V M Another Destiny

The Doctor

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For what felt like the third or fourth time in the span of a few hours, the TARDIS crashed to the ground. On this occasion, her Time Lord companion found himself jettisoned from the now blacked-out space ship.

Landing face-first through a patch of grass not quite tall enough to conceal an adult velociraptor, the Doctor let out a soft, dirt-filed groan as he planted his palms and pushed himself up from the blanket of crushed blades beneath him. As he rose to his feet, the first thing that struck him was the darkness overhead—it was the dead of night and the sky was devoid of stars. The second thing was the scent of summertime in the air—thick, almost oppressive heat that clung to him even amid the wisps of pollen-scented wind that brushed passed his scraped visage. In a strange way, his surroundings smelled almost like Earth, but not in that nostalgic sense he felt when he stepped out onto the green world. This smell felt synthetic… forced, even.

I need new clothes… The Time Lord glanced down and saw three of the toes on his left foot jutting out from what seemed to be a fresh gash in his rapidly decaying Converse All-Stars.

Focus.

The Doctor shook his head a few times as he turned back toward the smoldering TARDIS. The old girl had landed on her side, and with her front doors missing, the Time Lord could crane his neck and see the majority of the console room. Aside from twisted heaps of machine bits and coral, there was no sign of his newfound friend from Nashville.

“Kesha?” The raggedy man spoke softly as he turned his attention toward his surroundings. Tall grass spread out for nearly half an acre in every direction, but beyond that, there were massive trees that only helped to saturate his surroundings in yet more darkness. To the north, he spotted a thin copse of trees that provided a poor veil for something large and foreboding. Straining his vision, the Time Lord’s eyes widened as he realized that it was a house—a mansion, based on its monstrous size—looming ahead.

Bang!

Turning and instinctively dropping into a crouch in the tall grass, the Doctor looked toward the forest. He was discombobulated from the regeneration process, but there was no mistaking the sound of a gunshot. When several more rang out in the following moments, he could quickly dispel any remaining doubt. Somewhere into the forest to the south, he heard howls—almost those of a dog but not quite. He heard shouting—distinct, human voice trying to communicate with one another.

A man in sunglasses was the first to emerge from the tree line—his eyes craning upward before he aimed his weapon back into the trees and fired.

Seconds later, three others came spilling out from the trees. Along with the Doctor, they all craned their necks at the sound of the engine in the sky. The Time Lord tilted his head as he watched the helicopter zip passed them before twisting and making a clear bee-line to any part of the world that wasn’t this one.

“No! Don’t go! ” One of them screamed before someone else started to fire back into the woods.

The group started to run, and despite his lack of information about the current situation, the Doctor found himself starting to backpedal. He came to a dead stop when he saw that the lone woman in the group had a faded streak of purple in her blonde bangs.

“There, Kesha! Run for that house!” The same young man shouted as the group broke into a mad dash from whatever had stalked and hounded them through the woods.

“What?” The vagrant muttered, taking turns looking at the house and then the group of approaching people. As they drew closer, he noticed that they were wearing what appeared to be Special Forces gear or at least something similar. “What?” The Time Lord reiterated; his mouth ajar as he tried to process the situation. After a moment, there was only one thought that came to his mind.

What?

Kesha hooked an arm around the man’s elbow and yanked him along with her dash.

“Time to run again, Raggedy Man.”
 

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On both sides of him, the thick forest seemed alive—the howls of foreign animals piercing through the darkness.

With a grunt, the time traveler and his companion leaped over the small flight of stairs that led up to the structure’s marble patio. Dashing forward, he pulled open the mansion’s weighty front door and took his first few steps into the palatial residence. Behind him, the four people he had seen a moment ago piled inside and quickly shut the door to the outside world.

“What is this?” One of them inquired—his tone deep and masculine as he listened to his words echo throughout the huge foyer.

“Wow, what a mansion,” Kesha muttered as the Doctor turned around to face the armed officers. Although their outfits varied when it came to design and colors, all them wore an insignia on their vests—Special Tactics and Rescue Squad.

“Where did you pick up a vagrant, K?” A second man asked, his voice cold and his eyes hidden behind seemingly (based on the scenario) inappropriate sunglasses. The Time Lord arched an eyebrow at the blond-haired man and took a step toward the jittery, sweating specialists.

“My name is the Doctor, and I assure you that,” before the vagrant could finish, the fourth and final member of the group grabbed his hands and proceeded to handcuff him. “Hey! You didn’t even let me finish, come on now!” The Time Lord shouted, sighing a moment later.

“I couldn’t leave him out there alone with those… creatures,” Kesha spoke smoothly as she flashed the Doctor a look with her eyes that told him to keep calm and carry on with the situation.

“Whoever he is,” the man in the aviators began after turning to face the blonde woman. “That does not change the fact that he was located at the epicenter of a region that serves as the home to all the recent atrocities.” His masked eyes then shifted to the handcuffed vagabond. “You would do well to remain silent, until we’ve got to the bottom of this,” from the moment the Doctor had laid eyes on the pale man, he had sensed something malignant about him. Now, however, any doubt had fled the mind of the Time Lord—these weren’t friends.

“You want to explain what’s going on?” The time traveler asked, turning his head toward the aged man and his companion.

“S.T.A.R.S Alpha Team,” Kesha replied with all the confidence of a career professional. She shifted her blue beret to a more comfortable angle as her eyes danced across the massive lobby.

“We’re with the RPD,” the younger man added—the one who had handcuffed the Time Lord. “We’re investigating the cannibal murders.”

“Murders?” The Doctor asked, glancing over his shoulder at the weary-eyed specialists.

“He’s playing dumb,” the pale man interrupted, fidgeting around as if a dozen separate thought processes were running through his mind. “Stop humoring him, Chris. Our most important objective right now is to locate an escape route. This doorframe was broken before we got here.”

“The Bravo Team?” The bearded man asked.

“That would be my belief, Barry,” the blond-haired man answered. “With Joseph killed by those things, we need to be on our toes more than ever. Based on the chopper wreckage, the other Bravos may be alive, possibly injured. We should dedicate some time to searching down any survivors.”

Bang!

The gunshot sent shivers down the spines of everyone in the room, save the Doctor. Perhaps it was his ignorance, but either way, the Time Lord merely glanced over toward the exquisite double doors on the western wall of the foyer.

“One of the Bravos?” The young man, Chris, asked as the rest of his team took a few steps in the direction of the gunshot.

“Probably,” Kesha answered, turning toward the man in the sunglasses. “Should we investigate, Captain Wesker?”

“Yes,” the man replied in his emotionless tone.

“I’m going with her,” Barry responded, raising his silver firearm to the side of his scruffy face.

“Take that man with you and Kesha,” Wesker instructed as he cocked his nine-millimeter pistol. “If he tries anything, you are more than willing to use deadly force. In the meantime, Chris and I will secure this hall. Understood?”

“Yes, Captain Wesker,” Barry grunted, closing one of his massive hands around the Doctor’s shoulder and shoving him toward the door. Ignoring his antsy captors, the Time Lord furrowed his brow and continued to examine the foyer. There was something vaguely familiar about the dark, crypt-like atmosphere.

Holding their weapons at their sides, the two specialists edged toward the double doors. Dropping into a crouch, Kesha twisted the elegant, golden door knob and pushed open the left door with her free hand. As the door swung open, the pair of armed commandos pointed their guns into the room and hastily made their way over the threshold. Pushing onto his tiptoes so he could see into the chamber, the Time Lord noticed that it was a dining room.

“I thought this place was supposed to have been boarded up in the sixties?” Kesha asked, relaxing a little bit as she took in her new surroundings. When she glimpsed the confused look on her companion’s face, the blonde with the purple

“Ever since the mid-sixties,” her bulky partner replied, picking a china plate up from the enormous table. “But all this stuff…it’s maybe been lying out for a couple of weeks at the most. Barely a bit of dust, when this should be caked in it.”

“Definitely less than thir—”

“So we’re in 1995?” The Doctor suddenly interrupted, walking over to the woman and glancing over her shoulder and down at the dining table. “Oooh, that’s gorgeous!”

“It’s 1998,” Kesha corrected with a faint smirk before poking the barrel of her pistol into the Time Lord’s stomach. “Now keep your distance, you unknown entity,” she ordered with a faint smirk that bordered on sinister plastered across her pale visage.

The Doctor smirked as he glimpsed around the dining hall. “I think the functioning electricity probably also means this place is or was recently occupied,” the time traveler replied as he took a few backwards steps to ease Barry, who had started to walk his barrel-chested self toward the pair.
 

The Doctor

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“Kesha, you better come and look at this,” Barry shouted from the other end of the dining room.

“Come on,” the blonde-haired woman ordered as she reached behind the Time Lord’s back and grabbed the cuffs that bound his wrists. “A little bondage does the body good, Raggedy Man,” she whispered as she playfully manhandled the Doctor across the room. That was, until, Kesha noticed what Barry was crouched next to—a rather large pool of blood.

“Blood,” the bearded man muttered, touching his index and middle fingers into the ensanguined carpet and then bringing the two digits up to his nose.

“One of the Bravos?” The woman asked sheepishly as the Doctor reclined against an aged grandfather clock near the center of the room.

“It could be,” Barry remarked grimly. “Whoever this belongs to may still be nearby,” he added, glancing up at his teammate.

“And injured…” Kesha whispered, turning to face the only other door that lead out of the massive dining room—a small exit likely used by servants during mealtime.

“You should go check it out,” Barry muttered. “I’ll be examining this,” with that, he turned his attention back to the viscous liquid splashed on the floor. Nodding her head, a still-smirking Kesha fixed her beret once again and made her way to the door. She gave a reassuring glance to her companion before winking and twisting open the servant’s entrance. Once she had vanished into the adjacent corridor, the Doctor walked over to Barry and knelt down next to him.

“So, uhh, how’d you guys wind up here?” The Time Lord asked—trying his hardest not to cultivate any more suspicions between himself and the burly commando. Exhaling, the man moved his attention from the bloodstain up to the youthful countenance of the time traveler.

“What did you say your name was?” Barry questioned as the hand with which he held his gun tensed every so slightly.

“The Doctor,” the vagrant answered nonchalantly.

“Doctor W—”

“Eh!” The Time Lord interrupted, wishing he had a free hand so he could motion for the man to stop. “It’s just the Doctor,” he uttered, smiling warmly as the man let out another sigh and made it back to a standing position.

“Barry Burton,” he grunted, running a hand over his thick, red beard as his eyes traveled to the door his partner had gone through. “You don’t seem like the nefarious, murderin’ type, …Doctor,” the middle-aged man remarked.

“Think you could uncuff me then?” The Time Lord said with a chuckle. Barry let out a hearty laugh himself, but before he could reply to the request, Kesha came bursting through the door with a panicked look on her face. Behind her, a bloodied man came shambling through the opened doorway.

“Watch out!” The frantic blonde screamed, stumbling forward as she moved behind Barry and the Doctor. “It’s a monster!”

“Watch out…I’ll handle this,” Barry shouted as he hoisted his heavy revolver with the face of the lurching, drooling man. “Last warning!” The man barked, pulling back the hammer of his weapon. With a moan, the man lurched forward—his outstretched hands reaching hungrily toward Barry’s throat.

Two gunshots later, the incoherent man stumbled forward, two red holes punched through his pallid forehead. A moment later, he toppled onto the dusty carpet and ceased to move as a pool of blood began to spread around his crumpled form.

“What the hell was that?” Barry yelled, turning to face his young partner.

“We should report this to Captain Wesker,” Kesha said erratically—the incident had shaken any sassiness from her demeanor. Nodding his head, the duo and their makeshift ‘prisoner’ quickly dashed down the length of the room and vanished through the wide double doors.
 

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With a faint smile on his face, S.T.A.R.S Captain Albert Wesker made his way toward the backdoor of the mansion. Although one of Spencer’s fruity locks would prevent anyone from normally exiting the house, Wesker’s contact had provided him with a ‘master key’ or sorts.

Gunning down the two virus carriers that stood between him and the door he sought, he fixed his sunglasses and leaped over the decaying bodies. Once he was in the hallway that led to the backdoor, he couldn’t help but start to laugh. After all, everything so far had gone exactly as he had planned. With the exception of the strange man, no other variables had arisen to complicate his immaculate equation.

From communications with his contact, he knew that the majority of the Bravo Team had been killed already. Only Enrico Marini and Rebecca Chambers were still floating around the Spencer Estate, but either one of them could be easily eliminated if they became too much of an aggravation. Chris, Barry, and Kesha wouldn’t last long against the mansion’s undead caretakers, and even if they managed to find their way out, all Wesker would have to do is release the Hunter’s from their breeding pens beneath the courtyard.

Pulling out the small, pen-sized device from the pocket of his vest, Wesker depressed the minute switch on its side and waved the glowing blue tip at the door. A few seconds later, there was a soft click noise, and the door swung open—squealing on rusted hinges. Tucking the tool back into his vest, Wesker stepped through the doorway and closed it behind him.

With a click, the door sealed shut behind him. If anyone else wanted to get out, they were going to have to find the emblem that would open the door. The last Wesker had heard, the emblem had been hidden beneath the graveyard behind the house. It had been sealed away with the caretaker following his mutation into a V-Act. The catch was that the only way into the coffin would be to collect four masks.

“Spencer and his stupid puzzles,” Wesker muttered, stepping out into the courtyard that stretched on for a couple of acres behind the mansion.

***​

“Wesker!”

Barry’s voice boomed throughout the foyer of the mansion as the trio crossed the carpeted floor back toward its epicenter. Unable to find their captain, the broad shouldered man turned to face his companion. “Help me look for him, Kesha. And don't leave this hall for the time being.” The woman gave a quick nod and vanished behind the massive staircase. Standing still, the Doctor listened to the click-clack of her boots on a marble surface behind the grand stairs before she emerged on the other side. “Find anything, Kesha?”

The blonde shook her head, loosening her beret enough to cause some of her bangs to frantically splay out across her forehead. “Nothing. What’s this all about? I can’t figure it out at all.”

“Beats me,” Barry replied with a scowl as he glimpsed up to the second story balcony.

“Now it’s Wesker and Chris’ turn to disappear… I don’t know what’s going on,” she muttered with a scowl as she turned to the Doctor, who could only offer a shrug of his shoulders.

“Well, it can't be helped. Let's search for him separately,” Kesha gave a quick nod as she fixed her beret. “I'll check the dining room again.”

“Okay, I'll try the door on the opposite side…” the woman glimpsed to her companion. “I’ll take him along.”

“This mansion is gigantic. We could get into trouble if we get lost. We should start from the first floor, okay?” Kesha nodded. “Oh, and... Kesha, here is a lockpick. It might be handy if you, the master of unlocking, take it with you.”

The Doctor furrowed his brow as the blonde walked over and retrieved the little case of picks and tumblers from her associate.

“Thanks. Maybe I'll need it.”

The man turned and made back for the double doors, but he paused to glimpse over his shoulder. “Listen, if something happens, let's meet up in this hall.” Kesha snapped off a quick salute before Barry vanished back into the dining room.

Once the man was gone, the Doctor tapped his foot on the carpet, pulling the focus of his companion back to him.

“May I help you, Raggedy Man?”

“The cuffs,” he replied, eliciting a grin from her as she stepped behind him and, after finagling with the pick set for a few moments, opened the cuffs. Once both his wrists were free, the Doctor started to rub the skin. “‘Master of unlocking’?”

“Hey, I told you, I got a lot of skills.” She rolled up the tools, packed them into a pocket inside a side pouch, and made for the door. “Should we try to find Chris and the Captain?”

The Doctor furrowed so hard he feared for a moment that his eyebrows would collapse inward. “Are just going to avoid the elephant in the room?”

Kesha scowled and glanced up at the balcony and back behind the staircase. “Elephant? Where do you see an elephant?”

“We were in the TARDIS twenty minutes ago,” when the woman tilted her head, her companion continued. “Before that, it was the metal cat? And then an hour before that, it was Nashville? Remember?”

“I fell out of the TARDIS,” Kesha replied after a long pause.

“Bingo!” The Doctor replied as he pumped a fist in the air.

“But…” She reached down and retrieved an ID case from her bag. “I’ve been working on this case for a few weeks now.” She showed him an ID bag that had been issued in early 1996.”

“You were barely nine years old in 1996,” the Doctor pointed out as the woman pocketed the ID and retrieved a handheld device the size of a pocket book. She opened it up to reveal a screen and a small keyboard. It took the Time Lord a moment to realize that it was a PDA. Kesha quickly tapped a handful of buttons and handed the device to her companion.

The Doctor frowned. “Heavy, why’s it so heavy?” The remark was mostly to himself, so he didn’t wait for a rhetorical response before glimpsing at the LCD screen, which contained a long list of detail murders in the nearby forested mountain range. “We’re in these mountains, aren’t we?” He asked.

“Yes,” Kesha replied as she accepted the device back from the Doctor, closed it, and slipped it back into its pouch. “These cannibal murderers might be hiding out in this mansion or somewhere nearby… it’s a large, abandoned estate.”

“Doesn’t look or feel that abandoned to me,” the Doctor replied. “I mean, you met that nice gentlemen with the bloodstains, didn’t you?”

“Don’t remind me,” the popstar-turned-commando muttered as she glimpsed down at her sidearm. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen the field… I can’t believe I froze up like that.”

“The field? Is that what you call touring?” The Doctor replied.

Kesha frowned. “Yea… music,” she replied softly. “But then why do I recall serving in the army for three years?”

“Why are you asking me?”

The woman’s face reddened slightly. “You’re the expert, aren’t you?”

“Touché,” the Time Lord replied as he scowled. He took a step back and sniffed the air around them, drawing a sigh from the woman. “Smells real enough…” With the sonic destroyed and the TARDIS inoperable, the time traveling vagabond was missing some of his most useful tools.

“Let’s find the others, then,” she stated. “They’re real to me, that’s for sure.”
 
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