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Fanfic / The Road to Shalka

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In the BBCi animated webcast Scream of the Shalka, a lean, cold-eyed Doctor was embittered, lonely and grieving for some past tragedy. Where did he come from? What past adventures had he experienced? And just what happened to leave him so wounded?

This fanfiction series by Soldeed answers all these questions and more (there were supposed to be five stories, but it grew in the telling), beginning when the old, feeble Eight regenerates into suave, Tall, Dark, and Snarky alt!Nine and ending just as he leaves Earth with a new companion in tow. It consists of:

  1. Born Again: in which Older and Wiser (very much) Eight, having given up the adventuring life, living in victorian countryside and discreetly mentoring a young girl in his spare time. But, it appears, adventures are not ready to give him up...
  2. Old Friends: in which Jasmine makes her first steps into a brave new world, led by her suddenly Sexy Mentor (this version of Nine is described as looking exactly like the kind of man she's always been warned about). Oh, and there are Daleks. Exterminate! And obstructive humans.
  3. Skypigs: in which Jasmine and the Doctor are trying to have a relaxing holiday and end up all tangled in a Timey-Wimey Ball.
  4. The End of the World: in which the Master plots and humans are obstructive. Also, psychopathic. Saying anything else would be a spoiler (saying this much is a spoiler, but we had to say something).
  5. Out of the Dark: set after the Scream of the Shalka, in which the Doctor's broken heart is starting to heal, slowly. He also stumbles upon some vampiric-looking creatures, yells at an obstructive human and befriends the Only Sane Woman in the house.
  6. Back from the Dead: in which humans are obstructive, but Alison and the Doctor snoop anyway and find out a scary secret in the planet's past.
  7. The Honey Trap: in which someone shows his true colours, Alison comes to terms with her feelings and the ancient alien machinery malfunctions weirdly.
  8. Children of the Sanctum: in which the Doctor investigates a cult and blithely, if platonically, seduces the new scientific advisor of UNIT.

Read it here or here.

These fics contain the following tropes:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Dr. Nestor Branik, quite competent in his field (exobiology, or Earth biology, since he's a Human Alien), quite bumbling otherwise. Even after his stasis sickness eases.
  • Action Girl: Anna kicks ass and takes no nonsense from anybody.
  • Actually Not a Vampire: In Out of the Dark, keeping up the grand tradition of vampire-like aliens appearing in Doctor Who.
  • Affably Evil: The Master is quite a gentleman, as long as he doesn't need you dead. His robot double has some Character Development and turns nearly good, but still only nice to you for as long as he needs to be.
  • Agent Scully: Angela, who works as UNIT scientific advisor, for crying out loud.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Automatic Computerised Executive (which the Master refuses to call by the acronym) fails to revive dr. Branik (its operator who would have checked ACE's proceedings) from stasis and continues with the program of collecting samples of earthly flora and fauna. It's also capable of Hostile Terraforming, which is why the Master really shouldn't be allowed near it.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Feigle, the disgusting little creep that he is, will grovel before anyone he thinks has an advantage, only to backstab and make them Kneel Before Zod at the first chance he gets. It's stupid enough to do to the Doctor, but treating the Master this way is probably a sign of Too Dumb to Live.
  • The Alcoholic / Addled Addict: As we learn in Out of the Dark, the Doctor went through such a phase while heartbroken over Jasmine's death in The End of the World, probably self-medicating the severe reactive depression.
  • All Myths Are True: The "honey trap" legend in the eponymous story, in which a magical tower appears every seventh century to lure unwitting men to fairyland. Actually, it's an alien sample collecting system.
  • Badass Longcoat: Nine wears one throughout the series.
  • Brainy Specs: Angela, who's so pretty people don't take her seriously wears these, but the Doctor notes they're window glass and says she doesn't need to pretend for him.
  • Break the Haughty: Prior to The End of the World, the Doctor is quite haughty. Then, this episode happens, and his smug ways result in a Tear Jerker, after which he remains haughty, but feels a lot of guilt about it.
  • Brutal Honesty: Nine does not sugarcoat. That's part of what draws Angela to him. That, and the time machine.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: At the beginning of The End of the World, the Doctor just can't place this Feigle guy. He's really been an insignificant figure, for all his seething at our hero.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: In throes of a Heroic BSoD, the Doctor asks the Master to kill him - but the Master needs help with this robot thing, so...
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: During their day off on a Pleasure Planet, the Doctor is asked to help locate a missing person and falls head-first into the plot...
    The man responsible: He didn't have to help if he didn't want to.
    Jasmine (contemptuously): Of course he did.
  • Continuation Fic: More of a Prequel Fic, but as we said, it grew in the telling
  • Complexity Addiction: The Master's plot in The End of the World is... convoluted. Very. His later plot spans several episodes and is even more convoluted and complex.
  • Cryo Sickness: Dr. Branik is introduced while seriously addled by it. This might be because he's been in stasis for much longer than intended.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Angela used to be very idealistic, until she fell hook, line and sinker for some conmen feeding her sob stories, which got people injured. She's determined never to make this mistake again, so, consequently, she overcompensates and refuses to believe anything unusual.
  • Dead Sidekick: And, since the Doctor has come to see poor Jasmine as a daughter, he treats this as Outliving One's Offspring.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: When we meet her, Jasmine is an orphan under the care of a not-very-nice man. We later learn that her parents were Eight's companions.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Angela starts out acting very coldly towards the Doctor, then she wavers between liking and despising him, before finally asking to travel with him.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Angela hides her numerous insecurities underneath a facade of Pride. She's not a little girl to coddle, you male chauvinist.
  • Enemy Mine: The villain in Skypigs goes back and introduces the titular "monsters" in order to make people unite against them and transform a Pleasure Planet into an industrial powerhouse. He succeeds, more or less, but, as the Doctor explains, this is bound to cause a Time Crash soon-ish. Which is exactly what the villain-behind-the-villain intends.
  • Evil Gloating: Lampshaded and turned against the rather overeager villain in Skypigs, as the Doctor begins his "The Reason You Suck" Speech with the following explanation for the gloat:
    The Doctor: You're quite obviously bursting to tell someone how clever you've been. It's the same reason serial killers always get themselves caught in the end. The longer they avoid capture, the more the frustration builds at not being able to brag about what they've done. They end up wanting to get caught.
  • First-Episode Resurrection: Well, regeneration.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: In Born Again, Jasmine begins fretting, so the newly-minted Nine slaps her. She promptly slaps him back and he never tries anything like that again.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: Inverted - Angela holds on to her (window glass) Brainy Specs until her confidence gets a boost, courtesy of the incorrigible Time Lord.
    Angela: If you say I’m beautiful without my glasses, I’ll kill you.
  • Groin Attack: The Doctor has advised Jasmine to do that if she's being held down while escaping baddies. She duly uses the advice against Feigle.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: The Master is firmly on his own side, and nobody else's.
  • Heroic BSoD: The aptly-named The End of the World ends with the Doctor so distraught over Jasmine's death the Master has to bodily drag him out of an exploding space station and into the TARDIS.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Doctor takes one for Alison, because he cannot bear letting his companion die. Thankfully, he survives without having to regenerate.
    The Doctor: And just think, who knows what will come out of the regeneration? Perhaps you'll get someone nice.
    Alison (crying): I don't want someone nice, I want you.
    • Also, of all people the robot Master takes a proper heroic sacrifice, frying his circuits out in Alison's defense.
  • Hero Killer: Feigle, the villain in The End of the World, a Psychopathic Manchild hell-bent on revenge against the Doctor (for having saved someone from his tender mercies a long time ago, and also for toppling his evil empire). He manages to kill Jasmine and the Master, who gets better. Ish. Actually, he gets put into stasis and his memories and personality are downloaded into a robot, but it's better than slow, agonizing death.
  • Hope Spot: In The End of the World, the Doctor finds Jasmine unconscious and frets, but she wakes up and he thinks she's okay for a split second, before he sees she very much is not.
  • Human Popsicle: Human Alien Popsicles in the Master (for a while) and dr. Nestor.
  • Humiliation Conga: The Doctor thinks giving one to Feigle somewhat prematurely won't backfire... he's very wrong. Especially that Jasmine's already given the guy a Groin Attack during her escape attempt, so he's adding lots of insult to injury.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Mild, but the Doctor states in no uncertain terms he's the only one allowed to be rude to (or about) Lethbridge-Stewart.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Jasmine's death in The End of the World hits the Doctor so hard because he blames himself for needling Feigle. This is why he's so protective of Alison later and why he insists on taking a Heroic Sacrifice for her.
  • Immortality Seeker: The Master's plot in The End of the World. It ends... ironically. (Spoilers!)
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: The Doctor doesn't have these, and Angela snickers when he shows the fact.
    The Doctor: Next time you can do the punching part and we’ll see how you like it.
  • Iron Woobie: Post-Break the Haughty Doctor, with some Stepford Snarker tendencies.
  • Jumped at the Call: All of the Nine's companions, in their own ways: Jasmine was curious and had nowhere to go, Alison was bored, Angela was enthusiastic.
  • Kirk Summation: Doctor (who still cares and has to give him a chance) to Master:
    Come with us! Travel in the TARDIS. Help us! (...) Think about it." There was a note of pleading in the Doctor's voice. "Why do you do the things you do? Isn't it for the challenge? For the puzzle? For the achievement? That's what I'm offering you, the chance to pit your wits against the most dangerous enemies in the universe. Don't you want to prove you're cleverer than the Sontarans? Won't that be more satisfying than cruising around victimising helpless little primitive planets? And what's more, you won't have to do it alone, we can do it together and squabble about the best way. It'll be interesting, it'll be unpredictable. It'll be fun!"
    • Unfortunately, but true to character, it meets with a Shut Up, Kirk!:
    "Ah, Doctor. You're a clever man and you make a good argument. I might even be tempted but for one thing. I don't think I could bear to see the look of triumph on your face if I accepted, nor your look of paternal pride whenever I did something you considered good. No. All things considered, I think I'm happier as I am."
    The Doctor's head lowered a little, his lips souring.
    "You've chosen death."
    "A threat, Doctor?"
    "That's not what I meant."
  • Kneel Before Zod: Feigle goes out of his way to humiliate the Doctor (who, in fairness, was pretty haughty and condescending towards him earlier).
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Jasmine gets trapped in one in The End of the World. The vampirical aliens in Out of the Dark induce a deep dream-state on their victims in order to have an uninterrupted meal.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: The rough, tough Action Girl Anna and the more conventional, laid-back companion Jeff in Skypigs. They end up married and having a child - Jasmine.
  • Memetic Badass: In-Universe - hilariously, when colonel Stark of UNIT hears the Doctor's around, his first reaction is Squee He then returns to being dour, by-the-book and military-minded, but still applies a Double Standard, not giving Angela any slack when she tries to do what the Doctor does. Also, on the planet Agrathus they have TV-show about the Doctor's adventures, because he's saved the place eleven hundred years back (as Eight).
  • Mistaken Identity: In The Honey Trap when Alison is separated from the Doctor and certain he must have regenerated, a guy stumbles into the TARDIS who acts a bit like a Time Lord in regenerative trauma, confused about his own identity and talking hundred-miles-a-minute about plants. She thinks he's the Doctor and tries to steer him back into the plot, until the real McCoy appears, explains that he hasn't regenerated and the poor guy is actually an unwitting victim of the alien machinery malfunction that started the plot in the first place. The Doctor notes he has stasis sickness, though, from having spent way too much time in stasis and being revived too suddenly. And he does have a doctorate. In botany. The guy introduces himself as dr. Nestor Branik when Alison lets him get a word in edgeways.
  • Mobile-Suit Human: The baddies in Born Again are really space fish, and tiny - they need environmental suits filled with water to get about on Earth.
  • More than Mind Control: How does lord Hazelbrook make people come to the Sanctum and give him all their worldly possesions? By telling them the truth (such as he knows) about the alien thing in his basement and asking nicely to come help contain it. Save the world, eh?
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: By the Master on Doctor's behalf.
    The Master: Feigle has made a common mistake. He equates the Doctor's pacifist inclinations with weakness. He has no idea of the danger he's in. The Doctor has killed more sentient beings over the ages than I ever have, and when he realises my precautions will stop him from rescuing you in a low-key, underhanded manner he will have no hesitation in doing it in the most direct, spectacular and destructive fashion imaginable.
  • Not Quite Dead: The Master, which isn't even a spoiler, considering. Also, the Doctor in The Honey Trap.
  • Our Nudity Is Different: Having been raised in Victorian England, Jasmine is flustered about wearing trousers. Later, as she gets into the adventuring life, her way of dress relaxes a little.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: The Doctor cradles Jasmine as she's dying.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Alison, of all snarky, tough companions, begs the Doctor not to make a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Plucky Girl: Jasmine may need some prodding at the beginning, but she quickly becomes one of these. We also see an alternate version of her who's stayed on Earth as a Proper Lady, still courageous, just in more mundane ways.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: The Doctor, while tresspassing and menacing Feigle with a futuristic-looking gun, doesn't really seem to care about gun safety. Because he's bluffing, using sheer Oncoming Storm edgyness and a "Bang!" Flag Gun.
    Feigle: You won't shoot me. I've read a lot about you, Doctor. You wouldn't gun down an unarmed man in cold blood. It's not what you do.
  • Restraining Bolt: The Doctor, having limited trust in the Robot Buddy version of his old frenemy, programs one into his circuits so the robotic Master can't use violence against anybody. He overcomes it with Heroic Willpower when Allison's life is in danger from the original and he needs to defend her, but this fries the circuits.
  • Retired Badass: Eight. Then plot catches up to him and he regenerates.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: The Master is trying to steal one in The End of the World. He ends up downloaded into it.
  • Robot Buddy: The Master, for a while. Until he finds a way to restore his original body, that is.
  • Room Full of Crazy: When imprisoned in Skypigs, the Doctor clamours for chalk and makes important, timey wimey calculations on a wall.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Nine, at least before the downfall, when his wardrobe loses a lot of its colour.
  • Stab the Salad: The intense, banter-heavy confrontation between the Doctor and the Master at the start of Back from the Dead turns out to be a game of "Snakes and Ladders".
    Alison: You two are so weird since you started to get along.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Nine. His default mode is The Snark Knight, but he's quite capable of warmth, even sweetness, towards his companions.
  • Supernatural Fear Inducer: The thing in the cellars of the Sanctum. It reduces UNIT soldiers to hysterical mess. The Doctor is not immune - he just soldiers on.
  • Survivor Guilt: The Doctor, ever since The End of the World.
  • Tension-Cutting Laughter: In The Honey Trap the Doctor and Alison both have a laughing fit before his Heroic Sacrifice and after he's "plucked up the courage", as he says.
  • There Are No Therapists: For bereaved Time Lords. Also, Angela's Single-Issue Psychology problem goes unsolved until she meets the Doctor.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Eight and Jasmine use one to enrage a minor villain into overloading his torture device. Which, of course, explodes.
  • Trespassing to Talk: Technically, it was to use her laptop, but Angela is taken completely off her guard by the Doctor sitting on her hotel bed. Hunched over her laptop.
    • Before that, he's surprised the everliving daylights out of Feigle by tresspassing on his space station.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Feigle, by the Master. He won't be missed.
    The Master (emerging from the shadows): Death has come for you, little man.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Skypigs not only has two Doctors (Nine with Jasmine, Eight with Anna and Jeff) crossing paths to prevent the villain from tying a knot on the timeline, it also reveals Jasmine is Anna and Jeff's Kid from the Future. Who was born (or at least raised) in the past.
  • Tricked Out Time: In The Honey Trap the Doctor and Alison witness a time-displaced man killed by a train and avert their eyes. Several chapters later, they are in position to rescue the guy, which they do, the Doctor noting they need to hurry before their earlier selves see what really happened.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Angela's fears involve dissappointing her parents and her boss. She's aware of this trait and gets angry at herself for being pleased at Doctor's (sincere) compliment.
  • White Shirt of Death: Jasmine spends the entirety of Born Again in a stiffling victorian white dress (which gets ruined along with her old life), and The End of the World in a hospital gown. She dies in this episode.
  • Uncanny Valley Girl: The illusory waitresses in The Honey Trap, although our heroes (a straight young woman and a Celibate Eccentric Genius) are the only ones immune to their buxom charm.
  • Upper-Class Twit: The entire Carstairs family, even Charlotte, who's married into it and not genetically related.
  • 0% Approval Rating: Feigle is a disgusting, petty dictator with delusions of grandeur. He does really control a single, miserable planet, but the Doctor's past actions have kept him from conquering an entire galaxy and he's still not over that, which may or may not be responsible for the Idiot Ball he's constantly juggling.