Merry Late Christmas and a Happy New Year, everyone! Sorry for the delay. School and all. Anyway, please do review so I know what ya'll think and if ya'll are still around. it really does help a lot. Thanks so much everybody!
"What happened?" Rose demanded anxiously.
"Oh no. Oh no, no…I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. We were landed—no shields, no anything. Whoever it was had it easy," the Doctor was babbling.
Rose started to jump up, but realized next that not only were they in cells, on what—with all the metal—appeared to be a spaceship, but there were metal bands around her wrists with chains that led to a post just a few feet away in the small cell.
"Wait a minute. We've just got transported here! How've we got chains already?" She held up her wrists, and the Doctor was on his feet now as well and scowling down at his own.
"Whoever they are, they're clever—very clever. Targeted transporting like that…almost unheard of." He was already reaching into his jacket for his sonic screwdriver. "Normally I'd like to meet them, at least, clever as they are, but this time I think not."
She snorted in amusement. "Why, cause you've got me plus one to worry about now?"
He almost smiled, and he didn't look up because he was focusing the sonic on one of his wrist cuffs. "Something like that."
"Sure, blame the pregnant lady," Rose smirked.
This time he did glance up, just long enough to roll his eyes in a good-natured manner that was enough to tell her the argument they'd been in the middle of was behind them for now. It helped. She started to laugh, but then the outer door to the small cellblock opened and the Doctor was forced to quickly shove the sonic back into his jacket lest it be discovered.
As soon as whomever it was gloated at their capture and left again, they'd be out of here, find the Tardis, and be gone. Rose was sure of it.
Then she saw the Doctor's face as three of the aliens strode into the room on the other side of the common front bars of their adjoining cells.
"Doctor?" she whispered. He didn't answer.
The aliens were basically humanoid, but with unnaturally pink skin and purple coloring on the underside of their necks. Their hair and eyes were pale, and their hands were long and graceful with thin, lithe fingers a human could never hope to have. They were beautiful, really, but it was marred by the anger on their faces.
The first of the three to enter was clearly in the lead and flanked on either side by the other two. She was a woman, taller than either of them. All of the aliens were taller than either Rose or the Doctor by at least a head. It suddenly made their beauty seem even more menacing.
The Doctor, for his part, seemed to recognize at least their species. He had one of those expressions; one of the ones that conveyed so many emotions at once it was difficult to tell which was winning. Was it fear? Guilt? Apprehension? Sorrow?
The woman stared at him intently through the bars, and she and the others had clearly positioned themselves before his cell, not both.
"You know us, then?" she asked.
"Of course I do. You'll know me too, then. And I'm sorry. I am so sorry…"
"What you feel now is of no consequence. The Time Lords are to blame for the fate of our planet, and you are the last of them. You will suffer for what was done."
"I was there! I tried to stop it!"
"I was working under the fire of two entire armies! I did everything I could!" It was the half-angry, half-horrified shout of a man who didn't want to be in the conversation he was in. This could only be about the Time War.
"It was not enough. That is not the matter in question, in any case. You are here as representative of your race. For generations have we sought retribution."
The Doctor went to the bars and wrapped his fingers around them, as if being that much closer would make her understand. "Gallifrey may have gone mad before the war ended, but at least they never fired on innocent populations! The Daleks destroyed your planet, not the Time Lords."
"The Time Lords could have stopped the war before it started! But did they? No, they sat in their citadel and watched the galaxies turn and fall to fire. They fought only when the threat was direct, refusing to interfere in 'outside' affairs before then. They are just as guilty as the Daleks."
"Maybe I'm not arguing that," the Doctor swallowed. "After all, they're gone, aren't they? They waited too long, they lost the upper hand…it led to a war too evenly-matched that lasted too long and took too many lives. Both sides suffered for it. Everyone suffered for it. Hasn't the universe suffered enough?"
The pink woman stepped closer to the bars. She looked down into the Doctor's eyes and for a moment Rose thought she might listen. But she only had one word to say.
In one deft movement a small remote came from her billowing sleeve, and she depressed a control.
Something crackled. It took a fraction of a second for Rose to trace it to the post and chains in the Doctor's cell, and by the time she had the Doctor had shouted and dropped to his knees.
"Doctor!" It was some sort of energy, generated from the post and transmitted through the chains. The alien woman just stood where she was—right at the bars and only inches from him—gazing down coldy as he shuddered.
"Stop it!" Rose demanded. The alien seemed to notice her for the first time. She looked up, and her eyes narrowed. "Stop," she said again. It came out more evenly this time. This wasn't her first rodeo, after all.
"Look, I don't know what happened, but this isn't gonna change anythin' and you know it." A gasp from the Doctor punctuated her plea, and Rose had to resist the urge to make a face. She stood her ground.
It wasn't enough. Of course it wasn't. Whoever these people were, they were only after one thing. An attempted dose of common sense wasn't going to change that. Her heart pounded in her chest and in her ears, the taller alien staring her down, and nothing happened.
It was several long moments before the alien woman pressed the control again, and the crackling stopped. The Doctor slumped on his knees but only for a second or two. Then he was hauling himself to his feet and pointedly refusing to use the cell bars that were right in front of him to help.
"Is that all you've got? Basic electricity?" he mocked. Something in Rose relaxed a little, knowing it hadn't been anything more complicated.
The woman smiled down at him coldly. "No. It isn't."
She turned on her heel and left, her small entourage trailing after her. The Doctor waited until the main door had closed to let his eyebrows go up. "Right then. Time to go." He stumbled when he tried to take a step, and Rose hurried to the bars between them.
"Are you all right?" She could see the sweat on his brow now, and since their captors were gone he let himself lean into the bars for a moment and really catch his breath.
"Yeah, 'course. Stung a bit, but it'd take a lot for simple electric energy to really do me any damage. No harm done. I'd suggest we leave, though. They'll be back."
"No argument here," Rose grumbled. She wanted to say more, but if he said he was fine that was the end of it.
The Doctor reached back into his jacket for the sonic, but when he tried to use it on one of the wrist cuffs it immediately sputtered and died. There was a spark, and a thin trail of smoke drifted upward.
"Oh come on, not now! Don't do that!" He shook the thing and tried again, but nothing happened. "It's fried the sonic," he said, almost disbelieving.
"No harm done, eh?" Rose sighed. "Well, good thing it's not the only one we've got." Her husband's sonic screwdriver came from her jumper pocket, and by the time she had the first of her own cuffs off the Doctor was grinning.
"Rose Tyler; I've told you you're brilliant, haven't I?"
She dropped the second cuff and went to her door. "Let's just get out of here." If situations like this had made her anxious before, this made her more anxious now. She wanted to be out of here—back on the Tardis and far away and safe. She could handle herself just fine, sure, but what she'd said after they materialized here wasn't just a joke. She had more than herself to worry about now.
When she made it out and to the other cell door and opened it, she and the Doctor just looked at each other for probably longer than they should have. They shouldn't be wasting time, but what they'd been in the middle of back on the Tardis still happened. Then what happened here happened.
They moved at the same moment. It often seemed it was that way. She hugged him and he held onto her tightly and Rose really wished there could just not be any more trouble. But they'd have a bit to sort out when they were out of here, wouldn't they?
She let go when the Doctor staggered again—this time because she was probably leaning in too much, and he was still a little the worse for wear.
"Sorry, right. Let's…get these stupid metal things off you…."
Once they had him free she let him bother with the main door lock while she peered through the small dark window the door had.
"Anyone out there?" the Doctor asked.
"No…just the door's locked."
He nodded a little to himself. "And we'll have that fixed in a minute. Then with any luck we can lay low, find the Tardis, and get going. I'll have to reset the shields…but last I heard of the Kadhar they shouldn't have the technology to track us after that. They've always been clever, but not as clever as the Time Lords. Remodulated Tardis shields should be enough to keep them from finding us again, same as anyone. They can't time travel, in any case."
Rose leaned on the doorframe and studied him. "Kadhar? That's their species?"
"Right. It was Kadhar Prime they were talking about. Long story." He made a face. "Well, not so long. Unfortunately. That's why it's gone." He shook his head, and paused in his sonic work on the door controls. The look in his eyes was already far away. "I just don't understand this. They used to be such a peaceful people. We traded with them. Gallifrey, I mean. Got on well, we did. Back in the day. Before the Time War changed everything."
"They lost their planet," she reminded him gently. "You of all people know what that feels like."
He huffed once. "I know it doesn't give them the right to violence, to…to turn into…whatever it is they've become."
"You're right. It doesn't."
The Doctor shook his head once and straightened, and it was like he'd snapped out of something. "Anyway!" He aimed the sonic at the door controls once more, and this time it opened. "Allons-y," he said with forced cheer. He returned the screwdriver to Rose, and she pushed it back into her jumper pocket as they crept carefully from the lockup.
"How do we know the Tardis is even on this ship?" she whispered. "What if it's on another one, or they didn't even pick it up at all?"
"Kadhar ships—post Kadhar Prime, anyway—don't travel in packs. They didn't want to take the chance of all of them being wiped out at once. Not a bad idea, actually. So the ships are big; each one like a town, a battleship, a spaceport…all rolled into one. So this ship is alone, and they've got more than enough room on board to have the Tardis stored somewhere. There's no chance they'd have left her; who knows what sort of ideas they've got of what they could do. They're clever, remember?"
"If the ship's that big, how do we find her?"
The Doctor smiled and took her hand, and it was like the day she met him. She could feel what he felt. But instead of her planet turning beneath her feet Rose felt a tug—a warmth—and suddenly she knew where to go. It was nothing specific—not much more than a direction, really—but the connection was so strong and she knew. Or…she didn't know. The Doctor knew. But he was showing her.
"That's her. She's here."
"The telepathic connection," Rose breathed.
"With humans, about as far as the Tardis can get is translating for you, but Time Lords have more telepathic ability. Besides that, it's me. I have more connection with her than anyone else ever has, or will have. I could feel her anywhere."
Rose blinked at him, and she remembered standing on the deck of that Dalek ship and being helpless to stop the Daleks as they tried to destroy the Tardis. The Doctor's face when they thought it was really going to happen.
"What would have happened? If the Daleks had really killed her?" she asked gently.
The Doctor shook his head. "I don't know, really. Sometimes I think if it'd happened I might not be here. Sometimes I think maybe after all these years the connection's strong enough for that…now whether that's a good thing or a bad thing…" She squeezed his hand to let him know it was all right; he didn't have to talk about it now. He didn't have to think about it. They were supposed to be escaping, anyway. "Right. Come on."
They were careful. The Doctor checked every turn before they made it. While they worked their way in the general direction of the Tardis, he used what he did happen to know about the layout of Kadhar ships to take them in a bit of a round about way that would hopefully keep them away from prying eyes.
"Shouldn't be too much farther," he said finally. They rounded into a narrow corridor that seemed more utilitarian in design than the ones before. The light was dimmer. "We're near the cargo bays, I think."
"Makes sense." She felt that uneasy weight in her chest lifting.
The hope didn't last long.
"Yes, it does. However, you won't be making it there."
They weren't alone. The Kadhar woman from before and a larger entourage of guards than she'd had then crowded into the space in front of them, blocking the corridor. They must have been waiting in the next turn, waiting to cut them off from the bay that held the Tardis.
The Doctor stopped dead for only a split second, before he started to pull her backwards. The word run didn't need to be said. But they didn't make it back around the bend before another crowd of armed aliens blocked their escape.
"We were prepared for this attempt. We knew about your sonic device, Doctor. I'll have it now."
The Doctor turned back to the voice. He released Rose's hand so he could keep her behind him. It didn't particularly matter seeing as they were surrounded, but it was the thought that counted.
The Kadhar woman—the commander of the ship, Rose assumed—was holding out a hand expectantly. "Now, Doctor. Unless you want your…friend, harmed."
Rose's heart sank. She started to reach into her jumper, thinking there had been cameras in the cells and they'd seen. Before she could wrap her fingers around her husband's screwdriver, the Doctor subtly stopped her. He turned just enough to give her a quick wink none of the aliens could see, and she let her hands fall to her sides again.
The Doctor pulled his own non-working sonic screwdriver from his suit jacket, and turned back to the Kadhar commander with an even glare. His sonic didn't really look damaged, so with any luck...
The woman said nothing, and Rose had to resist the urge to smile. The Kadhar didn't know they had two. This wasn't over. The Doctor tossed his screwdriver at the commander's feet, and she looked smug as the soldier to her left picked it up for her.
"Bring them back to their cells. I'll be there shortly," she clipped.
The second group of aliens—the one behind them now—crowded in around them to take their arms and drag them back in the direction they'd come.
The hope was back, but dread crashed in around it when she realized what the commander meant: She'd be there. At the cells. They still had the other sonic, but they wouldn't have the chance to be alone—to work out a better plan; to get away—for a while yet.
The Kadhar commander was coming back with them, and Rose had no illusions that she wouldn't have that bloody remote with her.