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Convergence (Farscape/Doctor Who) [PG-13]
Writing
misaditas wrote in misaditas_fic


Rating: PG-13
Characters: Bialar Crais, Donna Noble, guest appearences from various others
Timeline/spoilers: post-ITLD for Crais, pre-TEoT for Donna

Summary: Having survived the contained Starburst, Bialar Crais follows a strange transmission across the galaxy, only to find the source is Crichton's home planet... and a woman called Donna Noble.


One: An Echo Across the Stars


Our children will sing of the Doctor-Donna, and our children’s children, and
the wind and the ice and the snow will carry your names forever.



He woke to pain and darkness, but the fact he was awake was startling in itself. Survival hadn’t been something he’d expected to do; for once, Bialar Crais had no contingency plan.

Talyn’s awareness was a small knot of fear in the back of his mind. He had no idea where they were, or in what sort of state. His own injuries were relativity superficial considering what they’d done. Considering he was supposed to died. In light of that fact, a few cracked ribs and a dislocated shoulder seemed a small price to pay.

Bialar dealt with the shoulder in short term and then leant back against the bulkhead until Command stopped spinning around him. Once the nausea passed, he hauled himself slowly to his feet and limped over to a console. His hands closed around the levers that would power Talyn back up. He hesitated, aware of how the damage might effect him, but knowing there was little choice. Bracing himself, he threw the switches up.

The surge of bleedback he expected did not occur. Instead, something tickled at his mind. It wasn’t Talyn; it was separate… external somehow. Frowning, Bialar turned to the communications console and opened the long-range sensors. He didn’t really expect them to work, not with the amount of damage Talyn had taken, so the music that flooded Command took him completely by surprise.

He froze, but his shock turned quickly to a wonder. There were words, but the translator microbes failed to convert them. Yet hearing the meaning wasn’t necessary, some deeper part of him knew what it was and he felt his spirits rise on the hope intrinsic in the song.

There was a pull to the song, like distant gravity, and it tugged at him. Talyn had already shifted position, angling his trajectory towards the source much as he had done with the Siren Sun. That lure had been deadly and was enough to remind Bialar that some caution was necessary. He chewed at his thumb and considered his options.

While he had survived, he doubted he could go back to his former life even if he wanted to. No, that was all behind him; literally in smoking ruins. There was nothing and no one to hold him here.

And as easily as that, the decision was made. Activating the rest of Talyn’s systems, Bialar ordered the DRDs to ascertain the damage to the ship and start repairs. He then aligned communications with the long-range scanners and took a vector. The source of the song was very distant and he knew he would have to realign the ship on occasion. But for now he had a destination.

“Follow the course, Talyn,” he murmured.

~ ~ ~


The radio alarm burst into song. Donna Noble reached out and slapped it off. She rolled onto her back and stared at the ceiling, trying to recall the dream. But already it was sliding away from her, leaving just a hollow lost in her stomach.

Nothing new there, then, she thought bitterly to herself and got out of bed. The dreams were, according to her doctor, memories of the last year reintegrating. That didn’t particularly explain why she still couldn’t remember anything, or why she’d forgotten things in the first place.

Normality had returned since that morning when she’d woken up with a year of her life missing from her mind. Well, a sort of normality. She’d gotten a job, a permanent one, and she’d started going out with her mates again. But that didn’t stop her mother treating her like she was made out of glass. It didn’t stop her from catching the sad glances that her grandfather sometimes sent in her direction.

And the weirdest thing was that Wilf had stopped going up the hill. The telescope had been packed away and aliens were no longer mentioned. While the rest of the world had woken to the fact that Earth Was Not Alone, a conspiracy of silence seemed to have fallen over the Noble household. A silence that made Donna very uneasy.

She sighed and dressed in jeans and sweatshirt, pushing her feet into worn trainers before she trotted downstairs. There was a note on the kitchen table from her mother - she’d taken the car and gone shopping. The usual Saturday routine, then, she thought and put the kettle on.

“Granddad?” she called out.

When she got no answer, she assumed he was still in bed and got one cup from the cupboard. She made herself a cup of tea and then sat down at the table. Opened the newspaper and began to read the gossip column.

Normal as a person could get.

Donna picked up her tea and sipped at it, trying to ignore the hollow pit in her stomach. She didn’t want normal; she wanted something more than that. For the past couple of months she had tried, tried so hard, but she wasn’t right. There was a nagging sensation that she’d forgotten something important, that she was missing more than just memories.

She just didn’t know what it was.

~ ~ ~


Bialar had lost track of time. Talyn’s systems were thoroughly frelled and the amount of time that it had taken to fix them, even with the help of the DRDs, had run into arns. Several times he’d crashed into bed, utterly exhausted, while Talyn flew on.

They followed the song.

He still didn’t understand the words, or the power they had over him, but the beauty of them was without question. They resonated deep inside his being, even when he was in near comatose slumber, and through every system on Talyn. In fact, the systems seemed to have attuned themselves to the rhythm.

Once, Bialar had been a soldier, an officer. As that man, there would haven been no way he would have done something so foolish as track and follow an unknown signal. He would have suspected a trap at worst, simply ignored it at best. However that man had died, in a way; expired on the Command Carrier as it burnt, and he was something new. The concept was both terrifying and freeing.

It was after three, or maybe four, solar days that Talyn woke him with a shriek.

The stars are disappearing!

“What?” Still half asleep, Bialar pulled himself out of bed and fumbled in the darkness for his clothes. “What do you mean?”

The answer was a sudden visual of space that made his head spin with vertigo. Blackness surrounded him and stars stretched out to infinity. But one by one they vanished, winking out of existence. The song in his head faltered, then came reverberating back, this time in a minor key, discordant and jarring. His vision cleared and he was back in his room.

There was only one thing he believed capable of erasing stars.

“Talyn, long-range scans on maximum,” he ordered as he dressed quickly. “See if you can detect any unusual gravity fluctuations.”

I don’t detect anything. They’re just… vanishing.

“Stars don’t just vanish.”

Bialar headed to Command. Once there, he checked over the consoles but as it was Talyn had said - nothing out of the ordinary, if he ignored the minor fact that stars were disappearing from the sensors. It had to be a glitch. Nothing else made sense. But the neural transponder still worked and he could feel every system; he knew they were running at optimum. Well, as optimum as they could get given the recent Starburst.

There is something at the outer limits of my sensors, Talyn reported suddenly. Closing rapidly.

Bialar got a sense of several objects headed in their direction. As they got closer and Talyn could scan further, he knew that the things were nothing experienced by Peacekeepers before, that there were over a hundred of them, and that they were no bigger than his own hand. The latter was of little import; he was far more concerned about the possible threat to Talyn and himself.

“Are they armed?”

Not that I can detect.

“Hmm.” Bialar eyed the console and the progress of the unknown objects. “What’s their intention?”

It was a rhetorical question, but Talyn answered it anyway.

I’m not sure, but they aren’t slowing. I don’t think they pose a threat to us.

“Let’s be prepared in case, shall we? Bring us around.”

The deck shifted beneath his feet as Talyn banked. With the ship facing towards the oncoming objects, Bialar could see them - a cloud of darkness that blotted out stars as it billowed closer. And closer. Then they streamed past, the cloud parting and enveloping Talyn.

Bialar moved to the viewscreen and stared. The objects were vaguely insectoid, with blue-green bodies about as big as his palm and tiny, iridescent wings. And they didn’t even seem to notice the spaceship that they passed.

“Talyn,” he said in a lowered voice. “Power down. Slowly.”

The lights in Command dimmed.

Microts passed. In the silent darkness, Bialar watched the creatures as they whizzed past the viewscreen. He breathed slow, trying to make himself invisible, trying not to attract unwanted attention. Though it seemed they were unimportant in the greater scheme of whatever the creatures wanted. Bialar was perfectly happy about that.

They’ve passed, Talyn noted.

Bialar watched the cloud shrink against the stars and nodded.

“It would be interesting…” He paused and looked from the cloud to the stars. A frown creased his forehead and turned back to a console. “The vector they are on - it’s the same as ours. I wonder… I wonder if they’re following the same thing we are.”

Maybe. Talyn sounded surprised. Bialar could sense the ship calibrating. It would seem so, but the source… is still unknown.

“I am aware of that.”

I want to know.

Bialar smiled and reached up, placing his hand on the structure overhead.

“How badly?” he asked lightly. “Enough that you could manage a Starburst?”

It was a risk and he felt Talyn shudder, but then a sense of determination washed through the neural link. Electric surged along Bialar’s nerves and he experienced his own moment of doubt, but then Command was flooded with bright light and the hybrid lurched.

Space warped around them.

~ ~ ~


China chattered. Donna frowned at the cup trembling against its saucer, then felt a rumble. An earthquake? In Chiswick? It didn’t seem possible. She snatched up the cup, but the shaking was so violent that tea sloshed over the rim. Shaking her hand automatically, the cup slipped from her scalded fingers and shattered on the floor.

And then the window exploded.

Donna jumped with a startled cry. With the window broken, she could hear the shouts and screams of her neighbours. She scrambled to her feet, knocking her chair over in her haste to reach the front door.

Outside, people crowded their doorways, staring upwards and speaking in loud, panicked voices. Wondering what all the fuss was about, Donna glanced up at the grey, cloudy sky. A dark cloud swooped and reeled. Starlings? she thought, remembering a nature programme her grandfather had watched once. But then the cloud dived and she saw that oh, no they were not birds.

The black swarm swept down the street, causing the watching neighbours to scream and dash back inside. The force of the swarm’s passing buffeted at Donna and shook cars, making alarms go off and join the cacophony of noise. As they passed, she saw the blue-green glitter of their bodies as they passed on a blur of wings.

“What the-?” She stared after the things in horrified disbelief. “They’re bugs.”

A door slamming behind her made Donna hurry back inside. Her grandfather bustled down the hallway and she felt a wave of relief.

“Granddad, are you alright?” she asked as she hugged him.

“Of course, sweetheart,” he laughed. “Why ever wouldn’t I be?”

“There are bugs outside! Flying bugs! Didn’t you see them?”

To Donna’s surprise the look her grandfather gave the open door was oddly frightened, then he grabbed her hands and drew her further inside.

“Is there? Well, I’m sure it’s nothing. Come in and we’ll turn on the news, yeah?”

“Granddad, what’s the matter with you? It’s got to be something. I mean, they looked like them things off The Mummy. What if they eat people? Mum’s out there!”

Donna broke away from Wilf and started for the door, only for him to grab her arm.

“Don’t worry about it, sweetheart,” he insisted. “Come on, come inside and I’ll ring your mum. Everything will be alright. You’ll see.”

“No!” She shook off his hand and stepped outside. Glancing down the street, she saw the bugs had disappeared. “Look, they’ve gone for now. I’m going to go find mum before they come back.”

She jogged down the path, ignoring her grandfather’s pleas for her to come back, to go back inside, and went out onto the street. Most of their neighbours were still indoors, but some had come back to their doors and they watched her run past, their expression shocked.

And though her heart raced and her mouth was dry, and a part of her wondered what on Earth she was doing, there was another part that felt a thrill of excitement.

She lengthened her stride and ran.


Two: The Danger of Memory


Starburst brought Talyn to a system of nine planets. The source of the song seemed to emanate from the third from the yellow sun; a blue-green planet that seemed terribly familiar to Bialar as they closed in further.

“It had to be,” he sighed and rubbed at his forehead.

My sensors detect the creatures we encountered earlier. They’re in the upper atmosphere but descending rapidly.

“Then we are probably at the correct destination.” Bialar threw a switch and powered the engines down to minimum. “I believe if we maintain a position near the moon that we shall remain undetected. Crichton did say his planet was not technologically advanced. I will take the transport pod down and investigate further.”

Bialar, Talyn warned, the activity of the creatures has increased. I think… I think there is some risk to the population.

“In that case, I should go down now,” Bialar said and pulled his pulse pistol from its holster. The cartridge was a little low but…

I’m not certain that will be effective against them, Talyn advised. Their numbers are considerable. But I have a plan.

Bialar raised his eyebrows. “You have a plan?”

My scans have deduced how the creatures operate. They are not unlike a Leviathan in that they are biomechanical in nature, only a much simpler creation. A burst of electromagnetism should disable them.

“Should?” Bialar repeated, not liking the odds of that.

I’m fairly confident.

“I have no such weapon though.”

It’s not difficult to make, Talyn said. I have one of the DRDs recalibrating a hand-held scanner now. It should take no more than a tenth of an arn to complete.

Bialar had to smile. He patted the overhead structure.

“Well done, Talyn. Have the DRD board the transport pod. It can finish the adjustments as I fly down. I’d rather not waste any time.”

Turning on his heel, Bialar headed to his quarters. He dragged on his longcoat and tidied his hair, before going to the hanger bay. A DRD waited inside the rear of the transport pod, its little arms busy adapting the scanner. Leaving it to its work, he sat down in the pilot’s seat and powered up the engines, exiting the safety of the hanger and heading down to the planet.

Earth was all blue ocean and multi-coloured land. The variety in terrain surprised Bialar; most planets in Peacekeeper territory consisted of one or two types, but this one? There was ice at the poles and deserts and great areas of dense forest. It was, he decided, quite beautiful. In its own way.

The creatures he was following were headed to a small land mass adjacent to a larger one. Using the transponder, he accessed Talyn’s systems and scanned the island. Like the other lands, it was made up of a series of cities that didn’t particular seem to relate to one another, and it had a low level of technology. The temperature was borderline with what he found comfortable and it was raining.

Bialar wished he still had his hat.

~ ~ ~


Running was something one could only do so much of. After quarter of a mile, Donna got a stitch and slowed to a walk, panting hard between gritted teeth, a right hand fisted into the area above her hip in an attempt to ease the pain. She dug her other hand into a pocket and pulled out her mobile phone. Holding down 1, she auto-dialled her mother’s number.

“Donna,” Sylvia greeted.

“Mum? Mum, where are you?” There was a gabled reply, but there was too much background noise for Donna to make it out. “Mum, I can’t hear you.”

“We’re in the Bradford Arms. Lucy’s on the karaoke. Oh God, you should hear her!”

“I can hear her.” Donna winced at an off-note and then held the phone away from her ear as her mother’s cackling nearly deafened her. “Mum, look, just… stay there, okay?”

“What is it, Donna? What’s wrong? Is it Dad?”

“What? No, he’s okay. It’s nothing… nothing to worry about. Just stay there, though yeah? Stay inside.”

“Donna, you’re not making any sense.”

She sighed. Over the phone she heard someone call her mother’s name and raucous cheering. “You take your turn at the karaoke,” she told her mother. “I’ll be there in five minutes anyway.”

There was no sign of the Mummy Bugs returning. Donna shoved her mobile back into its pocket and walked. Then it started raining. She swore under her breath, having not even grabbed a coat, never mind her umbrella. She considered running again, but her side still ached and she didn’t honestly fancy more exercise. Grumbling to herself, she stuck her hands in the pockets of her jeans and walked on, shoulders hunched.

The rain grew steadily harder. Donna was soon soaked through and shivered as it was cold. She lengthened her stride and focused on the warmth of the Bradford Arms and the nice boozy hot chocolate the staff did.

She looked up as thunder rumbled. The sky was a dull steel grey, the clouds heavy with rain. Thunder rumbled again, but there was no lightning. Perhaps it was higher in the clouds. A third rumble shook the windows of the nearby houses and Donna tensed, half-expecting another shower of glass.

Another rumble sounded, this time longer and more like the roar of an engine. She’d not heard any car like that though. She looked round suspiciously and then, despite her side, made a mad dash for the pub and relative safety.

~ ~ ~


In the parking area of a disused block of flats, a strange craft descended, the low rumble of its engines echoing off the breezeblock structures. It landed with a dull clang amongst a swirl of wet newspaper sheets and empty crisp packets.

A moment later, the hatch slid up and Bialar stepped out onto the surface of the one planet he’d always hoped he’d never have cause to visit.

But Earth was where the song had led him, so he supposed he’d just have to find out why. He could live with that; after all, it wasn’t like he was going to stay.

~ ~ ~


“What do you mean by bugs?” Sylvia crossed her arms and looked at her daughter. “What kind of bugs?”

“They were so big,” Donna motioned with her hands. “And they looked a bit like the ones off The Mummy.”

“She means scarabs,” Lucy said and took a swig of her G&T. Donna gave her a glare.

“It doesn’t matter what they’re called,” she said. “It matters what they want.”

“What’s that then?” demanded Lucy.

“I don’t know, do I? Could be anything. But what is anyone doing about them? It’s not on the news, there’s no police or anything.”

“So what? They’re bugs. What harm can they do?”

Sylvia was about to defend her daughter when there was the loud crack of splintering wood and the doors to the Bradford Arms shattered inwards. She stared in disbelief at the swarm of bugs that boiled through the opening.

Chairs scraped loudly on the floor as people scrambled to their feet, screaming and shouting. Lucy took one look and bolted for the loos. Sylvia turned to Donna, a horrible twisting sensation in her stomach. She wasn’t supposed to see things like this; they could spark other... memories. Memories that Sylvia did not want her daughter to remember, because they were dangerous.

Donna was staring at the chaotic crowd, a thoughtful frown on her face. Then she stood up.

Sylvia watched her in some concern. “Donna?”

But her daughter ignored the call and walked over to one wall of the pub. She paused, glanced over her shoulder, then shrugged and broke the glass of the fire alarm box. The siren wailed over the panic and the buzz of the bugs as they circled the room, drowning it in noise and then water as the sprinklers kicked in.

“Come on!” Donna yelled. “Everyone get out.”

For a moment, Sylvia could do nothing but sit and watch as Donna took control, ushering the panic-stricken pub goers to the exit. Then the bugs dived towards her daughter and Sylvia scrambled to her feet, pushing through the crowd to reach Donna’s side.

“Look out!”

A woman screamed as the stream buzzed down and past. The flyby ignited a further panic and the crowd became crushing as everyone tried to get out all at once. Sylvia grabbed Donna’s hand, but the pushing and shoving forced them apart again. And all the while the bugs were regrouping. Sylvia heard them coming. She shoved a woman out of her way.

“Donna!”

But Donna stood there, staring at the oncoming storm and seemingly incapable of moving as the swarm closed in.

“Donna! Get down!”

There was a sharp cracking sound, like gunfire. The people jamming the door screamed and fell back. Sylvia saw a black-coated man with dark hair and a gun in his hand. He grabbed Donna’s arm. A wordless cry tore from Sylvia’s throat, her mind immediately imagining the worst.

It didn’t get better. The man shouted something in a foreign language that no one seemed to understand. At least, no one moved. Sylvia couldn’t take her eyes off the gun in the man’s hand. He frowned and shoved it into a holster, then pulled out a small device. He drew Donna back and imposed himself between her and the bugs, raising the device.

There was no sound, no light, but Sylvia felt the hair on her arms prickle with static. The bugs stopped dead and then rained down, their bodies making a clatter as they hit chairs and tables and bounced onto the floor.

Sylvia stared at the carpet of blue-green bodies and then at the man. He bent down and picked one up, his expression cautious. His motion seemed to free up the rest of the pub goers and they surged out the door. She thought that was a good idea and headed for the exit. She grabbed Donna’s arm, but her daughter’s eyes were locked on the stranger and her expression was dangerously curious.

“Donna, come on.”

“But I want to know what those things are… were.”

The man glanced up, his dark eyes unfathomable. He said something indecipherable and Sylvia frowned.

“Whatever,” she muttered.

“Why me?”

It took her a moment to realise that Donna had addressed the man. He shrugged and said something else, something that she didn’t understand. But when she looked at Donna…

“Donna?” she said, a creeping sense of fear knotting her stomach. “Do you understand him?”

Her daughter gave her a bewildered look. “Of course I do. Why ever wouldn’t I?”

Oh God. Sylvia’s fingers went numb and she left go of Donna’s arm. She took several steps backwards, the fear mounting as she did so.

“Because…” She took a deep breath. “Because h-he’s not… not… speaking English.”

Sylvia understood little of how the Doctor’s time machine had worked, but one thing she did know; it had gotten in her daughter’s head and translated foreign languages. Alien languages. And if Donna understood, then the Time Lord Consciousness was reasserting itself.

Damn that Doctor! Sylvia thought viciously, blinking back tears as she hauled Donna out of the remains of the pub. Damn him for taking Donna away, for exposing her to the dangers of the universe.

And damn him for leaving her to pick up the pieces.

~ ~ ~


Donna followed her mother to the car, glancing over her shoulder as the car was unlocked it. Her hands shook from the shock of it all, but on a deeper level her curiosity stirred. She wanted to know why those bugs had come after her.

The dark-haired stranger had told her that he didn’t know. She had understood him perfectly, when no one else had. That still sent a chill down her spine, but the need to know was overpowering.

Her mother had gotten into the car and was putting on her seatbelt. Donna knew that she should get in, go home, and have a cup of tea. That was the safe thing to do, the normal thing… the only problem was that she was sick of normal. She backed away from the car.

“Donna! Get in the car!”

Turning away, Donna started back to the pub, determined to get some answers.

“Donna! Where are you going?”

She stopped and looked back. “Those things came straight at me, Mum. They were after me. I need to know why.”

Her mother looked panicked. “Please, Donna, just get in the car.”

Donna shook her head and backed further away.

“I can’t. I’m sorry.”

“Donna!”

“I’m sorry. So very sorry.”

Her mother looked as if she’d been slapped; horror washing over her face. Guilt spiked through Donna, but there was a momentum to her steps and she couldn’t stop now. She pushed through the throng that remained just outside the pub complaining loudly about compensation, and stumbled over the threshold.

He’d gone.

Donna swore and shoved her way back outside. She stared through the pouring rain and thought she saw a movement down the road. Ignoring her mother’s continued shouts, she walked past the pub to the alleyway that ran between the back and the next row of houses.

The narrow alley was rough tarmac with a drainage gully running down the middle and lit by three streetlamps with dirty round globes. The rain was a fine mist that blotted her view. She wiped droplets from her eyelashes and squinted, just making out the retreating dark figure ahead.

She jogged several steps to catch up and then stopped again when the thought that chasing a stranger down a badly-lit alley might not be the best idea occurred. Her hands fisted in frustration as she walked him walk away from her.

“Stop!”

Donna hadn’t really expected him to listen, so when he stopped and looked back, she was a little surprised. She blinked, not sure how to follow up on that. He stood under the streetlamp, his rain-drenched face lit by the light, and there was something in that so familiar… She could almost remember, as if it was a word stuck on the tip of her tongue.

“Stop,” she said again.

-"You can stop now."-

She could hear the sound of a radio, distant, yet somehow obliterating the patter of rain against the ground.

“It’s you.”

The voice was close and she looked up - when had her head dropped? - to see the man stood right in front of her. His expression was bewildered, and somewhat concerned. She stared up at him. His eyes were brown.

-Brown eyes over a sad smile. He took her hand. "John Smith."-

“I-I…” She stopped, not sure what it was she’d meant to say. The pain in her head blinded her ability to think. “What?”

“What the frell is that?”

Donna didn’t know… anything, really. She could see so much. The rain seemed to slow and she watched the droplets in fascination.

“It’s fantastic,” she whispered. Then she looked up, met those brown eyes, and she remembered. “Oh God.”

“It’s killing you,” he said and she nodded.

“It’s in my head. Everything and….” She took a shuddering breath. His expression was all sympathetic worry. He knew. She knew that he knew. Had to… “Help me. Please, help me.”

The world shifted and went dark. Donna fell forwards. But she didn’t hit the ground. Strong arms caught and held her and, just before the chaos inside her head grew too loud, she heard three words.

“I will try.”


Three: A Compatibility of Need


“I can’t go back. Don’t make me go back. Doctor... please. Please, don’t make me go back!”

Donna woke with a gasp. The sharp edges of memory knifed into her consciousness and tears welled in her eyes. She blinked them away and swallowed hard. When the ache in her chest had eased somewhat, she took in her surroundings. The room was unfamiliar She lay, breathing hard, in muted darkness. In her clothes on a bed… again.

She remembered.

All those things she and the Doctor had done together; the things he had taken from her mind, had caused her to forget… wonderful, terrifying things that she now recalled. Memories he had said would kill her, that would burn her alive, yet she didn’t feel like she was about to combust.

At least, not any more she didn’t; she thought back to the alley behind the Bradford Arms and the dark-haired alien. Her last memory was of him catching her and then… then what? She didn’t remember, didn’t know where she was.

Donna sat up. Though she was still in her clothing the rain-soaked coat had been removed, along with her boots, and a sort of fur blanket was draped over her. She looked around. The room was sparse, with little in it other than the bed and a desk. Her eyes locked on the window, at the stars she could see beyond it.

“Oh my God,” she murmured.

She slipped out of the bed and padded over to the window. Looking out, she saw the Earth spinning slowly beneath her. A thrill fizzed through her; she was in space. She touched the wall. What she’d thought of as metal didn’t feel like that, it was warm and pulsed with life. She blinked and stroked her hand over the wall.

“His name is Talyn.”

The announcement made her jump and she whirled. He was tall, as tall as the Doctor, but certainly not as skinny. The black sleeveless top he wore revealed arms that were well-muscled and he had them folded across his broad chest as he leant against the doorway.

“Right,” she said, not entirely sure what to do with that information. “And you are?”

“Bialar Crais.”

He had a name, an actual name. That would make things easier.

“Donna Noble,” she told him. He nodded.

“Yes, I know who you are.” He looked her up and down. “How are you feeling?”

“Better,” she said. “Which I guess I have you to thank for.”

“You asked me to help you,” Bialar said. He pushed up from the doorway and looked around. “I did promise to try.”

“So you just… what?”

He glanced at her. “How is your neck?”

“My neck?”

It did ache, actually. She put a hand to it. Her palm came away bloody. She stared at her hand and then at Bialar.

“What the hell did you do?” she yelled at him. He winced.

“Would you sit down?” he asked and motioned at the bed. His tone indicated that she wasn’t going to like what she heard.

“No,” she replied flatly. She held out her blood-covered hand. “Tell me.”

Bialar sank onto the bed, braced his hands on his knees. Donna went to fold her arms, then saw her palm and thought better of it. She looked at him and tapped a foot. He sighed.

“Talyn… my ship is sentient. He’s a living ship, Donna. He can connect to a being through something called a neural transponder. Here…”

He turned away from her then and moved the ponytail to one side. At the back of his neck was an evil looking device that made Donna gasp.

“What is that?”

“My connection to Talyn.” He turned back to her. “I used a second, less-intrusive device to connect him to you and… he took certain aspects of the information in your mind.”

“Like a download?”

“Yes. It allowed you to regain the memories that were blocked without whatever was killing you from doing so.”

“The Time Lord Consciousness,” Donna supplied. She glanced at her hand again. “I don’t suppose you have something I can clean this off with?”

Bialar rose and went to the wall, pressing a button she’d failed to notice. A door slid open to reveal an approximation of a bathroom. She slid past him and rinsed the hand under the tap, then dried her hands.

“I would like to know more about the thing that was killing you,” he said then. “Given there was considerable risk to what I did.”

She looked at him and allowed a small smile to curve her lips.

“Would you sit down?”

~ ~ ~


Sat back on his bed, Bialar watched Donna sit next to him. Her reaction to the extreme but very necessary measure it had taken to save her life had been as explosive as he’d feared. However she seemed to have come to terms with it. She glanced at him. There was no reticence in her eyes, no hint of terror. She accepted him with an aplomb that he’d never experienced before and he found it rather refreshing.

She threaded her fingers together and focused on her hands. Talyn’s joining with her had allowed him to see into her mind. It had been a brief glimpse, but enough to know this was not going to be easy for her. He held himself very still.

“You’re… you’re not the first alien I’ve met.” Her voice was soft, low. “Two years ago, I was getting married and… and I was transported. I found myself in this strange place with arching supports and a central column and a man... well, he looked like a man, but he wasn’t. His name was - is - the Doctor. He is a Time Lord, from a planet called Gallifrey, in the system of Kasterborous.” She looked up then. “Do you… do you know where that is?”

“I have heard of it,” he replied quietly. “There are… myths about such a place.”

Donna gave him a weak smile. “It’s gone now; the Doctor was the only survivor of a war. He had this ship. Not like this one, not like Talyn, but it travelled in time and space, and I travelled with him.”

Her voice went husky. Bialar saw her eyes glisten in the microt before she turned her head away. He reached out, uncertain as whether she would accept a gesture of support but unable to watch her cry alone. He rested a hand on her shoulder. She gave a deep sigh.

“He showed me so much,” she whispered. “So many worlds, past and future. I saw so many wonderful things, but terrible ones as well. I witnessed the birth of a new civilisation and the death of another. It was incredible, and I thought that it was going to last forever.”

“What happened?” he asked softly.

“Something called a metacrisis. I absorbed some of his DNA and I… changed. I became a human Time Lord but… that shouldn’t have been possible.” She looked at him then. “It was killing me, but that was okay cos I was with him. Then he said that he was sorry and he… he took everything away from me.”

She struggled visibly with her grief. Bialar tightened his hand on her shoulder. She gave a muted sob and then, much to his surprise, threw herself at him. Her arms went around his neck and she cried. He sat there, frozen and eyes wide, and tried to decide what he ought to do. He opted for patting her back rather awkwardly.

After some time, her sobs reduced to sniffles. She pulled back, her expression aghast. She wiped her face and smoothed her hair back.

“Sorry,” she muttered.

“I don’t mind,” he said, finding even as he said the words that it was true. “I had some indication that the subject was… something of a sore point.” She gave him a curious glance, so he expanded; “Connecting you to Talyn meant we were… connected, of sorts. Not in the same way, but I did get images, emotions.”

Donna stared at him for a microt, and then shrugged.

“The TARDIS was slightly psychic. It got in my head and translated alien languages. That’s how I can understand you.” She frowned. “How do you understand me?”

“Translator microbes injected when I… when I was younger.”

“Oh.” She seemed lost for words. She looked at him. “So what are you, then?”

It was a question he’d known would come eventually. He still hadn’t decided how to answer it though.

“Nothing anymore,” he told her. “But I was a Peacekeeper.”

“Is that like an army or something?”

How could he tell her? He looked away. “Something like that.”

“Ah,” Donna said. “You know, when I first met the Doctor there was this alien from a really old race. I mean, really old; they’d existed before my planet did and they’d hidden themselves in the core. This alien, she wanted to free the offspring, but if she’d done that, the babies would have eaten everyone on Earth. So the Doctor stopped her. He killed them. All of them.”

Bialar met her eyes. “I see.”

“Do you?” she asked. “I mean, you don’t have to tell me, not if you don’t feel comfortable, but don’t think you’re going to shock me.”

He harrumphed. She poked his leg with a finger.

“If we’re going to spend any amount of time together-”

“We are?” he interrupted. “Why?”

A hurt look crossed Donna’s face, then she slumped.

“Oh,” she said in a small voice. “I thought… well, you’d saved my life, so I thought that… but obviously not. Anyway, my mother will be worried so…” She stopped and gave him a plaintive look. “This isn’t fair.”

He was confused. “I’m sorry, what did you want?”

“Let me come with you.” She sat round and took his hands. Her eyes pleaded with him. “Please, Bialar. I can’t go back to a normal life, not again.”

“But…” He hadn’t expected to pick up a passenger, especially not a human one. “I… I’m rather used to being alone. I expected that you would wish to return home.”

“Well I don’t,” she huffed and folded her arms.

He opened his mouth. Closed it again. He looked at her and wondered what he did now. Refusing her was the obvious answer, but he remembered the flicker of memories that had raided his mind whilst she’d been joined to Talyn. Though that had been only for mere macrons, it had been enough to know she would never be happy left on Earth. It shouldn’t matter. For some reason, it did.

“Before you decide, I shall tell you something of myself,” he told her. She unwound her arms and watched him, waiting. He heaved a sigh. “The Peacekeepers are the military force in the sector of space that I come from. I was a captain and… I did a lot of things of which I am no longer proud. I killed someone and that forced me out in order to survive. I then stole this ship. There is more but this you should know: my own people believe that I am dead. If they discover otherwise, then this ship and all within it would be in danger.”

Donna’s eyes were wide but she nodded slowly, clearly not discouraged by what he’d said.

“Okay.”

He lifted his eyebrows at her.

“Donna…”

“It’s not like I’ve never been in danger before. It was a regular occurrence.” She gave him a sudden grin. “It was all about the running.”

Bialar shook his head. “Talyn can only travel through space, Donna. If you came with me…”

“I’m not thick, Bialar,” she said tartly. “I had figured out there’d be no going back.”

“And you are still… willing?”

“Yes.”

It was obvious she would not be swayed. All that remained was for him to decide whether he wanted someone else.

“And you need me,” she added.

He arched an eyebrow at her. “I need you?”

“Yes, you do. You’ve been on your own for too long.”

Loneliness was something he had spent most of his life trying to ignore; just another weak emotion that left one vulnerable. He looked at her, at the way she returned that look with no semblance of fear, and he thought that she might actually be right.

“If I offered…” He trailed off, uncertain of the etiquette.

Donna’s lips twitched. “I need to check one thing.” She reached out and placed her hand flat against the left side of his chest, then shifted it to the right. “Okay, so not that alien then.”

He was bewildered by this action. “Whatever were you checking?”

“Whether you have one heart or two,” she told him cheerfully. “The Doctor had two. You have one, so you’re not that different from me.”

“I believe our species are very similar,” he said. “Compatible.”

She jerked her hand off his chest, her cheeks colouring.

“Not that compatible, Spaceman!”

The nickname startled him but then the humour of her reaction made him chuckle. She glared at him, but after a microt her composure crack and she smiled slightly.

“So?” she asked.

“If you will not listen to reason and stay on Earth, then it is pointless arguing with you about the matter,” he said.

“Is that a ‘yes’?”

She sat forward, hope blooming on her face. There was no way he could refuse that. He sighed, wondering at which point he would regret this decision, fairly sure that he would, eventually.

“Alright,” he said and was immediately engulfed in a tight hug.

“Thank you!” she squealed, nearly deafening him. “Oh, thank you.”

Bialar rolled his eyes and returned Donna’s hug awkwardly, trying to ignore the silent laughter that echoed in the back of his mind. At least Talyn was accepting the change to their circumstances.

“In that case, would you care for a tour of your new home?” he asked her.

Donna pulled back, her eyes shining.

“Oh yes please.”

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