Author: Nix Nada
Rating: All ages
Word Count: 1,197
Author's Summary: The fifth Doctor tries out an experimental telepathic circuit on the android Kamelion, with unexpected results.
Characters/Pairings: Five, Kamelion, Tegan
Recced because: I liked it even better on the second read. This story does at least three very worthwhile things very well: It shows the Doctor making a mistake, it looks inside the TARDIS from a very unusual perspective, and it does justice to potential that largely went to waste in the original. Plus, making me enjoy Kamelion, of all companions, is a feat in itself.
In case some people are asking, "Who the heck is Kamelion?", I'll give a two-sentence break-down : Kamelion is a shape-shifting robot of an uncertain degree of sentience, found and enslaved as a tool by the Master (it is introduced in The King's Demons). Though it does have some mind of its own, it is so easily influenced that a strong mind will overtake it completely, forcing it to assume any shape and personality chosen for it by the stronger will—indeed, this may even be his function.
Borrowed Time is a deft little process of elimination that gradually traces a picture of what such a creature (being? thing?) is and is not. And it doesn't do it too neatly; certain ambiguities about the Doctor's actions stand without any distortion of his character.
+ KAMELION SAYS:
“I am always at your disposal, Doctor. That is my programming.”
+ KAMELION HEARS:
“Not at all, Kamelion. If you don’t want to volunteer I can always find another way. I would never use your programming to coerce you.”
+ KAMELION SAYS:
“And yet you bring your request knowing that I am unable to refuse it.”