Chapter 23

Rogerious had given the Doctor an ultimatum: come out, or stay inside and witness the slow torture of Tegan. The fifth Doctor knew what he had to do. But, the other Doctors also knew what they had to do. Or, so they thought. What ensued was pandemonium, as each one argued why it should be he who went out to face the bounty hunter.

What the bounty hunter had proposed, was that he would send the Doctor a one-time use emergency teleport disk. After the seventh Doctor put the speaker on mute, the Doctors gabbled away at each other furiously. Some Doctor's were debating why they should be allowed to negotiate with Rogerious. A few others were arguing for using the teleport for some other purpose. They all were instantly shushed by a loud wolf whistle from Donna.

"Oy! Pipe down, you lot! I have something to say." She shouted.

Every Doctor and other companion in the room turned to stare at Donna. On their faces was either surprise, annoyance or amusement.

"Maybe I'm getting this wrong, but this Roger bloke seems to think that he"—Donna pointed at the fifth Doctor—"is the only one in the TARDIS. Wouldn't it complicate things if he knew you were all here together?"

"Oooh, score another point for Donna. That's my girl." The tenth Doctor chortled.

"Your girl? I used to hate it when one of my boyfriends said that. Since when are we an item?" Donna said, folding her arms and tilting her head at him skeptically.

"We're not an item. We're a team." He told her.

"Nice save, spaceman." She replied with good humor. "But I still think blondie over there should be the one to go."

"Yes. Very good, Donna. Quite true!" The fifth Doctor smiled gratefully at her. "Apparently this Rogerious has no idea that we're here. Though how he managed to track down a TARDIS is something else altogether. Anyway," He added more somberly, "Tegan is my responsibility. She wouldn't be out there if it weren't for me."

"Ah-hem." The forth Doctor cleared his throat, giving the fifth Doctor a sideways glance. "Or me, you know."

"Of course." He nodded, shooting the forth Doctor a friendly smile of acknowledgement. "How could I forget?" Returning to the more serious issue at hand, he continued, "However, I should point out that it was me this Rogerious saw Tegan with." he reminded them all. "And I think Donna is quite correct. If some other version of myself goes out there, it would definitely complicate matters. Putting more than just Tegan and myself in danger."

"We don't even know what this bounty hunter wants, yet." Amy said, trying to include herself in the discussion. "I mean, other than killing you for some sort of reward. Maybe he'd also like to get his hands on the TARDIS."

"That's rather worrying thought." The third Doctor nodded.

"We'll have to play this game very carefully, I should think." The sixth Doctor said to the others.

"I love a good game." The tenth Doctor said cheekily. "Tennis, anyone?"

"It'll be a game hare and hounds, if you ask me." Chipped in the ninth Doctor.

"And I was thinking of chess." The second Doctor added.

"More like a game of tiddlywinks, the way you all are carrying on." The first Doctor snorted.

"I wish you'd let me go with you." Jack told the fifth Doctor. "I could pose as another of your companions. I've never faced a kill-bot, but after dealing with the devil's brother, everything else is a cakewalk." He gave the ninth Doctor a significant look, before turning again to the fifth Doctor. "Besides, it's not like that thing could cause me any permanent damage."

"Wouldn't fighting them put Tegan in even greater danger?" A concerned Sarah Jane spoke out.

"Thank you for the offer, Jack." The fifth Doctor said, not unkindly, "But Sarah is right. I must do this alone."

"Do you have any idea what sort of demands this Rogerious is going to make?" The third Doctor asked the fifth.

Taking a deep breath, the fifth Doctor raised an eyebrow and replied, "Judging by his actions so far, I'd say his demands will fall somewhere between the absolutely absurd and the certifiably insane."

"Just your typical psychopathic nutjob out there." The tenth Doctor shrugged. "Should be a piece of cake."

"Oh, yes!" The second Doctor agreed. "All in day's work for us. Eh, Doctors?"

"I don't see how any of you could expect to reason with an irrational person. It'd be like trying to ask a monkey to understand astrophysics." The first Doctor said, shaking his head doubtfully. He was the one who had proposed hijacking the emergency teleport, instead of negotiating with Rogerious.

"It's not the psycho bounty hunter he has to worry about, so much as that kill-bot." The sixth Doctor pointed out.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's decided. I'm going. Alone." The fifth Doctor said with finality. Pausing, he abruptly sighed with regret, admitting, "You know, it's times like this that I really miss my sonic screwdriver."

At once, the third, forth, eighth, ninth and tenth Doctor's all held out their sonics to him, like men proffering cigarette lighters to a fellow smoker.

"Yours is bigger than mine." A surprised eighth Doctor said to the ninth Doctor, who immediately grinned with satisfaction.

"And yours is larger than mine." The forth Doctor frowned at the tenth Doctor. "I can see my older selves seem to have a bit of an insecurity issue."

"What! I do not...!" The tenth Doctor sputtered. "There's nothing wrong with that. Bigger is better. As any American would tell you."

"Hell, yeah. That's what I always say." Jack said, his voice dripping with innuendo, his eyes lingering a little too long over a certain area of the Doctor's trousers. Not that the Doctor even noticed.

"Now see here, all of you. Size isn't everything, you know. It's how you use it that counts." A rather miffed third Doctor told them.

"I can't tell you how many times I've heard that old line." Jack chuckled.

"Shut up, Jack!" The ninth and tenth Doctor shouted at him crossly.

"Shhhh—!" The seventh Doctor said to them all, pointing at the console speaker.

The fifth Doctor accepted the tenth Doctor's sonic with a silent nod of thanks. Holding his fingers to his lips, the seventh Doctor leaned over and flipped the mute switch off. Like some radio engineer he pointed his finger, looking directly at the fifth Doctor, indicating that he should speak.

"Hello? Are you still there?" The fifth Doctor said loudly, and he came to stand beside the control console.

"Have you made up your mind, Doctor?" The dog-man's voice snarled.

"Erm—yes. I would find it acceptable for you to send me that teleport disk. I'm releasing the coordinates to"

A few seconds later, a large round crimson-coloured pad slowly materialized in a blaze of light, in an empty corner of the crowded console room. The Doctor walked over and stood on top of it.

"Right. Here we go." The fifth Doctor whispered, smiling nervously and holding up two crossed fingers, "Wish me luck."

"What did you say?" Rogerious' voice demanded harshly.

The fifth Doctor had momentarily forgotten that canenoids had exceptional hearing. Wincing, he ad-libbed, "Ah, nothing. I just said, I hope I won't have to duck."

"Oh. I thought you were swearing at me. Do not worry, Time Lord. I will not shoot you. You are worth much more to me alive." The bounty hunter responded.

"Well, that's very reassuring." The fifth Doctor said with more bravado than he actually felt, as his body's molecules slowly dissolved into the light.

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