Summary: Susan Foreman: prisoner, survivor, teacher, parent, and deity…she’s her Grandfather’s progeny, for certain.
Fandom: Doctor Who.
Characters: Susan, Master, Donna, Doctor; Salamandrians, Bright And Shining.
(if you'd like to use the Salamandrians or the Bright And Shining, feel free to)
Rating: PG-17 / Mature.
Spoilers: An Unearthly Child – The Edge Of Destruction; Sound of Drums – Last of the Time Lords; all Donna eps up to the Sontaran double-ep.
Word Count: 1,007
Author’s note: Not sure which Masters this is. Ainley? The one who faced the 8th Doctor? One between him and Jacobi?
Subjective Time: centuries after the death of David.
Objective Time: five hundred million years before the birth of David.
The Salamandrians huddled in the shallows, all their faceted eyes focused on her. Susan appreciated the gesture.
She’d found them – their ancestors – when she’d made a forced landing mid way through the Time War, plummeting away from a downward spiral of destruction she’d instigated in a Dalek Armada. Most of the edible flora and fauna here induced dizziness and-or nausea. All but the tiny brains of proto-Salamandrians.
And so she’d begun selective breeding while leaving cryptic evidence that she, Susan Foreman, was here – cryptic because, if the Daleks found her, they’d surely subject her to something worse than the Burner. The Burner, a tool designed to burn away a Time Lord prisoner, one regeneration at a time. Insidiously, it was programmed to wait until the body and mind had settled into a new form, before beginning the burning anew. Susan had kept silent but for screams and whimpers, refusing to betray the Time Lords – a silence which had cost her six regenerations.
Then the Master had come, rescued Susan, tricked and befuddled the Daleks long enough to get her out of there. “Who? Who are?”
“I am the Master. I do not countenance this treatment,” and bore the look of one whom, when faced with an intolerable situation, tore down the intolerableness.
“Can’t stop… can’t stop...” she said, feeling her hands shake. Her whole self quaked and quivered. A trait of this latest regeneration? Or had the Daleks used the Burner to implant something into her nervous system?
“Then don’t. I will take you out of here.”
“Your word as a Time Lord?”
“And as the Master.”
After they'd made their escape, he'd stayed only long enough to ensure she was recovering under the auspices of the Hath, and the Master was off, back to fight the Time War he’d been hauled back from the depths for.
Their baby gurgled. Reflexively, Susan fed him.
Time Lords had great minds, in order to handle the multitude of instincts governing them.
A few Salamandrians exhaled, blowing out air bubbles. They had amused the Master on his one visit, before President Romana’s war cabinet had yanked him back to the front lines. None but he had ever been able to find her. He ran his hands slowly down her arms. She could feel herself and him sliding into unconsciousness, their bodies moving independently of their minds. Susan knew he wouldn’t have David’s shortcoming – David had tried, very inventively at times – but the Master was of her own species, after all; his equipment was in the right place, and wouldn’t be grating. “Master!” in anticipation.
With the Master gone, Susan had nothing else to do but continue in her appointed role as the Salamandrian Deity: a benevolent teacher, one who needed Salamandrian brains to survive. They did not ask her if she wanted to be worshipped and venerated.
Her ship was broken irretrievably, stuck in place in time and space, and able to leap only a decade at a time forwards, never back.
She missed him. Susan missed the Master, his talent for talk, his quick mind.
But even as the sky changed overhead, with star clusters winked out, with rifts and rents torn and twisted and wrapped like a birthday present on Earth, the Master did not return.
But one day, Grandfather had arrived, brought here in his TARDIS by the Bright And Shining, the lead fighting force of the Shadow Proclamation. The Doctor and his latest Companion, one Donna. “You’re pregnant!”
“Yes, Grandfather, I am.”
“You always this annoyed,” Donna asked, “when you’re about to be a great-grandad?”
“Yep. Oh yes indeedy. ‘Specially if it’s somebody like that meddling Monk.”
“It was not the Monk,” Susan said. “It was the Master.”
And then he had learned of her role in Salamandrian theology… and his mood had darkened further still.
While Grandfather had been talking to the Bright And Shining, trying to convince them that Susan had violated the Shadow Proclamation, Donna had found herself midwifing a Gallifreyan delivery. “That’s your birth canal?”
Susan looked down at the boneless infant skull squeezing out from between her breasts. “It’s supposed to be there, so why would it be elsewhere?”
“We look human. Our hips aren’t dictated by birthing skulls.” It was one of several differences, along with paired hearts, bones forming during the first year of life, regeneration, and a secondary respiratory system.
“He’s adorable!” Donna said as she tickled the newborn; it was a conscious action for humans, instinctive baby-cleaning for Gallifreyans. “Yes you are!” to the baby. To Susan, “So what’cha gonna name him?”
“’S that like Vikings an’ them naming their kid ‘Ugly’?”
“Time Lords begin to think at the age of One, at which point we choose our own name.”
“Like Doctor and Master? Ya’know, suddenly those names make a whole heckova lot more sense. And your name?”
“’Susan’ is an abbreviated form of my name.” And a diminutive when spoken by the Master.
“’Kay. But what if you’d had twins? Can’t very well call ‘em Thing Two and Thing One.”
“Gallifrey has existed since the dawn of the universes, and elsewhen too, very likely. In all of that time, none of us has ever had more than one child per pregnancy.”
Donna was gone now, left with Grandfather in his TARDIS. He’d gotten the Bright And Shining to enprison Susan, to make certain she never leaves this world until she stops being an object of devotion to the Salamandrians; she could have their brains, or she could have the universe.”
“We’ll leave here soon enough,” Susan whispered to her baby’s ears. The Bright And Shining were repairing her escape pod enough to get her to a time and place where she could obtain and repair a TARDIS in this post-Time War era. Then… then she’d see if the Master really is completely dead. And if he was…
The Shadow Proclamation was on her side.