarter-folded piece of paper. “.....but didn't need to.” He pointed at his own head. “Everything he told me was retained---kept safe in the most perfect vault, yes?”

The Doctor nodded. “Kept safe, right....and you wrote it down---”

“Because they might be listening---the Time Lords. Your Time Lords....oh, I do wish I could tell you so much more, Doctor, it could change everything....” The “curator” looked away. “....or maybe it wouldn't matter in the slightest. The sight of you---the older you---it could prove your own success, or it could have been a warning, but....” He shook his head. “I must be going, now. If the Time Lords knew I was here....knew who I was....”

“They'd have no reason to punish you!” the Doctor protested. “You're just trying to help!

“And that's exactly what they don't want!” the “curator” insisted, pressing the folded paper into the Doctor's hand. “This little war of theirs....the intrigues on Gallifrey....if anyone were to take advantage of one situation and use it to influence the outcome of the other, it could...oh, Doctor, the possibilities are horrifying, yes....”

The Doctor rested his free hand on the “curator's” shoulders. “I can do this.”

“....yes,” the “curator” agreed, “but the question is, can you finish it?”

“I will. Cross my hearts, hope to die.” The Doctor winked.

At this, the “curator” nodded. “....wouldn't have put it that way myself, but....youthful exuberance is a powerful tool to have, against an army that cannot die.” His lips turned up in the faintest hint of a smile. “And perhaps someday, you yourself might 'settle down', become a curator.....not that I'm suggesting it, of course. You could be the Doctor through all your lives, you might take on other titles....” He crossed the room, stopping at the door to the closet. “Who knows, eh?”

He returned the Doctor's wink with one of his own. “Who....knows?” He tapped his own nose, grinning.

“Safe travels....curator.”

“And to you, Doctor. No matter how this turns out, I think it's safe to say that your futures are in safe hands.”

With a final nod and a wave, the curator opened the door to the closet, quickly stepping in and closing it behind him. A few seconds later, a softer, but still familiar sound---that unmistakable VWROP VWROP---filled the room, and the glow from beneath the door faded to nothing.

“....Doctor? What's going---OI, watch it, you nearly tripped me!” The Time Lord didn't even glance back at the door, where Emma and Danielle were standing (one of them, Emma, sounding a bit out of breath). “We..ah, we just got word from Lauden, Doctor,” Emma explained. “Father.....the priest's car isn't in the car park.....”

“Where's Superintendent Blackery?” Danielle cut in. “I thought he was here....”

“....I think we just missed him.” The Doctor pocketed the note, nodding. “For now, we have to find---”

“How could we have 'just missed him'?!” Emma groaned. “What, he left through the window?!”

“.....see, now I wish you'd asked if he came in that way,” the Doctor replied, “because I had this great 'in-tru-da-window' joke all lined up---”

“Oh, shut up, Doctor....”
------------------------------
“....you did the right thing.”

The Curator---he'd long since accepted that any title he took would be a definite, complete with a capital letter at the start---sighed. “I'll remember this, you know. Unless I regenerate again, after this is all over with, I'll remember it. Not exactly something I look forward to, Oberon.”

“You'll remember this, but you keep forgetting to call me by my preferred name....” The white-clad figure leaning against a guard rail in the TARDIS console room chuckled. “Can't say I blame you....not that 'Kilroy' isn't as unique a name as 'Oberon', but I went by 'Kilroy' first. 'Oberon' came later....much later.”

“And you couldn't have delivered this warning yourself---using [i]any[/i] of your names?”

“The Time Lords are already watching their own kind to make sure they don't leak anything about this little war of theirs. If they even thought I was involved....” Kilroy sighed. “I'd end up with a lot worse than a red right hand after they finished with me.” He peeled the glove off of his right hand, revealing the shiny, but not quite raw flesh that signified his most grievous wound was finally beginning to heal. “I've only just started getting the last bits of feeling back in this one, after all....last thing I need is them taking my whole other arm.”

“....they wouldn't do anything that cruel,” the Curator murmured. “Not to you.....”

“Let's not waste our time with possibilities. We both know that Dracula's castle must be destroyed before the Rondo of Blood can be performed....and the Doctor's already figured out the importance of the Rondo.”

The Curator nodded. “Yes. But.....everything else has yet to fall into place, for him.”

“It will. He's not daft.”

“But he is against the clock. If the castle is completed and the Rondo is performed---”

“I've already been through enough nightmares in my lifetime, Curator. I neither want nor need to know how this one could end.” Kilroy bowed his head. “Racing around the sodding multiverse, making sure we never have another Reality War, making sure no Superman ever turns into a Plutonian...I've only just found Galatea a place she can call home, and that reality nearly went up in cinders before I finally did something...”

“You're not retiring, are you?” the Curator quietly asked.

Kilroy actually chuckled at that. “Wouldn't dream of it. The day I decide to quit, some lunatic is going to invent a way to fire a missile into the past, and it'll all go pear-shaped from there.....” His smile faded. “I don't get to retire. I don't have that luxury.....probably the first thing I lost after the dust settled.”

“Don't you live in that same reality Galatea settled into?”

“......it's complicated. I made a few....well, more than a few mistakes, and I won't bore you with the details.”

“You know me well enough to not expect me to ask for any.”

“Indeed.” Kilroy chuckled again. “The old girl still has enough power to travel between realities, I hope? I've got a to-do list about as long as my arm....the B&E team are still doing their thing, and I've promised to stay out of their way unless they really and truly need my help.....also, what you said earlier, about me delivering the warning myself. Technically, it wasn't either of us that did. You got it from....well, him, and then passed it on.”

“But will it help?” the Curator murmured. “Will any of it bring the Doctor closer to stopping Dracula, without the aid of the Time Lords?”

“For our sakes,” Kilroy quietly replied, “I can only hope it does.”
-----------------------------------------------------

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Re: Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 3

Postby DukeNukem 2417 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:34 pm

“And you're sure Father Wyngarde's left in the car that was parked right here before the whole business in the lobby happened?”

The Doctor, Emma and Danielle had gathered around the spot in the car park where the semi-retired priest had last been seen---entering a vehicle that wasn't his own, and leaving with an unknown entity or party. “And do we even know who was driving?” the Time Lord inquired, kneeling to take a closer look at the pavement where the mysterious vehicle had been parked. “They didn't exactly leave in a hurry....so that probably means they didn't know about Dracula's 'surprise appearance'.”

“You can tell that from staring at the pavement?” Emma muttered.

“I can tell that from common sense,” the Doctor replied. “They didn't burn out or leave tire tracks, there's no smell of burnt rubber.....if anything, Father Wyngarde left a bit too slowly.

“Too slowly?” Danielle echoed. “How---”

“If he'd been panicking and freaking out about Dracula showing up he would've peeled out and left tire tracks all over—-I think he expected Dracula to show up, but....not this soon. And especially not while we're still hunting him---hunting Dracula, I mean, not Father Wyngarde....” The Doctor rose, glancing at Emma and Danielle. “Sergeant Tomlinson---”

“The car park surveillance cameras got a perfect image of the car's number plate,” Danielle stated. “It's almost like they wanted us to know---”

“Or to follow. I'm guessing there's a computer....inside....” The Doctor let his remark trail off as Danielle pulled out her phone. “You can check the registration from your phone?” he mused. “That's.....a bit off-putting, in all honesty. I mean, what if someone steals the phone?”

Danielle rolled her eyes. “Biometric thumbprint scanner on the case, and 36 failsafe measures that will either encrypt or destroy all data on the phone depending on how stupid anyone tries to be just to get to it. Believe me, Doctor, the only thing a thief would be able to do with this phone without ruining it is use it as a very nice, very expensive paperweight...” She grinned, turning her attention back to the phone. “Also, it beats having to carry a full rig in the car just to run checks---a few years from now, this kind of thing will be built right into the dashboard.”

“.....fair enough.” The Doctor nodded. “And who does our mystery vehicle belong to?”

“Just a sec.....” Danielle tapped the phone a few times, arching an eyebrow. “.....okay, this is just....”

“Just what?” Emma prompted. “Don't tell me it's registered to 'Baron Lathos'.”

“.....no, but it is registered as a diplomatic vehicle to one Janos Ruthven.” Danielle turned the phone so that the Doctor and Emma could get a good look. “There's nothing incriminating on him....”

Emma frowned. “So we're dealing with someone working for Dracula?”

“.....an acoltye of Dracula wouldn't kidnap a priest,” the Doctor replied. “Especially not one who tried to seal his power away back in 1999---at least, probably not.” He glanced down the road. “This Janos Ruthven.....how long has he been in town, and when did he get here?”

“....he'll have been here for two years at the end of the month,” Danielle replied. “And this part is...well, a bit off: he's been doing a lot of work with churches, in and around England, ever since he arrived! Lots of charity work, donations, giving to the collection....” Her eyes widened. “Don't vampires hate religious symbols?”

The Doctor didn't reply, choosing instead to retrieve the fob watch from his coat pocket.

“Pretty sure vampires aren't exactly the biggest fans of religious stuff,” Emma mused. “Don't they sort of freak out when you wave a cross at them?”

“Vampires consider religious iconography to be anathema,” the Doctor replied. “Plain English: it repels them, possibly due to the strength of belief of whoever is wielding the religious icon in the first place---Sergeant Tomlinson?”

“Hmm?”

“Any chance you could give us a ride to the last known address where Janos Ruthven's car was spotted?”

“I have to ask Lauden---even in situations like this, we have to stick to protocol.” Danielle tapped the screen of her phone again, keying in a text message as the Doctor watched. “Seeing as how the building has just been essentially broken into....” Her lips pursed as she waited for Lauden's reply.

The delayed reply prompted a groan from Emma. “Can we just go already?! All of this waiting around---”

“This waiting around is what's keeping us from being turned into vampire chow,” the Doctor replied. “If we just ran after every single Dracula-based tip we get, we'd be chasing shadows and being chased into them by the 'children of the night'.....” He rolled his eyes at his own cliché. “This way is better, trust me.”

“It's still boring,” Emma muttered.

“You'd rather go back inside and listen to Lindsay going on a spiel about how people sit on chairs?” the Time Lord countered. “Seriously, of all the things she could've yelled at that moment....” He shook his head at the absurdity of the thought. “If you're going to interrupt a vampire by shouting something that's supposed to be profound, I can think of at least fifty things more intelligent than 'people sit on chairs'....but seeing as how I don't want to spend all day trying to understand the way Lindsay thinks.....”

“....what is her problem, anyway?” Emma mused. “I've never seen anyone with issues like hers...

The Doctor chuckled. “If we were talking literal issues, she'd have enough for a dozen subscriptions.”

“Think her subscriptions need prescriptions?”

A pithy comeback was on the Doctor's lips when Danielle spoke: “Found it! And you might find this more than a bit interesting, Doctor....”

“That depends entirely on your definition of 'interesting', Sergeant Tomlinson,” the Doctor replied.

“Trust me, it's interesting.” Danielle angled the phone in her hand, allowing the Time Lord to get a good look at the screen. “They headed north---all the way up Spring Hill, then took a right at Victoria Square, left onto Brunswick, and another left on Walker....which put them right at---”

“Saint Hilda's Catholic Church,” the Doctor finished, arching an eyebrow. “That is interesting....”

Emma groaned. “So a priest has someone drive him to a church. How, exactly, is that 'interesting'?”

“For starters, it tells us that Father Wyngarde wasn't heading off to go report to Dracula,” the Doctor informed her. “As powerful as he is, even the 'King of the Vampires' isn't going to faff around on hallowed ground. And we know, at the very least, that this Ruthven character didn't deliver Father Wyngarde directly into the hands of Dracula---I'd restate my last point, but I think you get the picture already. Finally...ah, Sergeant Tomlinson, do the cameras around Whitby have accurate timestamps on the footage they record?”

“Down to the milisecond, Doctor.”

Excellent.” The Time Lord grinned, turning his attention back to Emma. “Finally, we know the exact time that Father Wyngarde chose to leave, meaning that---”

“Oh, stop,” Emma declared. “We get it. He wasn't selling us out to Dracula----you've made that quite clear!”

“.....if this is about what I said to Dracula in the lobby,” the Doctor murmured, “I've already stated that I never intended to let you or anyone else in the building come to harm---well, anyone other than Dracula.” He grinned again. “I make it a point to never throw my travelling companions under the bus---if I had to throw myself under to save one of them, I would.”

Emma frowned. “So all that guff about taking control of the cops he'd 'put the whammy on'?”

“.....it wasn't complete guff,” the Doctor admitted. “I could've reduced the effectiveness of his hypnosis on each of them, enough to get them to lower their weapons at the very least.” He fished the fob watch out of his coat pocket; “This wasn't exactly designed to overwrite a human brain, after all,” he continued. “It can send out a signal of sorts that stimulates the centers of the brain responsible for feelings of calmness and clarity, but it wouldn't have put those officers under my control.”

“.....so you lied, then.”

“More like I grossly exaggerated,” the Doctor replied. “I just want to reiterate, Emma, that I never intended---”

“Oh, shut up....” The rebuke was punctuated with an eye roll and a sigh, followed by the barest hint of a smirk on Emma's lips. “You apologize way too often, you know that?”

“I'd have thought apologizing was a good thing....a lot better than accidentally offending everyone I meet.” The Doctor shrugged. “I'm guessing this little discussion means we're officially 'cool' again, and you're not still mad at me for that overblown show of bravado in the lobby?”

Emma's attempt at a stony stare crumbled. “You call that 'bravado'?”

“Until you can come up with a better term with it.” The Doctor managed to keep a straight face, even as Emma failed to stifle a giggle. “I don't want to spend the whole day asking 'are we cool yet?', so---”

“Yes, Doctor,” Emma gasped, lightly punching him in the shoulder. “I'm not still pissed off about the lobby.”

“Wouldn't have said it that way, myself, but good to hear. Now, then....” The Doctor glanced back at Danielle's phone. “....we should get to Saint Hilda's and figure out what links Janos Ruthven with everything we've been dealing with so far. If we're lucky, this whole thing is a coincidence and he's not connected to Dracula...”

“And if we're not lucky?” Danielle prompted.

“.....let's just hope we're lucky,” the Doctor replied. “I've already had two near-misses...I don't need a third.”

“So the whole lobby thing was a 'near-miss', then?”

“Better a near-miss than a total loss. In any case, we're both still alive...” The Time Lord grinned. “Let's keep it that way for as long as possible, shall we?”

“You're way too cheerful about this,” Danielle muttered. “If I hadn't been there---”

“You were, and we're all here, so let's not go over what could've been. Let's focus on what will be...and in our case, we will be going to Saint Hilda's in the next few minutes to sort all of this out. Shall we?”

Danielle tried for a glare, but mangaged only a slightly cross look. “Fair enough---but I'm driving.”
-----------------------------------------------------
“.....never again.”

A low hiss left Dracula's lips as he pressed his hand to the scars in his right shoulder, the last remnants of the two bullets that had struck him in the lobby at the police station. Any feeling of pain had been fleeting; unlike a “normal” human being, being shot was a minor inconvenience.

At least, being shot only once---the Doctor wasn't far off the mark about a fusilade of shots being lethal....

The truly galling factor about that fiasco in the lobby was the fact that it had even worked in the Doctor's favor at all. A single officer had somehow resisted the mesmerism, and been able to break his hold over the rest by way of two well-placed shots---not to mention that accursed girl, wandering in and screaming about people and chairs. The Doctor had only claimed to be able to take control of those already mesmerized....had it been a bluff? Was the screaming girl another part of his grand scheme?

It matters not. You have lost against him. Never again.

Even as the scars faded from his pale flesh, Dracula knew that the Doctor was going to be far more than a minor issue. The Time Lord wouldn't stop until any and all of the Count's own plans were thwarted.

“....a challenge, then,” the Count intoned, nodding. “A true test of my cunning.”

Ruddy lips peeled back over gleaming teeth. “So be it.”

The Elder wouldn't approve, of course. Dracula knew, as he left one of his many temporary shelters around the city, that the older vampire would chastise him severely for this plan, as he had with every plan.

No matter. The Elder had come from another time, an age when there was more than one vampire who dared to lay claim to the title of “Ruler of the Night”.....a time before even Dracula. He was the last of that age, the last of the vampires who preferred the old ways....the “traditions” of a bygone era. Whether or not he had any say in the end of that age was a question none had asked, and one that would never be answered.

Enough of this. You must focus.

Mortals would often attest to a “voice” guiding them on in their times of need---a manifestation of their desire to emerge from any struggle as the victor. Dracula needed no such motivation, or any such voice....

….but those under his control did need a guiding hand, which he gladly offered.

Focus....the Doctor is leaving the police station now. Lucia, Graaf...follow him. Let him think he is alone.

As if they were by his side: Of course, master. As you command, my lord.

Dracula gave a single nod, allowing his subordinates to go about their business in private. The Elder, of course, could only be spoken to directly---such “mental tricks” were a constant drain on his strength, already diminished by the....unique circumstances surrounding his return from the grave. To the Count, it was yet another sign that the Elder could be more of a liability in the long term...but the time to discuss such things would come later. Much later.

For now, all that mattered was keeping the Doctor at bay.

With a last glance at the shelter he'd abandoned, the Count made his way down the pavement, disappearing into the throng of humanity all around him. A lesser vampire would have been hiding under an umbrella or hailing a cab to get around Whitby in the daylight, but Dracula had long since overcome such weaknesses.

The light of day would do nothing to protect the Doctor....or any of his friends.
-----------------------------------------------------

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DukeNukem 2417
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Re: Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 3

Postby DukeNukem 2417 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:45 pm

“So we just go inside, ask if Father Wyngarde's in and then leave if he's not there?”

“As much as I'd like to get this over with quickly,” the Doctor stated, “we may need to be here for a while. Aside from that, it's a church, Emma....”

“There might be a funeral going on, though!”

“Then we quietly pay our respects to the deceased and leave. Simple as that.” The Doctor knocked on the door of Saint Hilda's, ignoring Emma's glare. “Granted, they could choose to not let us in...”

Emma groaned. “And then what?!”

“We find another way in.”

“.....you're suggesting we---”

“Look for a side door, and politely ask for an audience with Father Wyngarde, if he's available.” The Doctor pulled at the door, realizing it was unlocked. “.....then again, it seems he's expecting us,” he quietly added, arching an eyebrow. “Ladies first, of course...” Emma rolled her eyes, but entered the church anyway. “Could you not be weird for a few minutes?” she quietly asked.

“No promises.”

The Time Lord's remark was met with a groan from Emma, but he ignored it. “And Sergeant Tomlinson?”

“....you're sure you want to confront Father Wyngarde here?” Danielle inquired. “I mean, it's a church—-”

“Nobody said anything about confrontation,” the Doctor reminded her. “Maybe as a last resort, but not right at this very moment.....shall we?”

“.....fair enough.” Danielle shouldered past the Time Lord, entering the church without glancing at him. Under other circumstances, the gesture may have prompted a frown, but the Doctor barely even paused to reflect on it---he merely shrugged and followed Danielle into the church. Almost as an afterthought, he pulled the door closed behind him.

The interior of the church was, as expected, stunning---Emma had come to a halt near the front door, taking in her surroundings with widened eyes and a slackened jaw. Danielle, meanwhile, was still as cautious as ever as she surveyed the church, but her movements were ever-so-slightly more relaxed than usual. It's because she feels safe, here, the Time Lord realized. This is hallowed ground, after all....

As Danielle made her way down the aisle and Emma followed, doing her best to cover all possible exits, the Doctor took a few steps back, turning towards the confessional. The door had been left slightly ajar.

From within, a voice: “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.”

“The Lord forgives all, my son.” The Doctor barely reacted to the sound of Father Wyngarde from the other side of the confessional's screen; he was, after all, only “semi-retired”. “How many years has it been since your last confession?”

“......too many. Far too many.” The other voice again, sounding....pained, almost. “I.....” A pause. The Doctor inched closer to the doorway......

“.....we're not alone here, Father.” A chair scraped against stone....the door of the confessional creaked....

“I know you're there.....and considering I can hear both of your hearts, I can only assume you're the Doctor.”

The hand brushing against the grip of the Sonic Screwdriver in his coat pocket froze, along with the rest of the Time Lord. “.....was that all that gave it away?” he muttered.

“Father Wyngarde seemed to expect you coming here.”

“And did he explain why I might choose to show up?”

“You think I'm tied into this business with.....” Another pause. “I'll explain everything, Doctor, but I only ask one favor of you.”

“Fair enough. And depending on how reasonable I find the request, I might actually go along with it.”

“......I ask only that you allow me to finish my confession. After I'm done, Father Wyngarde and I will meet you and your friends outside.”

Again, the Doctor froze---he knows about Emma and Danielle?!

“I had a feeling you'd have brought them along if you decided to follow me, Doctor,” Wyngarde admitted. “But as Janos himself just said, we have a confession to finish. Once that's out of the way, I'll be more than happy to explain this to you---I give you my word as a man of God.” A heavy sigh punctuated the sentence. “Janos, if you would be so kind....the door.....”

Slowly, the confessional door wass shut, leaving the Doctor alone with his thoughts.

“OI, Doctor! We've looked all----” Emma flinched as Danielle slapped her across the shoulder. “What was that for---”

We're in church,” Danielle hissed.

Emma rolled her eyes, but otherwise didn't complain. “Doctor, we've looked everywhere, and there's no sign of Father Wyngarde or---”

She stopped, noticing that the Time Lord was staring at the door to the confessional. “....they're in there, right now? Both of them?”

“They are. And we should be waiting outside.”

“Waiting out....Doctor, what the----what are you doing?!” Emma tried to match the Doctor's even pace, but nearly tripped over her own feet trying to keep up. “If they're both in that room---”

“The confessional, Emma. Say what you will, Emma, but in my view, Janos Ruthven is entitled to confess his sins as per his own beliefs. After he and Wyngarde are done, they'll explain everything. Wyngarde gave me his word.” Without pause, the Doctor flung open the front door of the church, ignoring Emma's protests as he strode towards the TARDIS. “I suggest you respect the sanctity of this place,” he added, “and either say a few prayers, or join me out here while we wait.”

Danielle and Emma exchanged confused looks. “....is he serious?” Emma whispered. “We're supposed to just sit outside and wait?

“I guess we are,” Danielle quietly replied. “It's not like it's pouring down rain or anything right now....and this is a pretty quiet place.....great for meditation or----”

Emma groaned. “Seriously, why can't we wait inside?!

“Ask the Doctor---it was his call.”

A few minutes passed before the door to Saint Hilda's opened. “I suppose that's our cue,” the Doctor mused, nodding to Emma and Danielle. “I'll just lock up the TARDIS, and......”

He stopped, staring past his allies.

“Doctor?” Emma frowned. “OI! Ground control to Doctor Who, come in!”

“......just the Doctor,” the Time Lord murmured. “You two.....you go on ahead. I'll....I'll make sure the TARDIS is secure....won't be but a minute.”

Danielle shrugged, ushering Emma towards the door. “You did say you wanted to go inside, didn't you?”

“I know, but he's going all weird again....”

The remark did little to phase the Doctor---his attention was already captured by the slender figure standing next to the TARDIS, visible only to himself. “You could've told her why you were staying out here.”

“....she never would've believed me,” the Doctor breathed. “I mean.....out of all the Time Lords---”

“You know I'm not here on their behalf, Grandfather.” The girl standing by the TARDIS grinned. “But I can hardly blame you for being so surprised....every time you see me, it's as if you have to remind yourself how to speak!”

“Can you blame me?” the Time Lord managed, giving a short chuckle. “It's....hard to explain, really....”

“No explanations needed, Grandfather.” Susan Foreman---whatever her true name was, the Doctor couldn't bring himself to call her by any name other than Susan---sighed at the thought of the older Time Lord trying to explain the whole situation to Emma and Danielle. “I just heard about this whole business of you fighting Dracula, and I figured you could use a bit of moral support.”

“It's more than enough, believe me.....” The Doctor found himself grinning. “Even if you're not really here...”

Susan gave him a half-amused, half-annoyed look. “I'm on the other side of the galaxy at the moment....but I'll admit, I'd rather be by your side to help you face this monster. I just wish....”

“You just wish what?”

“I wish it wasn't so complicated, Grandfather!” Susan (or her projection, at least) turned to walk around the TARDIS, and the Doctor scrambled to keep up. “The Time Lords don't want any direct intervention on your behalf, yet they insist on contacting you, just to tell you why it's so important that Dracula be defeated....if it were up to me, I'd be here helping you stop him, instead of just telling you why you have to!”

“The Time Lords have their ways, Susan. They play their games.....and they expect me to play mine.”

“....and will you?”

“Stopping Dracula isn't a game---but if beating him keeps the rest of the Time Lords off my back, I'll do what I have to do.” The Doctor smiled. “As it stands, even popping in to give me this friendly reminder has been a massive boost for the morale. I'd hug you, but seeing as how psychic projections aren't exactly corporeal....”

“That, and you'd look rather silly hugging thin air.” Susan giggled. “Well, I must be off, Grandfather...”

“I know, I know...just promise me you'll take care of yourself, Susan.”

“I will if you will, Grandfather....”

With one last grin, Susan turned and walked around the TARDIS, her gait seeming to tease the Doctor into following her. The Time Lord hesitated, then jogged over, rounding the corner of his TARDIS, half-expecting to see Susan rolling her eyes or making a face at him...

…only to find that her projection had vanished.

“.....somehow, I just can't get mad about this,” the Doctor muttered, chuckling as he headed back towards the doors of Saint Hilda's. Ever since his first encounter with Susan, he'd viewed her with a mix of awe, respect and (probably spurred on by her insistence on calling him “Grandfather”) a sense of paternal duty to protect her from the horrors he found himself facing---the lattermost of which was reinforced to a horrific degree when he witnessed what, at the time, looked to be Susan's death. Every meeting between the two after that had been an occasion to remember...

With a sigh, the Time Lord re-entered the church. Time enough to reminisce after Dracula is gone....

Inside, Emma and Danielle had apparently heard all that Father Wyngarde and the mysterious Janos Ruthven had to tell them. “AH, Doctor,” Wyngarde beamed. “I was wondering when you'd join us....”

“I had some business to tend to.” Not quite a lie.... “So, now that we're all here....”

Janos stepped forward. “I apologize for not having introduced myself sooner, Doctor. Father Wyngarde has allowed me to shelter here for the duration---”

“Shelter here?” the Doctor echoed. “I was under the impression that you were nobility....”

The remark earned a humorless chuckle. “Not much of a noble if I don't have even a single house under my dominion,” Janos muttered. “In any case....I am Lord Janos Ruthven---enemy of Count Dracula, and penitent vampire.”

“.....by penitent, you mean you haven't been attacking anyone in and around---”

“Janos has been hiding out here ever since the first murder,” Wyngarde replied. “Dracula turned him centuries ago, when it became apparent that Janos would not follow in his father's footsteps and become a tyrant...” He nodded to Janos. “I think you'd be better at explaining it than I could ever hope to be...”

“....Count Dracula did, indeed, facilitate my descent into the curse of vampirism,” Janos admitted. “I was a fair and just ruler---and Dracula abhorred both of those character traits. My father had been a cruel, unrelenting master of the territory, with a fair share of enemies....few of them knew that he, himself, had embraced the dark powers of vampirism, using them to extend his reign over the land. I was born a few months before he truly died...before he rose from his grave as the utterly vicious monster Dracula expected me to become.”

“And when Dracula realized you wouldn't be the same as dear old dad,” the Doctor mused, “he decided to....”

“He chose to tempt me with an offering of power,” Janos replied. “Like the Biblical story in which the devil tempted the son of God by showing him all the kingdoms and dominions of the world and offered them all to him, in exchange for worshiping him, Dracula brought me to his domain, showing me every village and town he controlled. Within the confines of Castle Dracula, he offered me control over half of his territory in exchange for giving my blood....myself, to him---in essence, for following the path my father had taken.”

“And you refused.”

“From the moment he bared his neck to me, asking if I would drink of his blood and let him drink of mine, I knew that any alliance with such a fiend would damn me to the lowest circle of Hell.....” Janos sighed.

“That refusal,” Father Wyngarde quietly interjected, “made Janos an eternal enemy of Count Draucla.”

Janos nodded gravely. “He sent 'envoys' to my village---only beasts, at first...ravens, bats, wolves, even the occasional swarm of insects. My people were frightened, but they fought back, and I remained steadfast in my refusal to join Dracula's unholy cause.....” He turned away. “....and the 'envoys' became more powerful. Had I been of weaker will or lesser moral fortitude, I may have submitted to the Count's request after the first time our town's dead rose from their graves to attack the living.....it was my faith in God and the memory of my own father's heinous crimes---”

“What, exactly, did your father do that was so awful?” Emma cut in. “I mean, other than....well....”

The Doctor nearly told her off for the interruption, but Janos spoke before he could rebuke her: “He sated his vampiric hunger under the guise of a ritual to keep himself from succumbing to decay. By his own admission, he slew six women a week, all to sustain himself and his power...from what I understand, he was destroyed two months after he became a vampire. My family did their best to hide the truth from me.....”

“But you found out on your own,” the Doctor finished. “And it scared the hell out of you.”

“It did more than terrify me, Doctor. It made me swear to never fall prey to the darkness that my father had chosen to embrace.” Janos shuddered slightly, his eyes shutting for a moment.

“.....even with his faith intact,” Father Wyngarde intoned, “being on consecrated ground is...painful, for him.”

“I can handle it,” Janos hissed. “....it keeps me.....from enjoying what I am....from becoming...like my father...”

Emma and Danielle exchanged worried glances, but after a few minutes, Janos opened his eyes. “....it never gets any easier,” he muttered. “I keep thinking....every time I find myself here, the pain won't be as bad....but it persists.....it intensifies...”

Wyngarde laid a hand on Janos' forehead. “Know that God forgives your sins, my son, even this curse....”

“.....I know.....and thank you.” The vampire nodded. “....in any case, back to my....rather unfortunate tale.”

“Dracula kept throwing his forces at your town,” the Doctor mused, “and you refused to submit to his will, because you didn't want to be like your dad---that, if I recall corectly, is about where we left off.”

Again, Janos nodded. “Dracula launched his final assault on my village the night before I was set to marry my beloved....as cliché as it sounds, it is, in fact, what happened. I was....celebrating, one last night of drunken revelry before entering into holy matrimony....” His words trailed off into a half-sob, allowing Father Wyngarde to continue on his behalf. “He was out of town for the bachelor party, meaning that he never knew of Dracula's final atrocity until he returned....”

“The bed,” Janos growled. “He left her body on the bed we would have shared....” His fists clenched at the memory. “....her throat.....it was torn open...” He let the horrific memory pass, his fists slowly opening. “....I never realized, until it was far too late, that he was in the room with me...watching me grieve over the bloody corpse of my beloved....”

Before the vampire could speak, the Doctor noticed the interior of Saint Hilda's seem to fade into mist, as a far different chamber seemed to materialize before him---a bedroom, more than likely that of the manor Janos Ruthven would have shared with his ill-fated beloved had she not been slain on Dracula's orders. A female figure, clad in a blood-stained bridal gown, lay motionless on the bed---with Janos (slightly less pale, but just as recognizable) kneeling before the bed, screaming and weeping in equal measure.

From the other side of the room, a voice: “I warned you, Janos. Time and again, I warned you of what would happen if you refused my offer...”

The Doctor stared, horrified, as the figure of Dracula emerged from the shadow, striding towards him....

…no, past him.

It's a vision, he realized. A psychic projection of Janos' final encounter with Dracula....

“....you chose to live this life of virtue,” Dracula continued, watching the still-grieving Janos as a contemptuous sneer crossed his lips. “Goodness, purity.....instead of embracing the darkness within you---that taints your very bloodline!” He paced back and forth, shaking his head. “You have been damned from the moment you first met me, Janos Ruthven....your father accepted the monster he became. Your refusal to follow in his footsteps has only cemented your place as a failure.....a worthless castaway from the Ruthven line....” He spread his arms to the room around him. “All of this....including your beloved....are products of your own stupidity!”

Even as the Count ranted, Janos (or the projection of his past self) pulled something from beneath the bed, still shaking with every movement as he turned to face Dracula.

“....I only acted with.....what is that? That thing in your hand......what is it?

The Doctor could see, quite clearly, that Janos had retrieved what, at first, looked like an ornate silver crucifix from under the bed---but as he shifted his position, it was obvious that the thing had a wicked blade, more than likely meant to pierce the heart of Dracula.

“It is a symbol,” Janos intoned, “of all that is holy....it was meant as a gift from me, to my beloved...whom you slew like so much filth......” He raised the dagger, his lips parted in a sneer. “....and with this, I will end your curse forever.”

Dracula stared at the blade for a moment....and, as the Doctor watched, laughed.

“A pathetic trinket.....a bauble, intended as a wedding gift? You truly believe this to be the weapon that will destroy the ancient power of Dracula?” Another laugh filled the room, seeming to grow louder with each second. “You truly are a fool, Janos. Your love has blinded you to the power you could have possessed at my side....”

“No power on Earth is worth the forfeit of a man's soul,” Janos spat. “You are nothing but a monster, and I will kill you where you stand for all the Hell you've put me through......

The threat prompted a smirk from the Count. “You could not kill me, Janos...no more than you could bring your beloved back from the dead.....” He threw back his cape, revealing a sheathed sword on his belt. “...but if you truly wish to embrace death,” he continued, drawing the sword with one hand and stepping back, almost in a fencing stance, “and join your beloved in the afterlife.....”

A grim smile formed on his lips. “....I will be more than happy to accommodate you....”

Again, Janos spoke---but it was the voice of Janos in the present, not that of his image in the strange psychic projection: “I would've had more luck fighting the forces of nature itself, had I been so foolish. The blade had indeed been given to me as a gift for my beloved---a token of good will from the town, to show that I had been absolved of my father's sins against them. At first, it served me well....” As the Doctor watched, past Janos was indeed able to parry Dracula's blade with the dagger, driving him ever closer towards the massive window of the bedroom. “....and I fully intended to end his tyranny with it....but I was still fighting fair.”

The image of Dracula smirked, and what appeared to be a fireball swirled into being in his left hand.

“He kept me at bay,” Janos continued, “by flinging fire at me, constantly driving me back....leaving me open for a killing blow.” Even as he spoke, the image of Dracula hurled fireballs at past Janos, driving him away....

“....and when the moment came, he seized it.”

Past Janos was still staggering back, trying to ward off the fireballs with both hands. The Doctor wanted, more than anything, to reach out and grab Dracula by the shoulders, to pull him back and give the figure of Janos a slight chance to recover...and found himself staring, horrified, as the Count lunged at Janos, impaling the helpless noble.

“.....and at that moment,” Janos' voice muttered, “he finally attained what he had sought from me.”

As past Janos gasped, Dracula stepped forward, his fangs bared. He whispered something to Janos, smiling, before biting down upon the dying man's neck. Past Janos' scream rang through the room....

…and the projection of Janos Ruthven's past faded just as suddenly as it had appeared.

Emma was on the verge of hyperventilating, her eyes brimming with tears. “.....what......how could we all see that?!” she breathed. “It.....it felt like....”

“Like you were there,” Father Wyngarde finished. “Don't ask me for the details---I couldn't explain how it works even if I tried....but as you've seen, Janos had no intention of joining Dracula's unholy cause. He was slain that night, and simultaneously turned---cursed with the undeath of vampirism. Those who had survived the siege of the town, enacted by Dracula's forces, buried Janos and his bride with the rest of the dead on the following day...” He glanced at Janos. “....and Janos rose from the grave that very night.”

The Doctor nearly replied, only to notice that Danielle was no longer sitting next to Emma. “Ah, where's....”

He stopped himself as Janos rose from the pew he'd been sitting in. “I knew that if any of my people saw me after my own funeral, they would think me a beast---a foul creature, fit only to be killed. Those who knew and respected me....would have seen me as a monster.....” He turned away.

“He was spared by a monastery,” Father Wyngarde stated, as if to answer the question the Doctor and Emma were about to ask. “He fled his town, after breaking free of his tomb....a band of hunters, searching for the Count after the massacre, nearly happened upon him by chance---the monks spared him.” He sighed again, glancing at his hand; as the Doctor watched, he slid off one of three rings he wore, kissing it briefly before setting it down on the pew. “Their seal,” the priest murmured. “A symbol of their commitment to driving back the forces of corruption and evil, and saving all who can be saved...even those whom the world at large would rather see destroyed.”

The Time Lord turned the ring over in his hand, nodding. “....is there any record of the symbol's origins?”

“None that we're aware of. The monks' oldest records claim that it predated the founding of the order, and all research via modern methods hasn't found anything to contradict that claim...”

Even as Father Wyngarde spoke, the Doctor knew the ring's emblem predated the order: the stylized figure 8, held within an ornate circle, was a common sight on Gallifrey. “....you said the purpose of the order was to drive back evil?” he inquired. “Including.....well, vampires?”

“They also did their best to save them, when they could,” Wyngarde replied.

“....right...” The Doctor handed the ring back. “....so how exactly did they help Janos manage his...hunger?”

Janos glanced at Wyngarde, as if to ask permission to disclose something he'd long kept secret; Wyngarde nodded silently. “I was allowed to feed on them,” the vampire quietly replied. “Some volunteered, others saw it as a penance for their sins....any member of the order I fed upon was purified hours afterwards. Not a single man among them ever turned, the way I had...I still begged them not to go through with it. I feared that one of them might somehow change into a....a creature, a scourge of all living things....”

“And none of them did,” Father Wyngarde reminded him. “They retained their souls, kept you protected.....”

“You're positive none of them ever turned?” the Doctor inquired. “No records exist of—-”

“Believe me, Doctor,” Father Wyngarde intoned. “No member of the order ever succumbed to to the curse that plagued Janos. Their purification practices had been refined over centuries....”

“Right, right.....” The Time Lord nodded absentmindedly. “....we think---I mean, I think we'd best move on....”

Emma held up both hands. “Whoa, whoa, whoa. We just found out that Janos here has a score to settle with Dracula, and you're already saying....” She paused. “....hang on a minute. Wasn't Danielle in here with us a few minutes ago?”

“Now that you mention it,” the Doctor admitted, “I was sort of wondering why she didn't react....”

“Perhaps she was overwhelmed by my pain,” Janos muttered. “She might be outside now, waiting....”

The Doctor shook his head. “Doesn't matter. Dracula isn't going to sit around and wait for us to figure out his connection with Janos, or anything else---wait. Hang on.” He cupped his chin in one hand, frowning. “Just mentioning 'connections'.....I was on the phone with someone, earlier, and they mentioned something about a spate of disappearances connected to a clinic....”

“The Ilhousen clinic?” Father Wyngarde mused. “I've tried to pay a visit to that place a few times....”

“You've tried?” the Doctor echoed. “You're a priest....aren't clinics required to let you in?”

“Apparently, they prefer to exercise an exemption from clerical visits...” Father Wyngarde rolled his eyes. “I've considered asking around as to why they prefer to not have a member of the clergy knocking at their door, but it would appear that they've ingratiated themselves with the locals...I've been asked to leave them to their own business in the name of 'civil liberties' or some such nonsense. The clinic is purely secular---”

“They haven't even asked you to perform the last rites on anyone?”

The Doctor's question earned a solemn shake of the head from the semi-retired priest. “They've yet to answer a single call I've made on the subject, in all honesty. It's quite baffling, honestly....or rather, it was baffling.”

“You think they're working with....” Emma made a “fangs” gesture, holding her index fingers by her mouth.

“We've said the name 'Dracula' within this building before,” Father Wyngarde mused, “with no ill effect....but to answer your question, I do believe that the Ilhousen clinic and Dracula are connected. As to how they could be connected, I don't---”

“The Xanadu.”

Before Janos, Wyngarde and Emma could ask what he meant, the Doctor snapped his fingers. “Of course,” he muttered, “how could I be such an idiot.....the doorman, at the Xanadu---he was just standing there, staring across the lobby.....that's why.....” He nearly said “why I called River”, only to recall that Emma and Father Wyngarde hadn't exactly been introduced to River Song. “....I made the call,” he continued, with only a second's pause. “At the service station---you remember, Emma?”

“I was in the car the whole time, but...yeah.”

The Time Lord nodded. “My source believes that the Ilhousen Clinic is nowhere near as benevolent as they appear to be,” he informed Wyngarde and Janos. “If my theory is correct, I might know exactly why they didn't return your calls, Father---but before we deal with that....” He retrieved the fob watch from his coat pocket.

“If you'll excuse me,” he stated, ignoring Emma's confused look, “I need to go make another call.”
------------------------------

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DukeNukem 2417
Posts: 165
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Re: Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 3

Postby DukeNukem 2417 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:54 pm

Danielle Tomlinson stared past the wheel of her department-issue badged Porsche, mentally screaming at herself for having left St. Hilda's so quickly. Of course she'd slipped out while the others were apparently in the grips of some shared....something...a vision, maybe? Whatever they saw, it wasn't important.

She had her reasons for leaving without telling them...not that they would understand. If anything---

The dashboard radio handset squawked to life, startling Danielle out of her reverie. “What.....”

Without waiting for a response, it kicked on: “Calling Sergeant Tomlinson...come in, Sergeant Tomlinson. This is the Doctor.” There was a pause; Emma could faintly be heard giggling in the background. “....what, too formal?

Danielle scrambled for the handset. “Doctor?! How the hell---”

I'm calling from St. Hilda's,” the Time Lord mused, “so you might want to keep the profanity to a minimum for the duration of this little chat.

“.....how did you get the frequency for this radio?!”

I have my ways. Anyway....I have an important question for you. Has the Ealing police department taken any complaints or made any inquiries into the Ilhousen Clinic?

The handset fell from Danielle's grasp.

“.....Danielle? Is everything---”

“Why....what does the Ilhousen Clinic have to do with Dracula? I thought we were investigating Janos---”

He's got his own reasons to hate Dracula, which you should know already....you did see what Emma and I saw inside St. Hilda's, right?

“.....actually, I---”

Cliff Notes version, then: Janos' father was a vampire, but he fathered Janos before fully turning. Janos vowed to never be a monster like his father, but then Dracula tried to tempt him with the 'dark gifts', yadda yadda yadda, Janos refused and Dracula decided to make him suffer for it. Janos tried to kill Dracula, and it didn't go well for him...”

“.....so Janos Ruthven is a vampire?”

Pretty much---except he was discovered by an order of monks who helped him fend off his hunger by feeding on them---they purified after every feeding---for a century or so.

“....and we can trust him?”

Father Wyngarde can vouch for him. As for the rest of us, we need to take a look at the Ilhousen Clinic---”

“Doctor, wait.” Danielle closed her eyes, even as she held up the handset. “The clinic....are you positive it's connected to Dracula's plans?”

If it's not, then someone else put the whammy on the bellhop at the Xanadu.

“......right. I'll get to the clinic as soon as---”

We'll get to the clinic, Danielle. Janos, Emma and I will meet up with you---”

“What about Father Wyngarde?”

He's got some business to take care of at St. Hilda's....like I said, we'll meet up with you in a few minutes, and then we can all go check out the clinic. Also, we, ah, haven't exactly contacted Lauden about this, so we're all really hoping to keep this little operation on the down-low....”

“Right, right....” Danielle frowned; it sounded like the Doctor was going through a wind tunnel from his end of the line. “....and how soon do you intend to meet up with---”

A tapping on the window of the Porsche cut her off, prompting a scream she didn't bother to contain.

“Sorry,” the Doctor apologized, holding up his right arm; a strange device, looking almost like a “morpher” from a Power Rangers series, was contained in a leather bracer of sorts. “Vortex manipulator, for quick and dirty short-range teleportation. A friend gave it to me.” He grinned. “Also, there's been a slight change of plans regarding who meets where before we check out the clinic....may I?”

“....may you..oh, right.” Danielle moved over to open the passenger's side door of the Porsche.

“Thanks.” The Time Lord crossed around to the passenger's side, taking a seat and pulling the door closed behind him. “Took a while for me to lock onto the frequency of your handset there...”

“You said there was a slight change of plans,” Danielle interjected. “What did you mean?”

“Janos needs to prepare himself before he faces Dracula---something about protecting his mind and such, I didn't catch all the details. That gives us a bit of a head-start to get to the clinic and do a bit of surveilance on our own....if you're okay with it, of course.”

Danielle nodded. “....I just....I wasn't expecting you to show up here so soon after the call.”

“Like I said, quick and dirty teleportation. Speaking of quick....you made a pretty quick exit when Janos was explaining his connection to Dracula....” The Doctor arched an eyebrow. “....everything okay?”

“....I was just a bit overwhelmed,” Danielle muttered. “I needed---”

“You weren't seeing the psychic projections Emma and I were,” the Doctor clarified. “No need to lie about it.”

Before Danielle could refute the claim, the Time Lord sighed. “As a Time Lord---and please feel free to not take this as me bragging---I'm ever so slightly more receptive to psychic signals than any given homo sapien could be. Time Lords are able to recognize when one of their own is nearby via a sort of telepathy...and for the record, I'm currently the only Time Lord on the planet right now.” He rolled his eyes. “...anyway, I was able to see what Janos wanted us to see because of that innate ability.....as for how Emma saw it, I'm guessing a combination of location and some innate vampiric ability of Janos allowed her to see what I saw.”

“...so why wasn't I able to see it?” Danielle quietly asked.

“Any number of reasons. Decreased receptiveness to psychic signals, a lot on your mind---not a joke, by the way, that's a legitimate reason people might be unable to receive psychic visions and such...my guess is, you saw Emma and me reacting to something you couldn't see, and you freaked out. I wouldn't blame you....and I just remembered something important!”

“......which is?”

“The van drivers---from the van with the jiang-shi.....they were clockwork constructs!”

Danielle stared at the dashboard, trying not to remember the van drivers. “....and what do they have to do---”

“With the clinic?” The Doctor's gaze never left the fob watch (Danielle hadn't even seen him retrieve it from his coat pocket). “I was on the phone earlier, with someone who's been keeping track of this case and all related ephemera...great word, 'ephemera'---it's so rare that one gets the chance to use it in a sentence....anyway. I was on the phone with this individual, and they mentioned that---”

“Two-hundred and fifty four disappearances have been connected with the Ilhousen clinic,” Danielle finished, her eyes closed. “I know.”

“.....and you saw fit to not mention this before now?”

“I was looking into it on my off-hours---Lauden had already tried to conduct an official investigation of it, but they stonewalled him. I figured I'd try to do something about it....help him out as best I could.”

“Perfectly understandable.” The Time Lord nodded. “And how did that turn out?”

“.....poorly. I tried 'recruiting' a few homeless people to do some investigating for me....they never got back to me after they went in. Lauden nearly had someone look into that, but....it didn't work.” Danielle couldn't bring herself to meet the Doctor's gaze. “We never did get a full inquiry going on the clinic,” she quietly admitted. “I think the last time anyone tried was right before 'Baron Lathos' showed up....before then, they'd at least answer questions or let the police enter the building.”

“And after he showed up,” the Doctor finished, “they refused anyone without an appointment.”

Danielle nodded. “Lauden refused to allow any officers to go undercover just to investigate it....a few offered to take the case on their own time, like I had....he threatened to fire them, if he ever found out.”

“So he never found out about your...attempted investigation?” the Doctor prompted.

“I would've been thrown out, if he had---”

“Seeing as how a few homeless people effectively disappeared during your 'investigation', I'm not surprised,” the Doctor intoned. “They weren't among the 'patients' who actually returned from their 'visits' to the clinic?”

After a few seconds of silence, Danielle replied, her voice nearly a sob: “I don't know.”

“.....under any other circumstances,” the Doctor stated, “I'd be driving you to Lauden's office to confess every single detail of what you've told me, especially in regards to the homeless people never being seen again after they went to the Ilhousen Clinic...” A low, heavy sigh left his lips. “....but these circumstances are hardly what I'd call 'normal'. Did anyone report them missing?”

“....no. Even their, ah, 'neighbors' didn't call in to report---they went to the clinic themselves, the next month!”

“Right. And the police never tried to serve a general search warrant in relation to missing persons?”

“The clinic lawyered up as soon as the police came knocking. Claimed we were 'harassing' them.”

“And nobody tried to refute those claims---”

“Doctor,” Danielle breathed, “everyone who tried to look into the clinic either disappeared, got transferred to another department or.....they came back wrong. Like the doorman---bellhop, whatever he was called....they weren't the same....” She turned away. “....I didn't know it would happen, to any of them...”

“....the massive number of disappearances didn't clue you in?”

“They weren't all connected to the clinic at the time, Doctor! I just....I wanted to find out on my own.....”

The Doctor steepled his fingers. “....again, if the circumstances were even slightly different, you'd be on your way to Lauden right now to sign a confession....but as it stands, I know you're telling the truth.” He held up the fob watch.....then pocketed it with a flourish. “And the watch had nothing to do with it.”

“.....you...you believe me?”

“From the look on your face when you pointed out that the van drivers were clockwork constructs, I could tell you either knew the two before, or recognized what they were----I'm leaning towards the former, personally.”

“....they were two of the ones I'd asked to help with my investigation---the first two, actually.” Danielle brushed a stray tear away from her eyes. “Before now, I thought the clinic was just....testing things, on them. Running some kind of experiments, or something....maybe even just killing them---their way of 'solving the homeless problem', or something. I didn't think they'd.....”

“You didn't think they'd be turned into subservient automatons,” the Doctor finished.

“....it just.....it's like something out of a horror movie,” Danielle breathed. “I didn't---”

“You didn't know.” The Doctor nodded. “And now you do....and I do, as well....” He fastened the passenger's side seat belt around his waist. “That settles it. I think we need to pay a visit to the Ilhousen Clinic and politely, but insistently, ask that they tell us what, exactly, is going on with the 'patients' they take in....and why they're casting their lot in with Dracula, of all people.....”

“And you'll tell the others?” Danielle asked. “About the clinic, and....”

“I'll tell them what they need to know. Nothing more, nothing less......so where is this clinic, exactly?”

Danielle nodded to the east. “We have to cross one of the bridges to get to it....and aren't vampires---”

“The whole thing of 'a vampire can never cross running water' is...probably one of the biggest mistranslations of vampire lore,” the Doctor admitted. “I don't know the specifics, but the older a vampire is, the less likely they are to freak out by way of just crossing a bridge or something---meaning that Dracula won't have any problem following us if he decides to...not that I'm trying to dissuade you from going. If anything---”

“Doctor.....I get it.” Danielle sighed. “I just...this whole thing about the Ilhousen Clinic....” She glanced over at the Time Lord, noticing that he was apparently lost in thought. “You feel it too, right?”

“Hmm?”

“The clinic.....and how there's something just...wrong about it....”

“Actually,” the Doctor admitted, “I just had the most bizarre, random thought I've had all week...and please don't hate me for mentioning it out loud...” He gave a slight cough. “....for some inexplicable reason, I was wondering what it would feel like for me to try on a dress.”

“......that is...inexplicable,” Sergeant Tomlinson admitted. “Why---”

“Just thinking about the possibility of my death, facing Dracula....and what comes after it.” The Doctor rolled his eyes. “See, Time Lords have this wonderful little bit of biological trickery woven into their DNA that allows them to cheat death: regeneration. A full-body change, and a change of personality with it...and it's a bit of a gamble regarding what you come out of it with. Male Time Lords don't always regenerate into males, female Time Lords---or Time Ladies, if you prefer---don't always regenerate into females...some have swung both ways over the course of a full regeneration cycle.”

Danielle couldn't quite think of anything to say in the wake of that, other than a quiet “oh.”

“Believe me,” the Doctor continued, “it's nowhere near as simple as I'm making it sound....but I digress. Also, one last question about the homeless people you picked to investigate the clinic....”

The question snapped Danielle out of her confused funk. “Yes?”

“Were any of them....ah, well-known at the station? Any outstanding warrants, and such....”

“...a few of them,” Danielle admitted. “I was....I promised to waive all charges if they reported back---”

“Again, you don't have to explain away your actions.” The Doctor steepled his fingers. “You had a noble goal, you didn't think they were going to be....used, the way they were.....and you didn't intentionally send them to their deaths. For those reasons, and for the fact that you saved Emma from getting a Transylvanian neck piercing earlier, I can forgive you.” He grinned. “Now, then.....shall we?”

After a few seconds of silence, Danielle nodded. “If it puts a hole in Dracula's plans, I'm all for it.”

Within seconds, the car was on the road, heading towards the nearest bridge. “Once we're across,” Danielle explained, “it'd only take a few minutes for us to get to the clinic and shut the whole thing down.”

“Good to hear---oh, that reminds me. I need to call Sarah Jane and have her meet up with the group....” The Doctor retrieved his fob watch from a coat pocket, pressing a few symbols on the screen. “Hopefully, she's left her phone on.....and is it just me, or is it getting a lot foggier than I remember?” Even as he spoke, a rolling mist was overtaking the car, making it impossible for him (or, more importantly, Danielle) to see the road beneath the tires---or, for that matter, anything outside of the vehicle at all. “Danielle, you might want to slow down and---”

“We can make it, Doctor,” Danielle insisted. “I've driven this road before, dozens of times---”

“That's not why you should slow down,” the Time Lord intoned. “Also, you might not want to look up.”

“Why wouldn't I---” Danielle glanced up---and instantly screamed as a swarm of bats fluttered past. “WHAT THE HELL?! DOCTOR---”

“Just stay calm and keep driving---don't make any turns, or any deviation from our present course.”

“Don't turn---Doctor, if we don't make a turn soon, we'll hit something!” Danielle was practically hunched over the steering wheel, trying her best not to swat around near her head to ward off any bats that she was sure would descend upon her. “That, or we'll end up in the water---”

“Sergeant Tomlinson....” The Doctor rested a hand on Danielle's shoulder, forcing her to look at him.....

“Yes?”

“Do you trust me?”

“......with my life, Doctor.”

The Time Lord's somber expression gave way to a reassuring smile. “I wish people wouldn't be so dramatic about it....but it's good enough for me.” He nodded. “Just keep driving until I say stop---”

“Is he doing this?” Danielle cut in. “Dracula, I mean.....is he the one making the mist?”

“In all probability.....yes. I wouldn't be surprised if he's the one who sent the bats after us, as well.”

“....figured that.....”

The Porsche continued on its course, not stopping until the Doctor silently touched Danielle's shoulder; before she even turned to look at him, he nodded at something in front of the car. Slowly, the sergeant turned, with a horrible feeling that she knew what---or rather who---she was about to see...and fought to repress a scream.

Even with the fog pressing in around him, obscuring all scenery as far as the eye could see, the black-clad figure of Dracula was like a horrific beacon in the center of the road. The swarm of bats that had attacked the Porsche earlier was now lazily flapping around him, occasionally stopping to alight on his shoulders or hover at eye-level. A smile, thin-lipped and without fangs, was plainly visible on the Count's face as he outstretched a hand, almost in greeting to the Time Lord.

“Lord Doctor,” he intoned. “Your arrival, though quite sudden, was not.....unexpected.”

“Arrival?” Danielle echoed. “What's he talking about, we were on the way to the....clinic....” The last word caught in her throat as the fog seemed to dissipate as suddenly as it had arrived, revealing that the Porsche and its occupants were nowhere near the Ilhousen Clinic. “.....Doctor, where are we?!

“My new home,” Dracula stated---standing right beside the driver's side door of the Porsche.

This time, Danielle shrieked, flinching away from the Count.

“My apologies, Sergeant, if I startled you...” The smile again, more sinister than before. “I was expecting the Doctor to arrive here far sooner....though your own presence is not entirely---”

“Why?”

Dracula frowned, glancing past the still-shaking Danielle to notice the Doctor staring at him. “Why...what?”

“Why bring us both here, then, if you were only expecting me?” The Time Lord moved to open the passenger's side door of the Porsche, ignoring the ever-approaching swarm of bats as he did. “If you're doing this just to get to me, then you can let her go right now---”

“So she can race to your friends, and tell them exactly where you are? No, Lord Doctor---”

Yes, Vlad Tepes.” The Doctor wasn't smiling. “Whatever happens to me, I'll gladly accept it....on the sole condition that you let her leave. Force her to stay, and you'll find me to be a most disagreeable guest.” A smirk punctuated the threat. “Wouldn't want your grand opening to be compromised by the disappearance of a police officer, am I right?”

Danielle tried to protest, to stop the Doctor from doing whatever he was about to do, only to feel a round object pressed into her right hand. She glanced at the Doctor, still staring down the Count....

….except for the barest femtosecond in which he glanced at her and winked.

Anything she could've said in reply was cut off by Dracula: “...under normal circumstances, you would be in no position to make demands of me, Lord Doctor....but given your tenacity, I will choose to honor your request for now.” He stepped back, nodding, and the Doctor threw open the passenger's side door of the Porsche without looking away. Danielle barely caught the sotto voce utterance of “go” just as he closed the door.

Neither the Count nor the Doctor watched the Porsche as it backed away and turned, speeding, into the mists.

“I think it would be better if we were to continue this discussion inside, Lord Doctor,” Dracula stated, after the car had disappeared into the rolling fog. “We have much to discuss, you and I...and so very little time in which to discuss it.”

The Doctor gestured towards the half-formed structure of the castle behind them. “Lead the way, then.”
-----------------------------------------------------

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DukeNukem 2417
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Re: Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 3

Postby DukeNukem 2417 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:04 pm

“....and he just took a step and...disappeared,” Lauden muttered. “Right into thin air---”

“There was a sort of flash,” Emma added. “Like a camera, except....bigger, I guess. I think it came from the thing he had on his wrist.”

Lauden leaned back in his chair, staring at the ceiling and trying to think pleasant thoughts. He'd hoped that the Doctor and Emma would bring some news of Dracula's plans with them when they returned with Father Wyngarde, only to find that the Doctor had apparently disappeared (as had Sergeant Tomlinson, on apparently unrelated business), and yet another “visiting nobleman”---in this case, Janos Ruthven---was a vampire. And now he was being told that the Doctor had used some gimcrack to simply vanish while Emma, Janos and the priest watched....

“UNIT did say they were working on personal teleportation technology, after the last few times the Doctor was around,” Sarah Jane mused. “Maybe he just had the most advanced of the---”

“Stop,” Lauden cut in, holding up both hands. “Just....please don't bring them into this.”

“'Them'?” Wyngarde echoed. “UNIT have done a world of good for this country---”

“After bigger incidents, yes,” Lauden breathed. “This.....this needs to stay local. This needs to stay small, to not make the papers or get brought up on Crimewatch. If more people find out---”

“If more people know, they won't get hurt,” Sarah Jane countered. “What's so bad about that?”

Lauden glared at her---or rather, tried to glare, but found that he couldn't quite meet her gaze. “....we should be focused on what's happening right now,” he muttered, “not what might happen or what could happen at any given time....” For what felt like the sixth time that day, he pinched the bridge of his nose to ward off what had to be an impending headache. “....if the Doctor would've just told me where he was going...”

“Considering what we're dealing with,” Janos replied, “he more than likely thought it would be better to keep his actions a secret, even from you.”

Despite the headache building up within his sinuses, Lauden rose from his chair. “I have, over the past few days,” he stated, “been very accomodating to the Doctor---and to all of you---as far as this investigation is concerned...but his constant habit of capering around, ignoring direct police orders and doing whatever the hell he feels like doing is starting to wear a bit thin on me. All I know is that this madness...it's a drain on the entire police force, it's a drain on resources....and the Doctor is right in the middle of it.”

“I don't like the direction this is going in,” Father Wyngarde muttered. “It sounds---”

“You'll forgive me,” Lauden breathed, “if I DO NOT CARE HOW IT SOUNDS!”

Silence filled the room for a few minutes....broken only by a car screeching to a halt outside of the building.

Seconds later, the terrified figure of Sergeant Danielle Tomlinson flung open the door. “Lauden,” she gasped, “I, ah.....something's happened.....the Doctor and I, we were going to drive to the clinic...and then it just sort of happened, out of nowhere..”

“The mists,” Janos muttered. “They diverted you from where you wanted to go.”

Danielle nodded. “We were.....the mists took us somewhere....they took us straight to Dracula!”

Lauden's fists unclenched to hang loosely at his sides. “.....what?”

“The roads...they took us right to the castle....Dracula let me leave, the Doctor stayed behind---”

“I think that puts a hole through your earlier remarks about the Doctor, Chief Inspector,” Sarah Jane mused.

Father Wyngarde arched an eyebrow. “You mean that the Doctor actually stayed behind?” he inquired. “He offered himself in your place?”

“YES! He....he wanted me to get back here, tell you all what's happened.....” She stopped, as if remembering something. “....he gave me.....the watch....” A quick search of her pockets revealed the Time Lord's fob watch, activated and already giving off a steady series of beeps. “It's showing us where he is....”

Lauden started to mention how the screen was too small for everyone to read when a computer monitor near him winked on, displaying the exact coordinates of Dracula's “estate” and the fastest way to get to it from the police building. Emma, in particular, nodded her approval at the Time Lord's forethought. “And you thought he was a splitter,” she mused, giving Lauden an eye-roll. “He's only gone and handed us the map to Dracula's sodding castle---”

“That doesn't explain why you were on the way to the clinic,” Lauden countered. “What does any of that---”

“The disappearances,” Danielle snapped. “The homeless people....did you actually forget all of them?!”

Emma, Sarah Jane and Father Wyngarde could've sworn the impact of those words hit Lauden like a slap to the face---the anger and annoyance drained out of his expression almost instantly. “....I...there were...” He fell backwards, almost missing his chair entirely and sending it rolling towards the wall when he actually landed in it. “.....the cases were closed,” he breathed. “I....the department had no new leads---”

Bollocks!

Again, the rebuke seemed to hit Lauden like a strike to the temple. “....Sergeant Tomlinson,” he muttered, “in case you might have forgotten, I am in charge of the Ealing branch of the Metropolitan Police---”

“DO NOT PULL RANK ON ME NOW, LAUDEN!”

Every eye in the room was focused on either Danielle or Lauden---one standing, fists clenched, ready to clout the ever-loving hell out of her superior officer; the other, visibly paler than usual, unable to meet the sergeant's gaze. “.....this isn't about rank,” Lauden countered---or tried to; Danielle was already turning on her heel and heading for the door. “I'm going to follow the signal from the Doctor's watch, and anyone who wants to come with me is welcome to. Anyone who wants to stay here and follow procedure....”

Her glare was met only by silence, and Lauden trying his best to focus on the papers that cluttered the desk in front of him.

“....I'll go with you,” Sarah Jane offered. “If I can get any more info about the disappearances, and conclusive proof to link them to everything that's going on, we might be able to warn people off of going to the clinic, put a big dent in Dracula's operations and all....”

Emma sighed. “I'll go, as well....it's not like I'm going to be contributing anything by just staying here.”

“You can rely on my assistance as well,” Janos intoned. “Dracula's curse has already cost me far too much.”

“I suppose any attacks mounted against the undead would require the expert counsel and aid one could expect from a man of the cloth,” Father Wyngarde mused. “I'll be honored to stay in the fight against Dracula, for as long as it takes.”

Danielle nodded. “And you?”

Lauden finally looked up, his gaze calm. “I'll help. However I can....”

“Good.” Danielle turned away. “The watch will probably lead us right to the Doctor....and I have a feeling that we're going to face Dracula as soon as we find the Doctor.....” She glanced at Lauden. “We're going to need to stop by a gardening center on the way.”

“Wooden stakes,” Wyngarde chuckled, as if he'd anticipated the bewilderment of the police chief. “We're truly doing this the old-fashioned way, aren't we? I suppose you'll want me to drop by the church, as well....” This time, Lauden actually did turn to stare at him, his lips slightly parted as if to ask a question. “We're going to need some of the Sacred Host,” the priest explained. “Just as in the novel.....if Dracula or his consorts are hiding in and around the city, we must deprive them of every possible place in which they could rest---”

“The church would never allow it,” Lauden spluttered. “They would---”

“I have,” Wyngarde stated, “an indulgence. More than enough to pardon me for what we're going to do.”

Danielle nodded. “We'll take two cars, then---one to the church, one to the garden center. Once we've gotten what we need, we'll regroup and then find the Doctor.”

“Assuming Dracula hasn't slain him by then,” Janos muttered.

“Pretty sure he's still alive,” Sarah Jane mused. “He wouldn't have sent Danielle back with the watch if he'd been sure he was't coming back---”

“Why he gave me the watch isn't the issue. What we need to focus on now is finding him.” Danielle turned on her heel and headed for the door. “Whoever wants to go with me, I'm leaving now. Anyone who wants to go with Father Wyngarde, they can leave with him whenever he chooses to. The more time we waste, the more time Dracula has to do whatever he intends to do----”

“WAIT.”

All eyes in the room were, once again, on Lauden. “.....I'm going with you, Ser.....Danielle.”

“No offense, Lauden, but you're not exactly in the best condition to---”

“You told me earlier,” the chief cut in, “not to pull rank on you, Danielle---but this time, I must insist on it. I'm going with you, and it's final.” His tone softened; “I honestly want to help,” he continued. “However I can.”

“And you didn't think to stay here and start going through the files related to all those disappearances?”

“Those files were seized by the Ilhousen Clinic,” Lauden intoned. “I never brought it up earlier because they'd been threatening to file an inquiry of their own, against us, on the grounds of bias and discrimination against a non-profit....” He shook his head. “I'm pretty sure it was Dracula who put them up to it.”

“....and they took all the files?” Danielle prompted.

At this, Lauden smirked. “Oh, they took quite a few....twelve boxes full, in fact. Unfortunately, if I remember it correctly, I may or may not have accidentally handed over a load of the department's tax records from the 1980s, instead of the files they asked for.....”

Any annoyance left in Danielle's expression faded into a grin. “I take it you don't mind riding shotgun, Chief?”

“I don't see why anyone would have a problem with it, Sergeant,” Lauden replied, nodding. “Shall we?”

“This day,” Sarah Jane muttered, “just keeps getting weirder and weirder....”

Father Wyngarde merely chuckled in reply. “I have a feeling the 'weirdness' will only increase from here on.”
-----------------------------------------------------
“Well?”

The single word from Dracula drew the barest acknowledgement from the Doctor. “Well, what?”

“The castle. Does it not impress you?” The Count gestured at the room around them---a cavernous dining hall, already fully-built and completely furnished. “I have been able to accomplish far more in the span of a few weeks than most men could hope to achieve in a lifetime.....” He took a seat at the far end of the table. “As fond as you must be of the....popular notion,” he continued, “I do, on occasion, find it necessary to take my meals with honored guests---”

“Okay, first of all,” the Time Lord cut in, “just stop. If you're trying to butter me up and get on my good side, it won't work.....because you, and anyone like you, will never be on my good side.”

Dracula shrugged off the remark. “I am merely offering you my hospitality, Lord Doctor---”

“That's another thing you can stop doing,” the Doctor snapped. “You're no Time Lord. I don't know how you came to know so much about 'my kind', but it won't help you....”

A muted sound like the whirring and clicking of gears within a large clockwork toy cut him off; he glanced over his shoulder, expecting to see a moving suit of armor raising an axe to strike him down, only to be greeted by the sight of a pale woman in 18th-century servant's garb, stiffly moving to pull a chair out from under the table so that he could take a seat.

“My servants,” Dracula explained, “are...unique, as you may have discovered.”

The Doctor stared into the eyes of the servant girl---polished glass orbs, behind cold flesh. No breath escaped her lips, even as she haltingly turned away from him. “.....clockwork,” he murmured. “Just like....”

“Like the drivers of the van, which was transporting the jiang-shi on my orders,” Dracula finished. “Before they encountered me, the clockwork....droids, I believe you would call them, had no way to feasibly blend in, to hide in plain sight.....” He glanced at the chair next to the Doctor. “Please, sit, Lord Doctor. This is not a discussion one should have while standing idly by as the help goes about their business.” He gestured, almost politely, for the Doctor to take his seat.

His gaze locked squarely on the infamous vampire before him, the Doctor stepped to the side and sat down.

The Count nodded his approval. “...as I was saying, the clockwork droids had no way to blend in with civilized society. They needed, in their own terms, 'parts'.”

“Which you were all too happy to provide,” the Doctor intoned. “Do you even know where they're from?!”

“Oh, they have told me more than enough about their origins, Doctor. Once, they were servitors, mere pawns of a more advanced race....or so they remember. Even they cannot recall the details of their distant past...but it matters not. They were all too eager for a purpose, and I gave them that purpose.” Dracula smiled, not quite revealing all of his teeth. “Just as I gave them a way to move about in public without attracting undue attention to themselves---”

“Flesh,” the Doctor hissed. “You gave them human flesh, taken---stolen from innocent people!”

Again, Dracula smiled. “I would hardly call wastrels, vagrants and drug-addled fools 'innocent', Lord Doctor,” he coolly replied. “They had long since forsaken their rightful place in society. I was merely---”

Don't.”

The rebuke earned an arched eyebrow from the Count. “Don't....what, Lord Doctor?”

“Don't you dare try to say you were 'just helping them'. Don't even think it. Nothing you say could ever justify this...not even that you were 'helping' these clockwork droids.” Any human being would've been unnerved by what could only be described as a cold, unyielding fury in the Doctor's voice. “Everyone whose skin you stole for these machines....they were all innocent people---with families, hopes and dreams...yet you snuffed out their lives like you were blowing out candles.”

Maddeningly, Dracula actually nodded, instead of laughing off the remarks. “You are not wrong, Doctor. I have indeed wasted such innocent lives...” A sigh left his lips. “...but turning them...siring them all would have been an even bigger waste---”

A clatter of plates and silverware---as well as the twin thuds of the Doctor's fists hitting the table, cut him off.

“Sorry,” the Time Lord apologized, staring at something beneath one of his hand. “Thought I saw a fly land in front of me....” He looked up, holding up his left hand to reveal the smeared guts of a fly on it. “....I think that's the first time that line has ever been true,” he mused, giving a slightly unhinged chuckle.

“If you must know,” Dracula intoned, “the flesh worn by the droids---”

“OH, so they wear it, do they? Like a new suit, straight off the rack!” Again, the Doctor's remark ended with an unnerving giggle. “Tell me something, Count.....just how naïve do you think I really am?”

“The flesh given to the droids is treated to prevent decay,” the Count continued, as if the Doctor's outburst had never occurred. “I can assure you that there are no corpses, no 'hapless innocents' stored in the basement of my castle....” The smile returned to his lips. “I would even be honored to give you a full tour, Lord Doctor, if that would be enough to---”

“Why would I want to tour a hollow shell of a fortress built on stolen ground and ruled over by a dead man?”

There was no mocking in the Doctor's tone, now---his stare was once again locked onto Dracula. “Every single word out of your mouth is nothing but a lie or an excuse, and the more I hear, the more I realize that offering to stay behind was a mistake. I wanted to find out what you were doing here....” He shook his head. “...but I'm pretty sure I already know. You're building the castle to lure people here, so you can perform the Rondo of Blood and make it impossible for any future generations to defeat you....the people at the Ilhousen clinic were used to get the skin for these constructs....”

“So you know about the clinic” the Count intoned. “I thought it had been....hidden, from the prying eyes of the police....and, of course, from you---”

“Well, you thought wrong. The only thing I didn't know was what connection you had to the clinic....and now I know.” The Doctor's fingers drummed on the surface of the table. “I'd heard about the disappearances from a friend of mine...not that you care. I'm sure the police would've figured something out without me....but they never would've figured it all out in time. My last big question---”

“Why the constructs,” Dracula finished. “Using them means I feel no...temptation...to feed on my own help.”

The Doctor scoffed. “And I'm supposed to congratulate you for that?”

“I do not need your congratulations, Lord Doctor. I merely hope that you can show some small amount of appreciation for the effort I have undertaken---”

At this, the Time Lord actually laughed. “Me, appreciate something you did.....I'm sorry, just....really?!

“The thought and preparation put into this plan of mine.....such intricacies are not to be taken lightly.”

“You'll forgive me if I find myself not caring about the 'intricacies' of your plan,” the Doctor shot back.

The smile on Dracula's lips was alarmingly thin. “The fact that you know about the Rondo of Blood, in and of itself, would have alarmed a lesser member of my kind...whether or not you 'care' is not my concern...though I am surprised that you are not more curious as to my knowledge of your kind.”

“What's to be surprised about?” the Doctor countered. “I know where your 'kind' got their abilities from....”

Dracula steepled his fingers. “I only hope your theory does not involve that useless crimson orb....”

“Never even heard of it before.....and even if I did, I wouldn't admit it to you.” The Doctor went to lean forward, only to move back when another “fleshed” clockwork droid, clad in the fading uniform of a butler from the 18th century, slowly moved towards him, placing an empty goblet on the table. “A mid-day buffet?” the Time Lord mused. “I was under the impression that you never drank....wine.” For a brief moment, the mental image of Emily admonishing him for using such an obvious joke filled his thoughts.

“As previously mentioned, Lord Doctor, I do find it necessary to take meals with guests from time to time.” The Count nodded as the clockwork butler placed another goblet in front of him. “You, as of now, are my guest---”

“So you're just going to wine and dine me to try and keep me from stopping you?” Another clockwork droid moved closer to the Doctor's chair, gesturing at the goblet as if offering to fill it; the Time Lord waved it away with a casual gesture. “You invite me here so I can spew exposition about how I know what your plans are, and all you're going to do is sit there and be condescending.....” His lips curled into a sneer. “I think you're going senile, Count.”

“Far from it, Lord Doctor. This battle of wits between us....I find it most amusing.”

The Doctor's sneer disappeared. “....amusing?”

“In this day and age, it is rather difficult for me to find any opponents truly worthy of my time. You, Lord Doctor, are the first true challenge I have faced in many a long year....” Dracula smiled again, as if the Doctor was an old friend. “...and a Time Lord, at that. I have long wished to encounter one of your kind.”

The smile turned sinister. “Of course, as I understand it....the feeling is far from mutual, for you.”

“Well, what can I say,” the Doctor replied, “all Time Lords have a sworn duty to kill vampires on sight...I only hope you'll forgive me if I decide to exercise that duty while I'm here.” There was no sarcasm in his words, now. “Then again, seeing as how you know so much about 'my kind', I'm sure you'll understand why...”

“Your people were at war with the 'Great Vampires',” Dracula stated. “It raged across the cosmos.....”

“And ended the lives of far too many Time Lords,” the Doctor finished. “It was before my time, but I learned all about it at the Academy---so why don't we just cut to the chase, and you can admit that you've usurped the position that would normally be held by a Great Vampire here on Earth?”

A low chuckle was the only reply Dracula gave.

“Oh, so I'm apparently a comedian, now?!” the Doctor spat. “Let me guess, you want to hear the one about 'what's the deal with airline food' next, or Who's On First---”

“No, no, Lord Doctor,” Dracula chortled, “you need not resort to telling such paltry jokes in my presence...but I am amused by your mentioning of the 'Great Vampire'.” He smiled again, his lips peeling back to reveal the dreaded fangs that had, more than likely, drained far too many innocents of their blood. “...you see, I actually met one of the so-called Great Vampires, hundreds of years ago...I suppose my expectations were far too high when I challenged the being....”

Another chuckle sent a chill down the Doctor's spine. “....and I was quite surprised with how easily it died.
-----------------------------------------------------

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Re: Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 3

Postby DukeNukem 2417 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:23 pm

“.....so, Chief Inspector. You're....calmer, now....”

Emma's mention of Lauden's mood did little to improve it. “Calmer,” he repeated. “We're in the parking lot of a garden center, while my best sergeant is inside buying wooden stakes in bulk so that we can hunt down and kill vampires in Whitby, and you notice that I appear to be 'calmer' now than I was before.”

“....I was trying to ease the tension!” Emma countered. “It's....how do you make small talk at a time like this?!”

“I didn't think small talk was a priority,” Lauden countered. “Seeing as how there are vampires in---”

“In Ealing, I GET IT.” Emma groaned. “Can you blame me for wanting things to be normal?!”

Lauden glanced at her, then back at the garden center. “You'll forgive me if I find 'normal' to be 'off the menu' in a time like this,” he muttered. “All of those things Dani.....Sergeant Tomlinson mentioned, before we all left headquarters....”

“You said you'd handed over tax records, though,” Emma reminded him. “When they wanted the files---”

“I did hand over the tax records,” Lauden replied. “And I thought they'd never twig to it....for weeks, it looked like I was right.” He turned away. “Then the calls started coming in, about the inquiry. Their inquiry, regarding possible malfeasance in office at the Ealing police department. It stonewalled our investigation of the clinic, and the only thing that kept the department from getting dragged through the mud was the first of the Vampire Murders....” He glanced at Emma. “....not that anyone at the department was celebrating, of course.”

“I'd hope they weren't.”

Lauden nodded. “The inquiry was only dropped because the clinic had no proof that we were, to quote them directly, displaying undue prejudice against their methods of operation. The....the disappearances were put on the back burner, so to speak, right after the first murder was reported....and after the second, and the third, we just sort of....forgot. The whole department did.” He bowed his head. “Not exactly one of our finest moments, in retrospect.”

“No kidding...” Emma leaned over the divider between her seat and Lauden's. “So the inquiries aren't on, anymore?” she inquired. “Or are they so thick that they're still going through with them now?”

“They're on hold until the murders are solved,” Lauden replied.

Emma nodded. “...so, if the murders aren't solved?”

“That,” Lauden breathed, “is a question my department has been trying not to ask ever since this buisiness with Dracula first began....no officer is willing to contemplate just what might happen if the case is allowed to go cold, mainly because that would mean letting Dracula, well....win.” He drummed his fingers on the dashboard, sighing. “That tirade, from Sergeant Tomlinson.....it reminded me of everything that's at stake here. I've been with the department for a good portion of my life, and I never expected anything like this to happen....”

A ding cut him off---Sergeant Tomlinsom, carrying a bundle of wooden rods and looking thoroughly cross, was walking out of the garden center. “...wasn't she supposed to get stakes?” Emma whispered.

Lauden's intended reply was cut off by Danielle flinging the rear passenger's side door open and dumping the wooden rods in. “Apparently, we have to sharpen these into stakes back at HQ,” she snapped, taking her seat and slamming the car door behind her. “Someone bought up all the actual stakes a few weeks ago, and paid in cash—and the sod behind the counter, 'just doing his job' or not, ought to be hauled in for questioning and a charge of obstructing an active police investigation---he never even gave me a name!”

“....Sergeant,” Lauden began, “first of all---”

He managed to not wither under Danielle's glare. “I was just going to thank you for buying the rods,” he quickly added, “and offer to help sharpen them into stakes as soon as we get back to HQ.”

“....fair enough. Can we just---”

“Sergeant......Danielle.” Lauden took a breath. “.....what you said, back at headquarters. You made a lot of very good, very valid points, about what's been going on. Sometimes....” He glanced at her, hoping not to see any traces of the anger from her tirade at the police building. “....sometimes, we---I forget the bigger picture of things. When the Clinic filed the inquiry against us, I....I shifted my focus the wrong way.”

Danielle stared at him. “....and you're mentioning this now.....why?”

“Because we may not get a better chance for it! This....this Dracula business....” Lauden turned away. “It's all maddening. Before this, it was just chav riots, the occasional burglary, maybe a domestic case every once in a while....and now we're dealing with vampires, and clockwork people and all of this...” He gave a brief, half-hearted chuckle. “This is the first 'lull' we've had since this business with Dracula started, and we barely have enough time to gather our resources and form anything resembling a plan.....”

Emma nodded her agreement. “It's been pretty much 'go here, do a thing, back to HQ, go somewhere else to do another thing' ever since the Doctor and I got here....mind you, I never was a fan of the sedentary life.”

After a few seconds' pause, Danielle nodded. “This is a lot less annoying than just sitting around, waiting for Dracula to do something,” she admitted. “I just wish we knew more about what the Doctor was---” A loud, quite sudden ticking from her pocket interrupted her; Emma thought she saw a look of panic on the sergeant's face, for a brief moment, but Lauden's remark caught her attention: “What in the name of sanity is that noise?!”

“...the watch, the fob watch!” Danielle retrieved the Doctor's watch from her pocket, staring intently at the screen. “I can't read....wait, hang on...the circles all over the screen are....changing?!”

“Let me see....” Emma leaned in. “.....it's perfect English!”

“More than that, it's coordinates....” Lauden glanced at the watch, then retrieved a notepad and pen from the glovebox. “Astounding---and you said this fog that rolled in, it was impossible to see through, yes?”

“Like a wall of mist all around us.” Danielle shivered. “Horrible.”

“....well, whatever it was, it's not impeding the Doctor at all now!” Lauden jotted down the coordinates from the watch, nodding. “He's telling us exactly where we need to....” His words trailed off as a new set of coordinates appeared on the watch face. “.....that's the church,” he breathed. “St. Hilda's church---he wants us to meet up with Wyngarde and Ruthven!”

Emma stared at the watch, dumbfounded. “How the hell is he sending all of this to a watch?!”

The coordinates to the church briefly faded, replaced by two words: Emma, language.

“OI, don't tell me off while you're not even here! How are you even---”

Time Lord technology. Faster than psychic paper, works at longer range....but only in short bursts. This will be my last message for a while. Anything further, Dracula might twig.

“Psychic paper?” Danielle muttered, frowning. “What kind of---”

“It doesn't matter. We know what we have to do now, and where we need to go....Emma?”

“I was kind of thinking you'd want to drive your own car, Chief Inspector...” Emma sighed. “But if I must...”

Even as the police car pulled out of the parking lot, Lauden was going over the information the Doctor had transmitted to the watch. “Remind me to thank him for giving you that watch when we meet up with him again,” he mused, glancing at Danielle. “That thing is a miracle of technology!”

“Let's just hope he's in a condition to appreciate your gratitude when we meet up with him again, sir.” Danielle wasn't smiling. “Leaving him with Dracula.....I just have a bad feeling about it. I mean, what if something goes pear-shaped and Dracula tries to turn him into a vampire or something?”

“Can Time Lords even become vampires?” Emma wondered. “I mean, he is an alien, after all...”

Lauden waved the question aside. “Hopefully, we won't have to worry about it any time soon. We have a job to do, and very little time in which to get it done...I just hope Ruthven and Wyngarde were able to procure their resources without any problems.” He glanced out the window, frowning. “I never thought we would have to do anything of this magnitude....using church resources to battle vampires....”

“It's a better option than what that Lindsay girl was doing,” Emma replied. “That 'Lee Hoy Fung Ro Chock' stuff was just....where did she even read that?!”

“Was she still yelling that after Dracula left?” Danielle asked.

“Honestly, I was trying to ignore her the entire time....pretty sure everyone else was, too.” Emma rolled her eyes at the thought. “Honestly, how does anyone put up with her?”

“Quesitons for later,” Lauden replied. “Right now....we have more important business to attend to.”

Danielle nodded. “Let's hope Wyngarde and Ruthven are tending to their business as well....”
------------------------------
“You know, a few decades ago,” Sarah Jane Smith mused, “this kind of thing would've been considered to be blasphemous. Some people might still think it is.”

“Then they're thinking wrong,” Ruthven muttered, “and wasting their time. What we're doing might be one of the only ways we can stand against Dracula without being destroyed.” He handed a wooden box to Father Wyngarde. “They know nothing of blasphemy.”

“You would do well to remember that blasphemy is the least of our problems,” Father Wyngarde interjected.

Janos nodded silently, handing over another box.

“....so, how exactly did you two, ah, meet?” Sarah Jane inquired. “A priest and a vampire.....it sounds a bit like the setup for a bad joke---no offense to either of you, of course.”

Janos scowled, but Father Wyngarde merely chuckled. “The circumstances of our meeting were a bit strange,” he admitted. “I had been a...consultant, for lack of a better term, on supernatural matters for the better part of a decade when the Church asked that I investigate a holy site connected to the order that had found and sheltered Janos so long ago. There were very few members of it left, when I reached the place...Janos himself was prepared to give his life in their defense.” He glanced at the ring bearing the stylized figure 8; “When I explained my reason for visiting them,” he continued, “they saw fit to induct me into their ranks.”

“They died soon after,” Janos muttered. “The building collapsed in the night....they weren't able to escape.”

Sarah Jane felt a wave of sympathy towards the vampire. “I'm so sorry to hear that...losing them to a natural disaster so soon...” A shudder ran throug her. “So you started traveling with Father Wyngarde after he was inducted into the order?”

“I had no choice,” Janos snapped. “The monastary was gone...I had nothing left.”

“Losing the monastary was a tragedy,” Wyngarde agreed, “but staying there would have drawn the forces of Dracula towards you. They would have resumed the fight their master began, and innocent blood would have been spilled....” He shook his head. “Leaving was the only safe choice.”

Janos said nothing. He could barely even glance in the priest's direction.

“So what's the plan for beating Dracula now?” Sarah Jane inquired.

“It isn't so much about 'beating' him,” Father Wyngarde replied, “as it is sealing his power away. As evil and destructive as he is, Dracula has had many followers over the centuries...many have tried to resurrect him or raise him to suit their own malicious intentions. Fortunately, many have risen to the challenge of confronting and fighting him....the novel, Dracula, was a remarkably accurate depiction of the first historically-recorded effort to destroy the Count.”

Sarah Jane arched an eyebrow. “'Effort'? They killed him at the end of the story, didn't they?”

Father Wyngarde gave her a bemused stare. “The novel does, indeed, end with the demise of Count Dracula, Miss Smith....but obviously, his story did not end there. As previously mentioned, many have tried to resurrect Dracula for their own purposes....his defeat in the 1890s was far from the end.”

“It should have been his end,” Janos muttered. “He should have been obliterated---”

“In any event,” Father Wyngarde stated, “our goal is to keep Dracula from regaining any further power, and to seal away what power he already has.”

“.....makes sense to me.” Sarah Jane nodded. “And how exactly do we....seal away his power?”

“If I didn't know any better,” Janos cut in, “I'd say you were asking far too many questions.”

“I'm a journalist,” Sarah Jane countered. “Asking questions is part of my job. Believe me, the first I heard of this Dracua business was when the Doctor came barging into my hotel room and hid in the toilet---don't think for a second that I'm 'colluding' with the unholy forces of the night!”

Janos stared at her, surprised at the outburst.

“The Doctor has vouched for Miss Smith,” Father Wyngarde assured him. “Just as I have given my word that you can be trusted, Janos....the cause that unites us is our battle against the Count.”

The only reply Janos gave was a curt nod.

“So now that we're all in agreement that sealing away Dracula's power is a good thing,” Sarah Jane mused, “let's get back to the matter of how we seal his power away....”

“It is far easier said than done, Miss Smith,” Father Wyngarde replied, examining the contents of an ornate wooden box. “Symbols of belief, on their own, will be enough to ward off any vampires under his thrall, but nothing short of a blessed relic can affect Dracula himself. His age, experience and cunning are not to be taken lightly...his powers, unholy though they may be, have only increased with the passage of time, and allowing him to perform the Rondo of Blood at the grand opening of 'his' castle.....” He shuddered.

“And I'm guessing we can't just open a window and let the sun in to beat him, then,” Sarah Jane muttered.

Janos shook his head. “Sunlight would only be a mild irritant to him. He cannot be defeated as easily as those under his command....”

“But he can be defeated,” Wyngarde reminded him. “Even if only for a few centuries....”

“'Only' for a few centuries?” Sarah Jane echoed.

“Dracula has....existed, in his vampiric state of un-life, for far too long,” Father Wyngarde explained. “The last time any conscious effort was made to 'deal with' him was in 1999, the year many believed the world would meet its end. I was one of many chosen to seal away Dracula's power and banish him from this realm, and for a time, I thought the effort had been successful....”

A low, quiet hiss cut him off---Janos was staring at the door.

“....why's he doing that?” Sarah Jane quietly asked. “Is something---”

“The confessional, Miss Smith. Now.” Father Wyngarde's stare was locked on the door, now.

“.....is this really a good time for---”

“I've hidden a weapon under the pew on my side of the booth....considering what's probably on the other side of that door, it could very well mean the difference between our survival and our death.”

“But we're, ah, kind of stuck in here, and the confessional is---” Sarah Jane's remarks trailed off when she realized that Janos was no longer in the room.

“He turned into mist,” Father Wyngarde explained. “It helped him to slip under the door---”

“But we're in a church!” Sarah Jane insisted. “I thought vampires weren't---”

From the other side of the storeroom door, the very audible sounds of whirring and ticking could be heard.

“Not all of Dracula's minions are of his own kind, Miss Smith.” There was something...unsettling in Father Wyngarde's tone. “The beings on the other side of the door were human, once....until even that was taken from them. They are but constructs....clockwork people, wearing human flesh.”

Sarah Jane felt a chill run up her spine. “What?!

The ratcheting of gears, followed by a heavy “thud” against the door, drowned out whatever Father Wyngarde could've said in reply. Several more “thuds” followed, each one preceeded by that incessant whirring and ticking.

“So they're....robots, then?” Sarah Jane quietly asked. “What do clockwork robots have to do with Dracula?”

“You remember the stories about the Ilhousen Clinic?” Father Wyngarde inquired. “All the disappearances?”

The mention of the “disappearances” prompted a horrified gasp from Sarah Jane. “No....”

“Just stay close,” Father Wyngarde advised. “Attack them with anything at hand, if need be.”

“And if we don't have anything 'at hand'?”

Father Wyngarde's reply was cut off by a yell from outside the room, and the muffled sounds of shattering clockwork. A few seconds of this passed before the door was flung open, revealing Janos Ruthven clouting one of the clockwork droids across the head with its own arm. “I think we may need to leave,” he informed Wyngarde, smacking the downed droid one final time.

“That's putting it mildly, Janos....but I see your point.” Father Wyngarde nodded. “Did you—-”

“Ah, before we get too far into this little game of 20 Questions,” Sarah Jane cut in, “I need to make a call...”
------------------------------
-......and what kind of wonderful, terrifying horrors am I going to be dealing with now,” Lauden muttered, sighing as he went for his phone. “Chief Inspector Lauden here, what---”

It's Sarah Jane Smith. There's been a.....situation, at Saint Hilda's.”

“And what kind of 'situation' was there?” Lauden ignored the stares from Emma and Danielle.

These...clockwork people. Robots, wearing human skin. They broke into the church, tried to attack us....

Emma's eyes went wide, and Danielle was noticeably tearing up even as she focused on the road. “....you're sure they were clockwork?” Lauden inquired. “Not just vampires, or—-”

On the other end of the line, the phone changed hands. “They were constructs, Chief Inspector. We saw.

“I can assume all of you made it out intact, then....is the church still intact, Father?”

Other than a broken lock and maybe a shattered pew, everything's fine....Janos destroyed most of the droids on the way back from the confessional---”

“Why 'most' of them?!” Danielle snapped. “Why couldn't he have taken them all down?!”

The pause at the other end of the line was broken by the phone changing hands again. “One of them escaped before I could reach it.

“.....and the rest were completely destroyed?”
------------------------------
“To the best of my ability, Chief Inspector. None of them have even tried getting back up.”

Father Wyngarde sighed. “Not the time for bragging about your exploits, Janos....”

Sarah Jane nodded for Janos to give the phone back to her. “...we're done for now at the church, Lauden---we can go into more detail about all of this when we get back to your office.” She felt the unmoving limb of a droid touching her foot; “....and can we get someone out here to get rid of these things?” she quietly added, moving a few steps back.

I'll send a detail to clear out what's left of the droids in an hour or two---Danielle! What are you---

The phone was wrested from Lauden's grip on the other end of the line. “Whatever you do with the remains of those droids, don't leave even a single piece of them for anyone to recover!

“So they can be rebuilt and...reactivated, for lack of a better term?” Father Wyngarde inquired.

Worse. I'll tell you back at headquarters.”

“Fair enough, Sergeant. We're leaving now.” Father Wyngarde sighed as he returned Sarah Jane's phone to her. “I suppose we should be on our way, then....let the police dispose of---Janos, what are you doing?

“She said not to leave a single piece of them to be recovered,” Janos replied, grabbing a heavy statue of the church's patron saint. “I intend to follow her advice---and if the statue is destroyed in the process, you have my humble apologies.” He stood over a downed clockwork droid, lifting the statue above his head....and, as Sarah Jane and Father Wyngarde watched, smashed the construct's “skull” with it, repeatedly, until the head was reduced to a mess of torn flesh, metal and glass. “Miss Smith...I may need help removing the heads of the rest of these infernal constructs.....”

Sarah Jane rolled her eyes. “My life just gets weirder and weirder.....”
-----------------------------------------------------

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Re: Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 3

Postby DukeNukem 2417 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:26 pm

“You know, you can quit smiling at me like that. It's not doing you any favors.”

The Doctor's remark did little to phase Dracula. “My apologies, Lord Doctor....I merely find that the memory of killing a Great Vampire is one of my crowning achievements. It might be somewhat understandable to---”

“Yeah, about that.” The Doctor gave a brief chuckle, adjusting his glasses as he stared down the Count. “I've seen what a Great Vampire can do to an entire human colony....and it's not pretty. For that matter, I've seen what they look like, so---”

“You believe a mere humanoid like myself could not possibly destroy one of them?” Dracula mused.

“.....something along those lines.”

“I would be disappointed in your lack of faith in my abilities, Lord Doctor,” the Count admitted, swirling the wine in his goblet, “but given your people's storied history in dealing with my kind....” He smiled. “....a baseless prejudice is only natural.” He raised the glass to his lips, taking a sip. “The Great Vampire I killed---you might say I 'banished' or 'vanquished' it, but let us not argue semantics for now---”

A scoff from the other end of the table cut him off. “....you find this amusing, Lord Doctor?”

“The fact that you keep saying you killed a Great Vampire is somewhat hilarious to me,” the Doctor replied, “if only because it's not possible for you to have killed one---”

“Because the Great Vampires were massive, humanoid/bat hybrid creatures that required Gallifreyan Bowships to kill? Because I, the great Vlad Tepes Dracula, am but a 'mere vampire,' incapable of destroying such a dangerous creature on my own?!” A chuckle punctuated the Count's inquiry. “Your continued belief in my ignorance of your kind and their history with the Great Vampires is...amusing, Lord Doctor, but it will prove to be your undoing.”

“....so you have seen one. And killed one, according to...well, you.”

Dracula scoffed. “You doubt the veracity of my claims?”

“Even if you've seen a Great Vampire, and even if you know how to kill one, that doesn't mean you, personally, did the deed yourself.” The Doctor scowled. “For all I know, you let your underlings do all the work---”

The Count's laugh filled the chamber.

“...you find that funny?” the Time Lord inquired. “Or is senility finally kicking in---”

“Do you honestly believe,” Dracula cut in, “that I would leave the task of slaying a Great Vampire to those who serve me? No, Lord Doctor.....I can assure you, the Great Vampire was slain by my hand, and no other---”

“I'd say 'pics or it didn't happen', but you probably didn't have so much as a Polaroid on hand.” The Doctor managed a grin. “Must be a pain, trying to do so much at once---keeping your 'empire' under control, getting a grasp on the latest and greatest of modern technology, using a free clinic to turn an entire homeless population into nothing more than skinsuits for clockwork droids, pillaging historical British landmarks to build 'your' new castle, allegedly killing a Great Vampire—-”

“Your pathetic attempts at discrediting me will do you no favors, Lord Doctor.” Dracula's stare settled on the Time Lord from across the table. “A Great Vampire did, in fact, die by my hand. I need not prove it to you.”

“....fair enough.” The Doctor shrugged. “If you think you did it, then you---”

Another clockwork droid approached, placing a covered tray onto the table.

“.....a relic from the Great Vampire, right? I'm supposed to lift this up, be horrified at what's under it, and then put it back down again, quickly.....” The Doctor carefully lifted the cover off of the tray, half-expecting a swarm of rats to charge at him from beneath it.....only to glimpse a dessicated husk with wispy strands trailing out of its tail end.

“The only part of the Great Vampire I was able to claim as a trophy was one of the eyes,” Dracula informed him, as casually as if he were talking about hunting wild boar or some other game. “It fought to the end.”

The Doctor stared, silently, at the withered and dried out eyeball, before lowering the cover onto the tray.

“Its heart, of course, had been destroyed by the bowship,” the Count continued. “The brain was of no use to me, nor were the other organs...the rest of its remains were consumed by---”

“Enough.” The Doctor practically spat the word. “So you did, in fact, kill a Great Vampire. Whoop-de-doo.”

Again, Dracula smiled. “Your attempts to feign apathy at my feat, Lord Doctor, are most amusing....but in the end, futile. I know that---”

“What you know and what I care about are two entirely different things.”

The unwavering stare of the Time Lord was met and matched by the Count's steely gaze. “....you are quite a remarkable specimen, Lord Doctor,” Dracula intoned. “The hypnotic powers of a vampire are known, far and wide, to be formidable....yet you appear to be almost entirely immune....”

“I've had time to practice.” The ghost of a smirk appeared on the Doctor's lips. “A lot of time.”

“....truly remarkable. I find it rare to meet someone who can lay any claim to being my equal, Lord Doctor....in my lifetime, true rivals....truly worthy opponents...are a rare find indeed.” The Count nodded, gesturing to one of the clockwork droids near his side of the table. “Do not, however, make the mistake that my respect means you will be spared, Lord Doctor....all who stand against me must, and will, be destroyed.” He gestured at the clockwork droid again, signalling it to refill his goblet. “You know of the Rondo of Blood, of my connection to the Ilhousen Clinic, and the fact that I have killed a Great Vampire. Any human who knew these facts would already be dead---”

“So the fact that I'm not of this Earth is the only reason I'm alive right now.” The Doctor rolled his eyes. “Chalk another victory up to being an alien.....”

“You cannot deceive me, Lord Doctor. Your feeble attempts to sound unimpressed...a human might be fooled by your chicanery, but one such as myself....” Again, the deep, throaty chuckle of Dracula filled the chamber, rebounding off the walls. “I hear the beats of your hearts, Doctor. Your lies break against me like waves crashing against the eternal shore....”

He leaned forward, his voice dropping to a whisper: “....you are terrified that my plans will succeed.”

“Well, so much for my career as an actor.” The Doctor still sounded unimpressed....but even to his own ears, it was hollow. “Yes. I'm absolutely terrified that your plans will succeed. Terrified that you're still....here.....”

Behind his glasses, his eyes narrowed to slits. “....and yes, I'm terrified of you, Vlad Tepes Dracula.”

Even as Dracula began to smile again, the Doctor continued. “Any Time Lord would be terrified of you. We were taught, from our first days at the Academy, that vampires are foul creatures---beasts, to be hunted down and killed. That stunt with the curtain, back at the hotel, was me testing the waters....I figured a vampire of 'significantly advanced age' wouldn't be killed by sunlight...”

He took a deep breath. “....but make no mistake. I will find a way to stop you, and I will kill you if I have to.”

“And you will not simply kill me now?” Dracula replied. “My acolytes will not intervene, I will order all of my clockwork constructs to stand down.....if you truly wish to kill me---”

“That's not the way I do things. You don't just hand me a shot at killing you, and expect me to fall for it.”

“....you haven't touched your goblet, Lord Doctor,” Dracula mused. “I must insist that you take a small taste, to at least appreciate the vintage....”

The Doctor rolled his eyes. “So because you didn't do the 'I never drink....wine' thing, you expect me to?”

“I expect you to indulge my hospitality. I would be most offended---”

“And you expect me to care?!” The Doctor rose from his chair, ignoring the clockwork droids on either side of him (and the slightly unnerving fact that they had approached without being heard). “The fact that my refusing to drink a glass of wine offered by a genocidal hedon like yourself would be hilarious if it weren't so vulgar, so forgive me---actually, even if you don't, I won't care either way---but anyway, pardon me if I decide that I don't really feel like indulging your 'hospitality'---”

“I insist,” Dracula intoned. “The smallest taste, if you would be so kind....”

“Not until you call off your toys,” the Doctor replied. “Tell them to back off, and then I'll consider it.”

Without turning away from the Time Lord, Dracula gestured with one hand; the clockwork droid at the Doctor's left side took three steps back from him.

“The other one, too. I don't want any funny business---as a matter of fact, get them to leave the room.”

Even as he glared at the Doctor, Dracula gestured again---the clockwork droid that had already moved away from the Doctor was now turning away from the table and heading for the door, while the other droid stiffly turned away and followed it.

“I have sent the help away, Lord Doctor, as you requested....now, will you---”

All of them.” The Doctor wasn't smiling. “You think I'm stupid, or something? Send out the ones you hid.”

His lips parted in a faint growl, but still, Dracula's stare never faltered. “You have heard the Doctor's request, and I order you all to abide by it....leave this chamber, at once.”

All around the room---from behind drapes, columns and shadowy alcoves, about a dozen or so more clockwork droids stiffly made their way towards the nearest available exit. Neither the Doctor nor Dracula chose to watch them leave---Time Lord and vampire king stared each other down from opposite ends of the table, as the last of the mechanical servants in the room shuffled out.

The doors leading into the dining room closed---and locked---behind it shortly after.

“Now, Lord Doctor....” A faint smile returned to Dracula's lips. “I have done as you requested---”

“You can stop acting like you don't want to tear my throat out. I know you've wanted to sink your teeth into my jugular ever since we first met.” The Doctor's lips twitched, in the ghost of a smirk. “You're nowhere near as good at this masquerade as you'd like everyone to believe....”

“There is no masquerade here, Lord Doctor. It is my honest hope that you would sample the vintage of my native Wallachia, and savor its rich taste.....”

Dracula's lips parted in a genuine, malicious smile. “....the night, after all, is still very young.”
-----------------------------------------------------

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Re: Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 3

Postby DukeNukem 2417 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:29 pm

“So, you were able to take them all apart? Down to the wires and bolts?”

Danielle's insistent questioning earned her an annoyed glance from Janos Ruthven. “For the record, I was able to dismantle those infernal automatons with ease...once the heads were removed, they simply stopped trying to fight back.” He glanced at the row of sharpened wooden dowels on the nearby desk. “I take it you have no intention to use one of those on me?”

“Unless Dracula turns you to his side---”

“I would advise you to not follow that line of thinking, Sergeant Tomlinson,” Father Wyngarde suggested. “In case the Doctor hasn't told you, Janos Ruthven is no friend of Vlad Tepes Dracula.”

“None of us are,” Lauden sighed. “We all want this to be over with.”

Wyngarde gave him a look. “It's a bit more complicated than that, Chief Inspector.....”

“Oh, stop it,” Emma groaned. “We all hate Dracula, Dracula's a monster and has to die, WE GET IT. Can we go without the bravado and posturing between a chief inspector and a semi-retired priest, of all people?!”

Wyngarde and Lauden turned to stare at her---one amused, the other looking rather cross.

“Posturing?” Lauden echoed.

“Bravado?” Wyngarde chuckled.

“There are other words I could use to describe it,” Emma replied, “but seeing as how in the presence of a man of the cloth, I'd rather not.”

Danielle shook her head. “We're preparing to do battle with Dracula, and I have to put up with this....”

Janos moved to stand between Emma, Lauden and Wyngarde, but Emma just threw her hands up and turned away. “I was hoping to get through this without any of the Rambo bollocks,” she stated. “Without any one person trying to act like they know everything about what's going on, because clearly, none of us do.”

“I might,” Sarah Jane offered---earning herself an instant death glare from Emma.

“Not really the best time to chime in with that,” Danielle mused.

“No, I mean, I may have just found out a lot more about everything we're dealing with!” Sarah Jane insisted. “I did some digging on the connections between the Ilhousen Clinic and Dracula---or whatever fake baronage he was going by at the time...unless I'm sorely mistaken, either he or his supporters have been making massive donations to similar projects for decades!” She gestured for everyone else in the room to take a look at the laptop she'd been using. “None of the clinics ever made it to opening night,” she explained, “for one reason or another....the money just dried up before they could get that far.”

Danielle took a closer look. “Or they were shuttered due to kidnapping charges---three in the United States, on opposite coasts and in the middle of the continent.”

Janos scowled. “Of all the clinics Dracula has sponsored, why would this one succeed where the rest failed?”

“Protests, more than likely---most of which were from established medical institutions in the area.” Sarah Jane navigated through a few more screens. “Inspections of the prospective clinics revealed substandard working conditions, among other things....”

She clicked to another screen, and nearly everyone else in the room recoiled.

“......and in once case, they tried to start the same operation they have going here before they bothered to get a permit,” she finished, grimacing at the image on the screen before them. “Needless to say, various law enforcement officials did their best to hide the details from the public---”

“Oh, a cover-up, now?” Emma drawled. “Just brilliant....”

Sarah Jane frowned. “You really think anyone wanted to see that on the evening news?”

“.....okay, you have a point---wait, hang on, aren't you a journalist?”

“Even I know when to not get involved for the good of the public. Something like that---” Sarah Jane gestured at the screen. “---would cause an instant moral panic....especially if the details weren't known. That picture is from....” Her eyes widened. “Good God, 1996!”

Father Wyngarde bowed his head. “Three years before the attempt to seal Dracula's power....”

“And nobody at the time knew that Dracula was connected to...that,” Lauden realized. “It would've looked like the work of a serial killer, or some kind of.....I don't even want to think of it.....” He turned away. “That kind of carnage.....what possible explanation could they have come up with for it?!”

“Exactly.” Sarah Jane navigated away from the horrific image. “The only reason nobody thought it was a serial killer was because it was just the one case....or the one case that was recorded.” She shook her head. “With what we all know about what it is we're dealing with....what we're fighting.....could you imagine how much wose it would've been if they had tried to pursue that one case as a possible serial killer? A single police department against Dracula....without the resources and knowledge we have now....”

Nobody in the room spoke. They all knew exactly what kind of massacre would've taken place.

“....this, right now, is on us,” Sarah Jane continued. “It's up to us to stop Dracula. All of us.”

“And the Doctor,” Emma reminded her. “Hell, he's facing Dracula right now....probably.”

“The fob watch he gave me is still active,” Danielle mused. “I don't know if it does anything if he's in trouble, but he gave it to me for....some reason.”

“Can we use it to track him?” Lauden inquired. “You two were transported right to Dracula's castle, after all---”

“In a fog,” Danielle replied. “The roads we should've been on....they just weren't there. It was....I can't even begin to explain it.....”

Lauden exchanged a worried look with Father Wyngarde. “This....fog.....it changed the roads?”

“It was like the roads weren't there. No matter which direction we were going in.....we ended up at the castle.”

Wyngarde frowned. “It's not unheard of for vampires to have control over mists, or to turn into them...but to be able to use such a fog, or a mist, to take someone from one location to another? This...is new.”

“It's also like something out of a horror movie,” Sarah Jane added.

“It was no movie,” Danielle countered. “The Doctor and I were driving....he told me not to deviate from my present course. Not to change direction....he knew the mist was taking us to Dracula! I told him that if we didn't turn, we'd hit something....but he just told me to drive, like the mist wasn't there....” She shook her head at the thought. “And the bats, at one point....there were bats, flying overhead....”

“More than likely, Dracula was among them,” Janos scowled. “Making sure he had the right target.”

“So then he teleported them to the castle?” Emma finished. “Doesn't make a lot of sense to me....he could've had them drive off a bridge---”

“His ego would never allow it,” Father Wyngarde replied. “He'd rather finish them off himself.”

“And he was content with sending his clockwork droids after us?” Lauden mused. “A bit...inconsistent....”

“Consistency is the least of our problems. The Doctor is in enemy territory, for lack of a better term, and we have no way of knowing where this enemy territory is.” Wyngarde gestured for Danielle to hand him the fob watch the Doctor had given her. “Then again, we may have more than enough help in locating him by means of this device.”

“And how is a watch going to help us find him?” Emma drawled. “It's not like we can find out where Dracula's castle is just from looking at the time....anyway, how hard could it be to find a castle out here?”

Lauden and Wyngarde both frowned at her.

“Ah, not to call attention away from the whole 'Dracula' thing,” Sarah Jane cut in, “but the intercom on the table is beeping rather frantically....” She gestured to the device in question. “Chief Inspector....?”

After a few seconds of silence, Lauden sighed. “Give me a moment.” He gestured for Danielle to follow him.

“So, back to the 'how do we find the Doctor' question....” Emma cleared her throat, just as the door closed. “If we can't use the watch to locate him, and the castle he's in isn't on the map at all...I don't want to be the 'doom and gloom' one here, but---”

“There is,” Father Wyngarde stated, “one method we could use....”

“No,” Janos intoned. “You said yourself that the Church might not forgive you---”

“If they find out, then I will tell them the truth: we had no other option. Risking excommunication is far less of a horrific fate to me than finding the Doctor's corpse---”

“He'll know you're after him,” Janos insisted. “He'll send his followers to kill you!”

“Then he will be sending them to their own destruction.”

This could kill you!

Father Wyngarde took a deep breath. “....if it is my time to depart this life,” he murmured, “and enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.....then so be it---”

The door to the conference room flew open, revealing Lauden, Danielle and a nervous-looking man clad in a disheveled set of clothing. “Danielle, tell them,” Lauden stated, before ushering the man out of the room and speaking to him in quiet, “professional” tones. “We may have a lead on the Doctor's location,” Danielle explained, just as the door closed behind her. “That man out there is a tourist....on holiday here with his niece, who as of a day or two ago, went missing. She was trying to get to a youth hostel, to meet up with a friend she'd made via online chat....”

“But she found herself in the wrong part of town,” Sarah Jane finished, holding up her phone to reveal a scene of horror. “Building full of squatters, all of whom died fighting something---three guesses as to what. Evidence shows signs that there was one other person in the building....how old was the gentleman's neice? Or did he not mention her age--”

“Eighteen. But---”

“And did he mention anything about a necklace? Black chord, with a cross emblem?”

Danielle's eyes widened.

“It pays to have a police-band scanner in the car,” Sarah Jane mused, fighting the urge to smirk. “They found the necklace with the discarded property of the, shall we say, 'waste-oids', and filed it under lost and found---”

“So you're saying she's with Dra---” Emma's declaration was cut short by a glare from Janos. “.....she's with, well, him?” she finished, her voice at a half-whisper. “How exactly are we supposed to tell the poor sod out there what happened to her?!”

“We're not,” Danielle quickly replied.

“It's a bit late for that....” Sarah Jane swiped her thumb across the phone's screen, showing a missing-persons flier. “I would've mentioned it earlier, but there were slightly more pressing matters at hand...she's got to know by now that there's an active search out for her.”

“....so we're using her uncle to find Dracula?” Emma inquired. “A bit cynical....”

“I'll put in a call for the necklace to be brought out of Evidence, then.” Danielle retrieved her phone. “I do have one question, though---”

“How I found out all the details?” Sarah Jane replied. “A good working relationship with the police.”

“And you're sure that's all it was?”

Emma's question earned her a glare from Sarah Jane. “For the record---”

“Can I assume that this latest idea means none of you would be willing to try my method?” Father Wyngarde mused. “Or should I go about preparing for it---”

A beep from Danielle's phone cut him off. “They'll give us the necklace,” she informed the group.

“And we can give that to the uncle and have him get the neice back?” Emma replied.

“More than likely. If not, we're back to square one....unless Father Wyngarde still wants to try his idea---”

The door to the conference room was flung open again. “...and we'll call you as soon as we find out anything, sir.” Lauden nodded, before turning his attention to the other occupants of the room. “.....so, how exactly do we go about finding the Doctor, and.....” He glanced over his shoulder, taking a step back to close the door before he continued. “.....and, by proxy, Dracula?”

“That man who just left,” Sarah Jane replied. “We think Dracula took his neice.”

“You think?”

Sarah Jane nodded to Danielle. “The necklace he mentioned....it was apparently found in a building full of squatters, all of whom were.....well....”

“Dead?” Lauden prompted, massaging the bridge of his nose.

“Try 'massacred',” Sarah Jane corrected. “As in 'barely enough left for a closed-casket funeral'. They kept it out of the news.....”

“Right.” The Chief Inspector sighed. “And we're going to use this to find Dracula?”

“We could, conceivably, appeal to the girl to meet her uncle here,” Father Wyngard stated. “That still leaves us with the question of what to do when she arrives here, and how we go about obtaining Dracula's location from her....those in his thrall aren't particularly known for their willingness to betray him.”

“We ask nicely and hope she decides to help,” Emma suggested. “It can't be that difficult....”

Again, Wyngarde frowned. “More than likely, it'll be far more difficult than just asking politely. The enthralling influence of a vampire is far more difficult to shake off than most believe.”

“So what would we accomplish by bringing her here if we can't get any information out of her?”

“We'd be getting her away from Dracula, for one thing,” Lauden reminded her. “If Father Wyngarde can figure out how to reverse her condition---”

“You give me far too much credit,” Wyngarde chuckled. “If curing vamprism were as easy as treating any other disease, the ranks of Dracula's undead army would be depleted in days....” His expression turned grim. “I'm afraid there is no easy way to save a soul from the horror of vampirism...granted, I do have the tools of the Church at my disposal, and if I so needed, could invoke their blessing for any method that might restore the girl to life.....or at the very least, allow her to die as a child of God, instead of a foul undead.”

Emma's eyes widened, and Danielle turned away at the mention of “foul undead”.

“So you're saying it's impossible to save her?” Sarah Jane inquired.

“Far from it. If, however, she is too far gone, letting her die as a human being would be the only option we would have left. Vampirism is complex...and needless to say, the Church has reservations about disseminating information related to it to the general public.”

“They don't want a panic on their hands,” Sarah Jane reasoned. “Fair enough---”

“I would hardly call it 'fair',” Janos muttered. “The girl is either doomed to serve Dracula for eternity, or to be 'cured' at the cost of her own life. Even if she could be saved, Dracula would more than likely target her for death for the rest of her life---or try to turn her again.”

“He wouldn't go that far....would he?”

Janos stared at Emma, as if the question she'd asked was the stupidest thing he'd ever heard.

“......right, sorry. I, ah....sorry.” She couldn't quite meet his gaze, even as she apologized.

“A minor error of memory,” Father Wyngarde mused. “Nothing unforgivable. I suppose we should go about the task of getting the girl to meet us here, somehow, if we are in fact proceeding with that plan...”

Lauden nodded. “Miss Smith, Sergeant Tomlinson....”

Danielle nodded. “On it now, Chief Inspector.”

Sarah Jane merely shrugged. “....I'm with her, I guess....”

“Good. The sooner we find the girl, the sooner we can start to get a good idea of where Dracula's castle is....and probably, where the Doctor is, as well.” Lauden nodded. “And hopefully, before this is all over, we can figure out some way to turn her back into an ordinary human being....” He sighed. “I expected this week to be boring...I'd almost prefer boring, over this....”

“I think everyone here would prefer boring, over this,” Father Wyngarde replied. “Not that we have a choice...”
-----------------------------------------------------

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Re: Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 3

Postby DukeNukem 2417 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:38 pm

“Are you literally going to just stare at me until I drink this thing? Seriously, it's freaking creepy.....”

The Doctor had, for the better part of ten minutes, managed to stall for time and avoid drinking the glass of wine set out before him. Knocking it over, or pulling a “what's over there?” and dumping the wine out onto the floor, would've been preferable, but trying to think of new and exciting ways to tell Dracula “shut up, I'm not going to drink this stuff” was getting old.

“I have more than enough patience to deal with any hi jinx you may try to use to your advantage, Lord Doctor,” the Count informed him. “One way or another, you will drink---”

“Why? Why in the seven blue hells of Metebellis III would I bother, or want, to drink this?!” The Doctor nearly smashed both fists into the table, but managed to restrain himself. “There's a REALLY big difference between being a good host and being creepy as all Hell, and I don't think I need to tell you which side of the line you're on right now.”

Dracula steepled his fingers. “Lord Doctor, there is no possible way you could---”

“And this 'Lord Doctor' thing.....just stop. I don't know or care how you know everything that you know about my people, and even if you already told me and I forgot, I don't want to hear it again.”

“...as patient as I am, I must insist that you taste the wine, Doctor.” A thin smile appeared on the count's ruddy lips. “Unless, of course, the Time Lords have a far lower tolerance for alcoholic beverages than my studies indicated.....”

“.....you know what?! The Hell with it.” The Doctor stood up, snatching the goblet off of the table. “You want me to drink the wine, I'll drink the wine. If it'll shut you up, I'll drink it.” Without blinking, he put the goblet to his lips, threw his head back and---as Dracula stared at him---downed every last drop of wine in one gulp.

With the last drop of wine on his tongue, the Doctor slammed the goblet down. “THERE. I drank it. Happy?”

The smile on Dracula's lips grew. “More than you could possibly imagine.”

All at once, the Doctor began to feel several things going wrong with him, starting with the alarming sensation of light-headedness. “....I, ah...I probably shouldn't have taken the whole thing at once,” he began, going to sit down---and missing the chair entirely. “Okay, okay....that was....that was my bad....I may be a little bit....drunk, except I don't feel it.....why is it suddenly so hot in here?”

Dracula never moved from his chair. “Something wrong, Lord Doctor?”

“....I....I told you to quit...why is it so damn HOT in here?!” The Time Lord's breath became labored. “I....take off the jacket, I'll take off the jacket....that should....probably help.....” An attempt to shrug out of his coat ended when he realized the rather alarming fact that his arms had gone numb. “.....okay, okay, you.....you did this, you did....you put something in the wine.....” He managed, with great difficulty, to grab a hold of the chair and pull himself upwards, doing his best to glare at Dracula all the while. “...you put....you added something to the wine, you drugged it, or you.....you......”

“Having a bit of trouble, Lord Doctor?” the Count inquired. “You seem to be....ill....”

“....I'm feeling perfectly fine, thank you.....” Raising himself up on the chair was taking far, far too long for the Doctor's liking. “...I just....I need a minute....I need.....” At that moment, he became aware of how labored his breathing had become. “....need....just need some air.....I need....air.....need to BREATHE....”

Now, Dracula rose from his chair, slowly making his way towards the stricken Time Lord.

“.....get.....away from me.......you....you did this.....”

A low, throaty chuckle was the only reply he heard. “....don't bother....lying,” he gasped, clawing himself up the chair. “....brought me here, to kill me.....would've killed Danielle, too......she's with the rest, now.....”

Breathing, and talking, were both far more difficult than they should've been. “....what....did you do to me?!”

“Your earlier accusations were not wrong,” Dracula admitted, striding around the Doctor (still struggling to breathe, with every motion), and past him, to take a lap around the dining room. “I did add something rather unique to your drink, Lord Doctor. You see, I have studied your species for quite some time, and I found a very interesting fact.” Again, he smiled, turning to glance, briefly, at his intended victim. “The physiology of a Time Lord cannot cope with ingesting the blood of a vampire.”

The Doctor managed to turn around without falling over. “Wh.....what?!”

“It is quite simple, Doctor,” Dracula replied. “The blood of a vampire holds within it certain properties that negate your 'regenerative energies'. Alone, the ingestion of vampiric blood does cause an...adverse reaction, within the body of a Time Lord, something similar to anaphylactic shock.” He paused, giving a subtle nod as the Doctor nearly choked. “.....but, combined with the bite of a vampire,” he continued, “the end result is nearly always fatal.”

“No....” The Doctor struggled to stand, to even look at Dracula. “Don't....don't do.......don't do this!” He tried to take a step forward, to do something, anything to his captor---and found that he was, for lack of a better term, frozen in place. “....I....I can't move!”

“The blood of a vampire also happens to act as a mild paralytic,” Dracula casually explained, “when ingested by one of your kind.” He turned to glance at the Doctor once again. “I thought it best not to mention this particular trait of my contribution to your drink...” Again, he chuckled, even as the Doctor gasped “It hurts to breathe!”

From somewhere else in the castle, heavy thuds and the scraping of feet on stone could be heard. Dracula briefly turned, frowning, to regard them, but paid them no mind---the Doctor, and his suffering, were all that mattered now. “Ignore the sounds in the background, Lord Doctor,” he advised. “My servants are merely transporting my belongings from my last place of hiding to this one....and they will soon be transporting them again.” He strode over to the Doctor. “The castle grows ever taller,” he whispered, “ever more magnificent...and at its completion, the crowds will hear the Rondo of Blood.”

“....but.....this.....this is the castle!” the Doctor wheezed. “This place....all of it.....”

Dracula chuckled. “It is, indeed, the castle, Lord Doctor....but as we stand here, it is incomplete. The wards of protection that would allow me to escape harm from the likes of you and your allies are, regrettably, inactive at this time...one does not expect to move into a new home before the roof has been attached.” He smiled again, no longer bothering to even pretend to be pleasant. “Only when the spires scrape the clouds, and the towers stand at their full height, will I be fully guarded against anything you or your 'friends' could possibly hope to achieve against me. When that day comes, all who gather here will hear the Rondo of Blood....and there is nothing you can do to stop me from having it performed!”

“....I won't let you do this,” the Doctor breathed. “I won't let you perform the Rondo....you know I....” His breath caught in his throat yet again. “...I can't.....let you do this!”

As if he were reaching out to stroke the face of a lover, Dracula gently cupped the Time Lord's chin in one hand. “You have no say in the matter, Lord Doctor,” he intoned. “The Rondo will be performed, and I will personally see to it that, if you do in fact survive this little ordeal of yours.....you will be granted a front-row seat to the grand opening of the new Castle Dracula.” He circled around the Doctor, allowing his hand to drift around the Time Lord's shoulders. “In any event.....”

He leaned in close, inches away from the Doctor's left ear. “I doubt you will live through what comes next.”
-----------------------------------------------------
“...and you're sure she'll come here?”

Emma's question earned her an annoyed glance from Danielle. “This is where her friend said they'd meet her before going to the youth hostel---the actual address, as opposed to the location where the necklace was found. If you can think of a better place to find her, I'd love to hear it....”

“I'm guessing Funlands Amusements is right out, then,” Emma muttered.

Danielle nearly said something, only to be interrupted by her phone. “That'll be Lauden.”

“They've found her already?!” Emma mused. “That's a bit...quick, isn't it?”

“You're forgetting that this is the police department?

“......right, right, sorry I mentioned it....”

A shush gesture from Danielle cut her off. “.....right, and you're positive it's her? 100%? Right, then, we'll keep an eye out.” The radio clicked off. “That was Lauden. They've spotted the girl....she's moving this way as we speak. Wearing a hoodie, staying under awnings and other coverings as much as possible, keeping to the back streets....”

“Doesn't exactly scream 'inconspicuous',” Emma admitted. “I'm guessing vampires aren't into subtlety....”

“As long as we can get her to the police station,” Danielle replied, “I couldn't care less about what she might be 'into'....and if she can get us to Dracula, all the better for us.”

“Fair enough.” Emma sighed, glancing out the other window. “I always wondered what makes vampires tick.”

Danielle gave her an annoyed look, but otherwise said nothing.

Three minutes later, on the other side of the street, a figure appeared. “That's her. Matches the description Lauden gave to a T.” Danielle keyed on the radio. “All we need to do is get to her, quickly....”

A tug at her sleeve ended her monologue. “We have a problem,” Emma whispered.

“What?! What are you---” Danielle's complaint was cut off by Emma frantically pointing....

Further up the street, watching every move the hoodie-wearing girl made, were two figures Danielle had only heard about before now---the same two the Doctor had encountered at the Xanadu. “They're shadowing her,” she realized. “They're just hanging back, waiting.....they're going to do something....but what?!”

“I don't think we should wait to find out,” Emma replied. “If we're going to get her, we need to get her---”

Her sentence ended in a gasp---one of the vampires further up the street was staring right at the cruiser.

Worse than that---she was sure that the bloodsucker was staring right at her.

Without a word, Danielle threw the cruiser into gear, pulling out of the side-street and bolting across the street, sirens blaring. Emma barely had time to steady herself before the cruiser lurched to a halt, just as another, unmarked car tore out of an alley right behind the girl in the hoodie, two officers emerging to aim non-lethal ordnance at the vampires up the road. She gestured for Emma to key on the radio again. “Officers on scene,” she declared, “secure the peremiter, engage hostiles and take the girl into custody. Do not let hostiles retrieve the girl!

The girl in the hoodie seemed to be alarmed, but never moved to attack as the officers approached.

Graaf and Lucia, on the other hand, clearly had no intention of leaving without either the girl or a fight: one officer, approaching the pair with the intent to restrain them, took a right hook to the chin from Graaf, and Lucia raked the eyes of another officer who attempted to spray her with Mace. Worse, the officer who had taken a punch to the face from Graaf was now fending off the vampire's attempts to tear his throat open.

In the driver's seat of the cruiser, Danielle was livid, screaming “SWARM!” into the radio handset.

Three more cruisers pulled up, officers heading for Graaf and Lucia with the intent to take both vampires down, only to be driven off by a wild swing or something being thrown at them.

“They need to get her out of here,” Emma breathed. “The girl, they need to---”

As if the other car had actually heard her, the cruiser containing the girl in the hoodie backed up into a perfect handbreak turn before speeding away. Danielle, almost acting on instinct, followed suit; further up the street, Graaf and Lucia were still brawling with the other officers.

Emma barely managed to squeak out a question: “We're not helping them?”

“They can handle it.” Danielle didn't look at her. “We need to get back to HQ, now----”

Even as she spoke, a burst of noise and swearing issued from the dashboard radio; Emma shouted “OH MY GOD!”, followed by a long string of syllables that included several swears. Now, Danielle did look away from the road---just as Graaf ran past the cruiser, trying to catch up with the car that had already left.

“No.”

Danielle floored the accelerator, wrenching the wheel to the right. The cruiser, in response, lurched out of its lane and smashed into Graaf. The vampire staggered, slowly falling behind the cruiser, but let out a growl and began to regain speed---only for Danielle to wrench the wheel and smash the car into him again. This time, Graaf stumbled to the point where he almost hit the road face-first.

The cruiser continued on, with Danielle not even checking the rear-view mirror.

“....oh, my God,” Emma whispered. “.....is he.....did you just---”

“He'll recover,” Danielle replied, not smiling. “Hopefully, he'll be limping for a while....”

Her use of the word “hopefully” nearly prompted a rebuke from Emma, until she remembered that Graaf was a vampire---in the service of Dracula, at that.

“We have to get back to HQ and make sure the girl is secure,” Danielle continued. “Unless we get word that the officers back there are getting slaughtered....” She paused, listening as the radio kicked on---Lucia had apparently retreated, and Graaf (despite getting hit by a police cruiser, twice, and nearly given a blacktop makeover) was no longer trying to chase the cruiser. “It's over, for now. They're falling back...we don't need to go after them again.”

Something about the way Danielle spoke was...unsettling. Almost as if she was telling herself that she didn't need to bring the cruiser back around....

“So...we just go back to the police, now?” Emma quietly asked. “Go back and...ask the girl questions?”

The question seemed to bring Danielle out of a trance. “...right. It won't be a formal interrogation....at least, not yet.” She nodded. “We'll just ask her a few simple questions, see where they lead.”

“Let's hope that everything from now on is simple,” Emma replied. “I could do with simple from now on....”
-----------------------------------------------------
Everything hurt.

Standing in the dining room of the unfinished Castle Dracula, paralyzed by vampire blood (from no less a vampire than Dracula himself, at that), the Doctor could hardly breathe. The room was getting harder and harder to focus on---his vision swam with soft focus, blurring colors and things that were moving when they should've been staying still.

And Dracula, the King of the Vampires and would-be ruler of the castle, was “letting” him die slowly.

“This pain,” the Count murmured, “is excruciating, is it not? You feel like every breath of air you take in could be your last, that every motion you try to make will send fire through you....”

“....you.....won't win,” the Time Lord managed. “I.....I won't....let......”

Dracula showed no fear of the Doctor's attempt at a threat. “I must admit, I am impressed at your tenacity, Lord Doctor,” he stated. “Few who have endured the bite of a vampire would dare to fight as you do now---and fewer still would dare to overcome it while paralyzed. You are, even among your kind....unique. After ages of dealing with Harkers, and Holmwoods, and Van Helsings, and far too many self-proclaimed 'vampire hunters', I find it....refreshing, to face a true challenge, such as yourself.....”

He hung his head in mock pity. “.....but all good things must come to an end, Lord Doctor......”

“.....no......”

“I'm afraid so. You and your allies have learned, discerned or otherwise stumbled upon far too many details regarding my plans---Castle Dracula, the clockwork automatons, the Rondo of Blood.....” Dracula shook his head. “Such knowledge, in the wrong hands, could prove devastating to me, and while I do, in fact, admire your tenacity and refusal to surrender.....”

He moved in close, once again mere inches from the Doctor's ear. “....I cannot allow you to live another day.”

“I...won't......can't die....here,” the Doctor managed. “Have to.....”

“Any so-called prophecies about your fate will be rendered null and void in a short while, Lord Doctor,” Dracula casually informed him. “But just in case you do escape from this series of unfortunate events....” He crossed the room, stopping near one of the doors. “When the castle opens to the public,” he called out, “all guests will sign their names to mark the occasion....more than likely, it will make identifying their remains that much easier in the aftermath of what will follow.” He chuckled again. “In the meantime....”

The sound of a page being torn from a book, and something lightweight being picked up, were all the Doctor could hear at any level of clarity; Dracula's footsteps, and most of the ambient noise of the room, seemed to be muffled and distant one second, only to become deafening the next.

“Should you manage to overcome the effects of consuming vampire blood,” Dracula stated, “and somehow find a way out of the castle without being spotted by my servants, there is at least one remedy that will fully remove the toxins from your system....garlic, mustard seed, Aconite, Digitalis, Holly, and the flower of a white rose, all boiled in blessed water.....” The scratch of a pen against paper seemed to roar in the Time Lord's ears. “In any other circumstances, such a mixture would more than likely incapacitate, if not outright kill you.....but if by some miracle you can escape....it will remove every last trace of my blood from you, and you will be cured.”

He stood before the Doctor, now, stuffing the paper into his coat pocket with a smile. “Sadly, I believe that even that will not help you survive----not after what you will be put through next. You see, Lord Doctor, I have found, in the course of my studies, that the blood of a Time Lord, when consumed by one of my kind.....”

His smile turned positively demonic as he moved closer. “.....is particularly sublime......”

No.....no.......” The Doctor tried to move, to inch away from Dracula, but his limbs refused to give way.

“I can only imagine the potency your blood will have, Lord Doctor,” the Count whispered. “Until this point, I have merely hypothesized in regards to the effects of drinking your blood....but now, here, within Castle Dracula itself, I will taste Time Lord blood upon my lips.....”

“.....please.....stop.......”

“It is far too late for you to fight now, Lord Doctor. This moment, this victory.....is mine......”

Dracula bared his teeth, inching ever closer to the Doctor's neck. At any moment, the canines would pierce his flesh; if he could only move even one arm, any of the countermeasures he'd retrieved from Jack Harkness' cache would be at his disposal. Everything seemed to move so slowly, the room was spinning one way and pitching the other....if he could just--

UNGH!

He knew the sound had come from his mouth, just as Dracula's teeth had pierced the flesh of his neck....but at that particular moment, whatever nonsense he'd spoken was the least of his concerns. The very air in his lungs seemed to grow stale; the room was thrown into harsh clarity, and every limb and extremity hurt.

All at once, he went limp in the Count's grasp.

Yes,” Dracula moaned, “it is.....this is beautiful!” Sighs of intense pleasure left his lips. “The sights, the sounds, the memories....every moment you have lived, I now live....” His grip on the Doctor loosened, causing the Time Lord to collapse to the floor; something struck his forehead on the way down, but he barely felt it.

“Oh, Doctor...what you have given me.....” A throaty laugh filled the chamber. “I cannot thank you enough!”

Even if the Doctor could hear or understand what Dracula was saying, it was the last thing on his mind. Slowly, his limbs feeling like lead, he tried to crawl to the nearest door...but every movement was slower, more feeble than the last. His body was failing him, his thoughts were becoming muddled, and the beating of his hearts would only sustain him for minutes, now. The energy that would've allowed him to regenerate was fading.

Emily......

The thought of Emily Grace Quinn, still recuperating in hospital---waiting for him to return and tell stories of his latest adventure---brought tears to the Doctor's eyes. She'd never know, of course, that his last thoughts were of her---it might take her weeks, or even months, to realize that he'd fallen against Dracula.

Jack and River would both know, in due time. They'd swear to avenge him....they definitely could.

His own people, of course, would react....differently. Some might mourn his passing, others would more than likely say he was foolish to stand against Dracula......but then again, would they know? Borusa had said that no Time Lord would be allowed to aide the Doctor directly in his fight....and if none were allowed to help him, it was almost a given that none would even know of his death until far after the fact. He wanted to protest, to curse those who had effectively condemned him.....

..but the Doctor's last thought, as he lay bleeding and dying on the floor of Castle Dracula, was of Emily.

“...forgive me......”

His eyes began to close, as he felt his hearts slowing to a crawl.....

TO BE CONTINUED

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bad geminton
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Re: Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 3

Postby bad geminton » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:05 pm

Great work, as always.
Do you know who I miss? That guy with the potatoes, let's bring him back...


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