Chapter Ten

John rocked back and forth while he sat on the floor of his prison. He figured it'd been at least two hours and still no light source or sign of anyone. He had to admit the darkened room was peaceful, especially since Jackie was quiet as well. The only sign she was beside him was her soft breathing and he guessed she was lost in her thoughts just like he was lost in his. He thought about Rose and focused on her. He hoped she was safe. He had no idea if the transmat was just the start but he had a feeling the Doctor and Rose were also being targeted.

Suddenly, a door slid open and both he and Jackie gasped when bright light hit their eyes. John threw up his hand over his eyes to shield them from the intense glare while he tried to see who was standing there. He couldn't see the face but whoever it was wore a long black robe and a cowl with black leather shoes and black gloves over his hands. The person had a blaster in his hand and he was aiming it at them. He raised his free hand and pointed at John.

"You," he said with a deep voice. "You will come with me quietly or the female dies."

"Where are we?" Jackie said as she got to her feet. "Why are we here?"

"Silence!" the man roared at her.

"Jackie, just keep quiet and sit down," John said, holding up his hand. "I'll go with you," he said to the man. "Just don't hurt her."

"Don't make trouble and I won't have any reason to hurt her," the man said.

John stepped forward, praying that Jackie would keep her mouth shut and sit down. He glanced back over his shoulder and was relieved to see her obey. They shared a glance before John stepped outside the doorway. He looked around while the man closed the door. They were in a metal corridor and he could see several shut doors on either side of it but there was nothing to indicate where they were and he had a feeling the robed man wasn't going to tell him. He turned and finally got a good look at the man's face and realized he had a hood over his head, obscuring his facial features. He figured he wouldn't get any answers from this man but he still felt he had to try.

"Who are you and where is Donna and the TARDIS?" he said to the man while he raised his blaster and pointed it at him.

"I am Tak'na," he said. "As for Donna Noble, follow me."

John's heart beat rapidly. Would he find Donna alive or dead. In a way, he was scared to find out. The other thing that bothered him was Tak'na's name and the way he was dressed. Tak'na meant revenge in Gallifreyan and the robe Tak'na was wearing was similar to the robes the Time Lords wore. Did that mean that Gallifrey did exist in this reality, despite all the legends he heard growing up? If so, were they friends or enemies?

"What do you want with us?" he asked.

Tak'na didn't reply but led John out of the corridor and into an enormous room. John's heart beat faster when he noticed The Seal of Rassilon etched in steel on the wall next to another corridor across the room.

"Time Lords?" he said in wonder.

"Correct," Tak'na said as he led him towards the corridor.

"But how can that be? The legends of my Gallifrey said that we only existed in one universe," John said.

Tak'na didn't reply which frustrated John all the more. He figured the historians got it wrong but all the same, it made him wonder how many versions of Gallifrey existed in all of reality.

"Did you have a Time War here?" he ventured.

"We fought the Time War, yes."

"But Gallifrey wasn't destroyed in this reality?"

Again, there was no reply and John sighed angrily. Apparently, Tak'na only responded to the right questions. They stopped in front of a door halfway down the corridor. Tak'na grabbed the right sleeve of his robe and raised it slightly to reveal a device strapped to his wrist that looked similar to Jack's vortex manipulator. There were four black buttons on a plastic panel in the center of the strap. He pushed the second button and the door slid open. He pushed the last button and John heard a hum as a light came on inside the room. He followed Tak'na inside and froze when he saw Donna lying on a black marble slab in the center of the empty room. She was lying on her back with her arms at her sides, her eyes closed and her face peaceful. There was an IV drip running into her right arm and a small metal machine with several buttons on it was at her left side. A black rubber hose ran out of the side of the machine to a leather collar that was strapped around her neck. John ran to Donna and knelt down, half afraid he was looking at her dead body. He let out a pent up sigh of relief when he heard her breathing but his relief quickly turned to rage when he tried to wake her and got no response.

"What is this? What have you done to her?" he said, standing up and turning to Tak'na.

"She is safe. We managed to preserve her body by draining her mind," Tak'na said calmly.

"You did what?" John growled as he fought to keep his rage in check. "You drained her mind? So she's just an empty shell now?"

"It was necessary. It was the only way to save your friend. We are keeping her mind safe until she can be safely restored. What you see beside her is life support," he said, pointing to the machine.

"And the TARDIS, where is she?" John said.

"In storage."

"And do I get it back?"

"That depends."

"On what?" John said, figuring he wasn't going to like what Tak'na was about to say.

"On how well you cooperate with us."

"And do what?" John said.

"We wish you to help us."

"And do what?" John said, hating how vague he was being. "I want to hear what you need help with before I decide whether or not..."

Tak'na laughed.

"You act as if you have a choice," he said, cutting John off.

"And I don't?" John said, folding his arms over his chest.

"If you don't cooperate, we'll disconnect Miss Noble's life support and send both her and the other female into deep space before we put you to death."

John's fists clenched.

"It's a bad idea to corner me," he snarled at Tak'na, "or make threats against my friends."

"You will help us, Doctor, or you will suffer enormously. We will not only target those on board but your friends on Earth, including your clone."

John was shocked. He thought Tak'na knew he was the clone. He was tempted to correct him but he suddenly decided to play along. Perhaps if Tak'na thought he was the Doctor, he could not only buy time for the real Doctor and Rose but also find out what Tak'na's plans were. He just hoped Tak'na didn't decide to run a scan of his body and find out he had a single heart because he was sure it would not go well for him if he did.

"Fine, I'm at your disposal," John said. "I just ask that you leave my friends and my other self alone and I'll cooperate."

"I figured you'd see reason," Tak'na said. "Now if you'll follow me, I'll show you what needs to be done."

Tak'na pointed towards the doorway with his blaster. John took one last look at Donna, taking comfort she was still alive, before he moved towards the doorway.

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