The Doctor stood silently, lost in thought for a moment before his head snapped up and he moved over to the control panel. He quickly set coordinates and set the ship in motion. A short moment later, the ship landed and he glanced at the viewer. Perfect. This was the freighter shortly before the TARDIS crew had arrived.
He fixed both girls with a stern look, in command once again, "Now I'm going to need some space. I want the two of you to go over there," he waved vaguely at the wall near the hat stand. "Stay there no matter what happens and for heaven's sake don't touch me."
He waited for both women to obey his orders and arranged himself cross-legged on the floor. The girls shared a look, both surprised that he wasn't going to use the TARDIS for whatever he had planned. Sensing the need for quiet, both remained silent and watched as the Doctor dropped into a deep trance, hardly seeming to breathe. Moments passed and Tegan was beginning to get restless. She had just take a step away from the wall when the Doctor stiffened and a brilliant glow surrounded him, becoming brighter and brighter until Tegan's eyes watered from looking at it. She blinked and when she opened her eyes, the Doctor had vanished.
Moments that seemed like hours passed for the two women as they waited for something, anything, to happen. After the Doctor had vanished, Tegan and Nyssa had quickly gone to the area where the Doctor had been last. They found nothing unusual, no invisible solid object that might be the Doctor, no scorch marks, and the deck where he had sat wasn't even warm. The girls sat down against the wall, too shocked and confused to put their thoughts to voice.
It must have been nearly half an hour since the Doctor had gone when Tegan finally began to speak, "Wh-where do you think..." She was interrupted by another brilliant flash as the Doctor reappeared, swaying slightly on his feet and cradling a shocked looking Adric. He gently set Adric onto the floor and moved over to the console and watched wearily as both Tegan and Nyssa threw themselves onto Adric. He nodded to himself and moved to set new coordinates, marveling slightly at how much his hand shook as he pulled the lever. Once in flight, the Doctor quietly left the console room, unnoticed as the joyful reunion continued. In the console room, the girls were finally able to stop crying.
Tegan raised red eyes and smiled a watery smile at Adric, "We're so glad that you're alive! You have to tell us everything!" She insisted.
Nyssa smiled as well, a light of humor entering her eyes, "Yes, starting with how you came to be trapped on the freighter when" ,she punctuated her last few words with teasing pokes into Adric's chest, "everyone else got away."
Adric quickly told them about the logic code locks on the navigation system, how he had cracked all but one before the cyberman had destroyed the instrument panel. A faraway look came into his eyes, "And then things got really strange..."
Flashback: Adric was out of options. He stared at the ever enlarging image of the Earth much as the mouse who, hypnotized by the snake's dance of death, finds itself paralyzed, unable to move until the snake's strike ends it's life. He twisted his shirt fitfully in his hands, wishing heartily that he hadn't insisted on staying aboard the damned freighter. A bright flash startled Adric, wrenching his eyes away from the encroaching doom on the view screen. Adric was shocked beyond words to see the Doctor standing there, surrounded by an eldritch glow.
"Come Adric," he said, moving quickly to Adric's side. "We haven't much time. Please listen carefully. This freighter was always supposed to crash into the earth, it was this explosion that ended the reign of the dinosaurs and allowed the rise of the mammal and eventually man. However, I fear it's even more complicated than that." He turned to Adric, who had to stop himself from taking a step back in fear, for the Doctor's eyes glowed from deep within with the same argent light. "Have you never wondered at how similar humans are to Alzarians," he asked, "to you yourself?" He glanced at the view screen and the sense of urgency doubled, causing his words to trip over each other in haste, "They too emerged from the waters and swamps, they are resilient like you, and they even have developed a similar intelligence level. All of this development occurred at an accelerated pace when compared to almost every other intelligent species. And Adric," he added, running a hand over his face, "I keep medical records on everyone who travels in my ship. Did you know that large portions of your genes are almost identical to those in Tegan? The level of duplication is mathematically inconceivable unless one adds in some sort of catalyst."
Adric's eyes widened in horror, "Doctor, are you saying that it was me? My presence on board the freighter is what triggered the development of an entire species?" The Doctor nodded briefly.
"Then you can't save me? I have to die?"
The Doctor sighed and rubbed the back of his neck nervously, "I'm very sorry Adric, but I'm afraid that I have to ask you to cut your hand." End Flashback
Adric looked up from his reminiscences, "The Doctor had me leave my blood in many locations on the bridge. At first, I thought it was random, but then I started to see some sort of pattern. I had this...sense that he was seeing two realities at the same time. He seemed to slip in and out of phase and his eyes were focused on something I couldn't see. Finally, we stopped. By that time, I was beginning to feel slightly woozy from the blood loss and so I didn't protest when the Doctor picked me up. I looked at the view screen and saw flames shooting up around the ship from entering the atmosphere," he shook his head in amazement, "everything just faded out like an old photograph. I felt an icy cold and forces pulling me in all directions. I thought that I was going to be torn apart, but the Doctor tightened his hold on me and I felt some strange form of energy emanating from him. Everything seemed to stabilize, and the next thing I knew, here I was - back in the TARDIS." He looked at his spellbound audience, "That's all," he concluded, "and I'll still never know if my solution for the last code was correct," he added regretfully.
Nyssa smiled brightly and hugged Adric again, "An amazing story Adric. I'm so glad you're back!"
"How's your hand?" Tegan asked.
Adric grinned at her, "I'm Alzarian," he reminded loftily, "whether or not you share some of my genes, I still heal faster than you." He presented his hand for inspection and indeed, the flesh was smooth and unblemished.
Nyssa shook her head in wonder, "No wonder the Doctor warned us about the potential consequences of changing the past. Had he just taken you off of the ship without thinking, the entire human race would have disappeared!" She looked around, "Where is the Doctor anyway?" Tegan shrugged, "probably off working somewhere."
Nyssa's gaze sharpened reproachfully, "Tegan," she chided, "you said some truly terrible things to him." Tegan flushed guiltily. "I think you owe him an apology."
Tegan hung her head slightly, "Sometimes, my mouth just runs away without me. I didn't really mean what I said...I was just so angry that it slipped out. Mouth on legs - that's me."
Nyssa nodded, "I know you didn't mean it, but you should definitely apologize sooner rather than later." A slight shuddering distracted her, she glanced at the column, "Oh! We've landed."
"I'll worry about that later," said Tegan. "I'm off to find the Doctor. I guess he'll be in his room - assuming he has one." She paused, realizing how little she really knew about the Doctor. Well, she supposed that she would just have to brave the maze of corridors once again. The ship might be massive, but even the TARDIS had to end somewhere...right?
She started for the door but was stopped by Nyssa, "Maybe we could find some sort of schematic of the ship in the TARDIS data bank that would show where the Doctor's quarters are?" she suggested.
Adric seemed to recall something and held up a hand, "We may not have to," he said excitedly. "The Doctor and I were talking a while back and he mentioned that the TARDIS was partially sentient. He always refers to it as a 'she'. I'll bet we could ask her for help finding the Doctor!" Tegan looked skeptical, but Nyssa beamed approvingly, "That's brilliant Adric!" she enthused. "Well, go on Tegan."
Tegan looked toward the ceiling. "Hey TARDIS," she said hesitantly, feeling ridiculous, "I need to find the Doctor to apologize, can you help me?" There was a soft hum from the TARDIS and then a narrow strip of green lights leading away from the console room illuminated. Well here goes nothing, Tegan thought, and began on her way. Nyssa and Adric remained in the console room where Nyssa regaled Adric with what had happened to them while Adric was gone and Adric wondered at the mathematical improbability of his own experience.
A/N: Thank you to all who have reviewed! I really appreciate it! By the way, we are getting close to the whole reason I have been posting this story ;).