Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 6

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Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 6

Postby DukeNukem 2417 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:38 pm

“Topsham Road.....we're nearly there!”

Lauden wasn't actually delirious by the time his cruiser reached Topsham Road, but that did little to ease the minds of Emma and Sarah Jane---neither of them had spoken during the last five minutes of the drive, even when Lauden's cruiser had nearly collided with a van.

“Just turn right, up ahead, and keep going until we reach the loop...”

Emma nearly spoke up, but Sarah Jane shook her head. There was an air of menace in the cruiser, a feeling that something was about to go horrifically wrong at any moment. Lauden wasn't helping at all---five minutes into the drive, he'd started laughing nervously for no reason, constantly checking the rear-view mirror and muttering under his breath. Emma had distinctly heard the Lord's Prayer a few times, along with a few random expletives and aspersions cast against the clockwork automatons thrown in.

By the time the cruiser turned right on Tophsham, it was obvious that Lauden was close to losing his mind.

The sirens were still blaring as the cruiser made its way to the loop at the end of the road, with the Exeter & Devon Crematorium visible on the lefthand side. Almost as an afterthought, Lauden switched them off with a trembling hand. “She'll be all right,” he murmured, “she has to be all right....”

All too quickly, the cruiser had come to a stop in front of the crematorium.

Emma and Sarah Jane were out of their seats (and the car) as soon as the engine was off; Lauden seemed to be counting the grooves in the floor mat instead of making an effort to get out of the car. The Doctor was already standing in the front doorway of the crematorium, watching as the second cruiser pulled up; his expression was, for lack of a better term, inscrutable. He gave a polite nod to Sarah Jane and Emma as they approached. “Janos and Father Wyngarde are in the other car, right?”

“They are,” Sarah Jane replied. “You've, ah, got a bit more red on you....”

“I'll handle it later. Emma, how're you holding up?”

“I've been worried sick, Doctor....but otherwise---”

“You thought he was a pod person, after he called Lauden,” Sarah Jane reminded her.

“Did you really need to mention that right now?!”

The Doctor actually cracked a smile at that remark. “Did I really sound like a pod person? That might actually be the first time I've been accused of being one...and for the record, Emma, I'm not a pod person. Just a Time Lord---and don't hit me!” Emma had ascended the front steps of the crematorium, glaring at him all the while, only to mutter “Oh, shut up, Doctor,” and hug him.

“I assume we're not just here to pay our respects to the dead,” Father Wyngarde called out, nodding as Janos handed him his cane. “Under normal circumstances, I'd have no problem with it---”

“Time enough for that later, Father.” The Doctor pulled away from Emma, striding down the steps. “It's, ah....”

“Complicated?” Sarah Jane offered.

“More than you could possibly believe.” Again, the Time Lord's tone had turned grim. “How's Lauden?”

“....like you just said,” Emma replied, “it's complicated.”

“He told us about Danielle on the way here,” Sarah Jane added. “How he's basically her legal guardian---”

A pained look crossed the Doctor's face; he briefly turned away, muttering “Oh, no, no, no, no” upon hearing that Lauden was the closest thing to a relative Danielle had.

“...Doctor,” Emma prompted, “is Danielle okay?”

“....that depends entirely on your definition of the term.”

“You said she'd been shot, in the chest....is she---”

“You can ask her yourself in a few minutes. She's waiting for Lauden to get out of the cruiser.” The Doctor's words sounded almost sad, as if something horrible had already happened or was about to happen. “Just...”

“Just what?” Sarah Jane prompted. “Doctor---”

The driver's side door of Lauden's cruiser slammed shut, startling her into silence.

“Lauden,” the Doctor began, “I---”

“Where is she?” Lauden stared at the Doctor, obviously trying his best to not think of punching him repeatedly in the middle of the face. “Where is Danielle, and how soon can I talk to her?”

“She's in the building---she was waiting for you to leave the car, and---”

“DANIELLE!” Lauden took two more steps, before Janos stopped him. “DANIELLE! I'M HERE! JUST LIKE YOU ASKED!”

The door to the crematorium opened ever so slightly.

“I'm here,” Lauden called out. “I told you I'd be here, and.....” A delirious laugh escaped his lips. “I made it, Danielle! Just like I promised---”

“And the others?”

“They're here with me! Emma, Sarah Jane, Gary, Janos.....we're all here. We'll take you to hospital, and we'll get this all sorted, and then we'll----”

“......you're not going to need to bring me to a hospital, sir.”

The smile on Lauden's face seemed to freeze. “....you're...you're okay, then? You had your ballistic vest on?”

“....just promise me you won't be angry.”

“.....angry.....what---”

“Lauden,” the Doctor breathed, “whatever happens next...don't do anything stupid. Promise me that, and promise Danielle---”

“Doctor, what are you talking about?!” Lauden was beginning to panic. “She's in there, Doctor, she's been waiting to see me, and---”

“Just promise me.”

“.....I...I promise, Doctor.....but why---”

The Doctor glanced back at the door, nodding....

…..and the crematorium door opened, slowly, allowing Sergeant Danielle Tomlinson to emerge.

Lauden nearly fell to his knees at the sight of her. “SHE'S....she's alive, Doctor!” He gave a short laugh, taking a few tentative steps forward. “We can go, now, can't we? We can get back to headquartes, right back to this business of.....”

His mood instantly changed when he noticed Danielle's uniform shirt had been torn to shreds. “....what....”

“I should've told you sooner,” Danielle murmured. “Before all of this started....”

“Told me what?” Lauden whispered. “Danielle, what are you---”

He stopped. Noticed that her fingers were poised to tear open the ruined area of her shirt---and, to his horror, the skin beneath it. “.....what.....”

“Just promise me you won't be angry,” she pleaded, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Please.....”

“....angry.....about what.....”

Danielle glanced at the Doctor, who merely nodded. “Sir.....Charles......I'm sorry......”

Without another word, she tore away the ruined part of her shirt, and the flesh beneath it.

Lauden had expected blood, viscera, a gory mess of any kind straight out of Hammer Horror.......

…..only to find himself staring, in slack-jawed shock, at a bullet-ridden frosted glass covering where Danielle had torn away her own skin, with a lattice of metal behind it. Within her abdomen, numerous clockwork gears and motors whirred and clicked.

“Before you even say anything,” the Doctor began, “just let her---”

“....no......no.....no......NO!

“....Lauden, just let her explain---”

The Chief Inspector was backing away, now, frantically trying to unholster his pistol. “NO!

“Lauden, don't---”

“THAT CAN'T BE HER! THAT CAN'T BE DANIELLE!” The pistol had cleared the holster, with Lauden's thumb on the safety. “TELL ME THAT ISN'T HER, DOCTOR!

“.....I can't.”

TELL ME THAT ISN'T DANIELLE TOMLINSON! TELL ME.....”

Lauden's ranting was stopped only by Danielle herself (or the thing with her face—-he couldn't even tell if it was really her, now) slowly approaching. “.....this is me, Charles,” she murmured. “This is who and what I've been for the past two years.....I'm sorry......”

Before the Doctor could stop him, Lauden was aiming the pistol directly at her forehead.

“LAUDEN, NO!

Danielle closed her eyes, almost waiting for the shot that would take her down.....

….but it never came.

The gun fell from Charles Lauden's grasp, as the man himself collapsed to the pavement in a sobbing heap.

“As much as I know you don't want to believe it,” the Doctor intoned, “the being standing before you is, in fact, Danielle Tomlinson. Her memories, her personality....everything that made her who she was---”

SHE'S ONE OF THEM!” Lauden screamed. “A DAMNED STUPID CLOCKWORK......THING......”

Emma and Sarah Jane, meanwhile, were still staring at Danielle in shock. “.....Doctor,” Emma quietly asked, “is that really Danielle? The same one we met in Ealing?”

“The very same---LAUDEN!” The Time Lord stood on the dropped pistol, to keep Lauden from grabbing it. “If you go for it again, I'm telling Janos to put you in an armbar while Danielle gives her explanation, so don't go for the gun again.” Still sobbing, Lauden nodded. Father Wyngarde and Janos helped him to his feet, as the Doctor kicked the gun away.

“Right....now that we've hopefully gotten that out of the way.....” He nodded to Danielle, who took two steps towards Lauden.

“You remember when I had to go to hospital a few years ago?” she quietly asked. “Middle of the night, you blaring the sirens to get people out of the way?”

“.....yes....but....it was just a bout of the flu, wasn't it?!”

Danielle shook her head. “It was worse than the flu. I couldn't even pronounce the name of it...the doctors said I'd be dead by Christmas. Nothing they could do.....but I remembered.....” She turned away. “I should've told you sooner, Charles, I know I should've.....there were fliers all over town---”

You went to the Clinic?!

I didn't have a choice! The hospital couldn't help me...I didn't want you to lose me like I'd lost my dad..”

As Danielle sobbed, the Doctor spoke: “The clinic had just attracted a generous donation from a foreign donor, one Baron Giles Lathos. Apparently, Danielle's case was 'interesting' enough to warrant a personal visit from him, and unlike so many past 'patients', she presented a 'unique opportunity' for both him and the clinic---those were his own words. She told me.” He nodded at Danielle, offering her a handkerchif from his coat pocket.

“Thank you....” Danielle dabbed at her eyes, nodding. “He wanted them to use only the most advanced of their technology when 'fixing' me,” she explained. “Threatened to destroy them if they 'harvested' me....”

“....but why?!” Lauden pleaded. “Why you?!

“He wanted her to be his eyes and ears,” the Doctor replied. “His mole in the Ealing police department.”

“You remember how I kept taking patrol assignments, instead of paperwork?” Danielle added. “How I said I hated being behind a desk, because it bored me to tears? I....I couldn't tell you, then.....I knew I had to, but...”

“They didn't alter her mind, at all,” the Doctor stated. “As per the orders of their 'foreign donor'. Anything that would've made her act differently than she usually did---anything that would've drawn suspicion---couldn't be used. She had to blend in perfectly....which she did. She even managed to figure out how to sneak off and get maintained when the need arose---or to maintain herself.....all while keeping Dracula in the dark as to what was going on in the police department.”

Danielle nodded. “I never wanted this, Charles....I just wanted to do my job, uphold the law.....”

Lauden's stare focused on the Doctor. “You knew, didn't you?” he intoned. “All along.....”

“I had my suspicions,” the Time Lord admitted. “For one, she was never out of breath---even when she had to jog to keep up with me at the Xanadu. Then there was that tiny little memory lapse involving sunlight not killing vampires---I'd told her at least twice, and she had to be reminded of it.....when I went to analyze the two automatons from the wrecked van, she nearly knocked the Sonic Screwdriver out of my hand---”

“That was an accident!” Danielle insisted.

“Or a programmed self-preservation instinct kicking in...but I digress.” The Doctor shrugged. “At St. Hilda's, she wasn't able to see the psychic projection from Janos' past---that was when I knew something was up.”

“And you chose not to tell me?!” Lauden rasped.

“Charles,” Danielle murmured, “I'm.....I can't say enough how sorry I am that I didn't tell you all of this before now. I...I didn't want you to have to find out this way!”

“When would you have told me?!” Lauden replied.

“After we'd stopped Dracula! I was going to tell you, and....” Tears welled up in Danielle's eyes. “You hate me, now, don't you?”

“.....what?!

“I lied to you---or at least I didn't tell you what had happened.....I was used to spy on you, and everyone else on the force......if you want me off the case, I'll go back to Ealing. Turn in my badge, and all that---”

“NO!” Lauden rose, shakily, to his feet. “Danielle, I....all of this is just.....” He shook his head. “...this is all madness, complete and total madness.....but....” He stared into Danielle's eyes. “They didn't put anything in your head to control you?”

“They tried to, during one maintenance session,” the Doctor chimed in. “Dracula tore the arms off of all of the automatons at the clinic and threatened to burn the place down if they tried it again---she was designed for infiltration and espionage, unlike the rank-and-file cannon fodder.”

“....can he see and hear everything she does, then?”

“They can,” Danielle replied, glancing at the crematorium behind her. “They tell him the details....”

“Actually, let me fix that,” the Doctor cut in, retrieving the Sonic Screwdriver from his coat pocket. “Just stand perfectly still, this won't take but a second.....” He shined the light into Danielle's right eye for ten seconds, repeating the process with her left eye. “And......there. Now for the ears....”

“Doctor, what are you---”

“Severing their link with you---as of right now, you're fully autonomous.....and there!” The Doctor grinned.

“...what did you just do?” Lauden asked.

“I overloaded the receivers on their end with feedback,” the Doctor replied. “They're getting TV snow and a blast of static, instead of what Danielle is seeing and hearing, right now.”

“.....so,” Danielle murmured, “what I asked earlier......do you---”

Lauden placed his hands on her shoulders.....and then embraced her.

“......you'd better not be looking for an off switch,” the Doctor chided. “For starters, she doesn't have one---”

Emma punched him in the arm. “Shut up, Doctor.”

The Doctor rubbed his arm, scowling. “Was that entirely necessary?!”

“Probably.”

Lauden pulled away from Danielle, sobbing. “.....I don't hate you, Danielle. I just.....I wish you'd told me this, sooner.....”

“The Elder knew from the start,” Janos stated. “He said it himself, with his dying words: 'Dracula's pawn has failed him'. He tried to say 'he trusted her.....she will be his downfall', near the end....”

“All I heard was the 'h' from 'her' and the 'e' from 'she',” the Doctor mused. “Makes a lot more sense...”

Lauden stared at the two of them for a minute, before turning his attention back to Danielle. “Is there any way to, well....” He gestured at her abdomen. “.....fix that?”

“The bullets didn't do any damage,” the Doctor stated. “I ran a scan with the fob watch, before you---”

“I meant cover it,” Lauden groaned. “Put more skin there.....”

“I'll need to go to one of the clinics,” Danielle quietly admitted. “They can do a graft there---”

“After which point we tear the whole place up and throw the clockworks from it onto a trash barge.” the Doctor finished. “Unless you have a better idea.”

“.....they won't suspect you?” Lauden whispered. “They'll still repair you even if....”

“If they do suspect anything, we can follow the Doctor's idea,” Danielle replied, grinning.

“It'll need paperwork, of course.” For the first time since he'd arrived at the crematorium, Lauden's grin was genuine. “You really want to go back to the clinic?”

“They know we're onto them, now,” the Doctor stated. “We don't exactly have a choice.”

Danielle nodded her agreement. “I guess this means my resignation is automatically rejected, then?”

“Categorically....I just...” Lauden sighed. “When you'd been shot, at the station....all I could think about was Stuart, and how he would've never forgiven me if I couldn't save you....”

“He'd probably be more than a bit confused about, well....” Danielle gestured at her abdomen. “....this....”

“If you explained it to him the way you told Lauden,” the Doctor mused, “I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have had a problem with it. Also, on the subject of first names: You never told me yours was 'Charles'.....”

“Considering the fact that we were dealing with vampiric murders, I didn't think I needed to mention it.”

“.....good point. Now, then....” The Time Lord turned on his heel (nearly falling over in the process) and strode towards the open door of the crematorium. “We have some business to sort out here before we bust up the clinics, and then we can get back to putting the kibosh on Dracula's operations. Fun word, 'kibosh'....but that's a story for another day. Sergeant Tomlinson, if you would....”

Danielle nodded. “It'd be my pleasure, Doctor.”
-----------------------------------------------------
Through the darkness of future past,
The magician longs to see....
One chants out between two worlds:
"Fire...walk with me."

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Re: Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 6

Postby DukeNukem 2417 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:41 pm

“.....she has failed.”

Dracula stared at the slab of rock before him, scowling---what had once been a continuous POV shot from the point of view of Sergeant Danielle Tomlinson was now only static, an ever-shifting field of “snow”. His gambit, so promising at the time---even with Danielle's patrols giving him a firm grasp of police activity in and around Ealing---had backfired.

The Elder, no doubt, would've found this all hilarious, if he hadn't gone insane and been killed by the Doctor.

None of the automatons would care, of course---they had followed his orders to the letter, when converting her from flesh to clockwork. The blame would be laid at Dracula's own feet---he had refused to let them alter the sergeant's brain, after all.

“It is of no consequence. The castle still grows, and the Rondo will be performed.”

The thought of his masterpiece---his great, final triumph---being so close at hand would've been enough to bring a smile to the Count's lips....but the failure of his gambit with Danielle still galled him.

Of course, there was also the problem of what to do with the clinics....

At the time, making a deal with the automatons seemed to be a great idea---two birds with one stone, and all that. They got their “parts”, Dracula had a convenient way to dispose of any meddlers....everyone involved got something out of it, and nobody had to make any compromises. And using Danielle as a spy was, as the old cliché went, the “cherry on top”---a veritable feast of information, with nobody in the police department thinking otherwise.....

….except she kept finding ways to be somewhere else whenever the office discussed the murders.

In hindsight, not altering her brain had been a mistake. There were probably workarounds---ways to bring her under control without compromising her personality or intelligence....but the time for such things had passed.

Danielle Tomlinson was no longer a valuable asset---before this ended, she would have to be destroyed.

A cruel smile crossed Dracula's lips---it wasn't so much that Danielle had to be destroyed, as much as it was him wanting her destroyed. She'd told the Doctor (and Lauden, and the rest of the idiots) far too much---her continued existence would only hurt the Count's plan, and more than likely serve as a the long-awaited reason for the automatons to turn against him, due to her “breach of the agreement” or some other farcical excuse. If it meant their destruction as well, so be it---dealing with them had already become tiresome.

The Elder's failure had been embarassing enough. The loss of his spy in the police.....simply intolerable.

Least annoying of these recent failings, of course, was the impending dissolution of his alliance with the clockwork droids---Dracula found this far less galling than the other two because, in all fairness, it would mostly backfire on the automatons, rather than himself.

In all probability, they would demand reparations. What they would get was something else entirely.

Still, the thought of this charade finally nearing its end---the last steps of this illusionary dance, so long in the planning and execution---was an appealing one. All of London was Dracula's dance partner, now....blissfully lost in the splendor of visiting nobility and the convenience of free clinics. When at last he stepped back and revealed to them the fate that had awaited them all along, their joy would turn to dread---and then, by the dozens or by the hundreds, they would fall before him.....and the Doctor would be forced to watch. He and his wretched allies would be utterly powerless....

…..and Vlad Tepes Dracula would look down upon them, from his throne, and smile.
-----------------------------------------------------
Through the darkness of future past,
The magician longs to see....
One chants out between two worlds:
"Fire...walk with me."

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Re: Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 6

Postby DukeNukem 2417 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:43 pm

“.....a crypt beneath Whitby Abbey, a slaughterhouse under the crematorium...” Father Wyngarde's remark echoed off of the cavernous walls, punctuated by a chuckle. “Feel free to tell me there isn't a full Egyptian tomb under the streets of Wales, Doctor.”

“Last time I checked, there wasn't. Danielle, Charles---”

“I'd prefer it if you called me Lauden, Doctor,” the Chief Inspector replied.

The Time Lord sighed. “You're not sore about me not telling you about Danielle, are you?”

Surprisingly, it was Danielle who replied: “When my father was alive, he told me that he never wanted to be reduced to a title, so I was allowed to call him Stuart. Once he....well, once I was rendered an orphan, and Charles took me in, that policy was transferred to him.” She squeezed Lauden's arm. “And it is still policy with us, isn't it?”

“As long as we're not in the office,” Lauden replied.

“Perfectly understandable, then. Danielle, thanks for the explanation---and Lauden....”

“Yes, Doctor?”

“Thanks for letting Danielle explain. Not just why she calls you Charles, but...well, in front of the building...”

It was Lauden's turn to sigh. “I didn't know what to expect, when she told me that she didn't need to go to a hospital. Part of me....you're going to hate me for this, Danielle, but---”

“You thought I'd been turned into a vampire?”

“Yes! You wouldn't tell me anything, the Doctor wouldn't tell me anything....I was panicking!”

“I'm still trying to get over the fact of....well, her being clockwork,” Emma replied. “I mean....do you even need to eat food anymore, or stuff like that?”

“...it's complicated.”

“I'm starting to hate those two words,” Emma muttered. “Anyway, I thought you said this place was full of those clockwork people, Doctor---it's as quiet as a tomb in here!” Noticing the stares of every other member of the group resting upon her, she quickly apologized: “Not my best choice of words, I know....could've gone with something a bit less, ah.....”

“Morbid?”

“Shut up, Doctor....”

“I still don't get why we're all down here,” Sarah Jane commented. “I mean....if this is a 'you all have special talents' kind of thing, I'm flattered, but what good am I supposed to do against vampires? Not to mention these clockwork people!”

“And don't say she's going to be the bait,” Emma added.

“Wasn't dreaming of it. Though I'm surprised you didn't ask me to not mark you as the bait---”

“Doctor.....”

“I WAS KIDDING!”

“Shouldn't we be on the lookout for some kind of light source?” Janos cut in. “Nearly falling off of the gantry ladder to get down here was bad enough....gettng ambushed in the dark would probably be the end of us.”

The Doctor nodded his agreement, not caring if nobody else would see the gesture. “At the very least, they didn't wire this place up to the crematorium above---pretty sure I'd be tangled up in red tape for months if I'd blown out the circuit breakers for that when I took out the power down here.”

“You forget who you're working with, Doctor,” Lauden reminded him. “I'd put in a good word for you.”

“I appreciate the gesture....but in any case, we don't need a light switch.” The Time Lord grinned. “One of the advantages of working with a Time Lord---they're prepared for nearly everything.” He reached into a coat pocket, retrieving a small sphere. “You might want to stand back....” He squeezed the ball until something within it snapped, with a sound not unlike a glow stick----then bounced it on the floor, three times, the sphere getting brighter with each bounce. On the third bounce, he caught it again---and threw it as hard as he could at the ceiling.

Seconds later, the room was illuminated by a soft, white glow---not quite the brightness of the Sun Guns, but bright enough to illuminate the entire room---an impressive sight, to be sure.

“Impressive” gave way quickly to “terrifying” in a matter of seconds....

“They never left?!” Danielle gasped. “They're just.....standing here....frozen!”

Clockwork people---men and women, none of them wearing the skin of anyone younger than 30---stood all around the room, as still as statues. It was as if whatever powered them had simply been snuffed out like the flame of a candle, giving the cavernous chamber the unsettling impression of a wax museum after hours.

“You're not running on the same line as they are?” Emma quietly asked. “I mean, ah....”

“Independent power supply,” the Doctor replied. “Fob watch picked it up when I was scanning her for damage, before you all got here. These things are all running off of....” He retrieved the watch. “....a centralized control node---that'd be the big tower in the middle of the room, the one that looks like something straight out of a theme park. Apparently, the control node was deactivated shortly after Danielle and I left---”

A frantic tug at his sleeve cut him off; Sarah Jane was pointing into the darkness. “Doctor...look....”

Figures were moving between the frozen automatons, their motions far more fluid than those of the clockwork people. “Vampires,” Janos growled. “Doctor---”

“I'll get them to higher ground. Danielle.....any chance you have guns built into your hands?”

“....I was supposed to be an infiltrator, Doctor. The only gun I have is an ARU-issue sidearm.”

“Figured that.....anyone want to guess why they're here?”

“To support the droids, probably.” Sarah Jane glanced over her shoulder. “We're surrounded, aren't we?”

“Pretty sure we are....but don't give up hope just yet. I'd say I have a few tricks up my sleeve, but I'm kind of sick of that cliché...I mean---”

“Shut up, Doctor.”

“I talk a lot when my life is in imminent danger, Emma. Can you blame me?”

“.....yes.”

Even while the Doctor and Emma were arguing, Janos was watching the vampires move ever closer, his lips parted in a growl. “Stay with them, Doctor,” he muttered. “I'm going to handle this myself---”

A hand on his shoulder stopped him from leaping into the fray. “Not this time, Janos.”

“I won't let you risk getting killed, Father!”

“And you would rather destroy yourself before we even reach Dracula?”

“AH, if I may offer a suggestion,” the Doctor interjected, “everybody with a pulse may want to duck right now.”

“What are you---”

“NOW!”

What happened next was simpler to explain than it was to comprehend---Danielle basically shoved Emma, Sarah Jane, Lauden and Father Wyngarde to the floor as the Doctor cross-drew a pair of Sun Guns from his coat pockets, sending twin streams of light into the chamber and blinding every vampire in the line of fire. In a matter of seconds, and by way of simple arm motions, he'd swept the entire room.

“If you're going to try anything, Janos,” he advised, “now's the time!”

Janos had managed to avoid being blinded by way of simply ducking, his eyes shielded by the crook of his arm as he crouched. Every other vampire in the room had failed to think of even that---all of them had started running at the Doctor.

“QUICKLY!” the Time Lord prompted. “Seriously, do I have to---”

A shout from Janos, and a feral scream, cut him off---one of the blinded vampires now had a stake through his heart, and was writhing in agony trying to pull the thing out. “Good thing I brought enough for everyone,” the Doctor mused, pulling stakes out of his coat pockets with ease. Danielle gave him a confused look; “Just how much can you fit in those pockets?” she inquired.

“As much as I need, at any given time. Oh, speaking of which, here are a few for you.....”

Danielle accepted the stakes with a nod. “Sarah Jane, Emma, sorry about the lack of warning....”

“No worries,” Emma grunted. “Just be thankful I didn't break my face on the floor....”

“That might be slightly less painful than getting blinded with one of these,” the Doctor informed her, carefully showing off the Sun Gun. “And don't mess with it, please...it's expensive, and it'll probably scorch your retinas if you squeeze the trigger at the wrong time---speaking of which, Danielle---”

“I know, I know....but my eyes are a lot sturdier than a human being's.”

“Mine aren't,” Lauden stated, accepting a Sun Gun of his own from the Doctor. “I also seem to recall that blunt force trauma was particularly effective against clockwork automatons....”

“Try saying that a bit louder, Charles, I don't think the vampires heard you.”

“You're not going to get clubbed across the head if I can help it, Danielle---and Lauden, I'll do my—-” The Doctor cut himself off to spin around, blasting another set of vampires in the face with the Sun Guns before continuing. “.....anyway, I'll do my best to keep you safe, too.”

“Wouldn't have expected any less---DOCTOR!”

Lauden's shout allowed the Doctor to dodge out of the way of a lunging vampire---which was then impaled on a stake thrust forward by Danielle. “GET THE HEAD!”

“What?!” Danielle stared at the Time Lord as if he'd lost his mind.

“CUT OFF THE HEAD!”

“I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO CUT HIS HEAD OFF WITH!”

“Then allow me.”

Father Wyngarde had stepped forward, his cane gripped in one hand like a sword---and his other hand on the body of the cane just below the handle. With a twist, the cane seemed to slide forward---revealing a wicked, gleaming sword blade attached to the cane's handle. “I suggest you stand back, Sergeant Tomlinson.”

“.....he's a priest,” Emma breathed, “and he has a sword cane---”

A slick, wet schlink cut her off---the staked vampire's head fell to the floor, followed shortly after by the still-staked (and now beheaded) corpse. Both seemed to wither within a matter of seconds.

“If it's not too much trouble,” Wyngarde mused, “would you mind holding onto this?” He handed the rest of the cane to the Doctor, who merely nodded. “Anything to help, Father---Emma, would you please stop staring already? A lot of people have sword canes, you know....”

“Just so long as that blade wasn't going to be used on me,” Danielle replied, warily eyeing the blade.

“Considering the fact that you're not a foul undead minion of Dracula....” Father Wyngarde chuckled. “You have nothing to fear from this blade, Sergeant Tomlinson, or from me.”

“You've had that thing this entire time?!” Lauden gasped.

Father Wyngarde stepped to the side, just as another vampire stumbled past him and onto a waiting stake (this one, weilded by Emma). “Our circumstances didn't require its use until now,” the priest casually replied. “If I'd used it before this point in time---”

“No need to explain, Father.” Janos gestured for the Doctor to throw him another stake, which he then kicked into the chest of a vampire. “Just keep using it, and make sure you don't get cornered.”

“You'll do well to recall that I've spent decades training with this blade, Janos....”

Another flash of light from the Doctor's Sun Guns cut him off. “Not that I want to tell a priest what to do,” the Time Lord half-shouted, “but we're still kind of surrounded by vampires! Also, I think I hear ticking---”

“It's not from me,” Danielle stated---shoving another vampire away from herself. “I'm apparently soundproof!”

“...there's a phrase I never thought I'd hear,” the Doctor mused, “but I digress—-and I'm pretty sure the ticking is coming from them.” He waved the rest of Father Wyngarde's cane at the formerly frozen clockwork people, all of them mving in jerks and starts---one motion a a time.

“Oh, come on!” Emma groaned. “I thought they were turned off!”

“They don't just 'turn off',” Danielle muttered, her expression grim. “The control node has to be taken out..and from what I know about these things, taking it out is going to be---”

“Don't say 'complicated',” Emma warned. “PLEASE don't say it....”

“....well, it is,” Danielle admitted.

“If you two are done chatting,” the Doctor cut in, “and doing a fantastic job of not looking in the direction of wherever I happen to be aiming---seriously, kudos to both of you on that---then you might want to get started on the 'take out the control node' thing---” A cold hand grabbed his right shoulder, and he instantly whirled around to blind a vampire with the Sun Gun in his left hand. “---anyway, like I was saying....”

Sarah Jane barely managed to avoid tripping over a vampire as she backpedaled towards the Doctor. “I have a feeling that this isn't going to end well,” she mused, “if we can't thin the herd a bit....”

“There's always another option, Sarah Jane,” the Doctor replied. “Grab my arm.”

“....I don't see how this is going to stop the vampires,” Sarah Jane murmured. “Unless your arm comes off---”

“It doesn't, so don't even try. Emma, Danielle, Lauden---same thing. Grab my arm...or shoulder, or any part of my upper torso that you can grab that doesn't impede my movement.”

Emma, Danielle and Lauden did as the Doctor requested. “Right, we're all holding on,” Emma drawled.

“Gary, Janos....”

“A LITTLE BUSY, DOCTOR!”

“Well, get un-busy---if that's not a word, I don't care. We're changing our tactics---”

“THE AUTOMATONS ARE STARTING TO MOVE A BIT MORE, DOCTOR!”

“Hence the aforementioned change of tactics. Grab my shoulders, if you can....” The Doctor nodded as Father Wyngarde grabbed his shoulder. “Waiting on you, Janos---or better yet, Emma, or whoever's closest, grab him by the wrist and make sure he's as close as possible.”

“.....okay....not that I have any issue with him, but there'd better be a good reason for this---”

“Believe me, there is---and welcome back to the group, Janos.”

“Doctor, you'd better have a good reason for this---”

“You're about to find out just how good a reason it is. Hold your breath, and don't let go—-”

Something grabbed onto Janos' wrist, and he let loose with a profanity, nearly letting go of Emma's hand in the process---but all at once, the chamber around them---along with the vampires and the swiftly-reactivating automatons---vanished, replaced with the exterior of the Exeter & Devon Crematorium.

“...and the Vortex Manipulator saves the day again---” The Doctor turned to grin at the rest of his group, only to see Janos looming over the figure that had grabbed his wrist and been teleported out of the Crematorium with them. “NO! Janos, let her go....”

The vampire glared at the Doctor, almost showing his fangs.....but nodded and stepped aside.

“And so we meet again.....Lucia, right?”

The female vampire scowled. “I have nothing to say to you, Doctor---” She noticed Danielle, and the exposed clockworks in her abdomen. “---or to that worthless toy---'

A backhand from Lauden sent Lucia to the grass.

“LAUDEN!” The Doctor was at his side in an instant, grabbing his hand to keep him from hitting her again.

The Chief Inspector allowed Lucia to get to her feet---with Janos still holding her right wrist in a death grip. “If you ever call Danielle Tomlinson worthless again,” he intoned, “you're going to answer to me personally---”

“I don't even know you,” Lucia spat back. “Or why you.....”

She stopped, glancing from Danielle back to the furious expression of Charles Lauden.

“.....she's the one....the infiltrator---”

“Ex-infiltrator,” Danielle corrected. “Contrary to your own experiences working under Count Dracula...” She smirked. “....thanks to the Doctor, there are no strings on me.”

“You just had to quote Ultron, didn't you?” Emma muttered, rolling her eyes.

“ANYway.” The Doctor extended a hand to help Lucia to her feet. “Given how you have no idea why most of the people here with me are even with me, or why they may want to help me destroy your master...I feel it only fair to tell you that they're following my lead. I'm sure that the Count has told you that, as a 'Child of Gallifrey', it's my sworn duty to destroy his kind and keep them from polluting humanity with their poisonous lineage...”

Lucia glared at him. “He did mention something similar to that.”

“Except he's not your sire, is he?” The Time Lord stared into the vampire's eyes. “You were sired before you found out about the Count....”

“.....my sire was killed,” Lucia muttered.

“And Dracula was the one who killed him.”

Lucia's eyes widened. “What?!”

“When a vampire drinks a Time Lord's blood,” the Doctor stated, “they experience the Time Lord's memories, in an almost euphoric rush---Dracula had found that part out from his own research, and when he bit me and damn near killed me......but what he didn't find out, or at the very least didn't remember, is that it's a two-way street. He saw some of my memories.....”

A smirk crossed his lips. “And with the poison he put in me now out of me, I've obtained the clarity to see a few of his memories. He did kill your sire, Lucia---your sire was with you when you found him, and when you first joined him.”

“That's......that's not possible,” Lucia stammered. “You're lying---”

“Dracula's the one who lied---or more than likely, he hypnotized you. Vampires are, in fact, capable of using mesmerism on their own kind...you and Graaf were the first two worthy acolytes he'd found in a while, and what better way to ensure loyalty than to put the whammy on your best and brightest soldiers, and keep putting the whammy on them if they start questioning you?” The Doctor arched an eyebrow. “He pulled it on an entire lobby full of police officers who would've killed us both. Imagine what he'd have done to you.....”

Lucia stared at him, trying to find any doubt in his voice, in his eyes...

“He did, didn't he?” the Time Lord whispered. “Maybe not on Graaf, since he's obviously got a lot invested in this....but he made a mistake with you. Your sire was....a close friend, a mentor----”

“STOP IT!”

Lucia's eyes had gone red. “.....you're trying to win me over, aren't you?” she muttered. “Just like you did with her.....” She nodded towards Danielle.

“You've got that backwards,” Sergeant Tomlinson replied. “I chose to join the Doctor---and I have a very good reason to side with Lauden.....” She gave Charles a poignant glance; the Chief Inspector found himself unable to meet her gaze for very long.

“He respects you,” the Doctor mused. “Granted, he didn't stop when you told him that girl at the flop house might've been pregnant---and no, Emma, she wasn't.” He wasn't smiling as he spoke. “The clarity of what I see in his memories is astonishing, Lucia...not enough to get a buzz from, at least for me, but enough to know that what I”m seeing is the truth. Everything I've said, just now, is what's been happening.....”

He stopped, noticing Lucia staring---not at him, but at the door of the crematorium.

More importantly, she was staring at the figure of Graaf, poised like a beast waiting to strike.

Lauden immediately backed towards his cruiser. “Gary....”

“I know.” Father Wyngarde retrieved a chain from the inside of his coat, draping it over Lucia's shoulder---an act that drew a pained scream from the vampire.

“LUCIA!” Graaf tensed, prepared to leap forward.

“We're not going to hurt her,” the Doctor called out. “We just have a few questions---”

His explanation trailed off---Graaf was sprinting towards the group, screaming all the while, with his arms held back in a way that looked almost identical to the preferred running style of Wolverine. If he sprouts claws from between his knuckles.....

The thought of Graaf suddenly having adamantium claws was lost to another war cry---Janos had broken away from the group (he'd already let go of Lucia once the silver chain was across her shoulders) and charged at Graaf, tackling him to the pavement in a textbook wrestling spear.

“Emma, Miss Smith....please take Lucia by the shoulders and escort her to the car.” Father Wyngarde hadn't looked away from the brawl between Graaf and Janos. “Make sure the chain stays on her at all times---and on that note, I highly suggest not touching it with your own hands, to avoid disturbing it....” He nodded as the two moved Lucia to the cruiser; she'd stopped screaming, but was now shivering with every step, as if the chain on her shoulders had provoked some kind of reaction in her.

“Let me guess,” the Doctor mused, “it's a holy relic?”

“Originally owned by the founder of the order that sheltered Janos....he asked that they use it to contain him, at one point....”

“In a less enlightened age, some might call that kind of thing 'magic'....” The Doctor sighed. “As for now...”

Janos had thrown Graaf into the wall next to the front door of the crematorium, throwing in a growl of “stay down for good measure. When Graaf didn't get right back to his feet and try to throttle him, he turned his attention back to the Doctor. “ARE WE DONE HERE?!”

“PRETTY MUCH!”

“GOOD!” The Doctor turned on his heel, following Lauden to his cruiser. “Time to head back to base and start asking Lucia some questions,” he stated. “And we're going to want to make sure she doesn't get any of her 'brethren' on our sent, either.....”

With a sly wink, he discreetly dropped a few silver spheres from his pocket, shouting “QUICK AS YOU LIKE, JANOS!” over his shoulder as he walked. Predictably, the vampire was standing by Father Wyngarde's cruiser before the Doctor could even blink. “Right, let's get a move on before---”

“LUCIA!”

“.....Graaf recovers, which he just did.” The Doctor sighed. “RIGHT, we're leaving now!”

Just as the Doctor slammed the passenger's side door of the cruiser, the spheres he'd dropped erupted into yellow plumes of smoke, none of which entered into the cruiser itself---and all of which formed a cloud that sent Graaf to his knees as he tried to chase after the cars. “LET HER GO! LET.....her.....” Sounds of wretching and swearing were drowned out by the two police cruisers speeding away from the crematorium.

“....the girl who was bitten at the flop house,” the Doctor intoned. “She's still in custody at Whitby, right?”

“The last I checked....yes. She's been moved to a more secure holding area, of course---”

“We won't have the luxury of putting Lucia in a high-security area, of course....but if those chains can keep her from lashing out at us---”

“That's.....something else I'm trying to understand,” Lauden cut in. “This idea of....religious symbols, stopping vampires....I know you mentioned the 'power of belief' during your lecture in Whitby, Doctor, but....this idea that the source of all vampirism in the multiverse being alien beings, these....Yssgaroth......”

“Chalk it up to the law of averages if you want,” the Doctor replied. “Every positive has to have a negative---if the Yssgaroth were able to dispense that kind of power at will, with no side effects....” He shuddered at the mere thought of it. “Religious iconography works because it symbolizes everything vampires lack: life, a soul, loving one's neighbor as opposed to tearing open their throat and drinking their blood...okay, that last one may have been a slight exaggeration, but the point still stands.” He shrugged. “Whatever the case, vampires are repelled by religious icons---and I don't just mean crosses---”

“So a member of the Jewish faith could use a Star of David to ward off a vampire?” Sarah Jane cut in.

The Doctor arched an eyebrow. “.....for some reason, I thought you were in the other car....but to answer your question: if said practitioner of the Jewish faith was still practicing and fully devout in their beliefs, a Star of David would work just as well as a cross. The symbol or icon itself is just a focusing point---it's the belief that truly matters.”

“Sounds a bit hokey to me,” Lauden muttered. “'Clap your hands if you believe', and all....”

“Well, it's true. Like I said, law of averages....you need the positive to balance out the negative. Or maybe I'm thinking of the Law of Equivalent Exchange, or something....eh, questions for later.” The Doctor shrugged.

“But belief does work, right?” Sarah Jane prompted.

“If it helps, think of it all as energy. Vampires are loaded to the gills with negative energy---they're spawned by death, and unholy acts, they plague the living....all that jazz. Symbols of belief, on the other hand, are conduits of positive energy. Pretty much the reverse of magnetism---opposites repel, in the case of vampires and holy symbols or items.”

“And using a blessed or holy item to kill a vampire does....what, double damage?” Sarah Jane inquired.

“Dunno if we can use D&D terms to describe it, but....probably.....”

The discussion continued as the cruisers sped away from the crematorium---and the still-screaming Graaf.
-----------------------------------------------------
Through the darkness of future past,
The magician longs to see....
One chants out between two worlds:
"Fire...walk with me."

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Re: Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 6

Postby DukeNukem 2417 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:49 pm

Dracula frowned as he beheld the polished slab before him, watching what had transpired in the chamber below the crematorium with a look of disdain. The Doctor's friends had proven far more capable of destroying vampires than he'd expected---and Janos, of course, was going above and beyond in his quest to eradicate any bloodsucker thrown his way.

And then there was the small problem of what Lucia had done....

Her presence had been....unexpected---Dracula had hoped she would stay back at the castle, while Kevin, Ariel and Graaf handled things at the crematorium---but it was obvious that she had chosen to join Graaf in the fight against the Doctor. Under other circumstances, her dedication would be admirable....but now, she was a prisoner of the Time Lord. Graaf was more than likely incapacitated, given how he hadn't returned to the chamber after the Doctor, his friends and Lucia had vanished from it.

“....this farce has gone on long enough,” the Count intoned. “I will not lose to a child of Gallifrey.....”

The castle was, at that exact moment, 98% finished---only a few more rooms needed to be furnished, and a few “special areas” had to be primed and ready. Apart from those, it was practically ready to open.

Dracula held up his right fist towards the polished slab, the stone in his signet ring taking on a bloody glow....

….and the image of the half-faced clockwork automaton from the crematorium materialized, once again. The background of the “scene” was utter chaos; vampires were staggering over each other, screaming profanities and shoving aside clockwork droids with abandon as they tried to find an exit. The half-faced clockwork man ignored them all, focusing his unblinking stare on the “camera”.

“We must move to the final phase sooner than expected,” Dracula intoned. “The castle is ready to receive its guests now.....it is time.”

And. What. Of. The. Doctor?

“My....summons to him will not be ignored. All I ask is that you get the rest of the guests here.”

And. The. Infiltrator?

“...she may have turned against me, but I see no reason to destroy such exquisite handiwork. Bring her to me intact....I intend to add her to my ever-growing collection of unique artifacts.”

We. Will. Not. Fail.

“I sincerely hope not, for both our sakes.” With a wave of his hand, Dracula dismissed the image.

Keeping Danielle as a trophy was more out of spite than anything else---she'd failed to perform the task she was, for lack of a better term, designed for, which would normally mark her for immedite termination. It didn't help that she had effectively tried to thwart her own purpose by going out on patrols to avoid transmitting any details of the routine at the police station....

The automatons, of course, would be destroyed, regardless of their compliance with Dracula's orders. Already, several factors had soured the Count's view of them---reliance on organic “parts”, the inability of the rank-and-file droids to mimic human movement and speech, their refusal to maintain their own cover under duress...one more mistake from them would derail everything.

As far as getting Lucia back.....the risk wouldn't be worth the reward. Of course, there was also an inherent risk in abducting one of the Doctor's allies---but that act would be enough to bring the Time Lord running.

“So it begins,” Dracula intoned, smiling. “The final, great triumph....my triumph.....will finally come to pass....”
-----------------------------------------------------
Through the darkness of future past,
The magician longs to see....
One chants out between two worlds:
"Fire...walk with me."

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Re: Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 6

Postby DukeNukem 2417 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:55 pm

“......stop it.”

“You'll forgive me if I decide not to follow your request,” the Doctor mused. “I've never had an opportunity to study a vampire up close before---and before you mention Janos, I have a feeling he wouldn't appreciate me hovering around him and looking him over like this...”

“So you're doing it to me instead.” Lucia glared at the Time Lord. “Nothing weird about that....”

“Trying to guilt-trip them won't work.” The Doctor nodded to the two-way mirror that hid everyone watching the interrrogation from view. “Your hypnotic abilities are nowhere near as strong as Dracula's---”

You don't get to say his name,” Lucia hissed. “You're a Time Lord.....he's told me about you---”

“He left out the part about me being a pacifist, didn't he? Wouldn't surprise me in the least....” The Doctor sighed. “And if you're still sore about that whole thing that happened back at the crematorium, you'll do well to remember that none of the vampires slain there were dispatched by my hands---”

“So you let your 'friends' do all the work? How dictatorial---”

A hand grabbed Lucia by the chin, forcing her stare away from the mirror---and turning her head so that she was now staring directly into the Doctor's eyes.

“Like you told me a minute or two ago.....stop it.” The Time Lord wasn't smiling.

“Can you blame me for trying?” Lucia muttered. “I'm in enemy territory, with this stupid chain on my shoulders and these stupid handcuffs on my wrists---”

“Donated to Father Wyngarde by an escape artist who gave every dollar he ever earned to Christian charities before his untimely death. Anyone pure of heart would've been able to escape those cuffs by now....” The Doctor knelt to examine the cuffs. “.....and amazingly enough, you've managed to edge ever closer to getting out of them on your own. Meaning---”

“Meaning that I studied lock-picking when I was still alive,” Lucia spat. “I'm not going to just join your side---”

“Even when you don't want to keep working for Dracula?”

The Doctor circled around the chair, stopping directly in front of it to focus his piercing stare on Lucia. “Maybe he never had to put any whammy on you at all,” the Doctor mused. “Or if he ever did, it was just once---after that, he just kept lying to you 'for your own good'---”

SHUT UP!” The chair shook, and the handcuffs gave ever so slightly under Lucia's efforts.

“...you hate this,” the Doctor murmured. “You've been hating it for a while, too, haven't you?” The Doctor's hand rested on top of Lucia's. “You're terrified of him. Terrified of disappointing him, or being abandoned---”

Lucia tried to lunge out of the chair, but the cuffs held her back.

Still, one of the chains had been bent rather far out of shape....

“....how did he come to obtain so much power?” the Doctor asked. “Far more than any other vampire to ever walk the earth---”

“There were a lot of them,” Lucia spat. “All of them, more powerful than Dracula...but they died.”

“And he killed off the last of them?”

“......why do you even care? You're not a human...you could just leave them all and go on your way!”

“If you couldn't hypnotize anyone on the other side of that mirror, you're never going to hypnotize me. Besides that, I'm not the leaving type....” The Doctor groaned. “Emily would have a field day with that one...I'd have to sit through about five jokes about country-western music---”

“What are you even talking about?!”

“Hmm? Oh, sorry, I wast just.....remembering a friend.” The Doctor flashed a brief grin at Lucia, who replied with a rather obscene gesture. “I'm going to pretend I didn't see that, and ask you again---how did Dracula obtain enough power to become the King of the Vampires on Earth?”

“He killed one. A predecessor.....your kind would've called them---”

“Great Vampires.....so he wasn't kidding.” The Doctor nodded. “Was a Crimson Sphere involved at all?”

Lucia scoffed. “That thing? Cronquist gave it to him, in exchange for his life.....it was nothing but an oversized bauble. There was no power emanating from it at all.”

“....and the Elder?”

“He's already gone. You had a hand in that---”

“Where did Dracula find him? Why did he choose to ask for his help?”

“Why do you think I'm going to tell you?”

“Because you know that every second you're here, in this chair, the chances of Dracula ever wanting to bring you back into the fold are dwindling. Danielle never wanted to work for him, but you chose to serve him.”

“And why do you care?!”

The Doctor exhaled a deep breath. “Because once upon a time, you were a human being. You had a family, a life.....dreams, aspirations and ambitions---and Dracula took all of it from you. He gave you this 'dark gift', in exchange for everything you ever had and ever wanted, and he's been telling you that what he did was oaky when it wasn't.” He glanced over his shoulder at Lucia. “1987, right?”

“.....what?!

“The year you were originally sired. 1987. You were on holiday in Brighton with your family, there was a car crash.....the first person to come across it promised to save you. That's how it happened, isn't it?”

Lucia's jaw went slack. “How the Hell did you know that?!

“Because I was there. Completely unrelated to your circumstances---I was just making a short hop through time with the TARDIS, making sure everything still worked....” There was a hint of guilt in the Doctor's words; “I knew I'd get told off if they found out,” he muttered. “They were still of the mindset that 'observation' was a better way than 'intervention'...technically speaking, I wasn't even supposed to be there. If things had been different, it would've been me pulling you out of that wrecked station wagon.....”

Luicia tried to refute the Doctor's claim, to tell him he was just trying to turn her against Dracula.....but even as she opened her mouth to speak, the memory came back, clear as day: smoke, all around....the unbearable heat, above and on all sides.....the pale figure standing over her, promising he'd help her.....

…...and, a good 20 feet in the distance, a lone figure standing near a blue box......

“I'm surprised Dracula never tried to purge that memory from your mind,” the Doctor mused. “He's probably got just as much 'dirt' on Graaf, and Kevin and Ariel, and every other vampire under his command---he tells them the darkest moments of their pasts and how he can make them go away, but he never really does anything about it....”

Again, his hand gripped Lucia's chin....but this time, he gently turned her head to face him.

“....but I will.”

“What can you do?” the vampire whispered. “What would you do?”

“....the only thing I can. I can't give you back the years of your life that were lost when you were sired, or the dreams and ambitions you had....I can't give you the lfe you would've lived if it hadn't been for that accident, either. The only thing I can give you is, well.....the last thing you have to look forward to....”

Lucia's eyes went wide. “....you're going to kill me, aren't you?”

“Killing you wouldn't be a reward for either of us. All I can give you is the promise that, when you do die, you'll find the peace that was stolen from you that day in 1987...”

“...but what if there's nothing?” Lucia whispered, tears streaking down her face. “What if....what if this is it?”

“Something tells me that whatever awaits you after the end of your life is going to be a lot better than this,” the Doctor assured her. “And I know what you're thinking---I have no room to talk, because I just 'change' when I die.....and you'd be right to say it.” He chuckled. “The funny thing is.....the idea of regeneration used to terrify me. Everything that I am---this face, the hair, the voice, the wardrobe preferences, the personality---all of it, just gone in an instant, and some new man or woman goes sauntering away in my place....just thinking about it made me want to throw up.....”

He shook his head. “Turns out I wasn't the only one. There's a whole subset of Time Lord society that thinks regeneration is a stupid idea. I nearly joined their ranks.....”

“....what stopped you?” Lucia was surprised she'd asked the question. “I mean...what changed your mind?”

“My mentor. For all the times he said I never learned anything useful from him.....he made it a point to tell me that regeneration wasn't an end, or a 'death of the self'. The way he said it, it was like a new chapter in a book; you finish one chapter, and it's not the end. Yes, things change---but the story still goes on. Unless we're talking about a multimedia franchise getting its entire expanded universe excised in favor of annual cash-in films and crappy cartoons, but that's another story entirely---and it really messes up the metaphor. My point is.....” The Doctor sighed. “....my point is, regeneration isn't the end.....just like how this isn't the end for you.”

“....you could be lying,” Lucia muttered. “All of this....everything you've said, could just be a lie---”

“Then why would I have taken the handcuffs off of the chair?”

Lucia stared at the Doctor, then at her wrists---the handcuffs were, in fact, gone. “.....but.....how.....”

“The chain is still on your shoulders---Lauden insisted I leave it there......but you can still get out of that chair and leave this room. It'd take you a while, of course, but.....it's an option. You don't have to believe anything I'm saying---you could go straight back to Dracula and tell him all of this if you really wanted to...tell him where we are, and volunteer to lead an army to raze this place to the ground.....”

“And you'd just let me leave?”

“If you well and truly want to return to Dracula, I won't stop you.”

Lucia glanced at the door. “......there's no way it's that simple. You wouldn't let it be that simple.”

“That's how Dracula did things, isn't it? Made you a simple promise, but threw in all sorts of catches, caveats and hidden clauses. I don't blame you for being suspicious.....but if you want to leave, right now....”

The Doctor strode over to the door, turning the pull and opening it. “.....it's been nice talking to you.”

Again, Lucia stared at the Doctor, then at the now-opened door......

….and, as the Time Lord watched, fell into the chair, an utterly broken expression on her face.

“....I can't go back,” she whispered. “I can't.....”

“It isn't about me stopping you, is it?” the Doctor quietly asked.

“No bats,” Lucia murmured, “no wolves, no fog......the whole time, the whole ride here, nothing....no sign that he was coming to take me back....he promised he would.....”

The Doctor bowed his head. “I'm sorry, Lucia. Whatever you expected from him.....”

He told us all that we could trust him!” Lucia snapped. “We were all 'children of the night'...equals, to him and to each other.....” Her voice cracked. “.....all of it, lies....”

“Or it was all true until it stopped being convenient for him. Worse people than Dracula have manipulated and lied to innocents under the guise of salvation...sociopathy at its most despicable.” The Doctor turned away. “I didn't want this, if you're wondering. I had nothing to do with 'setting it up' or anything---that business back at the crematorium, when you grabbed Janos by the wrist, it could've been any vampire in your place...”

“.....so this was fate?” Lucia quietly asked. “I was destined for this?”

The Doctor glanced back at the two-way mirror for a moment, before returning his attention to the vampire. “I prefer to think of it more as the best possible outcome for both of us---”

Every light in the building cut out at once, and a blood-curdling scream rang out.

“Stay here,” the Doctor warned, “and just.....” He stopped when he realized Lucia was now staring at the floor, muttering under her breath. “.....right, I'll be back in a few.”

After nearly tripping on his own feet, the Time Lord ran to the lobby of the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, expecting a crowd of officers and some grisly sight in the parking lot---only to see that the lobby was utterly ruined. Officers had been tossed around like rag dolls; Lauden lay in the corner, dazed, and Father Wyngarde was unconscious on the floor.

Worse than all of that, however, was the fact that Dracula stood in the direct center of the lobby---once again, with Emma in his grasp.

NO!

“You took something from me, at the crematorium, Lord Doctor,” Dracula intoned. “Something I no longer have any use for---and as such, I intend to restore the balance by taking something of yours.” He wrenched Emma back. “She and I will be waiting for you at the castle, Doctor....the doors are opening soon.”

“If this is about Lucia, you know that everything I told her was true---”

“Which is precisely why I will be leaving her with Emma, instead....a 'fresh start,' if you will.”

“Doctor,” Emma pleaded, “don't let him take me---”

Be silent.” Dracula glared at Emma for a moment, scowling. “You will not speak again until we reach the castle.....” Even as Emma wept, the Count turned his attention back to the Doctor. “You should feel honored, Lord Doctor, that the grand opening will be occurring ahead of schedule because of your actions. I had not anticipated having to alter my plans so greatly---”

LET HER GO!

“YOU HAVE NOTHING TO THREATEN ME WITH!” Dracula thundered. “No tricks, no surprises, no unforeseen allies to emerge from the woodwork and strike me down.....”

A venomous sneer crossed his lips. “She is mine, Doctor.”

The Time Lord shook his head. “She's not property, Vlad---”

Dracula held out a hand---and, as the Doctor watched, a swirling vortex of energy and heat began to form over his palm, until a perfect sphere of fire was hovering above it. “My name,” he intoned, “is Dracula.”

“Just let her go,” the Doctor insisted. “Take me instead---do that stupid wine thing again, I won't care---”

“As much as I would enjoy watching you suffer before me,” Dracula countered, “keeping you prisoner would more than likely become tiresome.....I have far grander plans for Emma, and for the honored guests who will soon be arriving at the castle. I will give you the time you need to prepare, to make your 'last stand' against me, but.....” He stopped, glancing past the Doctor. “....Lucia.”

The Doctor whirled on his heel to see Lucia standing behind him. “.....my Lord......”

Dracula's lips pursed in a frown. “You have made no effort to escape.”

“.....you....you promised that you would come back.....that you would get me out of here....”

“And when I made that promise, I fully intended to fulfill it---sadly, circumstances have changed for the worse, and my plans must move forward swiftly to compensate. I am truly sorry to leave you here, among these vermin....” A cruel smile played over the Count's lips. “...of course, you could always follow Graaf's lead and simply tear them limb from limb.”

“.....master.....”

“Farewell, Lucia---our parting is, indeed, such sweet sorrow.” Dracula bowed theatrically. “And as for you, Lord Doctor---”

Something hit him right in the center of the forehead, leaving a small, cross-shaped scar.

As Lucia and the Doctor watched, a hideous snarl crossed the Count's face. “You will BURN!

A column of fire rose up around Emma and Dracula, obscuring them from view---disappearing just as quickly as it had arrived, taking them both with it.

“I thought that would be enough to drop him,” Danielle muttered, emerging from the darkened hallway with a rubber band. “I guess we're going to have to get to Castle Dracula, then---or the new one, wherever it is....”

Lucia dropped to her knees, staring at the circle of ash where Dracula had been standing.

“.....Danielle,” the Doctor intoned, “go find the fuse box and get the power back on....then call an ambulance.”
------------------------------
Through the darkness of future past,
The magician longs to see....
One chants out between two worlds:
"Fire...walk with me."

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DukeNukem 2417
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Re: Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 6

Postby DukeNukem 2417 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:57 pm

Within the throne room at the heart of Castle Dracula, a column of fire rose up, all but ignored by the clockwork servants milling about the room. Seconds after it appeared, it descended---revealing Count Dracula and his “guest”, Emma, standing in the center of a circle of ash.

“LET ME GO!” Emma screamed, lashing out at the Count. “LET GO OF ME, YOU STUPID---”

“I suggest you mind your tongue, girl, or you will find your stay here to be most unpleasant indeed---”

Emma's shouted reply was expected---and a bit too profane to reiterate here.

Dracula merely sneered at her for a moment, before sending her to the floor with a savage backhand slap.

“I could kill you now, child,” he whispered. “Strip the flesh from your bones, wring every last drop of blood from your still-beating heart and have your brain made into a festive topping for the salad my servants will be serving to the guests tonight...all of this, in mere minutes.” Before Emma could reply, he grabbed her by the wrist, pulling her to her feet. “Fortunately for you,” he continued, “I have already promised the Doctor that you and I would both be waiting for him here in the castle tonight....and we will both be waiting.”

“...just shut up and bite me already,” Emma muttered, trying not look at the Count as she spoke.

“Siring you would be a most insidious turn of events,” Dracula admitted. “The Doctor would be crushed by guilt over your loss...but you would turn against me soon after. Do not think me a fool, girl---I have dealt with many who would usurp my power, and use the dark gifts against me so soon after gaining them.”

“Good for you,” Emma spat. “Just lock me in a room, then, and be done with it----”

She braced for another backhand, or even a shove....but surprisingly, Dracula had taken a step back. “I think,” he stated, “that the grand opening of Castle Dracula deserves a Guest of Honor---and you, Emma, will be that guest.” He snapped his fingers, and two clockwork droids approached, moving slightly faster than usual. “She is to be given the place of honor at the dinner tonight,” he informed them, nodding to Emma. “Treat her as you would a princess of Wallachia---give her the finest clothes, the most spacious room available and unrestricted access to the castle.”

“A bit stupid of you to tell them all that,” Emma countered. “I'll just go find the front door and---”

“Before you bring her to a room,” Dracula continued, as if Emma hadn't even spoken, “please do me the favor of showing her the magnificent view...” The droids nodded, and turned to approach Emma.

“Oh, no you don't---you're not skinning me!” Without hesitating, she shoulder-blocked her way past them, making a beeline for the nearest window. “I'll be out of here and back at the police station before you can say oh----my GOD.......”

She'd expected a short drop, onto grass or stone, and then a sprint to the nearest road. Everything after that point---flagging down a motorist, calling the Doctor and getting this over with---would've come afterwards....but every thought of escape vanished as soon as she looked out of the window in anticipation of her “short drop”.

Far below her, obscured by clouds, was Exeter. Rooftops and lights shone like jewels in the darkness.

“I suggest,” Dracula intoned, “that you follow the servants to your room, for the time being....your attire for the evening will be delivered to you soon.” He smiled again. “And I would advise against trying to escape through the windows.....a fall from this height would end most....unpleastantly.....”

Without another word, he turned and walked away, a throaty chuckle echoing through the throne room.

Emma watched him leave, then noticed the clockwork droids staring at her. “.....damn it.”
-----------------------------------------------------
“And he just vanished in a pillar of fire?”

“Saw it with my own two eyes, Lauden. I thought the circle of ash on the lobby floor would've been enough of a clue for you....” The Doctor shook his head. “We need to find the Castle, and soon---”

“You're not going to have to look for long, Doctor,” Danielle cut in. “Remember the fog that brought us there?”

“.....yes.....”

“Well, it's back---and it's all over Exeter.”

The Doctor's eyes widened. “You're kidding....” He nearly kicked the chair over as he rose, sprinting for the door. “He's actually doing it...he's going to take the whole town---”

“I don't think it's 'taking' anything, this time,” Danielle stated. “Some cars are able to drive through it without a problem, but others drive through it and, well.....” She shrugged. “They just kind of disappear. No idea how it works---though it's pretty obvious where they're going....”

“And all this mist is doing is taking certain cars?” Lauden inquired. “Not dissolving flesh or---”

“It's bringing people directly to Dracula,” the Doctor reminded him. “'Honored guests' or not, we both know what's going to happen when they get to the castle---he's already got Emma.......”

All eyes in the room turned towards its fourth occupant, who hadn't said a word since Dracula had left.

“Lucia,” the Doctor breathed, “if you're going to help us, then now is the time.”

“Where is Dracula hiding his castle?” Lauden inquired. “What part of the country? We need exact coordinates for it, and---”

Lucia scoffed.

“.....this isn't a game, Lucia. People are going to---”

“You're asking for the impossible, Doctor,” Lucia muttered. “I can't give you the coordinates, or a map—they'd be useless.”

“So he's got a perception filter around the whole place, to make it look like a vaccant lot?”

“Could've sworn there was a movie where the villain did that—-anyway, Lauden's point aside---”

“It's not on land,” Lucia groaned. “The entire castle---the building, the servants' quarters, even the stupid car park......” She shook her head. “Just go outside and look up.”

“.....what?!” Lauden stared at her. “Look up?! We're looking for a castle, not a sodding hot-air balloon---”

“Of course.”

Lauden frowned. “Tell me you're not buying into this....”

“I said it myself....castle in the UK are owned by the Royal Family---and so is the land. Dracula couldn't have just built it on any old acreage he wanted---the entire thing is....” The Doctor's eyes went wide. “We need to get to the TARDIS---”

“Your blue box?” Lucia muttered.

“It's a lot more than that, believe me....also, ah, Lauden, you may want to tell your officers to be prepared for a lot of really weird sightings in the next few hours and minutes....” The Doctor nearly fell over trying to get to the door, but managed to avoid any embarassing self-injuries. “Has Father Wyngarde recovered yet?”

“Janos is still tending to him---Doctor, are you telling me that the new Castle Dracula is actually---”

“Above us,” the Time Lord finished. “Yes, Lauden, that's exactly what I'm telling you. The sooner we get there, the sooner we can end this!” He turned to leave.....

….stopping only when he noticed Lucia staring at him.

“You're going off to kil lhim, aren't you?”

“We don't have a choice, Lucia. If he isn't stopped---”

“I don't need the whole spiel, Doctor. I know why you want him dead.....” Lucia nodded. “And right now, I want him dead, too.”

“We're supposed to just believe you right off the bat?” Lauden protested. “Doctor---”

“He abandoned me,” Lucia snapped. “When he got here, to take that girl with him...” Her voice softened, as did her glare. “.....I couldn't sense him. It was like he wasn't even there---I didn't know until he started shouting at the Doctor....”

Danielle arched an eyebrow. “Vampires can do that to each other? Just make themselves invisible, and all?”

“Probably, but---”

The Doctor's explanation was cut off by Lauden's cellphone ringing---followed seconds later by Danielle's.

“....pretty sure every phone in the building will be ringing off the hook soon enough,” the Time Lord mused. “I think we'd better be on our way to the TARDIS---” The door to the office flew open (narrowly missing the Doctor's face).

“.....there's......a thing...up there, in the sky,” Sarah Jane breathed. “It's......just come and see it....”

Lauden, Danielle and the Doctor all exchanged glances. “....remember what I said about weird sightings?”

“No need to rub it in, Doctor....” Lauden shook his head. “Right, where is this 'thing' in the sky, then?”

With Lucia in tow, the group headed to the nearest exit---and were met by an eerie silence outside. The fog was still rolling over the streets of Exeter, obscuring most of the street from view...

“Up there!” Sarah Jane half-shouted. “Look!

Even without her trembling finger pointing it out, there was no way the Doctor could've missed seeing what it was she was staring at.

“Dear God,” Lauden breathed, crossing himeslf immediately.

“How is that even possible?” Danielle murmured

Lucia merely scowled, as if she'd already made her mind up as to what she'd do when she reached it....

…..and the Doctor could only stare in silence.

The influence of the castles that had been “loaned” for use in the grand opening of a non-existent resort were barely visible in the structure that now floated, atop a massive landmass, over Exeter. Spires and towers stood out against the sky like black claws; even from a distance, the castle looked massive.

Somewhere within it, Emma was being held prisoner.

Somewhere, behind those castle walls, Vlad Tepes Dracula was waiting.

“Danielle, Lauden,” the Doctor intoned, “go get Father Wyngarde and Janos, and then get to the TARDIS.”

“What about---”

“Sarah Jane, you stay with Lucia. Make sure she doesn't wander off or anything.”

“What about you?!

The Doctor took a deep breath. “Give me ten minutes.....after that, we're going up there to get Emma back.”

He turned on his heel and headed back into the building. “.....and then, we're going to kill Dracula.”

TO BE CONCLUDED
CHRISTMAS EVE, 2017

"......what a terrible night to have a curse....."

evil laugh
Through the darkness of future past,
The magician longs to see....
One chants out between two worlds:
"Fire...walk with me."

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bad geminton
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Re: Doctor Who: The Doctor vs. Dracula - Part 6

Postby bad geminton » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:07 pm

Great work, once again, I eagerly look forward to the final chapter, whenever that may be
Do you know who I miss? That guy with the potatoes, let's bring him back...


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