Tabula Rasa

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Doctor Who Non-fiction

Tabula Rasa

The Rushing of Blood

by Evangelos Hugo Paliatseas

First Appeared in Burnt Toast#9, 1991

The blood coursed through his veins, racing and pounding like a thousand waves rising to the attack against some ancient, rocky shore. His rage and hate were uncontrollable, unceasing, and perhaps the worst part was that he was uncertain why. The world was out of focus and strangely obscured by a red cloud, vague and surreal, as though there wasn't quite enough solid matter to force reality upon him. The only noises were those of his throbbing heart and rasping lungs, sounding more like ocean and wind than necessities of life. He was more focused, and yet more apart than he had ever been before, more alien, and yet more human. His thoughts had the quality of sleep, uncertain, drifting, and yet his emotions had never had such strength, such blazing flame.

He was going to die.

This did not bother him in the slightest. Death was something that was inevitable eventually. The fact that he was a Time Lord with the power of regeneration did not occur to him at all, in fact it could be said it didn't matter. Because once again he was in struggle with death, and, win or lose, he would fight his hardest. Besides, Spectrox Toxaemia was so virulent, that probably not even the technologically enhanced repair ability of the Time Lords could cope with it.

It is strange, he thought to himself, strange that despite all the logic, all the concentration and conditioning, that only now, at the end of life, does one really feel alive. Despite the agony of the poison flowing in his veins, despite the slow feel of cold closing around his chest, there was also a feeling of powerful exhilaration in the depths of his few last breaths. An exhilaration that would carry him through the pain to save his friend from a similar fate.

And for an instant of time there was an overwhelming feeling of kindred, or perhaps a long forgotten memory. There he hung between the poles of light and dark, twisted and torn like an autumn leaf, strung out upon the cold edge between life and death. He was stalking like the hunter, and fleeing like the prey, caught like an animal and as free as the birds. He could run as fast as the wind, and taste the warmth of blood in his mouth. He was alive. He could fight. He could live.

A voice cried out from another place, another time. "Help me, Doctor! Save me from this world! Save yourself! Feel the strength inside you. It is a simple power, a power of tooth and claw, the power of Survival." All he had to do was drink the antitoxin. There was the strength, the life.

"Life or Death, Doctor?" asked the voice, "Life or Death? Life with which to struggle or Death with which to fade?"

The Doctor looked at the other Time Lord in confusion. "What of Peri?" he asked.

"She doesn't matter. It is survival of the fittest, are you not more important than she? Live, you fool, live so that you may come and fight me!"

Indeed he felt the calling in his blood, a calling to survive, a calling to power. But also he felt the understanding of what was transpassing between him and the other. "I will not fight." he replied, giving the antitoxin to Peri. "I will not fight to survive at such cost."

"The die, Doctor, die!" cried the Master in anger.

"Who knows," pondered the Doctor after a moment, "perhaps I shall regenerate."


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