[A/N] Right, been dwelling on it and decided to give this one another chapter since the last one barely qualified as an opener, that and it seemed to get a decent reception. I'll gauge reactions and see how far this should go. But regardless, let's get some development moving.
Chapter 2: Encounter
Janeway was a bit stumped as to how to respond to the strangers words, but luckily, being a captain, she had a one stop solution that was always at hand to resolve and impasse such as this:
"Mr Tuvok." She said, not taking her eyes off the stranger.
"Throw him in the brig."
The Doctor's shoulders slumped as the security officer moved to stand by him, keeping him covered with his weapon, "This way, sir."
The Doctor rolled his eyes at the typical response to his presence and allowed himself to be marched off the holodeck with the Vulcan following close behind.
Janeway's eyes immediately went to the blue box that dominated a corner of the room and slowly began circling it.
Seven approached and drew out the tricorder she had been using during her upgrades.
"Seven?" asked the captain, her hand reaching out but hesitating before actually touching the wooden surface.
"Interesting," said the drone, her fingers tapping the device, "the structure does seem to be constructed out of wood, but readings state it as only being one nanometre thick."
"A shell…" mumbled the captain, "but what's inside?"
"That's what I find interesting; there's nothing inside."
The captain glanced at her over her shoulder, "A jamming signal?"
Seven shook her head, "No captain. I'm not detecting anything other than some kind of low level neural field emanating from the surface; nothing dangerous, but besides that, within the shell, there is literally nothing; I'm reading a perfect void in my sensor readings. As I said: there is quite literally nothing inside."
Janeway allowed her hand to touch the wooden surface, "Then why do I find myself thinking there is far more to this than meets the eye?"
Seven cocked her head, "I can certainly confirm there appears to be no mode of propulsion, nor instrumentation of any kind."
She glanced at the wording on the door, "'Police Telephone. Free for use of public. ' A telephone?" Her brow furrowed, "Mr Paris. You're the resident expert on twentieth century Earth technology. What do you make of it?"
Tom slowly circled the blue box, glancing up and down, "I'm not entirely sure, but I know in certain countries, before wireless communications were invented, officers of the law used to need posts placed at intervals which they could use in an emergency when they were too far away from a station to report in. The guy sounded British. I suppose it could be modelled after something from twentieth century Britain, but I'd have to look it up to make sure."
Janeway nodded thoughtfully, "What about that neural field you said you were detecting?"
Seven was still going over her readings as she responded, "From experience, this appears to be a very low level telepathic field. It's unchanging and clearly seems to be artificial in origin. I would be surprised if it had any noticeable effect at all."
"But how did it get here, and who was that man? Tuvok's tricorder definitely read him as non-human." asked Harry.
Janeway was still regarding the box curiously, "All mysteries I'm sure we'll work out once we've questioned our guest," she replied, almost dismissively, "It's funny…"
Seven glanced up, "Captain?"
"When I deactivated the program, this thing was in plain sight behind the intruder; a wooden blue box standing out against the hologrid, and…" she trailed off.
"You barely noticed it was there?" finished Harry thoughtfully.
Seven frowned, her implants had helped her register it's presence immediately, so whatever kind of field affected the other crewmembers obviously had no effect on her.
"Yes," breathed Janeway, "In plain sight, but I actually had to focus on it before I realised it shouldn't be there."
"You believe the neural field is designed to discourage people from registering it's presence." surmised the former drone.
Janeway cocked her head, "Clever defence mechanism: a subtle suggestion so light you wouldn't even notice it was there. Just the tiniest urge to make you think 'this isn't worth looking at' or 'this has always been here'"
"Well I think there's one thing we can be sure of, "said Tom.
"And what's that?" asked Harry.
The pilot inclined his head, "That this is anything but a simple wooden box."
Janeway nodded, "I agree. I think it's about time we got some answers. Janeway to the Doctor."
"Which one?" quipped Tom, who sheepishly went quiet under the captain's glare.
The holographic doctor's voice sounded over the comm. system a second later, "Sickbay here. Is there a problem, Captain?"
"Not yet. I want you to report to the brig in two hours to perform a quick medical examination on a guest we have just picked up."
"A guest? I wasn't informed we were bringing anybody on board."
"Neither was I. Just be there, Doctor."
"Of course, Captain." complied the officer, the link going dead.
"Why two hours?" asked Harry.
The captain passed him a wry smile, "I think I'll let him stew for a while. Have this thing moved to engineering. Get B'elanna to see what she can make of it." She said calmly, the others giving an affirmative as she then departed.
The Doctor was indeed doing what the captain had foreseen and was indeed stewing. He stood with his arms folded behind a security field, looking for all the world like a scolded child.
Tuvok sat at the security station opposite, calmly examining the items he had confiscated. He had been quite thorough in his search, having taken his screwdriver, fez, TARDIS key along with nearly every other bit of miscellaneous bric-a-brac he had with him.
It had taken the Vulcan quite some time.
The doctor decided to try pacing again, his arms fidgeting. He let out a panicked cry as his hand again brushed the invisible barrier. "That is really annoying!"
"Then stop touching it." said Tuvok calmly without looking up.
He shook his hand in the air, looking quite miffed, "Could at least make it visible or something, or have one of those little plastic cones with a lightning bolt on it and 'beware of stupid zappy barrier thingy'."
Tuvok didn't dignify him with a response, it was after all not the first random comment the stranger had made. He paused to hold up the brass tube with the green tip, "This item; a weapon?" he queried simply.
The doctor glowered, "It's a screwdriver…" he responded in an almost indignant tone, as if the question were insulting.
The vulcan's eyebrows rose, "a screwdriver?" he echoed in his usual dry way.
The Doctor flung his arms up in frustration, barely missing the force field again, "A sonic screwdriver. Isn't it obvious?"
"Then am I to believe you carry no armaments?"
The doctor's gaze shifted, looking away, "I don't carry weapons. You might say I'm allergic to guns."
He cocked his head in response. As far as Tuvok could tell the object was harmless and indeed seemed to be merely some kind of low yield sonic emitter with an output that couldn't possibly be harmful to organic life.
He punched the results of his examinations into his terminal, feeding them straight to the captain's ready room.
"How long are you going to keep me in here?"
"Until the captain says otherwise." Responded the Vulcan calmly.
The Doctor slumped back down. He tensed as he felt something in his back pocket; something so thin it had been overlooked by the security chief.
"So… who did you say this ship was allied with?" he asked, an idea coming to mind.
The Vulcan paused to ponder the reasoning for the question, then answered, "This is a Starfleet vessel, it serves as part of the United Federation of Planets."
The Doctor looked up, as if feigning shock, "Ah, then in that case you have to let me go!"
Tuvok quirked an eyebrow, "Oh, and why is that?"
"Because," began the Doctor, standing up and reaching into his back pocket, "I forgot to mention… I'm the King of the Federation!" he said grandly, whipping out a small leather wallet containing a white piece of paper and holding it up to the officer.
Tuvok regarded him blankly for a long, long moment before calmly setting his tricorder down and standing up, approaching the field separating him from the smug prisoner.
The officer folded his arms, "Firstly…"
"Yes?" asked the doctor.
"There is no 'King' in the Federation."
The Doctor's face fell, "Oh…"
"What?" asked the Doctor glumly.
The Vulcan nodded at the item in his hand, "That is just a blank piece of paper."
The Doctor blinked and looked at the piece of paper in confusion. He flicked it twice, listened as if it were a damaged motor and held it back up, "How about now?"
Tuvok shook his head.
"Stupid psychic paper… must be getting worn out. Or…" he glanced at the Vulcan sideways, "Let me guess: telepathic abilities?" the Vulcan merely tilted his head in acknowledgement and the Doctor sighed again.
Tuvok rolled his eyes slightly; drawing his phaser in one hand he deactivated the field and held out the other palm.
The Doctor's shoulders slumped and he sadly slapped the bit of paper down into the security officer's hand.
After activating the field he tilted his head to regard the paper. Though he could see the blank paper, he could also see the image it was trying to superimpose upon him. It did indeed look like a genuine Federation diplomatic pass and somehow found himself ignoring the tattered leather wallet. It was as if it were using his own mind to show whatever it would need to appear genuine. In fact the only thing wrong about it was the fact that it did indeed show under Current Position the words 'King of the Federation'
He inclined his head, "Fascinating." He admitted as he moved over to the desk and set it down with the other items, a quick pass with his tricorder indeed showed a strong psychic field coming off it.
To Tuvok's relief, the Doctor chose to fall into silent contempt over his situation. This was perfectly fine for Tuvok; it was the silent part that he was grateful for.
Commander Chakotay entered the ready room having been summoned, "You called, Captain?"
Janeway set her coffee cup down by her terminal, having finished reading Tuvok's report on the stranger and his observations of him. "Indeed. I take it you've heard about our guest."
Chakotay cocked his head, realising the Captain was asking for his input on the situation, "I've not seen him, but there was quite a buzz in the mess hall. I stopped by Main Engineering and saw the box. B'elanna's only had it a while and already it's driving her mad trying to figure it out. A wooden box with quite literally nothing inside, but I don't think I'm here to talk about that, am I, Kathryn?"
Janeway smiled slightly, "No. It's the man who appeared with the box."
"The one who calls himself 'The Doctor'"
Janeway nodded, "I honestly don't know what to make of him at this point. According to Tuvok he wasn't carrying anything that could be considered a weapon. Everything else on him just seemed… bizarre." She cocked her head and twisted her desktop terminal around for him to see, "Hardly the sort of things you'd expect a man travelling the depths of space alone to be carrying as his only supplies."
A smile tugged on the corner of his lips as he read out Tuvok's list, "One non-lethal sonic device (described by intruder as a 'screwdriver'), a slightly lacerated packet containing a dehydrated confection, one banana (slightly over ripe), numerous confections shaped vaguely humanoid (described by intruder as 'jellybabies'), one piece of paper emanating a psychic field, one red head apparel (described by intruder as a Cool-Fez, terminology I am not familiar with) and one twentieth century style key (inscribed with word 'Yale' on side) " He looked up at the captain, "Hardly what you'd expect a hardened aggressive alien to carry."
"True, but aggressive or not; it's an alien that managed to transport himself and his 'box' into our holodeck whilst at warp and with our sensors barely registering it."
Chakotay nodded in agreement, "Could the key be to the box?"
Janeway cocked her head, "Must be. We've already tried it though. It definitely fits the lock and turns. However when B'elanna tried, the lock simply forced itself back to a locked state."
"You mean it will only work for our friend in the brig."
Janeway nodded, sighing "So it would seem. Until the Doctor examines…this other Doctor, I'm at an impasse. Tuvok says the man maintains his innocence; claims he just 'arrived on board by accident' and blames his 'ship for doing it' and that he really wasn't carrying any kind of weapons."
Chakotay pondered it for a moment, "Did he say what he was?"
Janeway shook her head, "Not yet. I want to wait for the doctor to examine him before even letting him out of that force field. I'd like you to go down there and meet with the Doctor… our doctor and see what you can make of him."
Chakotay inclined his head, "I'll keep you posted."
Janeway tilted her head back in acknowledgement signalling kindly his dismissal.
Chakotay indeed found his timing to be most fortuitous as he turned round into the next section just as the Doctor emerged from the other, "Doctor."
"Ah, Commander. Come to observe our mysterious passenger?"
He clasped his hands behind his back as he walked, "The captain asked me to watch and see what I can make of him. Apparently he's a bit of a mystery."
"Well," said the Doctor, tapping his medical case, "Let's see if we can't put some of those mysteries to rest."
They both entered the brig, both slowing as they approached the cell, Tuvok standing as they neared.
Chakotay's eyes fixed on the area beyond the forcefield, the figure laying on the bed coming into view.
He really was a strange sight to behold at first glance: his anachronistic outfit looking like a crewman who'd just stepped off the holodeck, his hair arranged with a tuft coming down over his left eye.
Chakotay looked at him carefully as the man registered their presence, his face going from boredom to intrigue as he sat up in the cell's single cot.
He slid nimbly to his feet, seeming pleasantly surprised, "Oh, hello there." He extended his hand as if on reflex, stopping just before it would have impacted the force field, "I'd shake your hand but…"
Chakotay kept his hands behind his back but inclined his head in acknowledgement, smiling politely, "My name is Commander Chakotay, I'm first officer on board this vessel." He indicated the man to his side, "This is our chief medical officer. He's going to perform a few basic medical scans. Standard procedure."
"By all means." Responded the Doctor and noticed the first officer's eyes flick to the Vulcan who stepped forward his hand going to rest on his sidearm.
Chakotay reached for the panel set against the cell's entrance, "I'm going to drop the field now."
"I promise to be on my best behaviour." And as if to emphasise it, put his hands on the back of his head.
Chakotay studied the man closely. His eyes held a strange childlike mischievousness, but there was something more. Something it took a moment to realise; he seemed old. There was an ancient, almost weary wisdom resting below the surface, deeper than what he remembered in the eyes of his grandfather. There was only one thing he was sure of though: there wasn't a hint of malice there.
There was a bleep and the field vanished. The hologram entered and set his case on the bed, the Doctor standing politely to the side to give him room, putting his hands down once he made it clear he wasn't going to lash out.
"So," began the holographic doctor conversationally, trying to act as if the other two officers weren't there (he had been working on his 'bedside manner' after all), "what did you say your name was again?" he said as he stood up, medical tricorder in hand.
The Doctor smiled, "The Doctor, just…The Doctor."
The hologram chuckled weakly, "That makes two of us."
The Doctor inclined his head smiling, "Oh, so you're the holographic Doctor they were talking about. So, it's just the Doctor too?"
The EMH adjusted his tricorder as he prepared to begin, "I've considered adopting other names, but I feel this works for me."
"Doesn't it just." The Doctor replied distantly.
The holographic doctor glanced up at the remark and began scanning, "Let's see…" he said, the prisoner glancing up as the tricorder immediately began letting out a series of disconcerting alert sounds.
"Something wrong?" asked Chakotay.
The hologram pressed a few buttons, "It's his heart rate, it's over-" he paused as the Doctor gently grasped the hand holding the tricorder's probe. Tuvok twitched and drew his phaser, slowly moving to get a clear line between himself and the stranger.
"Allow me." Said the Doctor gently and moved it slowly from his left breast to his right and then slowly back again.
"Hmm" said the EMH, adjusting his tricorder again quickly, "Ah, yes. I see. That makes sense now."
"What is it, Doctor?" prompted Chakotay.
The hologram paused at the interruption, "What? Oh, there was just a slight anomaly as the tricorder read his heart rate at being over a hundred and ninety beats per minute."
"And it's not?"
"No, he just has two hearts." He said plainly, "I didn't have the tricorder set to display vitals based on a binary vascular system. I have compensated."
Chakotay seemed taken aback, "He has two hearts?"
The EMH hummed and nodded an affirmative, not odd to him considering his matrix had knowledge of over three hundred species with more than one heart. The only reason Chakotay seemed startled was due to how human the stranger appeared on the outside. "I must say, you do have one of the most complex and efficient vascular systems I've ever seen in a humanoid race. It's quite extraordinary."
The Doctor patted his chest, smiling, "Well, I do like to keep fit."
The EMH continued, "Muscular capacity is a little above human average but nowhere near the level of say a Vulcan or Klingon. Nothing spectacular or threatening there."
"Well…" muttered the Doctor sheepishly, "I'm more of a cardio person…"
"I see what Seven was talking about…" mumbled the hologram.
"Doctor?" prodded the first officer again.
"Oh, Seven was telling me about the strange chronoton-like emissions our friend here was giving off. She wasn't joking; he's absolutely saturated with them, but she's right; this doesn't read like chronotons at all, in fact it reads more like an energy wave than particle field."
The Doctor scoffed, "Chronotons?" he echoed incredulously, "Oh spare me."
The EMH glanced at him, "I take it then, you know what this reading is."
The Doctor sighed as if he were talking to a very tiring child, "That's not chronotons, that's just Artron energy."
"Which I assume, is a wave not a particle." guessed the hologram, not really being programmed as an expert in such areas.
"Yes, well… no not really, but considering it would take about fifty years to explain fully the mechanics of multidimensional space/time transference, I'll just say yes."
The three officers exchanged what could only be described as a bewildered glance, "I see." Lied the hologram who immediately continued his readings.
The Doctor sighed, "It's harmless, if that's what you're worried about. It appears as residue on people who have travelled through a space-time vortex."
Deciding his readings didn't really disprove the Doctors' words, the hologram then proceeded to take a small metal disk lined with unlit diodes from his case, "Now I'm going to run a few basic neural scans. This is a simple monitor. If you'll allow me?" he said, reaching towards the side of the Doctor's head and pausing. He immediately tilted his head to the side in compliance, allowing the EMH to clip it in place.
The device immediately lit up and began feeding back information as the EMH continued running the probe around the Doctor's head.
"Evidence of low level telepathic capabilities, nothing too extensive. Neural electrical output is exceptionally high-"
"Why thank you." Poked in the Doctor.
The EMH rolled his eyes at the interruption, "As for the layout of his neural pathways; I couldn't begin to compare. There are trillions of different areas that seemingly show no purpose and some I couldn't guess at. He shows similar basic human neural chemistry…with a whole lot more added in. I'm moving onto a basic brainwave scan…"
The Doctor suddenly looked up, "Ah, you might not want to-" he tried to cut in, but the holographic doctor was lost in his readings.
"That's impossible…" he breathed, "Commander, these aren't even reading as brainwaves, not as we know them anyway. It's as if that energy, that Artron energy, has completely bonded with his neuro-electrical impulses."
"What does that mean, Doctor?" asked Chakotay.
The EMH looked up, his face looking bewildered, "It means, Commander… that his brainwaves are in a continuous state of temporal flux."
The Doctor shrugged acceptingly "I prefer temporal grace to be honest, but either works I suppose. Now you might want to stop that before-"
"I just want to capture a quick full map of his neural pathways for-" he paused as the tricorder began to shimmer with a strange golden light.
It then promptly proceeded to explode in the EMH's hand.
The hologram clenched and unclenched his hand as the twisted instrument dropped to the floor, the other two officers silent in shock.
"As I was trying to say," said the Doctor, peeling the burned out sensor from the side of his temple, "before you get some nasty temporal feedback."
"What happened?" asked Chakotay, reaching in and picking up the instrument with two fingers, dropping it as he realised it was still hot.
"Like I said," said the Doctor, "Temporal feedback. The scanning wave went into my neural pathways, got caught up in a temporal loop between my brain and your instruments, joining up with all the alternative versions of that scanning signal from an infinite number of other timelines, which were then fed back at the same time into your scanning device. The resultant reaction… destroyed it. Really have to be careful when looking into a time brain."
"A time brain?" echoed the first officer. He took a steadying breath to shake off the confusion and pulled himself up to full height, looking the Doctor dead on, "What are you?"
The Doctor met his gaze unflinchingly, deciding the time for pretence had passed, "My name is the Doctor. I'm one thousand one hundred and four years old. I came to your universe from my own reality in my ship, The TARDIS -that's Time and Relative Dimension in Space. And, in answer to your question, I am a Time Lord." The Doctor sat calmly back onto the bed and folded his hands on his lap, "I suspect you'll now want to go and report to Captain Janeway."
With little words spoken, the officers left to report to their commanding officer, leaving the Doctor silent in his cell.
Janeway didn't enter until the next morning, having decided to sleep on the information her officers had reported to her.
The Doctor's eyes flicked open as Janeway entered with Tuvok shadowing close behind, a steel mug of black coffee in her hand.
The Doctor sat up as Tuvok deactivated the field and set the tray and pot he was carrying inside.
Janeway nodded down, "I brought you some breakfast. I wasn't sure what you eat so it's just basic porridge, hope you like maple syrup. Judging by your accent you've at least been to Britain back on Earth, so I thought you might appreciate a cup of tea."
The doctor smiled brightly, a slight twinkle in his eyes, as he poured himself a cup, sipping it and finding it just to his liking, "You're very kind, and I do love a bowl of porridge. First had it when I was with the Highlanders… all that nasty business with the Red Coats."
Janeway slid the chair from the security desk and sat down, sipping her drink calmly and waiting for the Doctor to finish.
Once he was down to just sipping contentedly on his tea, Janeway spoke, "Good?"
The doctor smiled, wiping a few stray oats from the corner of his mouth, "Very. Thank you, Captain."
Janeway inclined her head, setting her cup down and folding her fingers in her lap, "So… Doctor. My officers have told me some interesting things."
The Time Lord smiled, "All good I hope."
Janeway cocked her head, "Well that all depends."
The captain's eyes narrowed, "On why you're here. You say you came by accident. I think I want a bit more information. You say you're from another reality, perhaps that's true and perhaps it's not. Lord knows it's not the strangest thing I've encountered out here in the Delta Quadrant."
The Doctor smiled again, "So you'd like me to spill the beans, would you?"
Janeway smiled, "Couldn't have put it better myself. " she said, fetching herself another coffee from the replicator and settling back down, "So go ahead, Doctor. Regale me with your story."
The doctor in kind pored himself another cup of tea and began as requested.
Of course he had to skip a few bits.
Okay, a lot of bits.
He told her of his race, how he travelled in time. He then told her of the Order of the Silence, of the creation of the Fixed Point, the near death of time itself and how he fooled reality into letting him continue existing.
He then told her of the Question. He of course didn't tell her what it was nor what would happen if it were answered, only that he needed to stay out the way until the dark forces who had come to detest his constant saving of the universe with what can only be described as religious zealously were content that he no longer existed.
"And, so I turned the TARDIS over to self-control, and she brought me here." He smiled wistfully, "Never bringing me where I want to go, only where I need to go… I wonder if that's true this time"
With that the doctor patted himself once on the lap and set his now tepid tea down on the floor.
"And here we are…" muttered Janeway, deep in thought. The Doctor's story was fantastical to say the least. But her own experiences showed alternate realities, timelines and dimensions were certainly possible and beings such as the Q also showed that higher life forms certainly do exist.
She was quiet for a long time, running all the evidence through her head. The EMH's scans, the eccentricies of the man and even Chakotays' own impression: 'He has the eyes of a man who yearns for peace; the eyes of an old warrior.'
"Eleven hundred and four?" she asked disbelievingly, suddenly changing the subject.
The Doctor smiled, "I suppose I'm not bad for it, am I?"
But still, the scientist; the logician in her, just needed something concrete.
"Am I right in thinking that you are seeking some kind of asylum?"
A small smile pulled at his lips, "I suppose I am. All I can promise you is this: I mean you no harm. I come in peace… and I mean that in the genuine way, not the 'I come in peace but really I'm a giant space octopus that wants to suck out your brains' kind of way."
Janeway couldn't stop the smile pulling at her face, "Alright, but I think I'd like some substantiation first."
Janeway looked at him carefully, "Show me this ship of yours. If it appears to do all you say it can, I'll consider your request."
"Then let's go." said the doctor, grinning.
Janeway stood up and stretched, the Doctor getting up and walking out the cell ahead.
The captain went to fall into step beside the Doctor who had already strolled calmly on ahead and out the doors, turning left.
"Doctor…" said Janeway, walking out the door and turning right, the Time lord hastily retracing his steps, deciding it best she lead the way for now.
Chief Engineer B'elanna Torres slumped against the console, the blue box dominating the main floor of engineering, having been situated just in front of the warp core.
"Perhaps you should turn in, B'elanna." Said Tom, who though wasn't on shift had decided to help his wife who had slept only two hours before continuing on her quest to gain entry to the blue box whilst Seven continued to analyse the structure surrounding the void space within.
"Are you joking?" she asked with her usual edge, "I'm going to beat this thing if it kills me."
She scratched her forehead with the instrument she had been using to analyse the atomic structure of the locking mechanism and exchanged it for a laser probe, "Let's give this one more go, then I'm breaking out the phaser rifle."
"Such… scientific objectivity." Teased Tom, hugging her shoulders.
She scoffed, "My objectivity died about three Ractajino's ago."
"I think I have a slightly better solution, B'elanna." came Captain Janeway's voice as she entered engineering.
The engineer immediately pushed herself up, "Captain, I'm sure given time…" her words died as the Doctor strolled in at her side, his eyes immediately taking in the sights.
"Captain, what's-" began Tom, Janeway raising her hand to silence him.
"It's okay, Lieutenant. We've had… discussions, and the Doctor has decided, as a show of faith, in exchange for asylum, to allow us… access… to his ship."
The Doctor was busy looking about, he weaved about the TARDIS, pausing to pat it affectionately on the side, "Hello, Girl."
He looked up at the warp core, "You're using antimatter reactions to power your ship's space warping field." He said with amusement.
B'elanna appeared around the TARDIS, looking between the Time Lord and the warp core, "You can tell that just by looking?"
He cocked his head, "Well… Took a moment, haven't seen one of these things in years. What are you using as a catalysing agent?" he mumbled, leaning under the rail he ran a finger along the rim of the reaction chamber and tasted it quickly, slipping back to his feet, "Lithium, diatomic. Compressed into some kind of crystalline medium… bit inefficient, but I suppose it gets you by."
"Well I'm sorry you disapprove." Said the engineer testily.
He patted her shoulders, "Oh, don't be. Your ship's lovely. It's so clean and bright and…carpeted. Huh, not often you get space ships with carpet…" he frowned and looked at B'elanna, "Who does the vacuuming?"
She rolled her eyes, "Captain." She said in complaint.
"Doctor, "she prompted gently.
"Right, sorry about that. Tend to get a little distracted in new places." He said walking back around to the front of the blue box.
He frowned as he picked up the tool on the floor by its door. He glanced at it and then back up, "This is a laser cutter." He scowled slightly like a boy who's just discovered someone had messed with his favourite thing in the world, "What have you been doing to my TARDIS?" he asked, looking at the engineer who suddenly shrunk back.
"W-well, we were having trouble getting inside and I…" she trailed off as she watched the man pat the lock gently.
"There, there Girl, not like they could hurt you."
"Girl?" echoed the Klingon dubiously.
Tom approached gripping her shoulders from behind, "It's a guy thing. Pretty much universal."
The Doctor patted his pockets down as Janeway approached, "Key…" he muttered.
"B'elanna?" asked the Captain.
"Oh, I left it up on the second level, I'll just go and-"
"Oh, don't worry, get it later." Dismissed the Time Lord.
"Do you have a spare?" asked Janeway.
The Doctor turned and held her gaze as he raised a hand up into the air…and snapped his fingers.
In time with the sound, as if waiting for it to come, a click resonated from the lock and a line of yellow light cut through the blue of the wooden box as the doors opened.
The Doctor held his hand out, "Ladies first."
The Captain shook her head with a smile and pushed the door open, stepping past the threshold.
The Doctor weaved past her and twirled to a stop in front of the console; he always did love the first reaction.
Janeway looked up as she entered the chamber and the Doctor could see the almost childlike wonder that the sight seemed to inspire, especially in ones as inquisitive as her.
Her mouth was open slightly and, despite her reaction, her hand already had her tricorder out, "Amazing… it's…"
"Yes?" asked the Doctor expectantly.
"The inside, it's…"
"It's occupying an entirely different dimension to the exterior shell. The threshold must… what?" she paused looking at the Doctor who now looked like she'd just dropped his birthday cake, "What's wrong."
"You said it wrong…" he said with a note of petulance.
She frowned, "What was I supposed to-"
She was cut off as Tom Paris' voice trailed over from the entrance, "My god… It's bigger on the inside!"
The Doctor's face lit up again and Janeway just sighed.
She watched as he ran a hand over the console and the room hummed to life at his touch, her tricorders readings off the scale and unable to make heads or tails of the environment around her.
"Is it alive?" she asked, her eyes tracing the organic components in the room.
The Doctor rested a hand on the console, looking at it with strange fondness, "Oh yes, so very much alive."
Janeway approached the TARDIS console running a hand along it as she took it in.
It was like the Doctor himself. Strangely advanced yet so ramshackle, the console which manipulated the strange machine a collection of random junk and parts haphazardly wired together.
"Come on in, take a look around." He said calmly to the officers clustered by the doors before addressing Janeway, "Well, Captain?"
She exhaled a breath, "Alright, for now… at least. I'll say welcome aboard…Doctor."
The old Time Lord smiled back in turn and gently shook her hand, "And I'll say welcome aboard too, Captain Kathryn Janeway."
Light years away, a dark ship whose outer cubic shape betrayed little of its sheer destructive power cruised through space. The ship had dropped out of Transwarp due to a subspace sensor relay passing a reading to it mid-flight, necessitating the diversion.
The readings from the relay had culminated in the collective consciousness of the Borg altering the commands to the ship in question.
UNKNOWN SPACIAL ANOMALY DETECTED IN GRID 3167. VESSEL 912 TO INVESTIGATE.
This was the same anomaly a certain Type 40 TARDIS had emerged from not a day earlier and, soon after the box had left, blue flash had lit up space as something pushed through from within.
In its place was a ship, surrounded by at what first could be mistaken for pieces of floating debris.
It was a ship that had escaped the destruction of its fellows in the Medusa Cascade by falling down into the rupture within the cascade and then into the void.
And now, using the Artron trail from the Time Machine that had pushed through as a lifeline, it had finally managed to pull itself into normal space.
The barrier that had protected the ship and the small objects about it from the stress of the void slid back, the dormant vessel's sensors registering their new position.
The small objects about it began to stir, the twitching betraying that what they were wasn't entirely artificial, their top sections swirled slowly. A tiny blue light that was their eyes strained to come on as this so-called debris righted itself space and immediately began moving for the sanctuary of the vessel.
The saucer-shaped craft slowly began to spin under its own power as it awakened the ship's 'crew', if it could indeed be called that.
The ship sent out a quick sensor wave out to the surrounding area and, registering the threat, immediately began sending urgent commands to the awakening life-forms both in and around the vessel.
Meanwhile, light years away, the approaching cube-shaped vessel closed inexorably in with no knowledge of what awaited it. Meanwhile, the saucer-shaped vessel repeated its command with urgency.
DALEK BATTLE COMPUTER TO ALL UNITS. UNKNOWN VESSEL ENTERING SENSOR RADIUS. ALL UNITS TO BATTLE POSITIONS. REPEAT: ALL DALEK UNITS TO BATTLE POSITIONS.
To be continued…
[A/N] Yes, I couldn't help but give this another chapter, and what kind of crossover would this have been if I didn't bring the Doctor's most famous enemy into it. I'll catch you next time.
See you probably in Chapter 3: Adaptation