Return to Gallifrey, Chapter 18

 

The Doctor had never appeared more afraid in all the time she’d known him, Martha thought, as they dashed madly through the jungle.

The cannons were almost unbearably loud and seemed only to get louder as they went on. Cries of fallen soldiers crashed against the trees, and an occasional stray bullet would zoom over their heads, barely missing them.

 

It felt as though they would never be able to stop when suddenly, the Doctor let out a cry of anguish, collapsing to the forest floor. Martha wheeled around and ran back to him. “Doctor!” she cried, “What’s wrong? What’s the matter?”

 

“Residual—GAAH!—spectral energy. Don’t worry, I should be fi—AGH!”

Then, his voice dropping to a feeble whisper, “Help…me…”

 

“How, Doctor?” Martha cried, “How can I help you?”

 

“I need you to—guh!—hand me that yellow…that yellow…”

He could no longer continue. “Hurry!” he managed to rasp, before fading out of consciousness.

 

Martha might not have been a medical expert in Time Lord biology, but she knew just by looking at her friend that she had to act fast. She frantically searched around her for anything yellow, remaining wary of the approaching fire. Finally, she came up with a flower that looked like a bright-yellow cross between a daffodil and a tiger lily. She rushed over to the Doctor.

 

“Hey, now—it’s alright—wake up—is this what you need?”

 

The Doctor feebly opened his eyes. Squinting at the flower for a moment, he seized it from Martha’s hand and began to gnaw on it viciously, as would a tiger. Through a mouthful of leaf, stem, and petal, he said, “Daligrilly. Life sustaining–”

Realizing he appeared rude, he swallowed. “Sorry…it’s a life-sustaining plant for the Time Lords. Only thing that can completely restore my energy short of regeneration. Now, where were we? Oh, yes. Run!”

 

Maybe it was Martha’s imagination, but the gunfire surrounding them seemed less and less rapid with every passing minute. Either they were getting farther away from it or…she tried not to think too hard about the alternative. Surely the fewer people alive, the fewer people who could fire.

 

So lost in her thoughts was she that she failed to pay attention to her surroundings, which were suddenly changing.

 

“Martha,” the Doctor said hesitantly. When that failed to bring her back, he reached out and touched her shoulder. “Martha,” he said again. “Mmm?” she replied dazedly. She gasped in shock.

 

Around her was a city in utter chaos.

Structures that were once beautiful and intricate were crumbling before their eyes. A deathly silence lingered in the air, sending a chill down Martha’s spine.

 

“The Heart of Gallifrey,” whispered the Doctor sadly.

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