Chapter Fifteen

"Blimey, he was like a bad penny, eh?" Rose said. "Just wouldn't leave ya alone."

"Well, in many ways, he was all I had," the Doctor said. "His father was constantly busy and was cold and distant and after he developed his mental illness, he shunned him even further. I was one of the few people in his lives who accepted him for who he was so yes; he didn't want to lose that. He hated Arella with a passion because she was a threat to our childhood bond. By marrying me, I would have spent less time with him and so he lashed out at her, unfortunately in a very destructive way."

"And no one thought to lock this loony up somewhere?" Jackie said.

"No. Because no one would admit he had a problem. Especially the Time Lords since that would be an admission that their initiation ceremony was damaging children. Besides, Koschei was very good at hiding his mental illness from others who didn't know him. He was the classic psychopath, extremely charming at first until you got to know him. And that was before he set his sights on conquering all of reality."

"So the people at the Academy were fooled by his behavior?" Rose said.

"The people at the Academy looked the other way because his father gave them a generous donation to reinstate him. And he was very careful not to draw attention to himself once he was there. No one suspected him of the murder. They either couldn't or wouldn't implicate him. And that caused a lot of pain and misery in the long run since no one thought to have someone around to keep him in check."

"And you were only one man," Rose said.

"Well, that and I also was trying to keep away from him since he was out to harm me and Arella. It wasn't my place to be his minder anyway, that fell to his relatives and the staff at the Academy and neither one of them was willing to do it."

"So, he tried to kill ya again when you got back?" Rose said.

"Well…no, he tried a different tactic. He tried to get me expelled."

"How?" Jackie said.



Three weeks had passed since Merzet and Arella returned from the funeral. By now, the betrothal had been finalized and made official to the rest of Arella's family. All that remained was to pick a date for the wedding but Merzet held off on that, frightened of what Koschei might do if he learned about it. Koschei deliberately kept away from him, leaving whenever Merzet entered a room and staying out of his path. But Merzet still saw him from a distance on occasion, watching him from behind a building or tree. Merzet tried to ignore him but each time he spotted his former best friend stalking him, it made him more and more angry. His grades were beginning to slip. He was losing interest in the Academy in addition to keeping his eye on Koschei and worrying about his next move.

It got to the point where Professor Dantura asked him to stay behind after class one day. Once everyone was gone, Dantura closed the door and asked Merzet to come over to his lecture podium.

"Merzet, I've noticed that you haven't been performing as well as you should on your assignments and quizzes," he said.

"Yes, sir," Merzet said.

"Care to explain why?"

"Just not interested any longer, sir."

"And why is that?"

Merzet shrugged, not wanting to explain about Koschei. Dantura studied him in silence for a moment.

"Merzet, I know you've had some difficulties with your roommate and I know he was forced to leave the Academy before being reinstated. Personally, after what he did, I wouldn't have let him but money and influence sometimes speak louder than Gallifreyan voices."

"Yes, sir."

"You may not believe this, Merzet, but I think you're an exceptionally brilliant student and I want to see you succeed. A student like you comes along once in a great while. You were meant to do great things."

"I don't think so, sir."

"That's because you've been ridiculed your whole life until you think yourself worthless. You're not worthless, you were meant to travel the stars and make a difference in the lives of the lower beings."

"We're not allowed to interfere in the lives of the lower beings, sir."

Dantura snorted and leaned in.

"What would you have done if I hadn't denied you the chance to save that woman and child?" he said.

Merzet gave him a wary look and backed up.

"I'm not looking to expel you, quite the opposite. I look for students like you each term. Those who will raise an objection. So tell me, Merzet, what would you have done?"

"Saved them, sir."


"Because it's the right thing to do," Merzet said hesitantly.

"Then why do you sound so unsure?" Dantura said.

"Because, sir, I shouldn't be talking about this."

"Because in our society, it's not right to interfere with the lives of the lower species?"

"Yes, sir."

"And do you agree with that? Tell me truthfully, I won't tell a soul what you've said here. Everything is in the strictest confidence."

"I don't agree with that, sir. I think it's horrible to stand back and watch injustices when you can do something about it."

"Yes, go on," Dantura said when he stopped speaking and shot a nervous look at the door.

"That woman and child deserved mercy, even if they had committed a crime. The men who hurt them were no better than beasts."

"And you're willing to risk your reputation to help those who are in need?"

"Yes, sir."


"Good?" Merzet said in shock. "You approve of my opinion?"

"Yes, Merzet," Dantura said, putting his hands behind his back before walking around the room. "Because I also share your belief that we, as a higher species, should look after and help the lesser ones and elevate them whenever possible. Unfortunately, Rassilon thought otherwise but in many ways, he was a fool."

He chuckled when Merzet's eyes bulged.

"I know, heresy to say something like that but like you, I can't help thinking differently than the herd," he said. "I know that I'm being a hypocrite by staying here in the Academy and doing nothing but the way I see it, I'm in a position to spot people who have a passion for helping others and nurturing them. That's why I'm extremely distressed that your grades are slipping. You mustn't give up, Merzet, you need to succeed and graduate from here so you can get a TARDIS and get out there and make a difference in the universe. Have the courage to do what many others won't and stand against injustice in the universe."


"Wow, I like him. Wish I had a teacher who cared that much when I was in school," Rose said.

"Unfortunately, I was young and foolish and I didn't apply myself hard enough to my studies," the Doctor said. "I suppose it doesn't matter now since I'm doing what Dantura wanted but all the same, he was my first mentor and I felt like I let him down when I did less than stellar at the Academy. Hindsight is 20/20, of course. At the time I resented most of the professors at the school and apart from Arella, I felt alienated from the students. At the time, I coulda possibly cared less about the Academy since they coulda cared less about me. But it was refreshing to hear that Dantura supported me. I just wish he'd gathered up the courage to do what I do and leave the teaching position to fight evil. Scouting out potential rebels like myself is fine but once you find someone who might break away from the flock, you have no way of knowing they'll go out and fight injustice. Why stand back and merely be a spotter when you can go and do and make sure it gets done?"

His eyes bulged when Rose lept up, mussed up his hair again and sat back down.

"There! I went and did it and got it done. Your hair is even more insane looking. I've made a difference in the universe," she said.

The Doctor eyed her while she stuck her tongue between her teeth and winked at him. She laughed and leapt up when the Doctor got up and tried to put his fingers in her hair.

"So, anyway," the Doctor said, sitting back down while Rose pranced back to her place on the sofa, "while this was going on, little did I know Koschei was moving against me. So by the time I got back to the dormitory, I receive a message from the aide to the Chancellor requesting me to come and meet him in the morning."

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