Liz was nowhere about. Had she been taken by someone?
The Doctor dragged himself to his feet and peered around. There was no sign of a struggle. There was no sign that anyone else had been in the room. In fact, there was little sign that anyone had been in the room, ever - all the equipment was put away in order, as it had been the first time the Doctor and Liz had stepped into the lab.
A bit of colour in the window caught his eye. He stepped to the window, wondering what on the UNIT grounds it could possibly be that had some colour, and pulled the curtain aside.
Instead of the grounds of UNIT headquarters, the vista revealed behind the curtain was a cozy little gathering of quaint, brightly coloured houses looking rather like a resort spa.
The Doctor grabbed his cloak, charged out of his lab - the reproduction of his lab, rather, housed in a cabin identical to all those he'd seen from the window - to the large building he'd correctly deduced to be the administration center of the place. There a silent, dwarf butler admitted him to the office of a woman who apparently was the highest authority on site, who nevertheless was entirely unhelpful with the Doctor's inquiries.
"You," was all the woman would say, brandishing a badge on her own lapel which bore the numeral 2, "are Number Five."
After a day of boundary-pushing - in one case, literally - the Doctor concluded that escape from this Village would require some assistance from a fellow inmate. The problem was, none of them seemed willing to admit they were inmates. Either they genuinely liked it here or they were afraid he was one of their jailers out to entrap them. But the Doctor was confident that there was at least one among them who'd be interested in helping him, and several days of just keeping his eyes open vindicated him.
There was a lantern-jawed fellow who never wore his number badge, but whose house had a sign out front (like Piglet's) which identified him as Number 6. This man alone out of the population of the Village behaved like a prisoner, by refusing to behave like one.
One morning several says after arrival the Doctor approached the Prisoner during breakfast at the cafe. "Mind if I join you?"
The Prisoner waved the Doctor to a seat. He immediately showed himself for the kind of man the Doctor was looking for, by stating, "You're the new Number 5, aren't you?" - the Doctor was not wearing his number badge (neither was the Prisoner), and had had no sense during his observations that he'd been observed back.
"Actually," said the Doctor as he sat, trying to break down the conventions of this place, "I'm known as the Doctor."
The Prisoner gave the Doctor a wry sort of half-smile as he returned his attention to his breakfast. "I suppose it was too much to hope for," he said, "that you had a name."
In the Village control room, the Scientist was reporting to Number 2. "Ma'am, Number 5 has taken up with Number 6."
Number 2 frowned. "I was afraid of that. They're so alike in so many important ways, and we have so little leeway with either. Well, keep me informed."
Had he been privy to this exchange the Doctor might have reassured Number 2 that she had little to worry about. His fellow Prisoner didn't take being trapped here with the docility of the other residents, but like them he was paranoid to the point of obtuseness.
"I need your help," said the Doctor on the first occasion he broached the subject. "I intend to escape from this place."
The Prisoner didn't take this with the same fright or denial as everyone else had. But neither was he any more helpful.
"Well," he said, "you can tell Number 2 that it won't work this time."
"I am not with Number 2," the Doctor insisted. "You must trust me."
"Oh, I must, must I?" That half-smile again.
"What can I do, to prove you can trust me?"
"Getting me out of here would be a start."
"I've just proposed that," said the Doctor crossly. "You refused on the grounds that you don't trust me."
The Prisoner was unmoved. "Bit of a sticky wicket, isn't it?"
For several days the Doctor worked at solving the conundrum set him by the Prisoner, who apparently was putting up with it just for the company and the entertainment value. "You won't help me to escape the Village because you don't trust me," the Doctor summarized over tea one day, "and you won't trust me until I help you escape."
"In a nutshell," agreed the Prisoner.
The Doctor nodded. Then he adopted a lateral tactic. "What are you in for?"
"Because they want to know why I resigned." The Prisoner waited for the obvious question, and when it didn't come he continued, "And you?"
"Well ..." The Doctor rubbed the back of his neck. "It wouldn't be stretching the point too far to say I'm in much the same line of work as you were." The Doctor paused before continuing; but trust is a two-way street. "But I think that their real interest in me lies in the fact that I'm not an Earthman. I'm an extraterrestial."
The Prisoner took a sip of tea to cover his non-reaction. Then he quietly announced, "I'll help you with your escape."
"What, now you'll trust me?" the Doctor said, startled. "Because I said I was an alien?"
"You may be a madman," said the Prisoner, "but you're not with them - your story's too absurd."
One morning when the construction of their escape device was well under way, the Doctor and the Prisoner were accosted by Number 2 on their morning constitutional.
"Good morning, Number 5," she said to the Doctor. "Settling in nicely, I hope?"
The Doctor smiled with the appearance of genuine conviviality. "I'm rather finding that there is, after all, no place like home."
"Ah, home," said Number 2. By accident or design she placed himself between them. The Doctor noticed that she hadn't greeted the Prisoner. The Prisoner appeared to have noticed, too. "You know, your file is a little unspecific in that regard. Where exactly is home?"
"Nowhere interesting. Quite dull, in fact," said the Doctor. "That's why I left."
"You might be surprised at what I find interesting," said Number 2.
"I've found," said the Prisoner, "that there's something about holding your office that makes a person's interests absolutely predictable."
Number 2 spared him a glance, and turned back to the Doctor. "Well, Number 5," she said cheerily, "just remember that my door is always open." With that double entendre she continued on her way.
"It seems," said the Doctor, "that I've replaced you as top dog around here."
"It is," said the Prisoner, "surprisingly unsettling."
Another morning the Doctor asked the Prisoner, "How did you sleep?"
"I had the oddest dream," said the Prisoner.
The Doctor nodded at him to continue.
"I dreamt Number 2 returned - a burly bearded fellow who was here once when I was new. I dreamt he locked us both in a huge playroom for days on end, and finally got himself killed somehow.
"Then he got a shave and a haircut and came back to life - in that order, I think - and there was a very strange trial, the result of which was that I got to meet Number 1, who was me. Then everyone got to leave the Village and go home."
"That is odd," said the Doctor.
"Well," said the Prisoner, "it seemed to make sense at the time, as dreams do..."
"Sir! Sir!" In the observation station of the Village, one of the monitor technicians called wildly for the chief scientist. "We're picking up a large field of Hasslein radiation!!"
"Hasslein radiation?" The chief scientist was dumfounded. Then he realized. "It's Number 5! Squelch that radiation field, I don't care how! I'll call Number 2!"
The people who had duplicated the Doctor's UNIT lab for his house in the Village had not transported the TARDIS along with him; in its place they had supplied a genuine police box. Ironically when the Doctor and the Prisoner had required a place to set up the Doctor's jury-rigged transmat unobserved, the police box had been their best option. It was now considerably smaller on the inside than the outside.
"Blast!" said the Doctor suddenly. "They're on to us."
"How do you know?" said the Prisoner.
"Power dropoff, external cause. I didn't believe they'd be able to do that. My dear chap, I'm terribly sorry."
"So we're done in?"
"Not entirely. I've reversed the polarity of the neutron flow and we're on power buildup again." The Doctor paused. "But in the time it will take them to get here, there'll be only enough power generated to teleport one of us."
The Prisoner didn't hesitate. "You go."
"My dear chap -"
"You go," the Prisoner insisted. "They want you worse."
Captain James T. Kirk listened to the Doctor tell his story, of being kidnapped to some sort of forced-retirement resort for spies.
"... Unfortunately," said the Doctor, "once the power for the transmat had built up again, my fellow Prisoner and I had very little time for reprogramming the coordinates to which he would send me."
Kirk tried to listen to the story, but somehow all it communicated to him was an image of himself on the carpet with Admiral Nogura, who was saying, "You are Number Six."
Superman listened to the Doctor tell his story.
"I promised my fellow Prisoner that I'd try to backtrack and expose this Village where we were being held," said the Doctor, "and free him and all the others. But because we were rushed I came away with coordinate data too imprecise. The search area I calculated was too wide for UNIT to cover - or at least that's what the Brigadier's superiors said."
Superman tried to listen to the story, but somehow all it communicated to him was an image of himself, with his father Jor-El and his foster father Jonathan Kent, who were saying, "You are Number Six."
Hawkeye Pierce listened to the Doctor tell his story.
"It disappoints me horribly to think," said the Doctor, "that these people, whoever they are - even my friend didn't know for certain which side operates the Village, if not some consortium of both - are still operating. I'm not accustomed to allowing such oppression to continue unencumbered."
Hawkeye tried to listen to the story, but somehow all it communicated to him was an image of himself and Colonel Potter, who was saying, "You are Number Six."
Time Lords don't sleep often, but they always dream, and they always remember their dreams when they awaken. Sometimes previous incarnations come to them in dreams, personifying conflicts in their present-day. Sometimes - despite official Time Lord doctrine that there is no precognition in their telepathy - future conflicts are presented in equally symbolic form. And sometimes, as with all humanoids, a dream is just a dream.
Frequently - less frequently as time went on, but for the rest of his life - after the Doctor's visit to the Village, he would dream of the Judicial Chamber on Gallifrey, where he had been sentenced to Earth exile. He would be standing before the Tribunal, in his present-day incarnation, and they would have the faces of present-day High Council members, and they would pass sentence on him.
"You," the Tribunal president would say, "are Number Six."
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