Chapter Three


The Doctor looked at the two women who were eagerly waiting for him to start his story.

"Blimey, I realize I don't talk about my past very often but I never realized you lot were so eager to hear my story."

"We'd like to know more about you," Rose said.

"Yeah, I've known you for almost two years and you're still a mystery," Jackie said.

"Well, I prefer to stay that way, to be honest. However, in light of what's happened, I guess all this does need an explanation."

"So you really do believe I'm your reincarnated ex-wife?" Rose said.

"Either that or you somehow managed to channel Arella's spirit and she spoke through you while you were hypnotized. I really don't believe that either but something happened just now so I might as well explain. Um…I s'pose I should give some background info first about me. I grew up in the mountains of South Gallifrey and I lived with a very big family, mother, father, brothers and cousins which was typical. But I was shunned ever since I was small."

"You were different?" Rose said.

The Doctor raised his eyebrow.

"Are you remembering Gallifrey then?" he said to her.

"Not really. It was just a guess."

"Well, it's a good guess because that's the reason I was an outcast. Well…on my planet, my people were sterile so these machines called looms were invented. Everyone was grown in the machine from a combination of genetic material and they were genetically engineered while they grew."

"Like what Hitler wanted to do?" Jackie said.

"Well. I suppose but there were never evil intentions behind it. It was done to ensure the child was healthy and also because a child was engineered to become an ordinary Gallifreyan or a Time Lord like me."

"So that's not just a fancy name then?" Rose said.

"No, it's what I am. A Time Lord was engineered to see the time lines and have a more intelligent mind which the ordinary Gallifreyan didn't possess. There were a limited number of Time Lords verses everyone else. That was done to ensure that Time Lords didn't become too powerful and overrun the general population and also because being a Time Lord is a huge responsibility. Managing time is a huge burden and they didn't want 8 million Time Lords going through time and continuously changing it. So limits were set. Problem was, I was never meant to be a Time Lord."

"They made a mistake when they made you?" Rose said.

"No. I was an anomaly."

"How'd ya mean?" Jackie said.

"You were supposed to be an ordinary Gallifreyan and something went wrong with this loom machine?" Rose added.

"Well, yes but what happened defied description," the Doctor said. "You see…when a Gallifreyan was loomed, there was no navel since nourishment was delivered to the baby inside the machine's version of a placenta. The baby got everything it needed from the chemicals and nutrients it was floating around in. But…"

He stood up, took off his jacket and pulled his shirt out of the waistline of his trousers. He pulled his trousers down slightly and showed them his navel.

"How'd that happen then if no one on your planet had navels?" Jackie said.

"Dunno. No one knows. It formed while I was in the loom," the Doctor said, tucking his shirt back in his trousers. "I have no idea how I got it but it marked me as different from the first and I grew up being harassed and teased by other people because I had a hole in my belly."

"You poor thing," Jackie said as the Doctor sat back down.

"Eh, I learned to live with it," the Doctor said. "But I was shunned for the most part, mostly because people couldn't understand why I had this navel and also because I was made into a Time Lord regardless of the loom's instructions to make me into a normal Gallifreyan. At the time I was born, the limit had been reached and they weren't supposed to make any more Time Lords until one of the current Time Lords died. So I was one over the limit which also didn't endear me to many people. Not to mention the geneticist in charge of looming me was arrested and accused of making me a Time Lord on purpose. There was a huge scandal because of that and because of the scandal, I was known outside of my hometown. An extra Time Lord with a navel was big news all over the planet."

"So you're used to being known then?" Rose teased. "Been famous since birth."

"Yeah…I was the child celebrity…except it was in a bad way. I grew up alone; even my own family avoided me whenever they could. The only true friend I had when I was growing up was a fellow outcast called Koschei."

"I thought you lot were more intelligent than we were," Jackie said. "You'd think your people would be smart enough to accept others and their differences."

The Doctor snorted.

"My people and yours are alike in many different ways. My people might have claimed to be enlightened but they were still capable of crass behaviors. Many races have a natural fear and aversion of the unknown and the fact that Koschei and me were children meant nothing to them. We were still avoided as much as possible."

"What was wrong with Koschei then?" Rose said.

"He was a bit…odd. He ended up going insane but for as long as I known him, he was a bit off. He ended up becoming one of my worst enemies and he renamed himself the Master."

"Your best friend became your worst enemy?" Rose said.

"Yup. And I'll tell you more about that but at this point in the story, he and I were best mates. His father owned a large estate near the mountain and I would go down there most afternoons and play with him. There were fields of red grass on Gallifrey and we used to run through them, play hide and seek, make up games, that sort of thing. We seemed to understand each other so it wasn't just bonding together to protect ourselves from everyone else's scorn. We got to the point where we were finishing each other's sentences. We were two of a kind. He was a Time Lord as well but unlike me, he had been loomed to be one because two Time Lords had died and he was created to take the place of one while I assumed the spot the other one had vacated. So Koschei was several years younger than I was but that didn't stop us from being friends."

The Doctor paused to take a sip of tea.

"Time Lords were allowed to play and lead a carefree life until they became eight years old and that's when they entered the Academy to start the academic phase of their life. Before they entered the academy though, they went through an initiation ritual. Every child was required to look into the Untempered Schism. It was this gap in the fabric of reality and through it you could see the vortex, what the TARDIS travels through," he clarified for Jackie. "The ritual is a frightening thing because you are required to stare at the heart of time and space itself. Some people are inspired after seeing it, some people run and some go insane."

"They make children look at something that might make them go insane?" Jackie said.

"Yes, it was part of the initiation ceremony. It was a risk but the Time Lords felt it was a necessary evil because all the Time Lord children must see their inheritance. By the time Koschei went through it, I had been at the Academy for several years so I didn't see what happened to him personally."

"What did happen?" Rose said when the Doctor took another sip of tea.

"They took him up to the schism to see into it and supposedly he stood there just transfixed for several minutes. Normally, most children can't take the sight of it for more than a minute or two but he just stood and stared. Then he started to laugh hysterically and it frightened the Time Lord elders. He turned to them and yelled at them that he had been given a sign that he would be greater than all of them. The Time Lords took him to the infirmary after that because he couldn't stop laughing."

"So it inspired him, looking into the schism?" Rose said.

The Doctor shook his head.

"No, Rose, it drove him mad. The laughter was the sort of laughter an insane person does. The matrons managed to calm him down and they made him rest in bed for a few days. He stopped laughing and outwardly, he looked like he returned to normal but he was never the same after that. That whole moment changed him forever and I was the one who ended up having to deal with him through the centuries."

"What about you then? What did you do when you saw this schism thing?" Jackie asked.

The Doctor grinned.

"I ran away in fear," he said.

"Coward," Rose teased as she poked his arm playfully.

"I'd like to see you do it, Rose Tyler. I would do it except Gallifrey is time locked now and there's no way to go back. But I'm betting you couldn't stand it either. It was a rare person who could stand there and watch the vortex without going bonkers. I'm glad I didn't do what Koschei did and go off my trolley. The Untempered Schism was destroyed with the planet and it's one of the few good things that came out of all that. Too many children like Koschei were warped forever because they were forced to look at it. Anyway…Koschei entered the academy and we hung out together like we did when we were younger. After a few years, we even managed to land up as roommates and we helped each other with our studies. But then came the day that Arella entered our lives and things suddenly became very complicated."

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