Thursday 14 April 2011

Prisoner In A Grey World, by Matthew Clarke (my fan fiction)

A lot of fans ridicule the idea of superwitch Morgaine being 'locked up' at the end of Battlefield. I like the idea. It does get wearying seeing characters being killed off left, right and centre, so I thought I would follow up a baddy surviving and being 'locked up.'

HMP Holloway 2011

The prison officer led the visitor across the wing. She suppressed a wry smile at his archaic outfit. He seemed dressed more for a fancy dress party than a prison visit. But then the prisoner he was visiting was a bit of a space cadet herself. The man's soft features expressed a boundless energy, yet his eyes betrayed great wisdom and suggested quite a contrast with his boyish smile.

This was no ordinary visit. It was a private and confidential meeting arranged by the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. This man, Dr. John Smith, was apparently one of their bigwigs.

The bigwig looked at his surroundings. He hated prisons. He was no stranger to being locked up, but attempts to keep him that way would always prove unsuccessful. The Doctor considered prisons to be grim places. To strip a person of his or her freedom was an assault on their dignity as a sentient being. Sometimes prisons would harm rather than reform their charges. However, he knew they could not be dispensed with. There were too many people in the universe who would jeopardise the lives of others in the pursuit of money, power or lust. Such people had to be dealt with and prevented from doing more mischief. Perhaps there was a better way of punishing people, but if so it was not obvious what it was. Even the seemingly all-powerful Time Lords had their own prison on the asteroid Shada.

Many of those who tangled with the Doctor never survived to be incarcerated. It seemed that most of his enemies became so locked into a life or death struggle that in the end their destruction was inevitable. Yet occasionally, his antagonists had lived to face justice. He thought of Miss Winters. Her Scientific Reform Society had tried to use a giant robot to start a nuclear holocaust that would have decimated earth's population. They were willing to sacrifice humanity in the pursuit of their bizarre notions of 'progress.' Miss Winters was a strange, twisted character. No doubt his old friend Sigmund would have seen her as a classic case of sexual neurosis. Whatever the case, UNIT had made sure that she received a lengthy jail sentence for troubles.

Further into the future, he had encountered Helen A. On Terra Alpha she had imposed a cruel, totalitarian regime in which 'happiness' was enforced and misery was a capital crime. She had killed thousands in the name of 'happiness.' Yet despite the bloodshed she had wrought, the only tears she shed were for her dead pet. To the end, she was convinced that her cause was right and just. Helen A had died in prison a bitter and broken woman.

How different from Madeleine Issigri. Industrialist Madeleine had fallen into the too common human trap of letting money come before all else. She had given aid to a vicious gang of space pirates. In the end, she had admitted her wrongdoing and helped him defeat the pirates. The court was lenient with her and she wasted only two years of her life in the clink.

In the case of the prisoner he was visiting, he knew that captivity was the only option. She was simply too dangerous to go free.

The Doctor looked at the strange inscriptions marked on the walls of the prison wing. He himself had given instructions for these markings to be made. The Doctor knew much about the Occult arts. He knew that these inscriptions would create a magic field that would prevent the prisoner using her sorcerous powers.

Finally they came to the private meeting room. Apart from the strange glyphs on the walls, it was bare, graced only by a table and two chairs. A few minutes later, the prisoner was brought in.

The Doctor remembered the brilliant suit of golden armour she wore on the battlefield. This had been replaced by a pink tracksuit. Her long talons had been clipped short. Her long red hair had lost something of it's shine. Yet her eyes still blazed with an emerald green fire.

The woman gave a broad smile and greeted him "Merlin!"

"Ageless and Deathless Morgaine" Merlin acknowledged.

Morgaine looked at her old enemy, who had changed so much. "Your aspect has changed again, Merlin. Your inconstancy will never cease."

"And how are you keeping, Lady Morgaine?" he asked.

Morgaine regarded him coldly "I find it hard to forgive you for the indignities I suffered after my surrender. UNIT had me sedated with their drugs for weeks and I was kept locked in solitude for nearly a year. Even now I am subject to strip searches and drug tests. I must endure the company of women who are lowborn and coarse, however much I value their company."

"Forgive me, Morgaine," the Doctor replied, his face filling with apparent regret. "I'm sorry that it is impossible for you to be treated with the dignity you deserve. Nevertheless, your imprisonment is not only necessary, but just. You summoned a demon that would have consumed this planet. You nearly destroyed it yourself by unleashing a nuclear holocaust. Even though you failed, several UNIT personnel lost their lives through your actions. On the thirteen worlds you ruled, I can only imagine how many you killed. For one who taken as many lives as you have, it is not becoming to complain about the humility of your present circumstances. You have to face these consequences. I will make sure you are never ill-treated, but I can never allow you to escape or go free."

Morgaine's anger resided into sadness "I know that I have done many wrongs. Not least to my own dear brother, Arthur. For that reason alone I submitted to this imprisonment. But it is not easy for one who was Battle Queen of the S'rax and Dominator of Thirteen Worlds to suffer this humiliation, however much it may be deserved. Nevertheless, in answer to your question, I am at peace with myself."

"Have you seen Mordred, your son?" asked the Doctor. The Doctor knew that Mordred was being kept at Belmarsh prison.

"Visits have been arranged between us," she replied. "It is not easy for him to be so separated from me. He was always a soft boy."

"He has become something of the bard, I'm sure you're aware. His poems have been published in many newspapers of this country," the Doctor said with enthusiasm.

Morgaine smiled. "I enjoy his poems. It pleases me that he can at least pursue the craft of the bard if he can no longer be the warrior. Mordred will of course grow old and die. Like me he is of the blood of the Elder Folk, but he has not been touched with the elements as I have. When he is gone, I shall be alone in this world to be imprisoned until the end of time."

"It is regrettable," replied the Doctor.

Morgaine rose from her seat silently, shuffling past the table in her slippers. She stopped by the window and gazed across the prison yard. "This is an harsh world," she said, continuing to stare out of the window. "I know the women in this prison. They have lost their spirit, their sense of joy in life and their knowledge of beauty. This grey world has done this to them. So many of them have suffered abuse at the hands of their menfolk. So many of them have become enslaved to the drugs that this world has made, in the hope of dulling their pain. With the little power that you have left me, I have tried to heal and comfort those that I meet in here. I try to give them hope, telling them of another world where beauty and nobility reign supreme."

"You truly are a noble being, Lady Morgaine," said the Doctor quietly. "This world is as harsh and grim as you say. I sometimes despair that it can ever be brightened."

As Morgaine began to return to her seat, she noticed the Doctor produce a device with a flashing light. "They let you bring that in here? Were you not searched?" she asked.

"I was searched all right," beamed the Doctor "but they don't know how good I am at hiding things." He waved the gadget around, then bent under the table. He pulled out a tiny microphone. "Somebody is apparently interested in what I am about to ask you about, my Lady."

"Ask away, good Merlin. I have all of eternity to answer your questions," she said, folding her arms.

"I need to know what they have been asking you."

Morgaine smiled "You mean whether I have ever taken heroin or thought about suicide?"

The Doctor had not realised that she had a sense of humour. "I mean UNIT and the Ministry of Defence too. Have they asked you about biotechnology?"

"Of course they did, Merlin. The warriors of this world think of nothing but machines. They asked Mordred as well. But we know little of it. We are warriors. Machines are the craft of peasants," she replied with a little disdain.

"Peasants like myself of course. I've been called that before," he chuckled. "Did they ask you about magic as well?"

"I told them as much as I could but it will do them little good. The powers I wield are in my blood or drawn from the native soil of my world. You cannot obtain that power from nowhere, especially not in this world. They asked me about my kingdom too. They were fascinated, but as they can never go there it will be no more than stuff for schoolmen."

The Doctor looked satisfied. "Many thanks, my Lady." He rose to leave.

"Merlin, remember that we will meet again. In my past and your future. I may be a prisoner now, but you will one day meet me again and be bound forever in the Ice Caves," she warned.

"Always be prepared," and gave her a boyish grin as he left the room.

As a prison officer escorted Morgaine back to her cell, her thoughts were far from her victory over Merlin. She thought only of her brother. She thought of their happy childhood together. They had danced with the Elder Folk, watched dragons soar through endless skies and listened to the sad singing of the stars. Both Arthur and her world had been lost to her forever.

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