22 April 2007

Saskia's Trials - Chapter 3 Part 3

The Doctor's lasagne proved every bit as enjoyable as he'd promised and he made himself a mental note to make it for Saskia to try at the earliest opportunity. He wasn't going to consider the possibility that she wouldn't be leaving Einfuhlung with him just as soon as this trial was over.
Dr Karg insisted that he and Jeff would wash up, so the Doctor took a mug of tea out onto Saskia's balcony and tried not to remember how he and Saskia had sat there talking before their ill-fated trip to Eupatoria. He thought, instead, about Saskia crying in his arms. He had been able to read some of her thoughts as he held her and knew that some of the staff had treated her in such a way that she'd felt humiliated. He hadn't mentioned it to Dr Karg and he didn't intend to tell Saskia that he knew. She'd been embarrassed enough at letting him comfort her, although he didn't consider it shameful. Everyone needed simple comfort and warmth occasionally, and he'd always found it comforting to know that she understood his grief for Rose. He didn't know yet whether Dr Karg was right in his assessment that Saskia was falling in love with him, but he did know that the two of them shared a close bond as a result of their encounters with the Devron. He hated the thought of losing Saskia to a surgeon's micro-laser, because he would lose her, if a surgeon neutralised her empathic and telepathic powers. She wouldn't be his Saskia any more.
He sighed. He wondered why he hadn't suggested a nice trip to Florana, instead of coming back to Einfuhlung after their recent experiences in Oxford. He shook his head, then got to his feet, taking his mug into the kitchen. "I'm going to the TARDIS," he told Jeff and Dr Karg. "I'll see you both in the morning." He'd suggested that he go to the TARDIS overnight so that Dr Karg could stay at Saskia's apartment, instead of going back to his own home, then coming back into town early the next morning.
"Are you going to have breakfast with us?" Jeff asked.
The Doctor nodded. "See you in the morning."

The Doctor knew that he would sleep better in the TARDIS, if he slept anywhere. He unlocked the door and crossed the Control Room to the console. He ran a hand across the console in response to the TARDIS' greeting, then pulled off his overcoat and draped across the back of the bench. He sat down and put his feet up on the edge of the console, stretching his long legs to their fullest extent. He remembered that Saskia had teased him once about the fact that he had a coat stand inside the door of the TARDIS but rarely hung his coat on it. He wished she was here to tease him about it now. He closed his eyes and let his mind drift.
Startled he opened his eyes again, then realised that the voice he'd heard had been in his head, not his ears. He closed his eyes again. Saskia? he asked.
How's it possible that you're talking to me telepathically now? You're farther away today than you were yesterday, when I was looking for you in Oxford.

There was a slight hint of amusement in Saskia's voice as she answered. Have you forgotten that we're in a city of telepaths? Anyway, you're linked to the TARDIS, sitting with your feet up on the console, and she's boosting your 'signal'. If you concentrate, you can see me, just as I can see you.
The Doctor concentrated obediently and saw Saskia sitting on the bed in her cell.
Hello, she said, half smiling at him.
He grinned back at her. Hello. How are you?
Feeling better than I did at four o'clock,
she answered. Thank you.
What for?
This afternoon. For holding me, and for carrying me back to my cell.

The Doctor sensed her embarrassment as she spoke. Friends comfort one another, he told her.
I know. It's just – well I feel as you've had to comfort me an embarrassingly large number of times since we met.
Saskia, you've comforted me a lot too. It's good for you, being hugged – scientists proved that a very long time ago. Besides, I don't mind comforting you.

She looked down at her feet for a moment. I hear I have to thank you for, what was it John called it? 'Defending my honour' to Luca.
Oh that!
The Doctor pulled at his ear and Saskia knew he was embarrassed. I'm afraid I got rather angry.
Saskia gave a small laugh. John said you nearly throttled Luca.
I did. But I'm not proud of that. I expect I'm one of his least favourite people now.
Well you're in good company,
Saskia said. I'm definitely not one of his favourite people. Thinking about it, I don't believe he's ever forgiven me for turning him down when he asked me out six months ago.
You turned him down?
the Doctor asked.
Saskia nodded.
Can I ask why? He's very good looking after all.
Too good looking for his own good,
Saskia answered, then yawned. Oh, sorry.
That's OK. Don't wear yourself out talking to me. You'll need all your energy tomorrow.
I know. I just wanted to let you know that I'm OK, well, as OK as I can be, stuck in here.
I'm glad. Sleep well. Sweet dreams.
And you,
Saskia answered, and then she was gone.
The Doctor opened his eyes, glad that he'd had the chance to talk to her and to reassure her at least a little. He took his feet off the console and got up. If he was going to sleep, he ought to find somewhere more comfortable to do it. He pulled off his tie, then shrugged out of his suit jacket, tossing it up onto his shoulder, as he wandered off down the corridor to the bedroom he rarely used.

Breakfast the following morning in Saskia’s apartment was a subdued affair, and neither Jeff or Dr Karg looked as if they had slept well.
"Where does the Council hold trials?" asked the Doctor as they went downstairs and out into the street.
"There’s a courthouse next to the Council debating chamber," answered Dr Karg.
"How many people are on the Council?"
"Twelve, not including the President, who always holds the deciding vote."
"Having an odd number makes sense," the Doctor commented.
Dr Karg nodded.
They made good time crossing the city as there were few Festival-goers out this early. The Doctor thought the three of them must make an odd sight, all dressed in suits, compared to the casual and colourful clothes worn by the Festival-goers. He had even done up his tie properly for once. He found himself wondering how well Saskia had slept. He’d been tempted to try to contact her telepathically this morning, but had decided against it reasoning that he had no idea whether she’d be sleeping, eating breakfast or otherwise occupied.
Dr Karg led them into a three-storey building that had a clock above the front doors and a statue of a bronze figure on the roof.
"That's Justice," whispered Jeff.
The Doctor bit back a silly comment about it looking like a statue. There were times when his sense of humour wasn't really appropriate.
Dr Karg crossed over to the reception desk and explained who they were. They were then led in turn through a body scanner. The Doctor had again left his Sonic Screwdriver in Saskia's apartment and hoped that he wouldn't regret not having it with him. The three men walked down a long corridor and into a large, high-ceilinged room. At one end was a throne-like chair with twelve smaller chairs ranged on either side of it. At the opposite end of the room to the chairs for the Council members there was a large screen fixed to the wall, and below it a single chair with a helmet-like device at the top. This was obviously the mental projector that Dr Karg had mentioned. Along the two side walls were rows of benches for the witnesses. In the middle of the floor was a large mosaic in blue and gold tiles that showed the same figure as the one on the roof. The Doctor saw that it was a female figure in a robe, wearing a blindfold over her eyes. In one hand she carried a short sword, and in the other was a set of old-fashioned pan balances that projected from a central pole. The figure was one he had seen used many times in Old Earth's cultures to represent Justice.

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