22 April 2007

Saskia's Trials - Chapter 3 Part 5

When it came to his turn in the witness chair after the recess, the Doctor was relieved that he was finally able to do something to help Saskia. He was asked to show his memories of several of the same events as Saskia, then he had to go through his kidnapping by Jackson's men near the Museum. He was also asked for his memory of his conversation with Jackson about the Grimoire of Delmoro. He was less happy about being asked for his memory of Saskia's use of the psychic projection of himself, because it clearly demonstrated his anger at what Saskia had done, and his anger of then made him feel guilty now because Saskia was in such trouble.
When John unstrapped him an hour later from the witness chair he felt quite tired. He looked over at Saskia and saw that she still looked limp and grey with exhaustion from her own session in the witness chair. He wished fiercely that he could go to her, but he returned to his seat as the President called Doctor Karg forward.
The President called for a lunchbreak at one o'clock and the Doctor followed Jeff and Dr Karg out of the main chamber with a feeling of relief.
Saskia had to wait for everyone else to leave before John led her out to get some lunch, but she was so tired after her two hour session of relaying her memories that she could hardly eat. She was glad of John's silent support beside her and knew that the Doctor had wanted to be with her. She found that she was now hyper-aware of his thoughts and feelings – a side effect of being hooked up to the mental projector. After lunch she dragged herself back to the main chamber of the courthouse, feeling that what she really wanted to do was lie down somewhere and sleep for a long time. But she knew that wasn't going to be a possibility any time soon.

"Jeff Weiser, you are requested to show us your memories of the attack on yourself by Professor Jackson's men, Martin Gordon and Peter Philips. Will you comply?"
"I will."
Saskia watched as Jeff was strapped into the chair. She felt guilty about Jeff being dragged into this mess. It was bad enough that he'd been attacked because of her, she thought, without him having to relive it all over again for the Council.
When Luca was called on to share his memories, Saskia saw that there was less than usual of his customary swagger in his walk. She could clearly see the bruises that the Doctor's fingers had left on his throat the day before and she found that she couldn't really feel sorry for him. John had been reluctant to tell her exactly what Luca had said to provoke the Doctor into nearly strangling him, but she had insisted. Even as she had cringed at the crudity of Luca's question, she had felt grateful to the Doctor for 'defending her honour' as John called it. She didn't feel much satisfaction when Luca was asked for his memory of her arrival back at the Museum and she saw herself punching him, not when she knew that it was that punch that had led to her arrest and trial.

The President finally called for another recess at half past three, in order for the Council to consider the evidence they had been shown.
"We will reconvene at five o'clock," he announced, then banged his gavel on the arm of his chair.
The Doctor looked at Dr Karg, who nodded, knowing that the other man wanted to go to Saskia. He and Jeff watched as the Doctor made a beeline for her, his attention wholly focused on her as she sat near the witness chair. Saskia watched him homing in on her and tried to find a smile from somewhere, but she couldn't quite manage it. He knelt in front of her chair and wrapped her in a hug. She found she was clinging to him and despised herself for it, but she couldn't let go either.
John waited a few minutes, then spoke quietly to them both. "There's a room just down the corridor. Let me take you there for some peace and quiet whilst the Council is recess."
"Thanks John," the Doctor said as he got to his feet and pulled Saskia to hers. He wanted to carry her, she looked so drained, but he was keenly aware of watching eyes and judging thoughts, and was determined not to embarrass her. He slipped his arm around her and led her out of the central chamber and down the corridor. John opened the door and let them go inside. "If you want anything, I'll be out here," he told them. The Doctor nodded, then guided Saskia over to a sofa. He pushed her gently onto it, then sat down beside her, his arm around her and her head resting on his shoulder. Neither one of them spoke for several minutes.
"Do you mind thinking a bit more quietly, please?" she asked.
He frowned a moment, then realised the implications of what Saskia was asking. "You can hear my thoughts?" he asked.
"Yes. Everything, and I'm too tired to shut them out properly, so you'll have to shield them from me."
"I'm sorry," he said.
She lifted her head from his shoulder and looked up into his face. "It's not your fault," she said. "It's the device they use for the witness chair. It's an amplifier – that's how it works to show everyone the memories of a witness. But I was already extra-sensitive still from the Devron's attack, and this thing's just made me hyper-sensitive. Most Empathia automatically shield their thoughts to a certain degree anyway – we have to otherwise we'd all go mad. But you're not used to needing to do it and I'm picking up everything that's in your head, which is making my head much noisier."
The Doctor nodded his understanding and closed his eyes, concentrating. He felt some of the tension leave Saskia's body and knew he had succeeded. He opened his eyes and saw how tired she still looked.
"Go to sleep, if you want to. I'll be here."
She nodded and was asleep in moments.

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