Chapter Ten

"Trip?" Jackie said.

"Yes. At some point every Time Lord and Lady must take a trip somewhere in a TARDIS to get the idea of what it's like to travel in the vortex and also the professor gives a lecture on how to properly observe without interference."

"P'eh, apparently you didn't attend that lecture," Rose said.

"Oh, I did and it was a lecture my professor never forgot," the Doctor said.

"What about me? I was only going to be an archivist. I went in the TARDIS as well?" Rose said.

"Yes. Every Time Lord and Lady was required to do this even if they had no intention of doing it as a career. It was one of those things that everyone had to do."

"So we went together on this trip?" Rose said.

"Yes. Since we were in the same class, we took the same trip with our professor. Each professor had us go into his TARDIS and he took us to some random location. Now…mind you, we had a professor who liked confrontations. He liked to challenge students."

"How so?" Jackie said.

"He liked to take his students to points in time and space where atrocities or injustices were being performed and then he would wait for someone brave enough to protest about it. You see, Jackie, I'm not supposed to be interfering in universal events. A Time Lord's function was to observe and record history, not change it. My professor was a bit of a renegade like I was. He didn't believe a Time Lord's job was just to stand back and let history take its course, he believed in change. However, he had a posh job and had tenure and he wasn't about to risk that by flaunting the laws of time and space. But every class he had he would pose this challenge, I think in the hopes that someone would be brave enough to act and not just stand around and watch injustice being carried out."

"And you were that student," Rose said.

"Yes. But let me explain because the incident makes for an interesting story. You see, this was the first time I really set myself apart from the other students. Up till then, I had tried to blend in and act like any other student but finally, a turning point came in my academic career when I became an outcast once more…"


"Ugh, this'll be a waste of time," Arella said as she and Merzet joined the queue to get into the TARDIS.

"I don't think so. I'm excited. Finally, we get to go off world," Merzet said.

"Yeah, but this is what you wanna do. I wanna stay in the archives so I'm sorry if I'm not as excited as you are, Merzy," Arella said.

They and everyone else fell silent when Professor Dantura stepped up beside his TARDIS.

"Ladies and gentlemen, file inside quietly and quickly and stay within the console room. I want no trouble from anyone on this trip."

Everyone went single file into the TARDIS and Merzet walked inside and looked around at the stark white interior of the console room. As he stared at the small roundels dotting the walls, he dreamed about having his own TARDIS one day.

"Thinking about having one of your own?" Arella said to him.

"Most definitely," Merzet said. "I'll bless the day I leave this rock for good."

"Does that mean me as well?"

"Arella, come with me. You belong amongst the stars, not behind a desk in archiving."

"I don't want to travel, you know that."

"I do but I keep hoping you're change your mind," Merzet said with a wink.

Dantura closed the TARDIS doors and walked over to his console. He nominated five other students and instructed them on how to fly it. Merzet and Arella stepped back against the wall and watched the six Time Lords fly the TARDIS through the vortex.

"Sure you wouldn't want to come with me someday?" Merzet muttered to Arella.

"No. I don't feel like traveling. Observing things would be boring to me."

"And archiving them is better?" Merzet said incredulously.

"You have your interests, I have mine,"

Merzet was about to reply to that when the TARDIS landed and powered down. Dantura walked to the front doors, opened them and ordered everyone to go outside. Merzet took Arella's hand and they stepped outside onto a field. In front of them was a large arena that resembled the Roman Coliseum but the ringed planet in the sky indicated they were not on Earth. Dantura didn't say where they were or what planet they were on, instead he instructed everyone to follow him. They went through a large entrance and Merzet looked around at the crowd. The arena was packed from top to bottom and he couldn't see anywhere to sit but Dantura led his students over to a balcony that jutted out from the first tier of seats. Below the balcony was the floor of the arena and it was made of dirt. There were a few entrances ringing the floor but all of them had metal gates on them.

"Gladiators?" Merzet muttered to Arella. "I've read about gladiator battles in ancient Rome on Earth…except this isn't Earth."

"Perhaps they had…gladiator battles on other planets," Arella said.

Merzet was going to reply when suddenly one of the metal gates began to go up. They were across the wide arena but they could hear the grating and squeaking as it went up. Merzet expected gladiators to come out, instead he got the shock of his life when several leather covered muscular men forced a young woman and a child out into the middle of the arena. Merzet looked up at the crowd when they cheered and looked back at the woman and child, wondering why the hell everyone was cheering at these two terrified people. The woman was in her early twenties, her long brown hair was disheveled and dirty and she was wearing a ripped and dirty white dress. The child was dirty and scared and clung to her while she looked around at the hooting and jeering crowd. He was horrified when one of the guards came out of the open doorway holding a whip in one end and a wooden club in the other. Two guards near the mother ripped her dress off her body and two more pulled the crying child away while she called for her mother. The woman who was the child's mother tried to go to her but the guards that ripped the dress off her held her still. The Doctor looked around at the crowd who were absolutely loving what was going on and he felt revulsion.

"Why is this being allowed to happen?" Merzet said aloud. "What crime has this woman and child committed?"

Unknown to him, Dantura looked at Merzet and a smile spread over his face when he saw how angry and agitated the young Time Lord was becoming. Arella gave Merzet a questioning look.

"Merzet?" she said.

"This isn't right," Merzet said. "Even if the woman has done something, surely the child is innocent. How can they torture them in front of all these people like it's a festival day?"

By now, the other students were looking at Merzet. A few of them snickered and nudged each other.

"Hey, Flackwat," a male student said, poking Merzet in the arm, "you're supposed to shut up and watch."

"Watch what? This travesty?" Merzet growled back at him.

The student stepped back a couple of paces when he saw the rage on his face. Then Merzet heard the whip crack and the woman and child scream as one of the guards whipped the woman. Arella tried to calm Merzet down but he jerked his hand away from hers and gritted his teeth as the whipping continued. By now, all the students except for Arella were giving Merzet odd looks and a few of them were tittering at his rage.

Merzet suddenly pushed past a few of the students, causing them to grunt as he roughly shoved them out of the way in his rush to get to the professor.

"Professor, with all due respect, this is unconscionable," Merzet said to Dantura when he reached his side. "Look at what they're doing to this woman and child. Surely, something must be done to stop this?"

"We're here to observe, idiot," said a male student standing next to Merzet.

Merzet rounded on him and the student jerked his head back when he saw the rage in his eyes.

"I don't care what we're here to do. This isn't right!" Merzet said to the stunned students as he pointed down to the woman. "Time Lords are supposed to be one of the higher species so why shouldn't we help others instead of standing around and observing?"

The student turned his shocked gaze to the professor. Dantura quickly hid his pleasure at finding someone who was distressed at the situation and adopted a calm demeanor.

"Professor, shut this loony up!" the student said, pointing to Merzet. "Before we end up down there with them."

"Professor, please, we have to do something to help," Merzet said, his eyes pleading for his professor's understanding.

"Professor, shut him up!" the student said while everyone except Arella nodded in agreement.

"No, he's right. This isn't right," Arella said, pushing past the other students.

By now the guards were beginning to beat the little girl with the club while the crowd cheered. Merzet grit his teeth and spun around towards the crowd.


Only the first few rows near his position heard him and the handful of people gave him reproachful looks before turning their attention back to the woman and child.

"I think we should go now," Dantura said to his students.

"Yeah, before the idiot gets us killed," the student said.

"Professor, please, do something," Merzet said to Dantura.

"Merzet, go. There is nothing we can do, we're Time Lords. Follow the others back to the TARDIS. We're finished here."

Merzet glared at him for a moment before he turned.

"Maybe there's nothing you can do but by Rassilon, I will make damn sure I do something about things like this when I get my own TARDIS," Arella heard him saying under his breath as he stomped away from Dantura.

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