15 April 2007

Oxford Ostinato - Chapter 4 Part 2

"So, I still have some unanswered questions," the Doctor said.
"Do you expect me to answer them?" Inglesham's tone was disbelieving.
"Yes I do," the Doctor answered calmly. "One person, no matter what their situation, cannot be allowed to get away with illegal experiments, particularly if the subjects have not given their permission. So I ask you again, why did you clone musicians?"
Inglesham gave the Doctor a considering look and Saskia sensed him deciding that he would answer the Doctor because he couldn't believe the Doctor could stop him.
"I wanted to see if it was possible to clone talented people so that the clones shared the same talents. I'm starting with musicians and artists, then I'll move on to mathematicians and scientists. So long as the clones have their talents, I'll know it's safe to clone a really talented man like myself."
"You're a very talented man," the Doctor agreed. "But that doesn't give you the right to do what you've done. So my next question is this – how did you do it, given humanity's cloning technology isn't advanced enough yet?"
"I used advanced technology designed by my own people, but built here, and the facility that my own people have for extracting and passing on genetic materials. The combination of the two allows me to create viable adult clones in just 24 hours." Inglesham's formerly icy tone had become slightly more animated, and both Saskia and the Doctor noticed that he sounded a little smug now. "I could give you a demonstration, if you like?"
"I wouldn't, thank you," the Doctor answered swiftly as he felt Saskia's mind recoil from Inglesham's in horror. He wants to clone me! she said, revolted.
I won't let him do that, I promise you! the Doctor answered. Aloud he asked, "Did you really think I would agree to a demonstration?"
"What makes you think you can stop me?" asked Inglesham. "There are only two of you, and your friend here is a little 'tied up', shall we say?"
Saskia flinched at his attempt at humour.
"Actually there are four of us," the Doctor answered. "You can come in now boys," he called, without dropping his gaze from Inglesham's face.
Saskia saw Steve and Martin walk into the basement and guessed that these were the other two clones Inglesham had created. Both men were glaring intently at Inglesham and she sensed their revulsion at what he had done to them.

Inglesham didn't look concerned by their appearance. "Stanley, Ned, deal with them," he snapped, stepping back towards the head of Saskia's bed. Both of his men rushed at the musicians as the Doctor sprang forward and used his Sonic Screwdriver to undo the straps that were holding Saskia to the bed. She immediately swung her legs around and stood up, then snatched Inglesham's cane from him. He started to fall and the Doctor shoved the hospital bed towards him so that he fell awkwardly onto it. Inglesham cried out in pain and both Saskia and the Doctor winced when they heard a bone snap.
His arm's broken, Saskia said.
He'll live for now, the Doctor answered. "Call your men off," he hissed at Inglesham as he and Saskia lifted him bodily up onto the bed and strapped him down.
"Never," Inglesham answered hoarsely.
"If you call them off, I'll help you," the Doctor said desperately.
Saskia looked over at the four men fighting in the middle of the room. The musicians were getting the worst of it, neither of them having any experience of fighting, as Ned and Stanley clearly did. As she watched Ned knocked Steve down and he crashed awkwardly against the wall. She heard another sickening snap of breaking bones.
"Doctor," she said urgently.
The Doctor looked up, saw that Steve was down, and noticed what Saskia had not, his neck was broken. "Steve's dead Saskia," he said quietly, then looked back at Inglesham. "Call them off. Don't have any more deaths on your hands."
Inglesham glared at him. "Why should I believe that you will help me?" he asked.
"Why shouldn’t you believe me?" countered the Doctor.
Saskia glanced over again at the fighting men. Martin had picked up a wooden chair and backed himself into a corner, clearly hoping to keep Ned and Stanley at bay.
The Doctor looked up again. "Come on," he said to Saskia. "Let's see if we can at least even the odds." He and Saskia rushed across the room together.
I'll take Ned, she said and launched herself at him. The Doctor barrelled into Stanley and both men were knocked aside from their attack on Martin.
"RUN!" yelled the Doctor and Martin needed no second bidding. He dropped the chair and raced out of the room. Saskia heard him running up the stairs as she picked herself up from the floor. The Doctor was already on his feet. He grabbed her hand. "Come on, let's get after him and get out of here. I want to get that lad to somewhere safe."
They ran upstairs together and came out into the main hallway.
"Where is he?" asked the Doctor.
"In a room at the back of the house on this floor," Saskia answered. "But there's someone with him."
The Doctor cursed briefly in Gallifreyan. "Inglesham's other man," he said. "I left him unconscious. He must have woken up." He ran towards the back of the house with Saskia close behind him.
"Someone's been knocked out," Saskia said, feeling the man's mind go dark, like seeing a candle that had been blown out. The Doctor rushed to the end of the corridor and threw open the door. He stopped just over the threshold and Saskia saw why. Martin was also dead, his body sprawled on the floor where Inglesham's man had throw him during their fight. Inglesham's man had a wild angry look in his eye that chilled Saskia. She grabbed the Doctor's hand. I don't think we can reason with him, she said.
Not for the moment, at least, the Doctor agreed. Let's get out of here and call the authorities in. They backed out of the room, then turned and ran to the front door. The Doctor pulled out his Sonic Screwdriver and unlocked it, then they ran outside and around the house. The Doctor pulled out his mobile phone and tossed it to Saskia.
"Ring 999 and ask for the police and an ambulance. I'll call the TARDIS." They ran on down the drive and out onto the road where they finally paused to catch their breath.
Saskia looked down at the phone, then punched the 9 button three times. She spoke to an operator and requested an ambulance and the police. "They want to know where to send them," she told the Doctor, who took the phone from her and spoke rapidly to the operator, describing the location of the house. As he finished speaking the TARDIS dematerialised wheezily behind him. Saskia walked over to the familiar Police Box and leant against the side, feeling weary and sick at what had happened to the two musicians.

The Doctor pocketed his mobile phone and the Sonic Screwdriver, then walked over to Saskia. He held out his arms and she hugged him, glad that he was there.
"What happens now?" she asked.
"You go and make some tea while I talk to the police. We'll get out of here just as soon as we can," he answered.
"Make sure you tell them about the body in the wood," Saskia said.
"What body?" asked the Doctor in surprise.
"That's what landed us in this situation," Saskia said, and explained how she had seen Stanley carrying a body into the woods whilst she was running alongside the river.
"That may have been the clone of Marie," the Doctor observed. "We know he created three clones, but we've only seen the two men."
Saskia looked at the Doctor in horror. "So all three of the clones are dead?" she asked bitterly.
The Doctor nodded grimly. Moments later they both heard the sound of sirens approaching. "Go and make that tea," he said.
"Do you want some?" Saskia asked as she unlocked the door of the TARDIS.
"I'll get some when I've finished talking to the police. I've no idea how long that will take."
She nodded and went inside. She decided to have a shower first and change out of her running clothes before making the tea. After her shower she took her clothes and towels to the laundry room and put them into the washing machine along with some things of the Doctor's that were sitting in a wicker basket. Then she went to the kitchen to make a mug of tea and ate a banana whilst she waited for the water to boil. She had just made a large mug of tea when the Doctor walked into the kitchen, his tie pulled askew and his hair sticking up wildly. Saskia wondered if he'd been clutching it in frustration.
"The water's only just boiled," she told him.
"Hmm? Oh, water. Yes thanks."
Saskia sensed that the Doctor was unhappy about something, but he was keeping his thoughts from her. "What is it?" she asked as he sat down with his own mug of tea.
"Inglesham's dead," he answered.
"How did he die?"
"The police think either Ned or Stanley killed him. And all three of his men have disappeared.
Saskia scowled at his news. "Did they find the body in the wood?" she asked.
"Yes, and it was the clone of Marie. She'd been given an overdose of barbiturate."
They sat silently for a few minutes, drinking their tea.
"What are we going to do now?" Saskia asked bleakly.
"We're going to find somewhere nice and quiet to spend a few days. Somewhere without monsters, if we can manage it, and that includes monstrous humanoids."
"That would be nice."
The Doctor noticed Saskia's wistful tone. "You should go and get some sleep," he told her. "What with two nightmares last night and a nightmarish morning as well, you must be exhausted."
Saskia nodded. "I will sleep, in a little while," she answered.
"Are you worried about having more nightmares?" he asked.
"A little," admitted Saskia. "I've been wondering whether that second nightmare I had was actually about the clone of Marie, rather than Marie herself."
"I don't suppose we'll find that out," the Doctor said thoughtfully.
"No. And there's no way, either, of knowing why I suddenly had a dream related to actual events," Saskia pointed out.
"Would Dr Karg know?"
"I don't know. He might, I suppose. There's only one way to find out for sure though."
"Shall we go to Einfuhlung for a few days, then?" asked the Doctor.
"Well you did say you wanted to go somewhere quiet. And we did promise to have lunch with Dr Karg again, which we haven't yet done."
"OK then. We'll got to Einfuhlung for some R&R." The Doctor looked pleased at the prospect. "I've got to go and do some maintenance checks on the TARDIS' systems," he said, getting to his feet.
"Do you want a hand?" Saskia asked.
The Doctor shook his head. "I'll come and find you when I've finished. Try to get some rest."
"OK." Saskia watched the Doctor go and thought that she ought to take his advice, but she remained sitting at the kitchen table for a while longer.

No comments: