This short Doctor Who story, Memories Of A Home Planet, written by Mike Stevens originally appeared in Issue 5 of the Infinite Frontiers paper fanzine Temporal Physics, dated December 1989.
* * * * *
“Help me!” came the anguished cry. “Remember me!”
Susan remained very still for a moment. Around the corner lay some of the TARDIS’s disused sleeping quarters, and back the way she had come was her own bedroom. Yet a voice had come from up ahead, from those deserted parts. It came again.
“You must remember me! Quickly!” Was it a woman’s voice… or that of a small boy? Susan’s brother used to squeal like that when he was very small. But Susan couldn’t smile at this happy memory, for with it came the first true realisation that she had lost her family forever, and with that came deep, rich, overwhelming pain. The long-delayed shock was at last coming to the fore, and the guilty torment it brought was deeply felt by Susan.
Yet the voice called out one more time, either a glimmer of hope or an agonising tease upon her conscience. This time it sounded even more like Etal, so she turned the corner and started down the long corridor ahead.
A door slammed shut halfway down, and the voice giggled childishly. Susan advanced slowly. The brass door handle began to turn as she looked at it, and the door began to creak open again…
Susan looked through the doorway. From the ceiling hung a rope, and from the noose at the end of the rope hung Etal. A huge suicide note written in red blood floated nearby, saying, “I couldn’t stand the shame.” The images disappeared.
Susan closed the door.
“Are you made?” asked her mother desperately. “Don’t you realise that you will tear our family to shreds if you leave? YOU won’t be here to blame – they’ll punish us instead!”
Susan repeated, both to herself and to the spectre-like memories, the lines which she has said all those months previously. “Grandfather needs my help to escape. And I want to go. We need to leave the Time Lords behind and go our own way. We aren’t like you.”
Her mother’s sobbing came floating back to her, and Susan fell against the nearest wall. Then it was her father’s turn.
“That old fool doesn’t know what he’s doing half the time. You know that as well as I do. He’s an eccentric. You don’t want to get mixed up with him – if you do you’ll be lost in eternity. You know what they call people like him. Renegades.”
The Chancellor and the Castellan shimmered down the corridor now. “Illegal use of a TARDIS and illegal manifestation in other time zones by mere civilians such as you is punishable by banishment.” spouted the Castellan. The Chancellor’s face looked grave. “If you ever attempt to leave Gallifrey with your irresponsible grandfather, you will be hunted down and never allowed off the planet again. Do you understand?”
Again the ghosts disappeared, and Susan’s mind flitted forward to her last few moments on Gallifrey. She saw the body of the young technician who had been repairing the console, and in her mind’s eye she watched as the Doctor dragged him outside and re-entered, closing the doors.
“My child! We are free! At last, we are free! Free of the fools and madmen of our own species. You will not be sorry.”
Susan smiled. She was sorry, but she was not sorry. With one small sniff she turned and walked out of the corridor and went back to bed.
MERELY THE BEGINNING…