22 April 2007

Saskia's Trials - Chapter 4 Part 2

Jeff and Dr Karg sympathetically watched the Doctor pacing around Saskia's apartment for half an hour before they also began to get fidgety and restless.
"Isn't there anything we can do?" Jeff asked abruptly.
Dr Karg shook his head. "I'm afraid not, Jeff. We just have to wait for the Elders to complete the tests."
"I'm going for a walk," the Doctor said, letting himself out of the apartment. The other men heard him running down the stairs.
"Should we go after him?" asked Jeff uncertainly.
Dr Karg raised an eyebrow. "If he'd wanted our company, he'd have stayed."
"I'm just worried he might do something rash," Jeff said.
"The mood he's in, he might," answered Dr Karg. "But he's good at surviving and a lot more powerful than you seem to realise.
"Oh." Jeff digested that thoughtfully, then got up. "I'm going to make some tea. Do you want some?"
Dr Karg nodded. "Yes please."

The Doctor went to the TARDIS. If nothing else, she offered more space for his restless pacing than Saskia's apartment, and at least there were no carpets in the TARDIS for him to wear into holes. He unlocked the door and went inside, the TARDIS humming a greeting at him. He pulled off his overcoat and draped it over the railing, then wandered away down the corridors, letting his feet take him where they would. They led him to the kitchen, initially, so he made himself a mug of tea. He pulled his tie loose, then wandered off again, mug in hand.

Saskia forced herself to stop crying in the end as it wasn't really helping and also it was very uncomfortable to cry without being able to wipe her eyes. She gulped, sniffed, then blinked her tears away. Wachter moved into her line of vision.
"If you've finished, we'll get started," he said with a nasty smile. He nodded at someone Saskia couldn't see and she suddenly found herself watching Jeff going into his office, then two dark figures springing at him from the corridor. She knew this was Jeff's memory of the attack that was made on him by Jackson's thugs. She couldn't help feeling the same surge of anger that she had felt when he had first shown her his memory on the day he had been attacked.
"Seven point eight," said a voice behind Saskia, who wondered what the number meant.
"Next," said Wachter, watching Saskia's face closely.
She saw Dr Karg sitting at a table with Luca sitting opposite him, and the Doctor walking around the table to lean over him. "Saskia didn't make a fool out of you. You did that all by yourself," the Doctor said. She saw Luca cowering back in his chair as the Doctor shook a finger at him.
"One point three," said the same voice that had spoken before.
"Show her the next bit too," Wachter said.
Saskia saw the Doctor talking to Luca again. "You thought Jackson would make you rich, or powerful, or both, didn't you? And that Saskia would find you irresistible, but Saskia's not that shallow."
Luca answered. "I suppose you think she prefers a stuck-up ponce like you? Swanning around the place in your expensive clothes. Have you had her yet then?"
"Seven point six, and seven point six," the voice said.
Saskia suddenly realised that they were measuring her emotional responses to what she was seeing. Wachter grinned at her. "I knew you'd figure that out," he said. "We're measuring your levels of anger, disgust, desire." He nodded at whoever was behind her. "Next one."
This time Saskia saw the Doctor being ambushed by Jackson's thugs, one of whom struck him with a cudgel, cutting open his head. The other one kicked the Doctor in the ribs. Saskia's emotions surged as she watched the scene, even though she had seen it earlier that day when the Doctor was giving his evidence.
"Ten point zero."
Wachter chuckled. "I knew that would make our firecracker spit," he said.
Saskia felt a surge of anger and hatred for Wachter as he laughed at her.
"Ten point zero and ten point zero," said the owner of the unseen voice.
"You know, I'm glad I let Luca Leerling talk me into this," Wachter said, grinning at the look of rage that crossed Saskia's face. "Not only is he paying me handsomely, money I shall thoroughly enjoy spending, but I get to watch you, and that's a pleasure all by itself."
He reached out his left hand and put it on Saskia's knee, then slowly stroked it upwards.
"Ten point zero and zero point one," said the voice behind her, dispassionate as ever.
Wachter looked up. "Which way round?" he asked in a voice of chilly menace that caused Saskia to feel a sudden flare of fear.
"The first reading was anger, the second one was desire," answered the voice.
Wachter looked down at Saskia's white face. "I'm sure you can do better than that, my dear," he said, his voice and manner equally menacing, in spite of the endearment. "I'm going to give you a little time to think about it."
He nodded at the person behind Saskia, who switched off the machinery. They both went out leaving her strapped to the bed, naked and afraid of just what Wachter might do to her when he returned.

By the time Wachter returned an hour later, Saskia was shaking with cold as well as fear, and incredibly thirsty. Her arms and legs were sore as a result of her desperate attempts to pull them free of the straps that held her to the bed. She had been wondering if it was possible to kill someone using telepathy, because right now she felt like killing Wachter.
He looked her over and Saskia suddenly knew that he'd found another way of tormenting her. She shuddered because she couldn't think of anything that could be worse than what she'd already been imagining. There was a look of feverish excitement in Wachter's eyes that promised he'd thought of something far more enjoyable for himself, which was likely to be much worse for her.
"My colleague Oscar, who is a connoisseur of pleasurable experiences, has suggested a way of improving some of your scores, my dear."
Saskia felt sick with revulsion at the caressing way that Wachter spoke, and knew she definitely didn't want to know anything about Oscar or his pleasurable experiences.
"Therefore we're going to continue this in the morning. I would recommend that you use the intervening hours to consider your future. If you please me," his voice lingered on the word 'please', "then we'll return a favourable report to the Council. If, on the other hand," he reached out his left hand and grasped Saskia's throat in a choking grip, "you refuse to co-operate, we'll return an unfavourable report, and you will find yourself out on Abneigung, a mere shell of your former self." He let go of Saskia's throat and she wheezed, gasped and coughed, trying to get some air back into her lungs. "The choice is yours my dear."

The Doctor endured a restless night. He'd gone to the home cinema room to listen to some music, but that had reminded him too much of spending time there with Saskia, listening to Elgar's Cello Concerto. So he'd gone to the kitchen instead and rooted through the cupboards, fridge and freezer making mental shopping lists of things to buy on various planets the next time he was visiting. Maybe he'd take Saskia to Cardiff to get some more pizzas from his friend who owned a restaurant on the bay. After that he sat down with a banana and drew up half a dozen different menus for meals that he wanted Saskia to try. Then he fell to planning some trips that he thought she might enjoy if the TARDIS was prepared to co-operate. Finally he went to the library and pulled out the poetry book that Saskia had been reading a couple of days earlier. He found the poem called "Burnt Norton" and read it all the way through, then he read some more of T S Eliot's poems. He had enjoyed "The Journey of the Magi" and the Practical Cats poems, but thought "The Wasteland" was a bit rubbish, it was so long-winded. It was the latter poem that sent him to sleep in his chair, which had led to him having some disturbing dreams about torture and rape. He woke up in a cold sweat at one in the morning, wondering what had got into his unconscious mind to give him such horrible dreams. He picked up the poetry book from the floor where it had fallen when he'd jerked awake, then rubbed his hand across his face, deciding that he'd rather not sleep again. He put the book back on the shelf then went to his room for a shower. Half an hour later he was dressed and back in the kitchen. He made himself a cup of tea, then went to the Control Room. He sat on the bench, putting his feet up on the console and asked the TARDIS to play him some popular music from Old Earth's 1970s, knowing that he had no chance of falling asleep whilst that was playing. By seven o'clock he'd grown tired of that and went off to have breakfast with Dr Karg and Jeff, hoping they'd had a more restful night than he had.

By the time the Doctor was heading for breakfast, Saskia had passed through her fears and reached a state of desperate calm. She had decided that she would at least appear to co-operate with Wachter in the hope of catching him off guard and making an escape. She knew it was a dangerous plan, but it was all she had been able to come up with as she had lain cold, frightened and sleepless in the lab.
Wachter and his colleague came in a few minutes after seven, and Saskia noticed a swagger in Wachter's step. She knew he believed that she wouldn't be able to refuse whatever offer he made her.
"Well my dear, have you made up your mind whether or not to co-operate with me?"
Saskia managed a nod. She couldn't speak, her throat was too tight with fear and her mouth too dry.
"And are you going to co-operate?" asked Wachter.
She nodded again.
"Excellent!" He was practically rubbing his hands with glee. "Let's get you somewhere more comfortable," he said. He nodded to Oscar who removed the helmet device, then unfastened the straps from her arms and legs.
"Now then, I'm sure you're feeling a little rough, so we'll get you somewhere nice and warm, and give you a chance to pamper yourself a bit." He turned and picked up a thick green bathrobe, which Saskia gratefully wrapped around her shivering body. She managed not to flinch as Wachter took her arm and helped her off the bed. He led her out of the lab, along the passage, then up two flights of stairs, to a large bedroom luxuriously furnished in dark red and gold.
"This is my room," he told her. "And Oscar's, of course. Why don't you have a bath whilst Oscar gets you some breakfast, and then we'll be ready."
Saskia seized gratefully on the offer a bath, knowing it would make her warmer and give her some time to prepare herself mentally for what she was planning to do. She went through the door that Wachter had indicated and locked it behind her, then stared in astonishment at the size of the bathroom and the sunken bath that nearly filled it. She put the plug in the bath, turned on the hot tap, then picked up a glass from the shelf above the sink. She filled it with water, then drank it slowly, savouring the taste as if it was an expensive champagne, so parched was she. She checked the temperature of the bath water, then drank another half glass of water. She pulled off the bathrobe and lowered herself into the bath, savouring the warmth and comfort. She spent ten minutes just lying there, then topped it up with some more hot water and washed herself. She had just started drying herself with the most enormous towel she could ever remember seeing when she heard noises from the next room. When she realised what they meant, she picked up another towel to dry her hair and shut out the noises. By the time she had dressed and was combing her hair she could hear voices, then the bedroom door opened and closed. A few moments later someone knocked on the bathroom door.
"Are you ready my dear?" asked Wachter.

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