Angels, Soldiers, Criminals

The Byzantium

"There was only one Angel on the ship. Just the one, I swear." River said firmly. Everyone had regrouped and the atmosphere was incredibly tense.

Evie shone her torch around the cavern, barely concealing a jump each time the beam caught the face of one of the statues. Forgetting Father Octavian's order that they should stay in a group, the young woman wandered away slightly, staring upwards at the mass of statues around them.

"Miss!" One of the cleric soldiers called gruffly, reaching out and tapping her shoulder. Evie jumped and whirled around. "You have to stay with the others."

"Could they have been here already?" Amy asked as Evie nodded and retreated to stand beside River once more.

The Doctor moved his torch beam briefly to shine on River. "The Aplans, how did they die out?"

"Nobody knows." She told him with a shrug, her gaze wandering around the area.

"We know." The Time Lord pointed out at exactly the same moment as Evie said, "I've got a good idea."

Father Octavian scowled. "They don't look like Angels."

"And they're not fast. You said they were fast." Amy almost complained. "They should have had us by now."

"They're dying; losing their form. They must have been down here for centuries, starving."

"Losing their image." The red-head supplied.

Evie glanced at her, slightly surprised. Then she shrugged, supposing it was easy enough to make the relevant connections; the Angels lost their form, which meant they lost their image.

"And their image is their power. Power." The Doctor straightened up. If it had been a cartoon Evie was sure she'd have just seen a light bulb switching on above his head. He clapped excitedly, suddenly full of energy once more. "Power!"

"Doctor?"

He paced backwards and forwards speaking at about a hundred miles an hour. Everyone's eyes were on him, no one even daring to take a breath. "Don't you see? All that radiation spilling out, the drive burn. The crash wasn't an accident - it was a rescue mission, for the Angels. We're in the middle of an army and it's waking up."

"We need to get out of here fast." River said in a low, anxious voice. She glanced sideways at Evie, before fixing her gaze on Amy. Apparently she was deciding which of the younger women she should keep a closer eye on. She made up her mind quickly, realising that the Doctor would be keeping his eagle gaze on Amy and Evie was more likely to get herself into a stupidly dangerous situation anyway.

"Bob, Angelo, Christian, come in, please." Father Octavian said gruffly into his radio. When no instant reply came, his tone became more concerned, increasing in volume. "Any of you, come in!"

There was a screechy, crackling sound and then, "It's Bob, sir. Sorry, sir."

"Bob, are Angelo and Christian with you? All the statues are active. I repeat; all the statues are active!"

The three women and the remaining soldiers stood in a huddle, their eyes darting around them constantly. Each flickering shadow caused by their torches set off an involuntary shudder or muffled sound from the group. Evie thought that the tenseness and paranoia caused by the situation was almost worse than the threat itself.

"I know, sir. Angelo and Christian are dead, sir. The statues killed them, sir."

"Bob, Sacred Bob, it's me, the Doctor." He said, snatching the radio out of the Bishop's grip and pointedly ignoring the man's expression. "Where are you now?"

"I'm talking to my–" Father Octavian started, but the Doctor cut him off quickly, holding a finger up in his face.

"Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep… shut up!"

"I'm on my way up to you, sir; I'm homing on your signal." The relief that Evie had initially felt on hearing Bob's voice over the radio dampened slightly. She had an uneasy feeling that something wasn't quite right. If the Angels had killed the others, why hadn't they got Bob?

"Ahh! Well done, Bob. Scared keeps you fast, told you, didn't I? Your friends, Bob, what did the Angel do to them?"

"Snapped their necks, sir." Bob told them.

River glanced at the soldier closest to her, sharing a horrified look. Evie clutched at her mother's arm, gripping the rough material of her shirt tightly, almost as though it were a comfort. Something still felt wrong.

"That's odd." The Doctor mused aloud. "That's not how the Angels kill you, they displace you in time. Unless they needed the bodies for something."

Octavian snatched the radio out of his hand impatiently. "Bob, did you check their data packs for vital signs? We may be able to initiate a rescue plan."

"Don't be an idiot! The Angels don't leave you alive!" The Time Lord snapped at the Bishop, retrieving control of the radio once more. He shot him a withering look, before speaking into the device once more. "Bob, keep running, but tell me, how did you escape?"

"I didn't escape, sir. The Angel killed me, too."

The silence seemed to grow heavy at these words; the atmosphere darkening significantly. Evie gulped, her feeling of foreboding deepening by the second. She'd known that something wasn't quite right and now it had been proved. Everyone glanced at each other, exchanging terrified looks.

"What do you mean the Angel killed you too?" The Doctor asked slowly.

"Snapped my neck, sir. Wasn't as painless as I expected but it was pretty quick, so that was something." Evie went cold at the words. It wasn't so much what Bob had said, but the casual tone in which he had said it.

"If you're dead, how can I be talking to you?"

"You're not talking to me, sir. The Angel has no voice. It stripped my cerebral cortex from my body and re-animated a version of my consciousness to communicate with you. Sorry about the confusion."

"So when you say you're on your way up to us..."

"It's the Angel that's coming, sir, yes."

The Doctor shut off the radio abruptly. "No way out." He exclaimed, resuming his pacing.

"Then we get out through the wreckage." Father Octavian ordered briskly. "Go!"

"Go, go, go! All of you, run!" The Doctor agreed.

Needing no extra encouragement, River took a firm hold of her daughter's hand and dragged her along behind as she went. They ran through the dark tunnels in a panic, following the bobbing torch beams of the soldier Clerics in front of them. Evie stumbled several times, but never enough to be a danger. Unable to see where she was going she crashed into the rock on either side of the narrow passageways, causing countless bruises that would be painfully evident in the morning, if she lasted that long, and ripping her clothing.

They finally emerged into a huge, clear area. Gazing upwards the young woman stared in open-mouthed awe at the bottom of a massive, metal dome. Small fires were visible and there was the dusty taste of recently agitated rubble in the air. Everyone stared upwards, trying to take stock of the situation.

"Well. There it is… the Byzantium." Father Octavian said in a low, almost amused voice. His eyes flickered towards River for a split second, before returning to settle on the bottom of the devastated starliner.

River sighed loudly, taking in the logistics of what they needed to do. She let go of Evie's hand, and the young woman stretched her fingers after her mother holding on so tightly. It was almost painful as the blood flow returned. "Oh, it's got to be 30 feet. How do we get up there?"

"Check all these exits. I want them all secure." The Bishop barked.

Immediately his men jumped to attention, doing as he ordered. They were gone for a while, leaving Father Octavian, River and Evie alone in the chamber. None of them spoke, their torchlight and eyes flitting between each of the exits for any sign of the statues.

"The statues are advancing along all corridors. And, sir, my torch keeps flickering." One of the Clerics called, reappearing from one of the tunnels at a sprint.

"They all do." Octavian told him just as, as though they were trying to prove his point, all the torches began to blink rapidly.

River glanced upwards. "So does the gravity globe."

"They're getting closer." Evie warned, spinning on the spot at the sound of falling stones.

"Clerics, we're down to four men." Octavian said in a low voice. "Expect incoming."

Everyone jumped as the Doctor and Amy suddenly appeared in their midst. Evie sent them a small scowl for frightening her. "Yeah, it's the Angels. They're coming. And they're draining the power for themselves."

"Which means we won't be able to see them." Octavian pointed out as the flickering got worse. River reached out for Evie's hand in the near darkness.

"Which means we can't stay here."

"Two more incoming!"

"Any suggestions?" River demanded of the Doctor in a low voice, letting go of her daughter's hand as Amy moved to stand beside her. Instead, Evie reached out and gripped Amy's hand, causing the red-head to glance at her quickly; her anxious expression briefly replaced by something calmer.

The Bishop glanced up, before shaking his head and speaking in a gruff voice. "The statues are advancing on all sides and we don't have the climbing equipment to reach theByzantium."

"There's no way up, no way back, no way out. No pressure, but this is usually when you have a really good idea." River said, her voice straining with emotion.

The three women had unconsciously moved closer together. Amy and River were both staring at the Doctor, while Evie's eyes were still darting between the exits. She could almost feel the Angels advancing towards them.

There was a long pause before the Doctor answered. When he did, his voice was calm and quiet and barely audible, even in the silence of the maze of the dead. "There's always a way out."

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