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Exile 05: Skim

SkimWolf had listened closely while the Doctor explained what the TARDIS did. She didn't understand how it moved through time and space but she did grasp that it did.

The Doctor was still trying to get a grip on her reactions to things that should have been outside her comprehension. She had a distrust of 18th century medical practitioners, but was unfazed by medical scanners, monitors and his sonic screwdriver. She was also more than familiar with the quirks of her own genetic make up.

"So..." Wolf interrupted the Doctor's musings. "You going to give me a practical demonstration?"

"You don't want to go back to the island?"

Wolf made a complicated hand motion of dismissal. The Doctor had last seen someone use it in Renaissance Italy and, at the time, it had been quite a vulgar gesture. "I've seen more than enough palm trees to last me a while and I think the pigs would be happier without me eating them."

"Fair enough." The Doctor started hitting buttons, throwing switches and turning knobs. He grinned widely as the TARDIS started moving, watching Wolf from the corner of his eye to see what she made of the TARDIS in motion. She held onto a support column and rode out the bumpy landing, but her expression was one of curiosity, not fear. It was most peculiar.

Checking the outside environment on a monitor, the Doctor declared it safe for all and sundry and held out a hand to Wolf, who took it and let him lead her to the door.

A gentle grassy expanse extended down to a vast body of water. It could have been a large lake or even an ocean, as its far shore was beyond their view. A soft breeze rippled through the grasses as they walked to the water's edge.

Wolf took in her surroundings. She plucked a blade of grass, sniffed it and bit into it. She tasted the earth and found another similar yet different taste. Even the water was not quite right. It looked like Earth, it even smelled like Earth, but the tastes and colours were slightly off. "I know where we aren't, but it's a close facsimile."

The Doctor had been watching her in fascination. Humans didn't test their environment that way, but animals did. She was a bundle of contradictions.

"This is Debthic and you're right about it's similarities to Earth. It almost matches Earth's distance from its sun and will eventually spawn a race of people comparable to humans but branching from a cetacean ancestor instead of a primate one."

"I hope that works out better for them." She walked along the shore, picking up shells and examining them. "What's the time difference from where we were?" Checking his watch, the Doctor read off a very precise figure that Wolf truncated to a handier unit of 10,000 years. Wolf stopped her meandering walk and got a look of intense concentration on her face for an instant before relaxing into a smile.

"What the hell was that?" The Doctor was stabbing furiously as a small scanner. "It felt like a wormhole was trying to open."

"What's a wormhole?" Wolf tilted her head, watching the Doctor continuing to take readings.

"It's like a fold in space from one point to another."

"Like a portal or doorway?" Wolf questioned.

"Yeah, something like that. Did you feel it?"

"I caused it."

The Doctor stopped his scans and stared at her. "Do it again."

Wolf concentrated, grabbed her nexus point and released it again. She felt the TARDIS touching her mind during the attempt. "Just thought I'd check to see if I could still do it." She'd never considered that her ability to summon a portal would work on other planets. It meant that wherever the portals led, it probably wasn't Earth as she'd always assumed it to be.

The scanner had given the Doctor more of an idea of what she was doing. "Can you open it completely?"

Shrugging her shoulders, Wolf bent to pick up a handful of small flat rocks and started skipping them across the water's surface. "Either I'm still in the bad books or it recognises that you have the technology to track it back."

Catching her meaning, the Doctor laughed. "So what did you do to get exiled to an island in the middle of nowhere?"

"Committed a bit of a social faux pas against a toff and scored a ten year banishment from the Family." Wolf skipped another stone with practiced ease. "They don't care if I leave the island, but if I contact the Family without good reason, exile will be the least of my worries."

The Doctor could hear the capitalisation she accorded her family and could only assume it was something of a rocky relationship. "So you can travel anywhere with these portals, then?"

Wolf shook her head. "No. One way only and only one destination. If I want to leave, I have to ask someone to send me out. It's a little like having a key to get out of a situation, but the only thing it unlocks is the front door of the Chief Magistrate's office, so you'd better have a bloody good reason for being there."

Interesting indeed. The Doctor would have to check her medical scans again. It sounded like she'd been implanted with a secure one-way teleportation device, certainly not the kind of thing that was common on 18th century Earth.

Someone was playing silly buggers with humans for their own private reasons and he was interested to find out more. But with Wolf cut off from the source, it might prove something of a challenge to find out anything more. He watched another stone skip across the water. Even if her didn't learn anything about her origins, Wolf was certainly full of surprises and might be worth keeping around.

--

15minuteficletsword #119: anticipation
pheralchallenge: whumping
Part of the Exile!verse and the Wolf&Declán!verse
Tags: doctor who, exile, fan fiction, fiction, ninth doctor, wolf
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