22 April 2007

Saskia's Trials - Chapter 2 Part 1

Dr Karg terminated the call to the Commander of the detention unit and went through to Saskia's kitchen where the Doctor was preparing a salad. Jeff suspected he was doing it more for something to do than because he actually wanted to eat, but Jeff knew that Dr Karg would insist that they needed to eat regularly. He'll probably tell us we won't help Saskia by starving ourselves, thought Jeff.
Both men looked up expectantly when Dr Karg walked in. He nodded. "We can see Saskia at four o'clock," he said. There was a sigh of relief from the other two.
"Do you mind if I don't come?" asked Jeff hesitantly.
The other two men looked at him, the Doctor in surprise, Dr Karg with compassion. "Of course not, Jeff, if you feel you'd rather not," said Dr Karg.
The Doctor shrugged and went back to the salad, a picture of a strong steel door in his mind to block his thoughts and feelings from them.

"We're also going to see Luca whilst we're there," Dr Karg told the Doctor, whose head snapped up so fast that Jeff was surprised he didn't give himself whiplash.
"That scum?" the Doctor spat furiously. "Why would we want to see him?"
"I thought it might be useful to see what frame of mind he's in," answered Dr Karg. "He'll be giving evidence against Saskia after all."
The Doctor glowered and began chopping vegetables with considerable savagery, causing Jeff to make a mental note never to get on the Doctor's wrong side.
"The trial will start tomorrow morning," Dr Karg said.
"Tomorrow?" asked the Doctor looking up again, knife poised.
Dr Karg nodded. "We don't believe in keeping people locked up for lengthy periods before a trial."
"Who will be defending Saskia? Can I do it?" the Doctor asked.
"Our justice system doesn't work like that," Dr Karg explained. "Everyone involved gives their evidence to the Council, who then decides on the guilt or innocence of the accused on the basis of that evidence."
"And how do we give evidence, is it different because you’re empathic?" asked to Doctor as he resumed chopping the vegetables, but with less ferocity.
"Each person is linked up to a sort of mental projector, I guess you'd call it, which replays their memories." Dr Karg frowned for a moment. "You know how a film projector worked on Old Earth?" he asked.
The Doctor nodded, his attention fully focused on Dr Karg again.
"Well the mental projector works a bit like that. It takes an individual's memories and replays them on a screen, like a film."
"Oh." The Doctor had a sudden recollection of his own trial on Gallifrey during his sixth incarnation. That had involved something similar, so far as he could judge from Dr Karg's description. He frowned thoughtfully as he finished chopping the salad vegetables, tossing them into a bowl. He began mixing up a dressing, remembering with a sudden pang the time when he had made a salad for himself and Saskia during their first trip to Oxford. He wondered what she was having for lunch and wished fiercely that she was here instead to tease him about his domesticity and his familiarity with her kitchen. He remembered their conversation less than two hours ago, when he'd teased her for being too serious, and how upset she had been. Me and my big mouth, he thought crossly. I shall have to try to make it up to her somehow.

Dr Karg broke in on his thoughts. "That looks good."
The Doctor looked down at the salad. "Yeah," he said, his tone bleak.
Jeff was slicing up a loaf of bread and piling the slices onto a plate. "What do you want to drink?" he asked as he finished his task.
"Fruit juice please," answered Dr Karg as Jeff opened the fridge door.
"Hmm? Oh, the same, thanks." He began to butter some bread, his manner abstracted. "Do you mind if I sit out on the balcony?" he asked Jeff.
"Of course not," Jeff answered. He watched as the Doctor put a plate of salad, a glass of juice, and a small plate of sliced bread onto a tray and took it through the sitting room, then sat down at the kitchen table himself. "He seems pretty upset," he observed as he helped himself to the salad.
Dr Karg nodded. "Yes. He gets very attached to those who travel with him, and it's not that long since he lost a companion to whom he was very close."
"Oh. Did she die?"
"No." Dr Karg began to butter some bread for himself.

The Doctor ate mechanically, his attention focused on his memories of the conversation he'd had with Saskia a few days ago. When they had discussed what she had done to Jackson and his men, it simply hadn't occurred to him that if he brought Saskia back home she would be punished for her actions, largely because he had thought they were only ones who knew what had happened out in Dasleere Viertel. He remembered Saskia punching Luca after they got back, and wished it was possible for him to go back in the TARDIS to change that moment. But he knew, only too well, the dangers of messing around with established events: look what had happened to Rose and his former self when she had saved her dad from that hit and run driver. Well, whatever happened as a result of this trial, he was utterly determined that Saskia would not have to undergo any corrective brain surgery. He'd spirit her away in the TARDIS first.

Saskia was sitting huddled on her bed, her mind numb with misery, when the door to her cell opened and a man appeared, a darker shape against the dim light.
"Lunchtime," he said.
Saskia felt like refusing to go to lunch, but knew that would be foolish. She needed to keep her physical strength up, even if her emotional strength was nearly zero. She go up and walked to the door, hoping that this guard wouldn't be another Wachter. She gave him a quick glance as she passed him and went out into the corridor, and saw a look of supreme indifference on his face.
The guard led her back down the short corridor, through the same heavily-barred and guarded door that she'd come through earlier, then turned right and took her down another corridor to a nondescript canteen. There were about twenty people in the canteen already, most of whom were eating, and nearly all of whom ignored Saskia as the guard waved her over to the serving counter. She picked up a tray, then accepted a bowl of vegetable soup and a plate of bread from the server. She looked around for a seat and saw a small empty table in the far corner. She made her way to it carefully, her eyes firmly fixed on the tray she carried.

Luca had seen Saskia being brought into the canteen and felt a savage joy at the sight of her white, miserable face. When the guard who had fetched him for lunch had told him that Saskia had been arrested and brought in, he had roared with laughter. He hadn't dared to hope that she and her interfering friend would come back to Einfuhlung so soon. Now he would have the chance to settle his scores with her: the way that Doctor fellow had called him a 'pretty boy' still rankled. Then there was the way Saskia had thrown him out of her apartment when they had rowed about the Doctor – and just when he'd thought that all his months of work in softening her up enough to make her his had been about to be repaid. But her worst crime, in Luca's eyes, had been that punch, after she had told him and Philip that Jackson was dead. No one had ever dared to hit him like that before, and the fact that she'd knocked him out, then just walked away made him as mad as a viper. He was really looking forward to her trial starting tomorrow. It would be the best entertainment he'd had since they'd locked him up here nearly a month ago.

Saskia was so wrapped up in her own misery that she was blocking out the thoughts and feelings of everyone around her, so she was unaware of Luca's presence as he watched her from across the canteen. She ate her lunch quickly, desperate to get back to her cell where she wouldn't need to maintain her composure. She carried her tray back to the serving counter, then approached the canteen door. The guard who had brought her down here was waiting for her, a bored look on his face.
"You're to go and see Commander Posten now," he told Saskia, who nodded, then followed where the guard led her. She felt as if she was moving on autopilot; she just couldn't get a handle on her thoughts and it was terrifying her. She was so used to her mind being a place of order and logic, and now it was a whirling maelstrom. Suddenly she remembered her mental fight with the Devron, which reminded her of the Doctor and sent her thoughts skidding off again in another direction. She wondered if she was going mad, and if she would know about it if she did.

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